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The Catalyst

First-year MSTP student selected for MUSC Physicians scholarship

By Jane Ma
Public Relations

MSTP student Winston Plunkett, second right, receives a certificate and plaque from Dr. Bruce Elliott, from left, Interim VP for Medical Affairs; Dr. Scott Reeves, MUSC Physicians president; and Dr. Perry V. Halushka, MSTP director. photo by Anne Thompson, Digital Imaging

Winston Plunkett, a first–year student in the Medical Scientist Training Program, was named the 17th recipient of the MUSC Physicians MSTP scholarship. This scholarship was originally established in 2003 during the presidency of Bruce Elliot, M.D., senior associate dean for clinical affairs, when the group was known as University Medical Associates. It is awarded annually to one of the first– year MSTP students based in large measure on overall undergraduate academic performance.  

Perry V. Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., former dean of the College of Graduate Studies and MSTP director, noted, “As with all of the awardees, Plunkett was an outstanding choice. The MSTP admissions committee rated him very high on our list of applicants and was quite pleased that he chose to attend our program. He personifies what the scholarship stands for, and we expect great things from him in the future.”   

A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, Plunkett attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate before being accepted into the M.D./Ph.D. dual degree program at MUSC. He was a chemistry major and was inspired by his undergraduate research experiences to pursue a career in research.

As he pursues his Ph.D., his interests lie in certain aspects of ophthalmology and bioinformatics. Having worked in a drug discovery lab during the previous summer, that line of research holds a great deal of interest for him as well. In terms of his medical specialty, he is undecided.

“Luckily, one of the great things about the program here at MUSC is that it encourages its MSTP students to explore,” Plunkett said. He added that he was drawn to MUSC because of the strong support system in place for the students; this scholarship is absolute proof of that for him. He said, “The scholarship is just one example of the great support the physicians here at MUSC have extended to MSTP students.”

The MSTP scholars are known for being extremely talented and accomplished students and professionals: Four were inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, two were named Distinguished Graduates of the Year in the College of Graduate Studies and six were awarded the highly competitive National Institutes of Health National Research Service Awards.

The first recipient of the scholarship, Loretta Hoover Jophlin, M.D., Ph.D., returned last year to MUSC as a gastroenterology fellow slated to work with Don Rockey, M.D., chairman of the Department of Medicine. Jophlin had been voted outstanding Intern of the Year at Mount Sinai Medical School.

The future looks bright and filled with exciting possibilities for Plunkett as he moves forward into his graduate studies and professional career.




November 7, 2014



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