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2 local medical students honored with research program

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:23 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The National Institute of Health selected 50 students for a yearlong research program in Maryland. Among them are two Medical College of Georgia students.

"It almost feels surreal that I'm going," student Jeunice Owens-Walton said.

Owens-Walton came over to Georgia from England when she was 12. The fourth-year med student is studying urology. She applied to the NIH research program because she felt she was missing that part of her education.

"It's kind of difficult to fit that into your medical school journey," Owens-Walton said. "There's always something else that will take precedence, and research is always something that's considered an extracurricular activity."

Now, she's putting med school on pause as she joins 49 other med students in a year-long research program. She's one of only two people from Georgia to be selected, joining James Dickey, who is also from MCG

Dickey already started his research, so he wasn't available. His research is COVID-related.

"The only way we're going to be able to really get a handle on this pandemic and create vaccines or examine long-term effects of COVID is doing research to find out why or how or what we need to do better or what we are doing wrong," Owens-Walton said.

She says she's excited to do something she's passionate about while also taking a little break from school.

"I'm excited to explore my skills in research but also explore myself outside of medicine," Owens-Walton said.

The program is funded by the NIH. Each student gets a research advisor and research mentor. They’ll have a journal club every week, and do other activities to help them navigate the science world.

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