MORGANTOWN, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Bethany Hornbeck of Morgantown, W.Va., was recently elected chair of the Mountain Health Sciences & Technology Academy (HSTA) Local Governing Board that serves students in Tucker, Taylor, Preston, and Barbour counties.
Hornbeck, a Monongalia County parent and president of Apis Creative, a small business, has been involved in the HSTA program since 2014. “Local oversight and community engagement from teachers, university research faculty and other leaders are the heart of the HSTA program,” said Hornbeck, a West Virginia University (WVU) graduate. “Having been involved in HSTA on a statewide level and HSTA Hatch at the national level, I look forward to engaging on the local level and helping to guide the four-county Mountain HSTA team this year.”
Apis Creative secured in October 2023 a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant of $259,610 to develop a digital platform for training research universities and communities to establish and operate youth-development programs in health sciences and medical professions. Hornbeck and her team have helped expand the HSTA Hatch program to the Universities of Alabama and Arkansas and is educating other institutions of higher education on the merits of adopting HSTA replica programs in their regions and states.
Hornbeck said the NIH grant will help create HSTA-modeled programs that will train and prepare the next generation of physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and researchers. She said the Mountain HSTA program’s goals are to strengthen its existing programs, start new educational initiatives, and continue fostering partnerships to program STEM education within the community.
HSTA was founded at WVU in 1994. It quickly grew into one of the most successful STEM education programs in the U.S. with the bipartisan support of the West Virginia State Legislature as well as U.S. Senators Joe Manchin, Shelley Moore Capito andtheir predecessors. WVU, Marshall University, West Virginia State University, Glenville State University and other Mountain State universities contribute to HSTA youth programming, as do high schools and communities in the 27 W.Va. counties HSTA serves. Since its inception, HSTA has graduated 3,318 students from its program and outcomes are overwhelmingly positive for those students.