Pre-med student accepted by KCU Partners Program 

When Pittsburg State sophomore Marissa Vail was a teen, a transformative moment put her on the path to a future career in medicine. This spring, she got news that would propel her forward more quickly on that path.

Marissa Vail

She’s been accepted by the KCU Partners Program — a competitive early admission program for KCU Medical School that allows selected students at PSU to streamline their education.   

Students apply to the program during their sophomore year at PSU and, if accepted, they begin medical school after completing their junior year at PSU — meaning their “senior year” will be spent as a first-year medical school student. 

“Once I complete that first year at KCU, I would get credit for my senior year at Pitt State and earn my bachelor’s degree,” she said.  

Vail, who is a graduate of Pittsburg High School, was inspired to become a doctor as a sophomore. 

“My mom was in a car wreck, and after seeing the care she received, it inspired me to want to become a doctor,” she said. 

Faculty and alumni from the Biology Department have provided her the education, experiences, and encouragement to reach that goal. 

“Alumni have allowed me to shadow them, and my professors have been fantastic,” she said. “I’m really glad I chose Pitt State.” 

Professor Phil Harries said Vail is a perfect fit for the program; she is the first to have been accepted for it in about 10 years. 

“She has shown that she is an incredibly strong student in her two years at PSU and has already amassed a wealth of healthcare experience through her work as an EMT and by pursuing shadowing experiences,” he said. “We’re very proud of her accomplishments and excited to see her moving toward her ultimate goal of becoming a physician.”

About Kansas City University:

Kansas City University, founded in 1916, is a regionally accredited, not-for-profit private health sciences university with a College of Osteopathic Medicine, a College of Biosciences, and a soon-to-open College of Dental Medicine. The College of Osteopathic Medicine is the eighth largest medical school in the nation and the leading producer of physicians for the State of Missouri.  

About PSU's Biology Department:

PSU's Department of Biology offers undergraduate programs covering the range of modern biology including pre-health (pre-med, pre-dentistry, pre-vet, pre-optometry, pre-physical therapy), medical technology, pre-physicians assistant, cell and molecular biology, wildlife biology, fisheries and aquatic sciences, botany, ecology, secondary education.

PSU also has a partnership with KCU Dental School.

Learn more:

Dental School