Academy aimed at plugging state brain drain

Nyasha Maforo from Winfield (right) and Soo Bum Kim from South Korea were part of the second class to attend the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science, where students finish their last two years of high school while taking college courses at Fort Hays State University, such as chemistry from professor Dr. Steven Donnelly.

Nyasha Maforo from Winfield (right) and Soo Bum Kim from South Korea were part of the second class to attend the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science, where students finish their last two years of high school while taking college courses at Fort Hays State University, such as chemistry from professor Dr. Steven Donnelly. by Phil Cauthon

Morgan Murray is too young to have any idea who Doogie Howser is, but the 16-year-old from Shawnee is cut from a cloth similar to the prodigy doctor in the '90s TV show.

Even while finishing high school and getting a jump on college, Murray finds time to be flown across the country several times a year to help teach doctors twice her age how to perform challenging tracheal intubations, a procedure to get oxygen to patients with blocked airways.

"It's a very high-stress, very time-oriented procedure," said Murray. "I am helping teach the doctors how to intubate using high-fidelity simulators. I act as their nurse, getting them anything they need. Then I help debrief and tell them what they can do better."

Murray came into the teaching opportunity while sitting in on classes, which were taught by her mother. Two years ago, the instructor in the nurse role was out sick, and Murray seized the opportunity to fill in.

Now Murray is seizing another opportunity to get a jump on her career at the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science.

The two-year program is a sort of fast-track boarding school at Fort Hays State University. Each year, up to 40 high school juniors from across the state move into a campus dorm and complete their last two years of high school coursework while also taking college math and science courses.

Murray said that the academy — often called KAMS by students — provides an environment where staff and other students drive each other to set goals high.

"I've been wanting to pursue medicine since I was in third grade," Murray said. "KAMS has pushed me to do even more than I thought I could. I've done more in this semester than I thought was even possible."

Plugging the brain drain

Murray is one of 68 students currently enrolled in the academy. Another 53 students have graduated from KAMS since the first class in 2009.

The Kansas Legislature founded KAMS in 2006, in part to give students like Murray a learning opportunity in Kansas that would challenge the state's most talented students, said director Ron Keller.

"The academy was formed to keep the students here in the state — to keep intellectual capital from leaving Kansas, to keep from losing our best and brightest kids," Keller said.

Continue reading on khi.org.

Tagged: hays, doctor, math, state, shortage, fort, medical, ksleg, science, workforce, university, kansas, academy

Comments

kubear1995 1 year, 3 months ago

The only way to stop the brain drain is for Kansas to create jobs. There is nothing in Kansas to keep college graduates there.

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Bob_Loblaw 1 year, 3 months ago

It is pretty sad at KU now....Boys State is now at K-State and Girls State at Washburn every year. Not really sure what KU is doing to foster science and math in our younger generation that we are considering as hopeful admission applicants. This science and math academy sounds way more useful in the long run as well. We have plenty of future and current politicians....fairly certain that intellectual skills and "training" are unnecessary here at least.

Interesting side observation...compare these two web sites - http://www.kansasboysstate.org and http://www.ksgirlsstate.org and don't tell me that there isn't a gender bias in funding, resources, etc. etc.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 3 months ago

Remember this is Kansas and the Land of Oz; and the Scarecrow needs a brain. Problem is, theState is drifting into meaninglessness with a bag full of T-Baggers and a State govenment full of right wing fundamentalist dittoheaded wingnuts. This coupled with a C-Street beholding governor who is united to Opus Dei. Who with a brain from outside the State would want to move here under these conditions, and who with a chance outside Kansas would want to stay if they had chances to leave. Forget the lemonaide, the iced tea, the hot coffee, the bottled water, we are all addicted to Koch-a-Kolas.

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thinkinganalytically 1 year, 3 months ago

The location of the Academy was a decision by the state board of education, not something that was up to the individual regent schools.

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Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 3 months ago

You will notice, of course, that the Academy is at Fort Hays State University. To my knowledge there is nothing similar at the University of Kansas. Just another example - and they multiply very rapidly, that the Chancellor is doing nothing to help more students, and at less cost, especially for those who must borrow. She is only working to serve the faculty and regents and her own special interests, which very much are the status quo.

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