The Ivy Center for Education and UAMS South Central continued its partnership to “Grow Our Own Medical Professionals for Jefferson County” by holding its second Club Scrub White Coat Ceremony Thursday, May 10, at the Hensley Conference Center at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, according to a news release.

This year’s theme was “My Place in the Medical Profession.”

Ivy Center for Education student Alyssa Darton, a freshman at Pine Bluff High School, welcomed the students, parents and guests to the ceremony. Renisha V. Ward, pre-health recruiter for UAMS South Central campus, brought the greetings.

Elise Darton, a graduating senior at Pine Bluff High School, introduced the speaker, Dr. Samuel Henderson, Family/Emergency Department resident at the UAMS South Central campus. Henderson, a native of Plano, Texas, received his BS degree in chemistry from Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, in 2010 and his MD degree in 2016 from Meharry Medical College at Nashville, Tennessee.

He encouraged the students to stay focused on reaching their future goals.

“He believes that all success comes to those who are first, willing to learn and then, willing to spread knowledge to the next generation. He further talked about the importance of encouraging minorities to enter the medical field,” the news release said.

Entertainment for the program was provided by Marissa Davis, a graduating senior at Virtual Reality Academy, and Club Scrub Reflections was given by Jarod King, a junior at Pine Bluff High School. ICE presented a plaque to Ward for her dedicated service to Club Scrub students, the news release said.

Cassandra Stargell, an ICE supporter, hosted a reception for students, parents and guests immediately following the program.

During closing remarks, Ward talked about how rewarding it was to work with the students for the last seven months, the news release said. She encouraged them to stay positive and always do their best work. White coats, stethoscopes, goggles and diplomas were presented to the graduates by Ward, Mattie Collins, president of the Ivy Center for Education, and Patricia Berry, executive director of the Ivy Center for Education. They were joined by Club Scrub supporter Jennifer Lee.

Students receiving white coats were: Reagan Adams, Alyssa Alley, DeMarco Amerine, Christopher Blunt Jr., Joy Byrd, Alyssa Darton, Marissa Davis, Ashlyn Grandy, Kaelyn Irby, LaAsia Irby, Jarod King, Brianna Taylor, Sydney Ventress, Erin Westmoreland, Brooke White and Morgan White.

The Ivy Center for Education, founded in 2004, is a program created to promote higher education for students seventh-12th grades. The students are given exposure to colleges around the United States, test-taking skills, STEM programs and opportunities for internships and educational enrichment opportunities.

“Growing our Own Medical Professionals for Jefferson County Program was started in 2016 from my vision,” Collins said. “Ms. Ward and UAMS South Central made a dream come true for our wonderful students who plan to pursue medical professions.”

Other Ivy Center for Education Board of Directors in attendance were Chandra Griffin, assistant treasurer, and Marguerite Flannigan, program and college tour evaluator.

“The Ivy Center for Education and UAMS South Central says thanks to our partners, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Synergy Forum, SEAMIC, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc./Delta Omega Omega Chapter, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff pre-med students and all of the community partners who help to make the program a great success,” the news release said.

Details: E-mail Collins at or or Berry at