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Mitchell student wins straight path to med school

Jacob Haiar

Mitchell High School senior Jacob Haiar, 18, can gain a spot in medical school without taking the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT.

That's because Haiar is a 2013 recipient of the Sanford School of Medicine's Alumni Student Scholarship.

"I felt Jacob was a slam-dunk for this scholarship; he's an excellent candidate," said Dr. Martin Christensen, a local USD alumnus who recommended Haiar.

The scholarship assures Haiar of a medical school slot when he completes his undergraduate studies at USD; it will also provide him with an annual $1,000 stipend and make him eligible for an additional $5,000 scholarship, and waive the requirement to take the MCAT.

Haiar said he has accepted the scholarship and will begin his undergraduate studies in biology this fall at USD.

"I love science and I love helping people, so becoming a doctor seemed like the right fit for me," he said.

Christensen, who has been at Mitchell Clinic since 1985, was named the 2008 South Dakota Family Doctor of the Year by the South Dakota Academy of Family Physicians. He said Haiar shadowed him in the clinic for about a month this year.

"Jacob has a strong desire to be a family practice physician and I've been encouraging him to go into family practice," Christensen said.

A 1980 graduate of what was then the USD Medical School, Christensen said he regularly talks with students about the Sanford School of Medicine's Alumni Student Scholarship program.

Winners of the scholarship must maintain a 3.5 grade-point average during their undergraduate years. That should not be a problem for Haiar, who has a perfect 4.0 GPA at MHS and an ACT score of 32 out of a possible 36.

Haiar recently learned that he will receive additional scholarships to assist with the costs of his undergraduate studies.

Haiar is the son of Paul Haiar, an independent insurance agent in Mitchell, and Julie Haiar, who works as a software support specialist for Innovative Systems.