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Covington Earns ‘White Coat’, Continues Path to Becoming a Surgeon

     Hosea Covington is on the path to realizing his dream of becoming a surgeon. The Normandy graduate was among 112 students to receive the White Coat, marking their formal acceptance into medical school.

     The special ceremony was held last summer at the University of Missouri-Columbia (UMC); and while it is a significant accomplishment, Covington said, for him, it was only the beginning.

     “I knew more work had to be done to earn my White Coat in my eyes,” he said referring to earning his doctorate degree.

     This high achiever’s journey to medical school began as a series of life-changing experiences he gained as a student in Normandy. 

    “It was the idea of changing someone’s life for the better in the most direct way possible – and my former science teacher – who helped me see a career in medicine,” he said.

     That teacher was Alicia Ivory-House, science department chair at Normandy High School, who Covington says ensured students were exposed to key STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) opportunities.

“We want our students to be ready to for the many opportunities in STEM,” Ivory-House said.

     Ivory-House arranged for Covington to attend the UMC Mini Medical School, a summer outreach program for high school students interested in pursuing a career in medicine. It gave him a chance to spend a week on campus, gaining first-hand experience in the medical school environment.

     The Mini Medical School is also where Covington first met Robin Clay, diversity and inclusion recruitment coordinator at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, who would play a central role in helping him and other students of color get into medical school.

     “Robin monitored us throughout our college career,” the Normandy alum explained. “He reviewed our applications and personal statements, and conducted mock interviews.”

     Before arriving at UMC for medical school, Covington enlisted in the United States Army Reserves. He served until November 2017, holding several leadership positions before leaving the military to continue his education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL).

     At UMSL, he enrolled in the Pierre Laclede Honors College and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and biotechnology with a minor in chemistry. He will earn his doctorate in medicine from UMC in May 2022.

     Covington, who graduated from Normandy High in 2012, believes in giving back to his community. He serves as a mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and when he comes home to St. Louis, he volunteers at the St. Louis Bible Way Food Pantry.

     He also serves as a tutor through Normandy’s 21st Century after school program at the Normandy 7th-8th Grade Center. Hosea has also worked with Ivory House as a mentor at the high school.

      “Growing up, I never saw a black physician or black individuals in other fields coming back to the community to talk about their successes,” he recalled. “Some of the students couldn’t believe that I came from Normandy.”

      It’s why he is dedicating his life to service.

      “It doesn’t matter the situation you come from, there’s always a way to reach your goals and your dreams,” he said.