Grads Launch Medical Careers Through JAMP
This May 8 at the University of St. Thomas’ Commencement Ceremony, the Biology Department will send off three outstanding Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP) students — Cecilia Nguyen, Viet Tran and Noah Ortiz — to realize their dream of becoming doctors.
Biology Professor Dr. Larry Nordyke, who oversees JAMP at UST, said, “Being highly qualified comes into play when, as sophomores, students apply to JAMP. I would stress that being highly qualified certainly applies to USTs three JAMPers who are graduating this May and will be entering medical school in the fall. These students are earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biology and are outstanding.
“Cecilia Nguyen is a rare 4.000 GPA and the department’s Outstanding Biology B.A. graduate. She will be entering medical school at the University of North Texas. Viet Tran has a 3.939 GPA, will share Outstanding Biology B.A. graduate with Cecilia and will be entering the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Noah Ortiz has a 3.908 GPA, is Honorable Mention Biology B.A. and will be entering the Texas Tech Medical School at El Paso.”
How JAMP Supports Students
JAMP was created by the Texas legislature in 2001 to help highly qualified, economically disadvantaged students to prepare for, and succeed in, medical school. One big value they get is the pricey Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) prep course.
“You have to do well on the MCAT. It’s one of the measures that med schools use to determine whether they will accept you. The MCAT preparatory course is vital and would be outside the budget of some students without JAMP,” Nordyke said.
JAMP participants also receive support such as summer intern experiences at the state’s eleven participating medical schools, clinical enrichment opportunities, personal and professional mentoring and the priceless plum – guaranteed admission to medical school if all the criteria are met.
Meet JAMPer Cecilia Nguyen
Twenty-two years old, Cecilia Nguyen plans to be the first doctor in her family. She is a first-generation student, who is extremely grateful to be a part of JAMP.
“The JAMP family helped me pursue my dreams by lifting some of the financial burden off of my family’s and my shoulders,” she said. “I initially did not understand the process for applying to medical school, since I did not have mentors or guidance from my family before being accepted into the program. JAMP has provided me with numerous resources for MCAT preparation, networks with current physicians and medical students and a community of students who come from backgrounds similar to mine. We uplift one another during our medical journey. The JAMP mentoring experience has led me to want to become a mentor for underclassmen who are struggling to navigate their way in the medical field and need advice for the entire process.”
Nguyen wants to be a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). “Osteopathic medical schools are different from traditional medical schools that offer a doctor of medicine (M.D) degree since M.D. schools focus on allopathic medicine, whereas D.O. schools focus on a holistic approach to treating a patient's whole body. I'm not completely sure what specialty I would like to pursue, but my interests are Pediatrics and Family Medicine. “
Nguyen Recommends UST as a Pathway to Medical School
Nguyen recommends UST “in a heartbeat” for any student who would like to pursue medical school.
“UST's small classrooms, amazing STEM professors, and vast opportunities to be involved on campus have helped me grow as a student and leader,” she said. “Professors go out of their way to help their students and make the class engaging plus provide office hours for students who need additional help or have questions. The Biology faculty hold a very special place in my heart, and I cannot thank them enough for all their help and all the memories that we have made.”