Opportunities Available for Students to Pursue Medical and Biomedical Careers
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – MARCH 7, 2012 – Students at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College with aspirations of a career in medicine or biomedical research have access to life-changing opportunities to help them pursue their dreams.
Not only do students now have the splendid new Biomedical Research Building as undergraduates, but also they have the support of two well-established campus departments devoted solely to fostering their efforts toward reaching their goals.
Anuar Cantu, a student in the MBRS RISE program, looks forward to a summer internship before starting his senior year in biomedical research.
The Office of Health Professions Careers (OHPC) and the Minority Biomedical Research Support, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program (MBRS RISE) help propel students into the demanding graduate studies of laboratory research, schools of medicine, dentistry and other medical studies that require advanced degrees, including physical and occupational therapy and the degree of physician assistant.
Anuar Cantu is a MBRS RISE program student who works in the laboratory of Dr. Emilio Garrido Sanabria in the Biomedical Research Building where he is part of a team researching epilepsy, trying to unlock the mysteries of this disease.
Originally from Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, where he graduated from high school, Cantu eagerly awaits notification from Princeton University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he hopes to participate in a summer research program.
“I am grateful to be one of Dr. Garrido’s students, working in his laboratory,” Cantu said. “He is an excellent mentor, so accessible and eager to help in any way. To me, science is fascinating, always with more to be learned – there is so much about the world that we don’t know yet.”
Minority Biomedical Research Support, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS RISE)
For students interested in pursuing careers in research, the MBRS RISE program offers hands-on research experience with UTB faculty mentors, preparing students to continue graduate studies at prestigious research institutions.
MBRS RISE students work in the 12 state-of-the-art laboratories of the Biomedical Research Building with UTB faculty currently engaged in grant-funded biomedical research focusing on debilitating conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, obesity and type II diabetes in the Mexican-American population.
Ileana Garcia, a 2007 Brownsville Hanna High School graduate, participated in the program and graduated in 2011 from UTB.
“MBRS RISE sharpened my mind, shaped my character and presented me with numerous opportunities to reach my goal, including summer internships, scientific conferences, and undergraduate research experience,” Garcia said. “With the support of MBRS RISE, I conducted biomedical research at Brown University and the University of California San Francisco, I published three peer-reviewed publications as part of the laboratory of Dr. Emilio Garrido Sanabria, and I presented my research throughout the country in numerous scientific conferences.”
Garcia was accepted into nine graduate programs across the nation and selected the University of Utah.
“It has been a great first year, and it is always present in my mind just how much of this I owe to MBRS RISE and my mentors, Dr. Emilio Garrido Sanabria and Dr. Luis Fernando Pacheco Otalora,” she said.
All MBRS RISE students participate in enrichment programs and educational opportunities beyond the classroom, including weekly seminars and Saturday workshops, summer biomedical research experiences at research intensive institutions, a research assistant position with a grant-funded researcher in an active research laboratory, and perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to establish a relationship with a mentor in their field.
Office of Health Professions Careers (OHPC)
Through the Office of Health Professions Careers (OHPC), in conjunction with UT System schools in health care fields, UTB students have access to nine programs that grant conditional acceptance.
“We provide extensive support services for our students,” said Dr. Gustavo Stern, OHPC Director. “We want to give them the best guidance and support to achieve their career goals.”
Among the pre-med students graduating in May 2012 is Brownsville native Diego Alemán, a 2008 Brownsville Lopez High School graduate, who enters medical school in August at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Diego Aleman, a pre-med student, looks forward to starting medical school in August at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
“I’m anxious and excited and ready to get started on all I have to learn,” Alemán said. “My goal is to return to the Valley in eight years as a family physician practicing general medicine. This is where I feel I’ll be able to do the most good, getting to know my patients and helping guide them toward healthy lifestyles.”
Students in the OHPC program receive tutoring, attend academic enrichment workshops and paid summer enrichment internships, have access to MCAT workshops and preparation materials, and benefit from peer mentoring.
Of the nine OHPC programs, the longest-running is the Early Medical School Admissions Program (EMSAP) partnered with The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Targeting graduating high school juniors and seniors, the EMSAP secures guaranteed conditional acceptance to medical school in Galveston upon successful completion of an undergraduate degree at UTB.
“This program is great in so many ways,” said Brownsville native Ravi
Thakker, a 2011 Brownsville Hanna High School graduate majoring in biology major and an EMSAP freshman. “I am receiving academic support through workshops, mentoring, being able to shadow physicians, and this summer I will attend a summer program at UTMB.”
Other OHPC programs include the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), early dental programs with UTHSC in both San Antonio and Houston, the 3+3 early acceptance programs in physical and occupational therapy, and two physician assistant programs. An early acceptance pharmacy program is currently being implemented.
For more information from the Office of Health Professions Careers, contact Cherie Gallardo at 956-882-5059 or email@example.com or visit utb.edu/premed. For more information on the MBRS RISE Program, contact Sandra Gerace at 956-882-5941 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit MBRS RISE.