The University of Texas-Pan American recently welcomed 16 South Texas high school graduates to the Baylor Premedical Honors College Program, a cooperative program between UTPA and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
"You are some of the brightest students in South Texas. Our average student receives a 1000 SAT score and the average SAT score among the 16 of you was 1260," said Dr. William Thomson, director of the Office of Educational Outreach at Baylor College of Medicine.
Incoming students to the program were greeted with a reception in the Ballroom. New students to the program include Moath Amro from Alexander High School in Laredo. Paola Carrasco was born and spent a large portion of her childhood in Ecuador. She currently resides in McAllen and graduated from South Texas High School for Health Professions in Mercedes. Eloy Cavazos is from Weslaco, Texas and attended South Texas High School for the Health Professions. Elvis Cavazos graduated as the salutatorian from Weslaco High School. Rebecca Cavazos graduated from St. Augustine's, a private high school in Laredo. Erika Garcia was the salutatorian from McAllen Memorial High School. Daisy Gracia graduated as valedictorian from Rivera High School in Brownsville. Claudette Gonzalez is from Los Fresnos High School. Mahwish Nasir is from Weslaco and graduated from South Texas High School for Health Professions. Joseph Nichols (Joey) is from Harlingen, and graduated from South Texas High School for Health Professions. Michael Pena graduated from Los Fresnos High School. Kristina Rathmell graduated from St. Augustine's High School in Laredo. Rony Skaria graduated as valedictorian from McAllen Memorial High School. Crystal Solis graduated from Los Fresnos High School. Violeta Valdivia lives in McAllen and attended South Texas High School for Health Professions.
Tatiana Cordova, a junior premed student, welcomed students to the University and said the program was instrumental in her decision to go into pediatrics and return to the Rio Grande Valley to practice medicine.
"This is a great program because we all know each other and we all help each other," Cordova said. "The professors in the program give me what I need to get ahead and have really helped prepare me for medical school."
The eight-year program offers conditional acceptance to Baylor College of Medicine upon graduation from UTPA. The partnership was established in 1994 to increase the number of primary care physicians in the medically underserved area of South Texas. To enter the program, students must be selected and undergo a competitive interview process.
"This is an intense program and we at Baylor expect you to be the leaders at this University," said Dr. Lloyd Michael, senior associate dean of the Office of Admissions at Baylor College of Medicine. "You should be very proud of this opportunity. We have 40 UTPA medical students at Baylor and we want to hopefully add another 16 students from this room."
While at Baylor, students have the opportunity to be advisers to incoming students at the undergraduate level.
For more information contact Dr. Cindy Wedig, Premedical Honors College coordinator, at 956/316-7025.