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In Their Own Words: BIMS Student Autobiographical Sketches

Posted February 27, 2015

Javier Cantu

Not every college student knows exactly what he or she wants to do after graduation, but I do. Upon completion of my biomedical sciences (BIMS) degree, I want to go to veterinary school, specialize in large animal medicine, become board certified in equine medicine, and then work for Budweiser taking care of the Clydesdale horses. I may have ridden a horse only once in my entire life, but I find them fascinating, and the structure of a horse is much larger and easier to see than that of a dog. Veterinary medicine is so much more than cats and dogs, and I want to be involved in the other aspects of it.

I am a sophomore BIMS student from Mission, a town located in the south tip of Texas. I decided to come to Texas A&M University because of my interest in veterinary medicine. Texas A&M is one of the best universities, and it has the only veterinary school in the state. I like the veterinary program, and it is one of the higher ranked institutions in the country. Plus, by staying in Texas for college, I can visit home more often so that my mom doesn’t miss me as much!

Most people who decide to apply to veterinary school choose to receive their undergraduate degree in either animal science or through the BIMS program. I have heard people say that the animal science program is easier than the BIMS program, but I chose BIMS because I wanted to feel like I was being challenged and getting the best education I could in order to be prepared for veterinary school. There are also more opportunities for experience through research in the BIMS program. The animal science courses provide a lot of hands-on practice, but they do not go as deeply into detail as the experience I will be getting in research laboratories. My favorite class is organic chemistry because I feel very bright when I can name molecules!

When I am not in class, I stay involved at school. I am a BIMS ambassador, a member of the Pre-Vet Society, and a member of the fraternity Theta Chi. I am also in the Aggie Recruitment Committee, a group that brings in junior and senior high school students to Texas A&M to show them what the university is like. My favorite part of being in the recruitment committee is turning Longhorn fans into Aggies. I hope to run for the student senate in the spring for BIMS, but I need to make sure first that I don’t overwhelm myself so that I can continue to keep my academics up.

A collaborative effort at Texas A&M that has impressed me is that the university is always trying to find new people to help out in research. It doesn’t matter what major a student is pursuing; if he or she is willing to put in time and effort to help with projects, then the professors are happy to have the help. Through working at the welcome desk in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, I have had a lot of opportunities to meet professors at the school who can provide me with opportunities to do research or help me to find veterinarians to shadow. I would love to work in a lab in the spring to start gaining experience.

One of my favorite things about being an ambassador is getting to see the excitement on people’s faces when they walk through the hospitals. I gave a tour recently to a young student who was very interested in veterinary medicine, and I loved seeing how everything I talked about put a smile on her face. To see that spark was rewarding and a reminder of my own enthusiasm for the profession.

Chinma Onyewuenyi

I am a senior biomedical sciences (BIMS) student graduating in December 2014. I chose Texas A&M University specifically for the BIMS program because it allowed me to take certain classes related to my interests while still meeting and integrating the prerequisites for medical school into the curriculum itself. Another deciding factor for me was my older brother was also at Texas A&M in the chemical engineering program. I’m from Katy, Texas, which is just outside of Houston, so my family lives fairly close to College Station, but it was fun to be on campus at the same time he was.

As a pre-med student, I have taken many opportunities to gain experiences in international settings. I am involved with Global Medical Brigades and have traveled to Honduras, Panama, and Ghana, shadowing doctors and helping supply medical aid. I also spent the past summer in Spain as part of the Biomedical Sciences Barcelona Global Health Study Abroad program. It was fun to not only gain medical experience but also visit other places.

While in Spain, my group was split between students interested in human medicine and students interested in veterinary medicine. We discussed the similarities between human and animal medicine and how each affected the other and determined that there is a need for a huge collaborative effort between the two. That is why it is exciting that Texas A&M is increasing its cooperative efforts through the One Health Initiative. I’ve had the opportunity to attend presentations by students in the various medical professions who went to Nicaragua this year for a service learning and research program, and it was interesting to hear how they studied human, animal, and environmental health with the focus being on nutrition in all areas. I’ll be visiting Nicaragua in January on a final Global Medical Brigades trip and am excited to see some of the things they mentioned.

In addition to volunteering overseas, I am involved in the college’s ambassador program and Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity that I joined to meet people outside of the BIMS program. I generally meet and study with only BIMS students, and I wanted to get to know other people that I could hang out with in a non-medical setting.

After graduation, I hope to attend medical school. I have applied to every school in the state, including Texas A&M’s medical school. I hope to be hearing back from them by the time this issue is published. I won’t decide on a specialty for medicine until later when I am in medical school and have begun my clinical rotations. I have already, however, decided on global health as my scholarly interest. It makes the residency process a little more complicated because there are some residencies specifically for global health and others that have global health as a fellowship instead, but I don’t have to worry about that for a few more years. Upon completion of medical school and my residency, I would like to work stateside but continue to volunteer abroad with Doctors Without Borders or Global Medical Brigades. However, this time it will be as a physician rather than as a student!

Alyssa Palacios

I chose Texas A&M University because I love the environment. Everyone on campus is very friendly, we have fun Aggie traditions, and as students we get wonderful opportunities to network and make connections. Attending Texas A&M also gave me the chance to get out of my hometown of McAllen, Texas, and experience living on my own. What I love about College Station is that it is not too big of a city and therefore reminds me of home.

I also chose Texas A&M because of the prestige of the university. I started here as a biology major, but I switched to the biomedical sciences (BIMS) program because I liked the curriculum. I think that it’s important, as a student, to like what you are studying. One of the main things I like about the BIMS curriculum is that it allows students to take directed electives that align with their interests in the sciences and health-related fields.

In addition to being a junior in the BIMS program, I am currently working two jobs, one as a College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences ambassador and the other in the Medical Sciences Library. I am also a member of a co-ed service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega. The fraternity’s focus is on friendship, leadership, and service. I have recently joined an organization called the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students that helps expose minority students to the healthcare field. After completing my BIMS degree, I want to start a master’s program in medical sciences at the University of North Texas (UNT). The program is a one-year course that gears students toward entering medical school, which is my goal. I have spoken with many Texas A&M medical students who completed the UNT program before getting into medical school and are now excelling in their courses.

As a pre-med student, I get to take a lot of cool classes. One class that I am enjoying is public health practices, which highlights different options within public health. My favorite class is anatomy—it is the first class I have taken that has given me the opportunity to dissect anything.

My freshman year of college I was involved with Global Medical Brigades and traveled to Honduras to an impoverished community in the mountains. I stayed there for a week, helping doctors offer medical aid and working as a translator. I would have loved to continue volunteering there, but I had to return because of work. Perhaps one day I will get to go back, for after finishing medical school someday, I want to practice as a general practitioner for two years and then join Doctors Without Borders so that I can be assigned to go on missions in countries needing aid.

In my classes several professors have talked to us about the collaborations at the university. Texas A&M is working on a cooperative effort to get all departments to work together for the One Health Initiative. Different departments in the liberal arts, engineering, and architecture colleges, for example, are all conducting research that can be combined together to increase our knowledge across the human, animal, and environmental medical fields. What I thought was interesting is that after the different professors in each college were introduced, they were astounded to discover the different resources that were available at the college, and everyone seemed willing to help out the other colleges for the One Health cause.

I am excited to see what my role will be in the collaboration between the different medical fields as we make new discoveries thanks to the wealth of information becoming available from human doctors, veterinarians, and environmental scientists.

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Contact Information: Megan Palsa, mpalsa@cvm.tamu.edu, Office: 979-862-421, Cell: 979-421-3121

I chose Texas A&M University because I love the environment. Everyone on campus is very friendly, we have fun Aggie traditions, and as students we get wonderful opportunities to network and make connections. Attending Texas A&M also gave me the chance to get out of my hometown of McAllen, Texas, and experience living on my own. What I love about College Station is that it is not too big of a city and therefore reminds me of home.
I also chose Texas A&M because of the prestige of the university. I started here as a biology major, but I switched to the biomedical sciences (BIMS) program because I liked the curriculum. I think that it’s important, as a student, to like what you are studying.  One of the main things I like about the BIMS curriculum is that it allows students to take directed electives that align with their interests in the sciences and health-related fields.
In addition to being a junior in the BIMS program, I am currently working two jobs, one as a College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences ambassador and the other in the Medical Sciences Library. I am also a member of a co-ed service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega. The fraternity’s focus is on friendship, leadership, and service. I have recently joined an organization called the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students that helps expose minority students to the healthcare field. After completing my BIMS degree, I want to start a master’s program in medical sciences at the University of North Texas (UNT). The program is a one-year course that gears students toward entering medical school, which is my goal. I have spoken with many Texas A&M medical students who completed the UNT program before getting into medical school and are now excelling in their courses.
As a pre-med student, I get to take a lot of cool classes. One class that I am enjoying is public health practices, which highlights different options within public health. My favorite class is anatomy—it is the first class I have taken that has given me the opportunity to dissect anything.
My freshman year of college I was involved with Global Medical Brigades and traveled to Honduras to an impoverished community in the mountains. I stayed there for a week, helping doctors offer medical aid and working as a translator. I would have loved to continue volunteering there, but I had to return because of work. Perhaps one day I will get to go back, for after finishing medical school someday, I want to practice as a general practitioner for two years and then join Doctors Without Borders so that I can be assigned to go on missions in countries needing aid.
In my classes several professors have talked to us about the collaborations at the university. Texas A&M is working on a cooperative effort to get all departments to work together for the One Health Initiative. Different departments in the liberal arts, engineering, and architecture colleges, for example, are all conducting research that can be combined together to increase our knowledge across the human, animal, and environmental medical fields. What I thought was interesting is that after the different professors in each college were introduced, they were astounded to discover the different resources that were available at the college, and everyone seemed willing to help out the other colleges for the One Health cause.
I am excited to see what my role will be in the collaboration between the different medical fields as we make new discoveries thanks to the wealth of information becoming available from human doctors, veterinarians, and environmental scientists.


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