Medical school scholarship program
selects seven Texas State students
By David King
Seven Texas State University-San Marcos students have been chosen for a statewide program that provides scholarships for them to finish college and then attend medical school.
This is the first time Texas State has had more than one student chosen for the Joint Admission Medical Program, which was launched in 2003 to help academically talented students from economically challenged backgrounds go to medical school.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said Marilyn Banta, who joined with fellow Biology Department faculty member Carolyn Pesthy to recruit students for JAMP. “We can take some of the credit for getting the word out, but the students have to get the grades and the students have to interview. They get the vast majority of the accolades that go along with it.”
The seven Texas State students selected for the next JAMP cohort are:
- Leslie Campbell (Goodrich)
- Casey Finch (Katy)
- Brad Kapten (Flower Mound)
- Olivia Lust (Austin)
- Eric Madden (San Antonio)
- Joshua Sands (Georgetown)
- Derek Selders (Houston)
Two other students, Karla Martinez of Seguin and Valeria Onzures of San Elizario, were chosen as alternates. They will be admitted to the program if space becomes available.
“I knew a lot of intelligent, well-rounded people applied (at Texas State), and to be selected was amazing,” Madden said. “Then, when I found out I was admitted into the program, I was almost in awe.”
Selders was equally excited.
“I found out in the early morning on Valentine’s Day, in my first class, and could not focus for the entire day as a result,” he said. “It will most definitely be the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever for me.”
Campbell said she was overwhelmed by the news.
“I feel very honored to have been accepted into such an awesome program that offers so much for a pre-med student,” she said.
Banta and Pesthy, who also serve as academic advisors in pre-health for the Department of Biology, search for potential JAMP students at new student orientation, in freshman biology classes and through the pre-health advising website.
Students must meet strict academic and financial need requirements to be considered for the program, which this year admitted students from 41 universities across the state. They apply in the fall of their sophomore years and are interviewed by a screening panel during the winter break.
Those selected by the panel receive scholarships, as well as mentoring and assistance in preparing for medical school, hands-on experience at medical schools through summer internships programs, and guaranteed admission to one of the nine Texas medical schools if they meet all the program requirements.
Two Texas State students currently are in the JAMP program. Senior Meagan Nabers of Blanco already has been accepted to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Verinus Kalu of Houston, a member of the women’s basketball team, also is in the program.
Pesthy and Banta already are in the process of identifying freshmen for next year.
“It looks like we have a pretty strong pool for next year, so we expect this trend to continue,” Banta said. “I don’t think this is a blip on the radar. This is what we want for Texas State.”