Texas A&M International University student Eduardo Gonzalez is one step closer to his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. He just completed an intensive six-week program in Virginia that helps promising, highly motivated minority students gain admission to medical school.
The program, the Medical Academic Advancement Program (MAAP), gives minority students supplementary education and exposure to clinical and research environments, and it improves their competitiveness in the medical school application process.
Gonzalez completed the program at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, one of eight sites across the US that host MAAP. His housing, tuition and fees were paid by the program and he received a small stipend and limited travel reimbursement.
He was the first A&M International student admitted to the prestigious program and one of only 140 students selected nationwide from over 600 applicants. Gonzalez said the program changed his life.
"MAAP has been a wonderful experience that has provided me with the tools I need for medical school. This program has given me the motivation, determination, and inspiration to become a doctor. I have made a commitment to enter medical school, to do my best in everything I do and to learn something new everyday," he said.
The MAAP curriculum included core academic courses covered in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) such as biology, chemistry, and physics. It also included sessions on improving verbal reasoning, writing, quantitative and problem-solving skills; two simulated MCAT exams; a Clinical Medicine Lecture Series; special lectures on admissions procedures, financial planning, study skills, and test-taking strategies; visits to clinical settings; lectures by eminent scholars; and clinical experiences with a faculty mentor.
Additionally, MAAP provided social activities and opportunities to network with faculty members and fellow students. Gonzalez was so well-respected among his peers that he was elected student president by his MAAP classmates.
"It was an honor for me. There were students from all over the country, and there was even a student from Guam. To share six weeks with so many people from so many places and with different cultures was a wonderful experience. It provided a unique perspective for future medical students who will care for people from many minority groups," he explained.
Gonzalez is a junior majoring in biology. He is president and founder of the Environment Protection Society, a chartered student organization at A&M International, and is an active member of the University's Ballet Folklorico, Chemistry, Biology, and Art Clubs, and a former member of the Student Government Association. In April he received a nomination for the University's Student Life Awards in the "Leader of the Year" category. In 1999 he participated in a Medical School Familiarization Program held at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and in 1998 he performed sediment toxicity evaluation of the Rio Grande as part of an undergraduate research project at A&M International.
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