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My Kid is a (HEALTH SCIENCE) Honors Student

My Kid is a (HEALTH SCIENCE) Honors Student
When Bob Cheng found out that he’d been accepted into the new Health Science Honors program in the College of Natural Sciences, it added a whole new level to his excitement about coming to The University of Texas at Austin.


“My grandparents were doctors. I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember,” says Cheng, a high school senior from outside Houston. “This sounds like an incredible opportunity to meet a lot of new people who are interested in the same kinds of things I am.”

Cheng, who’s planning to major in biochemistry, will be one of 40 or so first-year students who will help launch the new honors program in the fall. Like Dean’s Scholars Honors, on which it’s modeled, Health Science Honors (HSH) will be a four-year program for outstanding students in the College of Natural Sciences.

HSH will offer its students a menu of exclusive seminars, a guarantee of admission into the Freshman Research Initiative, dedicated academic advising, and preferential admission to many courses in the college. It will also feature a rich social component, with regular Friday lunches, frequent dinners in faculty homes, lectures and workshops, and even intramural teams.

In each aspect of the students’ experience, the focus will be on the health sciences, and over the course of their four years each student will be required to do at least one clinical internship or a structured shadowing experience with an area health professional.

“What we want is to help them refine their passion,” says Dr. Ruth Buskirk, director of the new program. “The range of opportunities in the health sciences is so vast, and our job is to expose them, both through academic and experiential means, to the possibilities.”

According to David Laude, associate dean of undergraduate education, Health Science Honors is part of the college’s long-term plans to keep up with the continuing increase in the number of students who have the talent and desire to pursue an honors academic experience.

Over the next few years, says Laude, the college expects to create additional programs, with other emphases. A future program, for instance, might focus on leadership and science policy, and another might be tailored for students who want to bridge the disciplinary gap between natural science and another academic realm. Whatever the emphases, however, the goal will remain the same.

“The students coming into our honors programs already have such extraordinary credentials that if they simply continue doing what they’ve been doing, they’ll get to wherever they want to go,” says Laude. “Our job is to help them find out exactly where that is.”

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Monday, 25 October 2021

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