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Health Science Scholars Alumni Letter

Health Science Scholars Alumni Letter

Dear Alumni:

Health Science Scholars is old enough now to have three years of alumni who have graduated from UT-Austin! As the second-oldest college-wide honors program in the College of Natural Sciences, HSS was founded to provide a unique niche for highly accomplished and motivated students who are interested in health careers and who are dedicated to community service.

A special challenge with our talented students is to encourage thinking that goes beyond the "checklist" mindset for medical school admittance that many have internalized, focusing on acquiring more honors, more experiences and more volunteer hours. The HSS program counters this mentality by helping students develop a deep and authentic Capstone project under the guidance of a chosen faculty mentor. Capstone projects range from research projects in a laboratory to an analysis of public health data to community projects accompanied by a scholarly thesis.

Since its inception, undergraduate students in the program have played an integral role in developing and growing the program. Last year the student leadership council developed a mentoring program for freshmen, coordinated teams of volunteers for food banks and Habitat for Humanity construction projects, and organized over a dozen lunches with guest faculty speakers for both current and recruited students. Last April the council brought in Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Professor of Internal Medicine and Population Health at Dell Medical School and President-elect for the Society of General Internal Medicine, to speak to over 100 HSS students. And this April the council has arranged to have Dr. William Evans, former Director and CEO of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, speak not only to their peers in HSS but to all CNS Honors students.

Our graduates report that they are continuing the friendships and support they developed in HSS in Austin in medical and graduate schools across Texas and across the country. Last year's graduates have begun their postgraduate studies at seven Texas medical schools (including five at McGovern alone) as well as the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, the UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, and Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore (two).

Theresa O'Halloran
Faculty Director, Health Science Scholars
Distinguished Teaching Professor of Molecular Biosciences

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Tuesday, 09 August 2022

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