TEXARKANA, Texas – Getting into medical school is difficult for all students. But medical school admission is especially challenging for students who face considerable financial barriers.
Fortunately for students like Texas A&M University-Texarkana junior Kaylee Marcella Loeza, the Texas Legislature created the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP) in 2003 to support and encourage highly qualified Texas resident students in pursuing a medical education.
Funded through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, JAMP is a unique partnership between all nine medical schools and 67 public and private four-year undergraduate institutions in Texas. The current Legislature reserves 10 percent of the seats available in each entering class for JAMP students.
As of May, JAMP had sent 522 students to Texas medical schools; 242 have graduated. Ninety-seven percent of JAMP medical graduates were matched with residency programs, primarily in internal medicine and family practice.
For the 2015 JAMP entry year, more than 500 students were recommended by undergraduate institutions to apply for the program; 293 completed the application process. After a rigorous evaluation process by a committee established by the JAMP council, 200 applicants were selected for face-to-face interviews at Texas medical schools. From this application and interview process, 100 students from 40 undergraduate institutions succeeded in joining JAMP.
Loeza, a biology major, was the first JAMP applicant from A&M-Texarkana. When the names of the selected students were announced at the 46th annual meeting of the Texas pre-med advisors, Loeza was one of them.
“It was an honor for me as the new JAMP faculty director to have a successful candidate during my first year with JAMP,” said Dr. Nurul Alam, associate professor of biology. “There were schools with about 10,000 students without any successful applicants.”
Loeza graduated as valedictorian from New Diana High School in 2013 with a perfect GPA. Since acceptance into the program, Dr. Alam said Loeza has dedicated herself to remaining in the program and ultimately getting into medical school.
Texas A&M Health Science Center in College Station recently accepted Loeza for a paid JAMP summer enrichment program.
“Being accepted into JAMP is such an honor. I have been given the amazing opportunity to advance my education and future career,” Loeza said, adding that JAMP provided her with the confidence that she needed to be able to meet the criteria and pursue her dream to become a doctor.
“I am truly blessed with the chance to fulfill my heart’s desire to help others, especially children,” she said.
For inquiries regarding JAMP and the pre-health program at A&M-Texarkana, please contact Dr. Nurul Alam, associate professor of biology and JAMP faculty director in the STEM College, at (903) 334-6671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.