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Had I not attended TCU, I am not sure that I ever would have been accepted in to dental school.  My personal relationship with the professors helped so greatly with my letter of recommendation and I was told that it was one of the best, letters they had ever reviewed.

-Kris Blodgett, D.M.D – TCU Class of 1996, Dentist in Portland, Oregon

TCU doesn't just give you the degree you need to move on, TCU gives its students an education and the promise that they will succeed.

- Hayden Fuller - TCU Class of 2012, Student at University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry

The Pre-Health Professions Team was so supportive and helpful when I was applying to medical school.  That support meant so much and helped me get accepted.

- Diane Hesselbrock, M.D. - TCU Class of 1996, Neurologist in Richmond, VA

The program has done so much to help young people achieve their goals.

- Dan Doss, D.D.S. - TCU Class of 1974, Pediatric Dentist in Fort Worth

Few Pre-Health programs can boast medical school acceptance rates in the range of 80 to 95% that have remained steady for the past ten years.

- Jim Wagner, M.D. -Associate Dean for Student Affairs, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

The leadership, mentorship, and extracurricular experience that I gained through the Pre-Health Professions Program was a distinct advantage in helping me gain admission into my first choice medical school.

- Wendy Wright Seigler, TCU Class of 1994, Medical Director of the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit at Emory University Hospital Midtown
Kim Hyde
Joan Fernandez Joan Fernandez, recent graduate and medical school discusses her involvement on TCU’s campus and the community By Tori Campbell, CSE communications intern

Biology major and Pre-Health student Joan Fernandez ‘15 was highly involved on the TCU campus throughout her four years as an undergraduate, and her accomplishments did not go unnoticed. The Chancellor’s Scholar was an active member of TCU’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a national honor society for pre-professional health science students, and also served on the philanthropy board for her social sorority. Fernandez was Community Chair of the TCU Triathlon club, and was actively involved in research studying the mercury contamination of ponds and surrounding terrestrial communities at the Lyndon B. Johnson grasslands through the Aquatic Ecology Research Lab.

Most recently, the honors student was selected as the 2015 Senior Scholar for the Department of Biology, an accomplishment that not only highly reflects her academic achievements in the department, but also recognizes her research involvement and relationships built with her professors over the years.

Fernandez decided to attend TCU following her observations of the tight knit campus community on campus during a visit. She also knew that the level of academic rigor at TCU would challenge her to achieve her goals. In addition, she was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship, the most prestigious full-tuition TCU scholarship, allowing her to focus her energy on studies and extracurricular activities.

Fernandez remembers the most rewarding part of her time at TCU as her involvement within the community, particularly the opportunities she had within the TCU Triathlon Club. As the club’s Community Chair, Fernandez helped spearhead the TCU Bullfrogs Partner program at the YMCA Benbrook, which encourages healthy living in children ages 5-13 through physical activity. She enjoyed participating in sports she is passionate about, and sharing this passion with children to promote healthy lifestyles.

She believes the greatest strength of the Pre-Health Professions Institute and Biology Department to be the faculty, who foster teacher-student relationships and interactive learning environments, including the opportunity for undergraduate research. She notes that all of her professors have been nothing short of amazing, but Matt Chumchal, associate professor and Director of the Pre-Health Professions Institute, and Ray Drenner, professor, were particularly influential during her time at TCU. The two served as her mentors in the lab for her senior honors research project and supported her throughout her time at TCU.

“Without their guidance, I would not be where I am today,” she said. “I have formed relationships with mentors that will last a lifetime, and they have helped me at every step of the way along my TCU career. They go above and beyond to help their students in whatever means necessary.”

Fernandez notes that the ability to be actively involved in labs at an undergraduate level is rare and distinguishes TCU from other universities, allowing student to experience unique hands-on learning opportunities. During her own undergraduate career, she was able to develop her own thesis, allowing her to learn about the research process and develop problem-solving skills.

For students interested in pursuing a career in medicine, Fernandez encourages them to follow their passion. While the workload is demanding, the result of pursuing one’s passion makes it worth the effort. She also recommends students gain real world experience during their educational career.

“Get involved in the medical field, either through volunteer work, scribing, or shadowing,” Fernandez advises. “Getting to surround yourself with individuals you aspire to be can keep you motivated towards your ultimate goal of becoming a physician.”