For Frederica Amfo, she knew she wanted to be a doctor when she became a student at the University of Houston-Victoria. When the UHV sophomore heard about a special state program that helps students pursue a medical degree, she applied and was happy to be accepted this summer.

“I am very excited and looking forward to being a part of the program this year and having access to so many resources to help me get into medical school one day,” Amfo said. “I am glad that I was accepted into the program.”

Amfo is a new member of the Joint Admission Medical Program, commonly known as JAMP. The program was created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage qualifying and eligible students to pursue a medical education. JAMP is funded through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and has a partnership with 11 Texas medical schools and 70 public and private four-year undergraduate institutions, according to the program’s website.

This is the third year UHV has been a part of JAMP, said Michael Wiblishauser, a UHV assistant professor of health studies and faculty director of the program at UHV. Within the past couple of years, two UHV students have applied and been accepted into the program, he said.

“JAMP is a wonderful opportunity for students who plan to go to medical school to receive help and resources to help prepare them for that next step,” he said.

Students who meet the following criteria can apply for the program now through Oct. 1:

  • Have no more than an $8,000 Expected Family Contribution calculated from their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA
  • Must be either an American citizen or a permanent U.S. resident alien
  • Completed 27 undergraduate credit hours and be a full-time student
  • Depending on when they apply in the application process, be in the second semester of their freshman year at the college if applying between May 3 to the end of the spring semester; summer semester between their freshman and sophomore years if applying during the summer months; or in the first semester of their sophomore year if applying between August to Oct. 1, when the application process ends for this year
  • Taken “General Biology” I and II, and “General Chemistry” (Inorganic Chemistry) I and II, with labs by their freshman years. All courses must be for science majors.
  • Have completed “Organic Chemistry” I and II with labs at the end of their sophomore year
  • Must have a 3.25 GPA or better on their science and mathematics prerequisites.

In addition, prospective students also need to submit documents when applying for the program, including SAT or ACT scores and official college transcripts.

The JAMP program is great for eligible students because it includes the opportunity for students to work with special tutors for classes and to prepare for tests, said Daniel White, a UHV assistant professor of biology and program coordinator for biology and chemistry. Students who are accepted into the program also will be invited to workshops that will help prepare them for the Medical College Admission Test, also known as the MCAT.

“We are looking for those unicorn students — those who meet all the criteria — to apply and be successful in their pursuits,” White said. “The program can be very beneficial to those students.”

Amfo received confirmation in March that she was accepted into the program. The Houston resident is majoring in biology and would like to become a pediatrician, but she also is open to careers in other specialized medicine fields. She will begin the program in June, when JAMP will host an online summer camp to help program members prepare for a part of the MCAT called the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Section.

Amfo grew up watching her loved ones go to the doctor, including her younger sister going to the doctor often for asthma. Amfo saw how the pediatrician and the medical staff were always so nice and helpful with her sister, and after Amfo fell ill herself and had to be hospitalized, she met a pediatrician who also was kind, responsive and caring.

“I know doctors see a lot of patients, but when I was in the hospital, the doctor I had would take the time to reach out to me and my family and check up on me, which I appreciated,” Amfo said. “I aspire to be that type of doctor too, one who can help people but also put them at ease.”

Eligible students who are interested in applying for the program are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible, as the process can be competitive. Eligible students can contact Wiblishauser at wiblishauserm@uhv.edu or at 361-570-4178 to help get started on the application process. To learn more about the program, go to texasjamp.org.

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