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PJC biomedical program gives students opportunities

Published or Revised January 04, 2015

biomedical students

Destiny Mullens, at left, was a spring PJC graduate from the biomedical sciences program who will study in Germany this spring. Former PJC student Matt Thompson, right, recently received the Green Fellowship to participate in an undergraduate research program jointly administered by the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Texas Dallas.

Spring PJC biomedical sciences graduate slated to study in Germany

Destiny Mullens will go from Paris to Germany in just a few short months. The spring 2014 Paris Junior College graduate transferred to Texas A&M University through the biomedical sciences articulation agreement between the two schools. Now she will spend the spring semester studying in Bonn, Germany.

“I was very happy to hear that Destiny had been accepted in the Germany Study Abroad program and that she is doing so well in the biomedical science program at Texas A&M University,” said PJC biomedical sciences program coordinator Jack Brown. “It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity giving her the chance to see the world while still earning the academic credits needed for her career goals in biomedical science. It is great to see our students who excel in our programs go on and excel in their chosen fields of study.”

Last year Mullens was one of two PJC students making the All-Texas Academic Team for Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society. She also served as PTK Vice President.

The faculty-led A&M program is for biomedical science and bioengineering students and the semester will last from Jan. 12 to May 5, 2015. Mullens will be able to participate in day-long and overnight field trips to museums, research institutions, medical and veterinary medical schools, and other sites of historical and cultural importance throughout Germany and neighboring European Union countries. Some examples include visits to the Sigmund Freud House and Museum in Vienna, the UniKlinik at Bonn University (where students may observe surgical procedures), and the Museum of the History of Medicine in Berlin.

Though she speaks no German, Mullens was told that most educated people in Germany speak English, and she will live with a host family who will help her adjust to the culture.

“My family is good with it,” said Mullens. “My brother is in Afghanistan and we’ve figured out the kinks of communicating over the Internet. It’s a matter of us getting used to it and the time zones. My husband was in the military and got to travel some and he thinks it will be good for me. He wants me to go and do.

“I think it will be great. I’ve always taken care of others and in Germany I’ll find out more about me. I can’t run home. The differences in the way things are studied in other countries will help me decide whether it will be medical school or graduate school. I haven’t decided between an MD or a PhD.”

Former PJC biomedical sciences student receives Green Fellowship

Matt Thompson of Paris, a former student in the Paris Junior College biomedical sciences program, has been awarded the Green Fellowship to participate in an undergraduate research program jointly administered by the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Texas Dallas. Thompson transferred to UT Dallas from PJC.

“Matt was an outstanding student in the biomedical science program and a pleasure to teach,” said PJC Science Division Chair Jack Brown, who taught Thompson. “He had great intellectual ability, an intensely curious mind, and strong work ethic which is the trifecta of all the things you need to excel in science. I am proud that I have been able to inspire him to go as far as he can in science.”

The fellowship will provide a stipend and research training and experience leading to an understanding of the planning, discipline, and teamwork involved in addressing basic medical research problems. It allows the student to step away from classes and participate full-time in a medical research project at UT Southwestern.

The fellowship will be under the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, a pediatrician and PhD. Thompson will do research on the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that is a major cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, as well as immunocompromised adults.

“My education at PJC, especially in biology and chemistry, has been a key part of what has made me successful at the university level,” said Thompson. “The biomedical science courses taught at PJC are top-notch. The program will sufficiently prepare students, ensuring that they will not just be on par with other students, but ahead of the game. In particular, the fundamentals of molecular and cell biology at PJC are taught exceptionally well, providing a firm foundation for a future in the sciences. The instructors are passionate about what they’re teaching, and this translates to more participation and enjoyment from the students.”

Thompson plans to graduate this spring and apply to medical school in hopes of eventually becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon.

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