While it has only been two years since Texas A&M University’s Engineering Medicine (EnMed) accepted its first class of medical students in Houston, EnMed’s students have already started giving back to their local community through a fully student-run mentorship program.
More than 30 EnMed students currently serve as mentors to over 60 mentees in high schools and undergraduate schools in Texas who are interested in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and medicine careers.
Antara Dattagupta is a second-year student in EnMed and community service officer for her class. Originally from College Station, Texas, she attended the Texas A&M College of Engineering for her undergraduate degree before pursuing medical school at EnMed. It was during her undergraduate education that Dattagupta found herself actively searching for mentors to help guide her, an experience that eventually sparked her desire to create a mentorship program where students can easily find mentors to help answer questions they have about science and engineering.
“The goals for the EnMed mentorship program are two-fold,” she said. “First, we are hoping to ‘pay it forward’ to these students, as our own mentors have been invaluable to us. We also hope to expand their interest in STEM and EnMed in hopes that they will do the same when they are in our positions in the future.”
One of Dattagupta’s mentees is preparing to do just that. Raaghav Bageshwar is a senior in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M and has committed to EnMed for medical school next year.
“I am certain I will be an EnMed mentor in the future,” he said. “Mentors offer a unique wealth of advice and experiences that can only be understood peer-to-peer. Selfless service is one among several threads that binds together the Aggie network and that’s what makes Texas A&M students uniquely equipped to become great physicians.”
Along with matching each mentee with an EnMed student mentor, Dattagupta and other EnMed mentors host panel discussions and physician talks where mentees can meet and hear from other EnMed students and faculty.
“While I was familiar with the EnMed program prior to having a mentor, the mentorship program allowed me to create a stronger connection with my future medical school,” Bageshwar said.
Dattagupta says that by time she graduates, she hopes to see the mentorship program well- established among Houston high school students and Texas A&M undergraduates. She’s also exploring how to use the program as a tool to encourage minority and underrepresented students to pursue careers in STEM and medicine.
Students interested in the mentorship program can complete this form to be paired with an EnMed student that has similar interests, hobbies and undergraduate major.
Engineering Medicine (EnMed) is the nation’s first medical school option that blends engineering and medicine to develop problem-solving “physicianeers.” Graduates of EnMed earn medical degrees and a master’s degree in engineering in four years and are required to develop solutions to health care problems.