Engineering Medicine’s (EnMed) leadership and two current first-year students, Ramya Varadarajan and Robby Loving, recently met with more than 100 high-achieving students from Houston Independent School District (HISD) in an exclusive informational town hall to learn more about EnMed and potential scholarship opportunities through the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation.
“EnMed represents one of the most amazing opportunities in the country for high-performing students interested in medicine, entrepreneurship and engineering,” said Dr. Rick Cruz, HISD chief strategy and innovation officer. “Students selected to participate in this town hall represent the brightest and hardest working students in the city.”
The HISD students selected for the town hall were in grades eight through 11 and were chosen based on their exceptional PSAT scores. Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, executive dean for EnMed, and Dr. Michael Moreno, director of innovation for EnMed, provided an overview to students on how they could best prepare to pursue degrees at EnMed before inviting Varadarajan and Loving to share more on their experiences.
“I love the opportunities that we’re given outside of the classroom,” Varadarajan told the student audience. “EnMed has a wonderful relationship with Houston Methodist Hospital, and we often have guest lectures from physicians and surgeons who are willing to chat with us or even let us shadow or work in their research labs.”
Loving shared that his favorite part of EnMed was seeing the integration of medicine and engineering come together in class, where students are tasked with looking for innovation opportunities while learning how to conduct patient exams.
“I can’t imagine a better way of directly integrating these concepts,” Loving said. “We learn how to conduct different patient exams and immediately after get to come up with innovations to improve them.”
Varadarajan also shared with the students how she saw her experience at EnMed contributing to her overall life goals.
“I am going to approach my future career with the mindset of appreciating everything that already exists in the health care infrastructure, but also understanding that I can identify things that can be improved,” she said. “An EnMed education provides me with the knowledge and power to improve those things myself.”
The event concluded with scholarship information from Sue Smith, executive vice president and head of the EnMed Program for the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation. The Brown Foundation has a 30-year history of providing undergraduate scholarships to National Merit students attending Texas A&M University and recently added EnMed-specific scholarships. According to Smith, the Brown Foundation will proffer between 15 to 25 high school students as candidates for conditional admission to the EnMed Program each year utilizing the E2EnMed Early Assurance Program.
The Brown Foundation has an ongoing relationship with EMERGE, a nationally recognized free program started in Houston ISD that empowers and prepares high-performing youth from underserved communities to attend and graduate from the nation’s top colleges and universities. The program has helped hundreds of students to receive full ride scholarships to top colleges. While nationally only about 1 of 10 low-income students graduate from college, more than 95 percent of all EMERGE-affiliated students have either graduated from college in four years or are on track to do so.