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  • Dr. Natalie Diaz

    Psychiatry
    JAMP Alumna

    "Coming from an economically disadvantaged family, I could never have afforded the MCAT training course to help me prepare for one of the most important tests of my life. JAMP provided me with free access to Kaplan and to a summer intensive MCAT course."

    Read more about Dr. Diaz's journey.

     

    Featured JAMP Students

    Jennifer Vuong
    Hometown:
    Cibolo, Texas
    Undergraduate University:
    University of the Incarnate Word
    Medical School:
    The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School

    "When you join JAMP, you join a program that I would consider to be more of a family than anything. Everyone in the program has the same ambitions as you do and everyone has to go through the same process to get there. While many of my friends and family did not understand what I was going through, everyone in JAMP did."

    How has JAMP helped you as you strive to achieve your goal of becoming a doctor?
    JAMP has played a huge role in my path towards medicine. I am so lucky to have come across a program that has so much to offer to their students. Not only have they helped me financially, they have also given me experiences and resources that I consider priceless, from the summer internships to the immense amount of MCAT preparation they provide. JAMP has definitely taught me what it takes to become a doctor and has motivated me to push through the challenges in becoming one.

    What advice would you like to offer current or future JAMP students?
    My advice would be to not take anything for granted. With a program as great as JAMP, many of its students tend to see their path towards medicine now as easy. With internships being thrown at you, stipends given every year, and a guaranteed spot at a Texas medical school if the requirements are met; it is easy to see how it can be deemed as easier. But becoming a doctor is never easy and if you do not give it your best at all times, you can easily see yourself no longer being a part of JAMP. Whether it is because they did not study for their MCAT hard enough or because they were not on their best behavior at a summer internship, I have seen many friends who were once in JAMP no longer in it. So my advice to current/future JAMP students is to continue to work hard and always be grateful for the opportunities that have been given to you.

    What aspect of JAMP has been most beneficial to you?
    An aspect of JAMP that has been most beneficial to me has been the relationships that I have developed with others in the program. When you join JAMP, you join a program that I would consider to be more of a family than anything. Everyone in the program has the same ambitions as you do and everyone has to go through the same process to get there. While many of my friends and family did not understand what I was going through, everyone in JAMP did. The amount of support and advice I received from other JAMPers and JAMP faculty and staff was amazing. The journey to medicine is a hard one but JAMP definitely made the process both enjoyable and memorable.

    About Jennifer:
    My journey towards becoming a physician began in the sixth grade when my older sister had her first baby. Often times I would accompany her and my nephew on their visits to the pediatrician and the more I went, the more I came to love my nephew’s pediatrician. He was a very warm and energetic spirit as well as a very intelligent man. I was always a curious kid so I would often have questions about everything he was doing and why he was doing it. I found it all very interesting and from that point on, I decided that I wanted to claim “doctor” as what I wanted to be when I grew up. Usually when I decide something, I am very driven about it and rarely do I change my mind. Throughout all of high school and the beginning of undergrad, my mindset was just set towards medicine and what I needed to do to get there. Never did I think of “what ifs” or other possible options that could suit my career choice. It was not until my junior year of college that I was truly tested on my desire to pursue medicine.

    For me, the MCAT has definitely been my biggest obstacle throughout my journey towards medicine thus far. I have never been the greatest at standardized testing and the MCAT proved such. As much effort as I put forth studying for that test, I could never seem to see satisfying results. It was during this time that I doubted not only my ability, but also my want, for this profession. For most of us, we do not like the feeling of failure, especially if we have worked so hard. I definitely let the feeling of disappointment get to me for a little while, but luckily I have wonderful and supportive family and friends who pushed me to keep going. Ultimately, I had to take the MCAT twice and thankfully was able to make it the second time.

    I know that the worst has yet to come in my pursuit of medicine as I am now entering medical school, but my prior experiences has definitely taught me a lot  about myself. I know that after going through something like that, I have proven to myself that a profession as a physician is something that I really do want and not willing to give up on. As I continue to learn more and more about myself and the profession in which I am entering, I grow even more confident in my career choice and proud that I will get to do something that not only satisfies my interests and needs but also incredibly rewarding and helpful to my community.