• Skip navigation bar
  • Home
  • Search
  • Site Map
  • 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

    Jordan McKinney
    Hometown:
    San Antonio, Texas
    Undergraduate University:
    Texas A&M University
    Medical School:
    Texas Tech Health Science Center, School of Medicine at Lubbock

    "My JAMP Faculty Director (JFD) has been an invaluable asset. She has been critical in getting me involved in student organizations, pursuing leadership positions, securing MCAT prep scholarships, and encouraging me along the way."

    How has JAMP helped you as you strive to achieve your goal of becoming a doctor? JAMP's summer internship and interview support has provided me with valuable preparation in my journey in becoming a physician; it helped me acclimate to the fast pace of medical school classes and saturated exposure to course content. Taking biochemistry and embryology at a medical school level was a phenomenal opportunity to assure me that I have the knowledge and ability to succeed in medical school. This experience also helped me recognize the study habits that are necessary to excel as a medical student.

    Another helpful facet of the summer internship was the development of a professional network and support system. The group of students that I spent time with during my JAMP summer internship became family and give me a community of support and encouragement as I enter medical school. In addition, the relationships with JAMP coordinators at the medical schools are valuable assets going forward as I develop a professional network.

    Another way JAMP has aided me is through the preparation and support before and during interviewing at the nine JAMP-participating schools. From mock interviews and personalized counseling to the travel stipend, JAMP sets up students to stand out during the interview season

    What advice would you like to offer current or future JAMP students?
    Two phrases that my high school soccer coach ingrained in my psyche are “hard work pays off” and “never, never, never give up.” JAMP recognizes students who have overcome significant obstacles relatively early in life and have the resiliency that is critical in becoming a physician. When I encountered roadblocks, such as being selected as a JAMP alternate and needing to retake the MCAT, I had to reevaluate if a career as a physician was right for me. Time and time again, the resounding answer was yes! Remembering one’s motivations for becoming a physician is critical for getting past obstacles that medical students face.

    If worries about GPA or MCAT persist, making a personalized game plan that recognizes what needs to happen to succeed is essential. In order to become a physician, an individual must be willing to sacrifice comfort and other activities to make it happen. As a physician, the same determination and grit that gets an individual to and through medical school enables that individual to fight to cure a sick patient, or fight through frustrations when treating a difficult patient. Balancing patients and personal life are important in a physician’s daily lifeo continual sacrifices are required to find a healthy balance between professional and personal lives.

    In addition, I found being myself and doing what I was passionate about and not trying to become a “typical medical school applicant” valuable. Firstly, there is not a “cookie cutter” medical school applicant that schools search for because the depth of experiences matter more to medical schools than the space that activity takes on your application. Following your passion is more important, as it will help define you as a physician.  The way an individual invests their time as an undergraduate develops them into a unique applicant and, after proven academically, medical schools are interested in knowing if that unique individual will fit at their school. A student who simply excels academically, participates in research, joins organizations, or does activities just to boost their application will turn out to be an applicant without substance and without direction that will find it hard to be placed at a medical school. In conclusion, be passionate about what you do. Be passionate about the activities you invest time in because it will be important to be able to talk about what you have learned from activities and why they were important to you.

    What aspect of JAMP has been most beneficial to you?
    Starting as an alternate, I spent the majority of my time as an undergrad without receiving the direct benefits JAMP provides. However, my JAMP Faculty Director (JFD) has been an invaluable asset. She has been critical in getting me involved in student organizations, pursuing leadership positions, securing MCAT prep scholarships, and encouraging me along the way. She has taken time to get to know me as a person and invested her time in finding ways to make me a competitive applicant for medical school. Her hard work and direction has helped guide me to being prepared to apply for medical school and to be a medical student.

    About Jordan:
    When I entered my freshman year at Texas A&M, I wanted to be involved in the research side of genetic-based medical treatments. After working in a lab, I realized my calling as a physician towards the end of my first spring semester. In my sophomore year, at the recommendation of the physician I interned under, I switched majors from Genetics to Finance to have a better understanding of business skills needed in healthcare today and to obtain the skill set in order to pursue other public health interests. I was initially accepted into JAMP as an alternate, but I continued to work hard in the classroom and took advantage of leadership opportunities in student organizations to demonstrate my qualifications.

    Going forward in the medical profession, I hope to help underserved populations receive quality medical care and a better quality of life in both Texas and outside of the United States.  As a physician, my time spent as a summer camp counselor at Kanakuk and T Bar M has given me the desire to become a pediatrician. I am interested in becoming a primary care physician, and am intrigued at the opportunity to sub-specialize in critical care, oncology, or clinical genetics. The more I learn about different career paths, the more I realize I have more choices to consider. Therefore, more than anything, I am excited to discover where my passion for medicine and people lead my evolving career in the future!