The next generation of medical professionals are being trained right here in the Brazos Valley, thanks to a new medical academy at Prairie View A&M University.
Julian Restrepe is a Prairie View A&M sophomore who hopes to one day become a doctor.
"Every since I can remember, I wanted to be in the medical field, helping people," said Restrepe.
Up until now, Prairie View had only offered basic pre-med courses, but now there is some help for students like Julian.
Prairie View A&M, along with the A&M system Health Science Center, is introducing a new Undergraduate Medical Academy. The academy is the first of its kind in the nation and is geared towards training and preparing students for Medical School.
"They'll be a part of a very unique learning experience, very personalized education, and very advanced courses in terms of development," said Dr. Dennis Daniels, Director of the academy.
He says only the best and the brightest will be accepted into the prestigious program. Students will get a first hand look at the medical field by speaking with professionals and mentors, as well as have opportunities to do summer research. Extensive prep classes for the MCAT will also be offered.
"Coming into the Medical Academy has opened several opportunities for me, as far as understanding the admissions process and the application process for med school, and also finding ways to venture out into the community," said Pre-Med student, Amber Jones.
The hope is that these students will get a better idea of what they're getting in to before medical school begins. Prairie View says establishing the academy is in response to the demand for more qualified med school applicants, especially those who are minority or low income.
All 18 students currently enrolled in the undergraduate medical academy say they now believe they can make it in medical school, and that's something university officials hope they can instill in all future graduates.