“It gives me the opportunity to learn and grow as a research scientist,” said Espinosa. “It will help me to better understand diseases that are present in my family, not only for them but for the Hispanic community as well.”
The Department of Biomedicine saw a significant increase this fall in students pursuing the bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences.
Lehker attributed the growth to the degree’s format. Students take 120 semester credit hours with full-semester and partial-semester classes. Besides the general core curriculum, biomedical sciences majors take classes like Introductory Molecular Biology, Introductory Cell Biology, Neurochemistry and Introductory Medical Genetics.
“Students immediately got the sense that we not only have outstanding educators with impeccable credentials, but faculty that deeply care for their success,” said Lehker. “Our first class gave great testimonials to that effect.”
Several professors are using the Flip Teaching method with students listening to lectures and watching videos online at home and solving real-life case studies individually and in groups in the classroom.
“The curriculum is tailored to have a real evaluation of human anatomy, physiology, molecular biology and genetics as well as new approaches in contemporary medicine,” said Dr. Hugo Rodriguez, an Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in the Department of Biomedicine and APRIME-TIME Program Director who is using Flip Teaching. “Also, our best ambassadors are the students, aided by social media, who are representing our department in different events promoting the program and talking about the program.”
Lehker said several representatives of the department did outreach and recruitment at Cameron County’s high schools, but students from outside the county also learned about the degree through the university’s website and department emails.
Esther Naomi Chavez, 18, a freshman biomedical sciences major from Laredo and a graduate of J.B. Alexander High School in Laredo, chose the APRIME-TIME track to pursue because she wants to become a trauma surgeon and practice in south Texas where she was raised.
“Being a BMED major has most definitely challenged every bit of who I am and who I have been,” said Chavez. “It keeps you in check of everything that you do and how you spend your time. Having a new class every four weeks gives you no room to slack off, which means that as a BMED major, you are always on your toes making sure you take advantage of all the time given to you.”
“We encourage our students to not only attend these types of events but to lead them, which helps build their confidence as medical professionals and gives them an opportunity to network with future peers,” said Layman D. Miller, OTA program chair