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A Dell Med Summer Program Is Making Chemistry Exciting, Not Daunting

Oct. 7, 2020

The Dell Medical School Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is committed to improving the representation and success of students who are underrepresented in health care careers. For the third year, ODEI offered the Chemistry for Pre-Health Professions program, a six-week interactive online course designed to prepare incoming University of Texas at Austin students for their first-year general chemistry class.

This post is by Victoria Tillman, a UT Austin biochemistry major from Fresno, Texas, who participated in the program.

It’d been a couple years since I’d taken my last chemistry class in high school, and, going into UT Austin as a biochemistry major, I needed a major refresher. So, I was happy to learn about Dell Medical School’s summer Chemistry for Pre-Health Professions program.

When I attended the first lecture, it became clear that I was in good hands. Specialist Jimmy Wadman, who teaches the course, conducted every lecture with the same encouraging positivity and excited energy. He was consistently helpful and available, and he made the material seem simple and clear. College was beginning to seem less scary!

On another note, there were many opportunities to attend Zoom mock lectures to get a feel of what an actual lecture at UT Austin would be like. I attended one called “How the 3-D Shapes of Molecules Affect Your Everyday Life” by Kate Biberdorf, Ph.D. Thanks to the summer chemistry program, not only was I familiar with the information and terminology she taught, but I was even able to answer one of her questions confidently. After seeing that she was impressed with my correct answer, I felt so proud of myself. That was not something I would have been able to do before attending the summer program.

More than being proud, I was so thankful. I was thankful to have been a student to Wadman, who made chemistry exciting, and to have been a part of the summer program. Now, in my chemistry class, I save myself a lot of time. I do not have to struggle through reteaching myself basic concepts so I can understand all the new material coming my way. I am prepared and excited.

Even still, the community from the summer program is strong, and Wadman has held review sessions for students to help out with the first semester of chemistry. The program is very helpful, and I’m so glad to have been a part of it!