BIMS

Tag: texas tech health sciences center graduate school of biomedical sciences

Off-Ramps on the Biotech Freeway

by gwilson on Sep.14, 2012, under A Day in the Life...

offramp2One great thing about our interstate highway system and the growing number of tollways and freeways is that they feature limited access.  It is easy to keep the wheels rolling forward when cross traffic cannot interfere with your progress. Instead of the stop-and-go interruption of traffic control signals, a plan was devised to allow overpasses to support cross traffic and on- and off-ramps to allow entrance and exit from side roads.

In some ways, education works in the same way.  We begin with an entrance ramp into an educational program in high school or junior college or a university or graduate school, and the completion of one program provides the exit ramp from that course of study.  For instance, my undergraduate degree was not in science, but I was able to enter the “science freeway” as a graduate student and complete my masters and doctorate in microbiology.  Others I know completed a science undergraduate degree and then left science to pursue graduate work in law, communication, and even “dean of students” type stuff.  Suffice it to say that a healthy educational program possesses flexibility in entering and exiting at various endpoints along the way.

I mention this because McMurry’s BIMS program is always looking for articulation agreements with other programs.  Notable examples are our Dental Early Admission Program (DEAP 3+4) with UTHSC-San Antonio Dental School (which allows a BS in BIMS and DDS degree in seven years), and similar programs with Hardin-Simmons School of Physical Therapy for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and Texas Chiropractic College for the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.  Others with a variety of additional professional programs are in the works, giving McMurry’s BIMS students quick entry and preferred admission for programs in various medical fields.  This, in and of itself, gives students choosing McMurry a huge advantage over those attending other colleges!

But the most interesting articulation program may be the one in development for biotech education in Abilene, and this truly puts the freeway exit ramp example above in proper perspective.  Cisco College is a two-year community college with campuses in Cisco, Texas, and Abilene.  They offer a certificate program in Biotech that is even newer than the BIMS program.  Its first “graduates” are about ready for the workforce and further education.  McMurry is developing an agreement that will allow some of the training they have received to count toward hours in the BIMS program.  As Cisco moves toward an Associates Program in the field, we will work to make an easy transition into our BS in Biomedical Science program so that those so inclined can work toward a BS in BIMS.  Such a step would mean higher pay, more responsibility, greater opportunity for advancement.  Abilene’s growing biotech industry will be but one of the beneficiaries.  At the same time, a MS in Biotech program offered by Texas Tech is also coming to Abilene.  McMurry will work with TTU to develop an articulation allowing our students quick and easy entry into their program.  Who knows – maybe a PhD in the field will be coming before long!

So, students interested in biotech, forensic science, or any of the other fields that rely heavily on molecular biology, microbiology, and genetics can come to Abilene and get on the Biotech Freeway.  There will be exits at the certificate, associates, bachelors, and masters (and perhaps doctoral) levels of preparation to take them onto side roads important to their future.  McMurry becomes the key connection between entry-level workers and biotech managers and entrepreneurs.  We are excited to get on that freeway!

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Alums Checking In

by gwilson on Aug.17, 2009, under Students

GW 001Although the BIMS program is too new to have any graduates, there are MANY McMurry Biology graduates who have gone to graduate and professional programs aligned with biomedical science.  Each summer, I send out an update on what’s happening at McMurry to my former students.  I always ask them to “check in” and let me know what they are doing.  Here’s some of the responses I got this summer.

  • Dr. Andrew Hockert completed his doctorate in Cell Biology & Biochemistry at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (TTUHSC-GSBS) and now is teaching molecular biology and biochemistry at Cumberland University.
  • Dr. Abby Crume received her D.O. from UNT-TCOM and is in a surgical residency in Maine.
  • Dr. Gena Jester Nichols completed her doctorate in Immunology from Wake Forest and is in a post-doctoral position at Tulane.
  • Kira Chumbley completed her masters in Medical Microbiology from TTUHSC-GSBS and works as a Senior Research Technician the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and teaches microbiology at a community college for fun.
  • Dr. Yancey Natividad completed his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at UNM.
  • Sheena Banks continues in the PhD program in Immunology at UTMB, where operations were severely interrupted by Hurricane Ike last fall.
  • Jessica Crawford is a third year medical student at UTMB.
  • Dr. Cari Roark Sloma, who completed her degree in Medical Immunology from Mayo Graduate School of Biomedical Science is now on the faculty at Ross University School of Medicine on the island of Dominica.
  • Stephanie Coffey is in her fourth year at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M.
  • Dr. Asha Kurian is an internal medicine resident/endocrinology resident in Arizona.
  • Dr. Clipper Strickland has returned to Abilene to establish is practice after graduating from UH-College of Optometry.
  • Dr. Kendra DeBerry has graduated from UPenn School of Optometry and is practicing in Ft. Worth.
  • Drew Hillhouse should be nearing completion of his PhD in Medical Microbiology from UMizzou-Columbia.
  • Dr. Stacy Beaty completed his MD at UT-Houston School of Medicine and has joined the Shannon Clinic in San Angelo.
  • Dr. Sam Nixon completed his DPT degree from Hardin-Simmons and is in private practice.

These are just a sampling of the reports we get from our students. Each is a success story.  Each is a student who came to McMurry with dreams and worked hard to make those dreams come true.  I hope the incoming freshmen this fall will be featured in a report like this 5, 6, or 7 years from now.

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