As UMass Dartmouth’s first BaccMD scholar, Jacqueline Tran ’15 of Braintree will continue her studies to become a doctor this fall at UMass Medical School. That’s not the honor student’s only “first,” however—she is also among the first class of students to graduate with a major in UMassD’s bioengineering program.
UMass Medical’s BaccMD program accepts UMass Dartmouth students as Medical Scholars during their undergraduate sophomore year. They attend summer enrichment programs to prepare for early decision acceptance to UMass Medical. The program was established to ensure a diverse student body with a focus on primary care and underserved communities.
Bioengineering major on a pre-med track
I don’t think there was a specific moment that made me want to become a doctor. It was an accumulation of different experiences that made me fall in love with the profession. The thought first crossed my mind when I was in middle school, when my grandmother’s ovarian cancer spread to her lungs. At that moment in time, my family and I knew that she wasn’t going to make it, and we all felt helpless. Her battle with cancer was my first inspiration. I wanted to be able to take charge and help people like her.
However, I came to college not knowing what exactly I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a doctor anymore. I knew I wanted to study something in the sciences, since my interests have always been in math and science.
When I read about the bioengineering program on the school website, it captured my interest right away. It’s a combination of biology and math: an application of engineering principles to biology and medicine. I quickly changed my major to bioengineering on a pre-med track.
BaccMD: rewarding experience
My experience with the BaccMD program has been one of the most rewarding experiences of the past four years of my life. I have learned so much, and I have met so many different people in the medical field through the program. It was an eye-opening experience that solidified for me why I want to become a physician. I had so many unique opportunities that I otherwise would not have had.
How many college students can say they were able to shadow physicians in the ER, follow a medical interpreter in a family health center, speak with medical professions from an abundance of fields, and been able to witness a surgery in the operating room? Not many. These are just a few examples of the ample amounts of opportunities that the BaccMD program has provided me with.
The program has guided me from when I was a young, naïve sophomore in college to a newly accepted medical student at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities and endless amounts of guidance that the BaccMD program has provided me.
Professors who are passionate & helpful
My experience with the faculty has been amazing. All of my professors are passionate, helpful, strict yet flexible.
My advisor and professor, Dr. Tracie Ferreira, has, since day one, been going above and beyond in guiding me in any way that she can and in helping me through all the hurdles of college. She was, in fact, the person who recommended me to apply to the BaccMD program and has been my cheerleader throughout the medical school application process. Without her, I definitely would not be where I am today.
Research on zebrafish fin regeneration
I’ve just finished my senior capstone project. In my research, I explore the effects of electrotherapy on zebrafish caudal fin regeneration.
The future: medical school & beyond
While in medical school, I want to be involved with the community as much as possible. I hope to travel to countries that have a shortage of physicians and be able to volunteer my skills as a medical student where I can. My goal this summer is to take a course to become a Vietnamese-English medical interpreter.