Pre-Health Student Association preparing students for health professions

Students in the UHV Pre-Health Student Association show off awards they won at the first Biology Rocks event Nov. 30 in the Kay and Ron Walker Auditorium. Pictured in the back row are Maria Alba Sanchez Evuna, left, Emily Martin and Taylor McCrary. In the front are Misty Balli, left, Hailey Smalley and Destiny Mayfield.

Seven University of Houston-Victoria students who are members of the Pre-Health Student Association were the first winners of the Dan McCue Excellence in Biology Awards.

Chartered on April 30, the UHV Pre-Health Student Association’s goal is to create a sense of community for all students pursuing pre-health careers, orient students about the requirements needed to apply and succeed in their health school of choice, and to deepen students’ understanding of the pre-health field.

On Nov. 30, association members made Biology Rocks presentations. A dozen students presented data from primary research articles during an event in the Kay and Ron Walker Auditorium.

“This was an excellent opportunity for our students to challenge themselves by presenting scientific data from primary research articles in a professional format,” said Jesica McCue, the association faculty advisor and a UHV biology lecturer. “The new Walker Auditorium was a wonderful setting for our students to showcase their critical thinking and communication skills.”

The winners and their hometowns were:

Top Pre-Health Professionals category:

  • Alba Sanchez, Equatorial Guinea
  • Daniel Riera, Hallettsville

Best Bio Rocks! Presenters:

  • Destiny Mayfield, Bastrop
  • Misty Balli, Rosenberg

Best Bio Rocks! Group Presentation:

  • Destiny Mayfield, Bastrop
  • Hailey Smalley, Port Lavaca
  • Emily Martin, Victoria
  • Taylor McCrary, Victoria

Crossroads Title Co. sponsored the awards, which were named after Jesica’s father, Dan McCue, who passed away in 1995. He was a tireless supporter of Victoria’s youth, Jesica said. The top presenters each received a $100 while members of the best group each won $25.

Dan McCue

The Biology Rocks competition capped off a busy fall for the association. The group started the semester with a medical lab field trip. Pathology assistant Diane Adrian showed students various pathological conditions.

The group also heard from two guest speakers: Tywaun Tillman, a physician at Citizens Medical Center; and Kyle Kincaide a nurse practitioner with Schumacher Group. Association members attended the University of Texas at San Antonio Science Expo on Nov. 14 and 20 students spent two hours volunteering at the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent on Dec. 1.

“We are focusing on what students could do for their careers by taking part in job shadowing, guest speakers and field trips,” McCue said. “By doing this, it also allows students to make connections and learn directly from professionals.”

McCue said one aim of the Pre-Health Student Association is to prepare students for further education and careers in a variety of health professions, including the medical, dental, pharmaceutical and veterinary fields. She said five UHV graduates already have gone on to advanced health profession training.

“The biology students at UHV are fantastic,” McCue said. “It has been a great pleasure to help support our most ambitious students as they strive for acceptance in professional programs like medical, dental, physician assistant, physical therapy and graduate school.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro