Outstanding students plan to focus on lab, medicine

When Tyler Ramsey was in high school, he was more focused on sports than academics, but that changed when he went to college and decided to become a doctor.

Tyler Ramsey

Ramsey, an Edna resident, recently was named the Fall 2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the University of Houston-Victoria School of Arts & Sciences. Colby Stokes of Port Lavaca was named the school’s Outstanding Graduate Student.

Each semester, professors from UHV’s three schools select outstanding graduates to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold its fall commencement at 11 a.m. Dec. 15 in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane in Katy. A livestream of the ceremony will be available at

Jeffrey Di Leo

“Tyler and Colby are two excellent examples of how UHV can give a student an academic home and help them succeed,” Di Leo said. “Their dedication to expanding their knowledge and pursuing science-related fields is an inspiration, and I look forward to future stories of their successes.”

Ramsey originally planned to attend Midland University in Fremont, Neb., on a football scholarship, but he decided to come home and transfer to UHV after his first semester because playing football was interfering with his studies.

“My grandmother works at UHV, and she encouraged me to take a tour of the campus,” Ramsey said. “It just felt right, and I’ve really enjoyed the interaction with my professors. Even now that I’m about to graduate, my freshman professors remember me.”

Because Ramsey wants to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, he decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in psychology, which he will receive Saturday. During his time at UHV, he has participated in an independent research study project and presented a genetics research poster during a conference at the University of Texas at Austin.

“My experience in high school was a big life lesson,” he said. “If I want to become a doctor, I know I have to make some sacrifices. I can’t sit by and wait for something to happen to me; I have to make it happen. Because of that, I’ve gone from a mid-level student to a highly academic-focused student.”

After he earns his degree, Ramsey plans to spend a semester studying for the Medical College Admission Test and researching graduate programs.

Stokes chose to pursue his Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in biomedical sciences and psychology at UHV after he graduated from the university in 2015. UHV already felt like home, and he wanted to continue his studies there.

Colby Stokes

“On the first day of my graduate classes, we went around and each shared what we wanted to be,” Stokes said. “All the others said they wanted to work in medicine or become doctors. When they asked me, I said I wanted to work in a lab. It’s what I love to do.”

Stokes first discovered his love for lab work when he was working toward getting his bachelor’s in biology at UHV. He remembers constantly looking for extra work so he could learn as much as possible. He also was impressed with the friendly, encouraging leadership shown by the faculty.

“They are always so positive and motivating,” he said. “They want you to excel and are willing to give you one-on-one time to help make that happen. They offer great examples of leadership for future supervisors.”

Stokes is a quality control lab analyst at Braskem America in Seadrift. After he receives his degree on Saturday, he hopes to move up to a lab supervisor position and eventually move into doing medical research so he can help others while working in an environment he enjoys. 

Looking back on his time at UHV, Stokes is grateful for the support of his family and friends, especially his mother, Donna, and his girlfriend, Gabriela, for their encouragement and always pushing him to succeed.

Ramsey also wanted to thank his family members for supporting him because they let him know it was never an option to quit. He also wanted to acknowledge his “second family” at UHV, including his professors who pushed him to be a better student and earn the grades he wanted.

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.