Medical School Hopeful Inspired After Summer in Yale Program
Sophomore to Pursue Research Lab Opportunities at UT Dallas While He Earns Neuroscience Degree
Sep. 5, 2012
Aaron Dotson recently completed the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at Yale University.
Aaron Dotson is starting his sophomore year at UT Dallas, but this summer he took a big step toward his longer-range educational target — medical school.
Dotson, who is majoring in neuroscience in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), spent June and July as one of 80 undergraduates in the Yale University School of Medicine’s Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP). He returned to Dallas with new goals and fresh ideas on how to succeed.
“SMDEP was enriching, encouraging and absolutely amazing,” said Dotson, a Los Angeles native who chose UT Dallas for its highly ranked neuroscience program. “I now have the confidence and knowledge to one day matriculate into the right medical school for me. Medicine has always been a passion, but I now know that becoming a physician is what I want to do with my life.”
He feels he made lifelong friends with other students whom he expects to cross paths with professionally in the future.
The summer featured many high points, but he most enjoyed the time spent shadowing a neurologist as he went on hospital rounds with medical students.
“Another highlight would be the networking opportunities that I was privileged to have,” he said. “Because of SMDEP, I had the opportunity to network with several prestigious medical schools around the country that I plan to apply to in the future.”
Dotson already had medicine in mind when he applied for the program, which admits only a small percentage of the undergraduates that apply annually. But his experience at Yale expanded his vision.
“While in the program, I had the opportunity to shadow an MD/PhD student in her lab, and I found myself to be quite interested in learning more about research and working in a research lab,” he said. “While I have not made the final decision as far as if I want to go into an MD/PhD program, I do plan on working in research labs for the remainder of my undergraduate academic career.”
Dotson said he became interested in studying the human body in high school, and quickly grew fascinated by the workings of the brain. He wants to become a neurologist.
Although the coursework he completed during his weeks in New Haven was challenging, Dotson would enthusiastically recommend the program to any student aspiring to a career in the medical field. He said he learned about the science of medicine, but also gained valuable insight into the patient-physician relationship by spending time with instructors in Yale University Hospital.
With a graduation date of 2015 in mind, Dotson said he will continue to embrace new academic challenges at UT Dallas because they will prepare him for his career. His ultimate goal is to become a medical school dean.
Dr. Bert Moore, dean of BBS, said Dotson already has accomplished a great deal in his short college life. “More and more of our students are being accepted for prestigious national training programs,” he said. “This is testimony to both the high quality of our students and the institutional reputation."
When Dotson is not studying, he carves out time for other interests. He has played classical piano for 10 years. He intends to serve as a freshman mentor this year and as chairman of the Committee of Academic Advancement for the Black Student Alliance. Dotson recently earned the UT Dallas Presidential Achievement Scholarship.
He said he is proud to be a UT Dallas Comet and is eager to encourage his fellow students to challenge themselves at every opportunity.
“Never give up, and never settle for anything less,” Dotson said. “Whatever motivates you to do better in school, and in life, use it. I have always been a self-motivated person who never gives up, and it has gotten me very far. Surround yourself with others who are just as focused. Ultimately, when you are doing the right thing, others will notice, and good things will come from it.”
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