UT Dallas Magazine

Comet Shines in Medical School

Editors’ Note: This feature appears as it was published in the fall- 2017 edition of UT Dallas Magazine. Titles or faculty members listed may have changed since that time.

Derek Nguyen BS’13 was among a handful of students who earned a 4.0 GPA in the spring at UT Southwestern Medical School. He will spend his medical intern year at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas before heading to Johns Hopkins Hospital for a four-year residency in radiology. A Terry Scholar who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Nguyen said the skills he acquired as an undergraduate greatly helped in the transition to medical school.

“At medical school, there’s a lot of independent learning and it’s up to you to synthesize it. I learned to be proactive, to prioritize my time and to make a study schedule while at UTD. Medical school was difficult, but my study skills transferred very well,” Nguyen said. As an undergraduate, he spent a semester as a Green Fellow in the neuro-oncology lab of Dr. Robert Bachoo, associate professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern. Nguyen researched differentiation patterns of neural stem cells for possible therapeutic purposes.

Nguyen was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society in 2011. He also earned the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award for helping organize service projects with the Terry Program and serving as a patient ambassador at Presbyterian Hospital. Interacting with patients and hearing their stories solidified his decision to pursue a career in medicine.

Nguyen would like to eventually work in mammography because he believes it would give him the most interaction with patients and other physicians. Describing himself as talkative, Nguyen said he is often questioned about his choice to go into a field that requires a lot of time in a darkroom. “For me, radiology at its core exists to provide direction to other physicians and aid them in making a definitive diagnosis. It is also one of the few specialties that embodies the true sense of teamwork, since radiology is consulted from every field in medicine,” Nguyen said.

Derek Nguyen BS'13Derek Nguyen BS'13