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UTHealth Ambassadors

  • Lara RanneyLara Raney - SMDEP 2011

    "Attending SMDEP at the UT Houston Health Science Center was one of the best experiences of my undergraduate career. Listening to the program’s comprehensive information sessions and inspiring lectures from the school’s faculty motivated me to pursue a career in dentistry. SMDEP also gave me the opportunity to talk with dental students from the UT Houston School of Dentistry as well as pre-dental students from across the country. I am grateful to have met so many wonderful mentors during my time at UT Houston.

    I am currently a senior at Rice University, majoring in Biological Sciences. I am the co-founder and president of the Rice Pre-dental Society, and I am planning to enroll in dental school in the fall of 2014. "

  • SMDEP Tasneam ShagroniNatacha Rivera - SMDEP 2011

    "Attending SMDEP was an incredible experience to say the least. This program refreshed and reminded me of my true driven passion to continue on the pre-medical track in hopes of one day becoming the physician I have always dreamed to be. I learned so much about myself and others around me during SMDEP. It was a great program to be a part of. The MCAT prep and educational workshops provided during SMDEP were great tools, I even use today, that have led me to a guided path into the right direction with my academic and educational goals. Performing as an SMDEP Ambassador has been a wonderful and rewarding experience. As an ambassador, I’m given the amazing opportunity to share my SMDEP experience and its benefits with potential applicants. I truly enjoy giving presentations and speaking to freshmen and sophomores about the advantages one can gain from SMDEP. My future plans include taking the MCAT in this upcoming summer season and applying to medical schools shortly after. I will be graduating from my home university this year and will be filling out medical school applications in hopes of entering medical school as part of the class of 2015."

  • SMDEP Kristen Ovalle Kristen Ovalle - SMDEP 2012

    "I am a pre-dental biology student at The University of Texas Pan-American (UTPA). After this year, I will have completed my junior year, and will be preparing to attend the UTHSCSA dental school early admission. Even though I have early admission (3+4 Dental Program), I keep myself very busy and still strive to be a well-rounded individual. Currently, I do volunteer research with the UTHSCSA, am the treasurer for the pre-dental society at UTPA, a “Big Sister” with the community based organization Big Brothers Big Sisters, and somehow manage to have fun!

    I was lucky enough to participate in SMDEP Summer of 2012. Being able to participate in SMDEP was amazing. I was able to meet so many new people, gain valuable shadowing experience, and take introduction courses to DAT and future course material. The program showed me that I needed to work as hard as I possibly could to achieve my goals. Talking to dental students and getting their knowledge on what to expect, and even advice on how to get into dental school was very useful. To this day, I wish there was a way to go back and experience the program all over again. I still talk to some of the people I met daily, and they are now some of my closest friends. I know that anybody who is lucky enough to be in this program will absolutely love it. If I had any advice to give I would say to keep up your hard work, and if you are given the opportunity to participate in SMDEP take full advantage of everything they present to you.

    The experience I had at SMDEP is the reason I chose to become an ambassador. I feel like not many students know about this great opportunity. I would like to inform other students about the program, so they too can learn from the SMDEP experience. I have been an ambassador for about a year, and I loved being able to help the students apply and give them a foundation of what to expect out of the program. I would just like to say thank you to all the people who help with SMDEP. What you all do for us students/ participants does not go unnoticed.”

  • SMDEP Tanya MaestasTanya Maestas - SMDEP 2011

    “My name is Tanya Sue Maestas and I am a Senior Biology Major at the University of Texas at El Paso. I attended SMDEP Houston in Summer 2011 and it was one of the best internships that I have embarked on during my college career, as it provided me with much insight on the lifestyles of both students in medical and dental school. When I found out that I was accepted to SMDEP Houston I was ecstatic for I knew that not only was I going to learn more about the field that I love, but I also would be surrounded by students who share the same passion and, of course, by students who would already be enrolled in medical and dental school. I was also filled with a bit of worry, for it would be the first time that I would be away from home, my family, and all of my friends, and I really didn’t know anyone in Houston. Arriving in Houston for the orientation, I knew that I was in good hands and that the next 6 weeks would be rigorous, but also beneficial. Little did I know that those 6 weeks would flash by in an instant! Throughout SMDEP I, along with my colleagues, had the opportunity to shadow, take courses that included the dreaded physics, and have the opportunity to study anatomy, which included a visit to the anatomy lab which had cadavers! Not only was SMDEP filled with many enrichment and shadowing opportunities, but it was also filled with networking opportunities, for we had the chance to visit with dentists and physicians at the medical and dental schools. Amidst all of the studying, we also had the opportunity to explore Houston, including the zoo, NASA, and the beloved Rice Village. The friendships that were created during SMDEP were spectacular and thankfully still continue to this day.

    Coming back to El Paso, I knew that I had to sign up to become a SMDEP ambassador so that other students could also experience and gain so much from such a great program. As an ambassador, I have been able to pass out pamphlets and flyers at organization tabling events, and I’ve also been able to speak at different organizations on campus which includes many pre-health related organizations. My message has always been the same; if students want to embark on an experience like no other, SMDEP is definitely for them. Thankfully, the many students whom I have spoken to and have attended SMDEP have been very grateful for such a great opportunity.

    Since attending SMDEP, I have been involved with many different organizations on campus, from being the President of the Student Government Association, President of the Pre-Dental Society, and President of the American Society for Microbiology, to name a few. I have been involved in undergraduate research, and have also attended various other summer programs in Texas. I am currently applying to dental school with the hopes of matriculating into dental school this upcoming fall or the following, depending on when I get admitted. My aspiration is to become an oral surgeon or periodontist, so that I can come back to my community to set up my practice and hopefully also a clinic to serve many El Paso residents who don’t have the means to receive dental care. I’ve dreamed of becoming a dentist since a very young age, and I have been blessed with many opportunities that have allowed me to learn more about the field. I hope that soon I can embark on the journey of dental school."

  • Kanwal KiraniKanwal Kirani - SMDEP 2012

    “Applying and attending SMDEP was the one of the best decisions I have made! I attended SMDEP in the summer of 2012 with the hope of learning more about both the dental and medical field. After finishing my freshman year at Baylor University in Houston, I was still unclear about where I was headed in the health professional field. Over the six weeks of the SMDEP program, I spoke with both the current medical and dental students about their experiences thus far, shadowed multiple doctors, including orthodontists and endodontists, and got a feel for the classes needed for both professional schools. In addition, I created ever lasting relationships with students who had the same vision as I did, making the experience ten-fold better. At the end of SMDEP, I walked out with a clear and focused goal of becoming a dentist. I cannot thank SMDEP enough for helping me get closer to understanding and achieving my life long goal of serving others through the medical field!

    Ambassador Experience: Performing as an ambassador for SMDEP over the past year has been a wonderful experience as well! It allowed me to reach out and inform students just like me about the vast opportunities that this program has to offer. Sharing my experience in SMDEP with others allowed me to get in touch with people who aspire to fulfill the same dream!

    Future Plans: Currently, I am a student at Baylor University and am majoring in Biology. I will be applying for dental school in the coming year. I hope to become a general dentist and in the future and open clinics that serve the less fortunate in third world countries.”

  • We value our scholars and hope that you will join us by becoming a SMDEP Ambassador!