May 29, 2013//
Meet Ashley Dickens. She has the distinction of being one of the first UTSA Roadrunners accepted to attend the prestigious Harvard Medical School in the fall.
[My grandmother] would listen to our family physician and trust his recommendations.... I really admired that relationship.”
– Ashley Dickens
Dickens journey began in 2006 when she enrolled at UTSA after graduating from Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio. An Honors College student, Dickens graduated with tier one honors after completing her biology degree. She credits the Honors College with opening her eyes and exposing her to issues that she may not have been aware of.
"I was required to take Honors seminars so I took special courses on the Holocaust, science and psychology," said Dickens. "These were some of my favorite courses because they taught me about the humanities and societal issues that really got me interested in working with people."
After graduating from UTSA Dickens had been working as a secretary at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio when she decided to help her family take care of her grandmother who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
"I really got to see her interactions with her doctors and our family physician and observed the trust that was necessary," said Dickens. "She would listen to our family physician and trust his recommendations. He was there to comfort her when she brought forth concerns about meeting strange doctors. I really admired that relationship."
Dickens relocated to a Dallas Hospital and then moved on to work in research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. While in Dallas, she decided to do volunteer work as a patient sitter at Children's Medical Center.
"I met some of the most wonderful children there - that by their attitude, you would have never guessed they were sick," said Dickens. "It was incredibly inspirational to me and that's when I knew I that as a doctor I wanted to be able to work among these kinds of patients and their families to help them feel better."
Dickens contacted the UTSA Health Professions Office, and they helped her complete the application process and gather letters of recommendation. A stellar student, her choices came down to Harvard Medical School, University of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine. Dickens chose Harvard because of its status in the medical community and opportunities it could provide in the future.
"Whether it be medicine, law or public policy, by becoming a Harvard student, not only are their medical opportunities, but doors in any interest or facet that I may discover five to 10 years from now would also be open to me."
Since it was established in 2006, the UTSA Health Professions Office has helped many students get accepted into strong Texas medical schools, however Dickens is the first to get into Harvard Medical School, recognized as the nation's leader in training medical physicians.
Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at email@example.com so we might consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.