SSS Participant Accepted to the UNLV School of Medicine Charter Class of 2017

CenterPoint Newsletter | Summer 2017 | by Diana Pena, SSS Participant


As a daughter of two immigrants and a first-generation college graduate, I am ecstatic to be part of the UNLV School of Medicine (UNLV SOM) charter class. I graduated from UNLV in 2016 with bachelor degrees in biology and psychology. During my undergraduate career as a pre-medical student, I participated in the UNLV Honors College, American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Pre-Medical chapter, volunteered as a tutor with UNLV Buddies, served as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Ai-Sun Tseng’s biology lab, and was a participant in the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program.

Participating in SSS was extremely beneficial for me both academically and personally. I received two SSS Grant-In-Aid scholarship awards, which allowed me to quit my part-time job and focus solely on school. I was also afforded the opportunity to attend the UNLV Medical School Admissions Panel to learn about the admissions process and how to become a competitive applicant.

Following graduation, I sought part-time work before enrolling in medical school. I received so much support from the SSS program so I applied to become a SSS tutor. The most rewarding aspect of the job is meeting and interacting with SSS students in situations similar to mine. Getting to this point involved a lot of hard work, but I was driven to succeed. There were many nights of minimal sleep as I strived to study for my classes and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), while participating in research and volunteer clubs. I am certain that my participation in SSS played a crucial role in my acceptance to UNLV SOM.

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