BrownwoodNews – Howard Payne University senior Hannah Justice of Brownwood, the first HPU student to participate in the prestigious Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), has been accepted to her number-one choice of medical schools, Texas Tech University.

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“Tech was my top choice for medical school and I was so relieved and excited it was a match,” said Justice, a biomedical science major. “JAMP provided so many valuable resources that made the preparation for medical school easier.”

Students from colleges across Texas who participate in JAMP interview with nine medical schools and have guaranteed acceptance to at least one. The students rank the schools based on the ones they would like most to attend. Their rankings and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores are taken into account when matching each student with a medical school.

Justice ultimately ranked Texas Tech as her number one school, but she said that had not always been the case.

“Honestly, it wasn’t my number one choice from the beginning,” Justice said. “It was the interview that really piqued my interest. One of the reasons that I came to Howard Payne was because of the community that is here and that was really something I was looking for in a medical school. Texas Tech is very community-oriented and I felt that it was a place I could truly thrive.”

Justice was accepted into JAMP during her sophomore year at HPU. According to the JAMP website, the program was created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified students pursuing medical education. It provides students with educational and clinical learning opportunities to better equip them as they pursue careers in medicine. She learned about the program from Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology and JAMP faculty director at HPU.

“Hannah first felt God calling her into the medical field during one of our medical school tours her freshman year,” said Dr. Hutchins. “That was an exciting day for me, hearing Hannah share her heart during that drive home to HPU.”

During the summer after her sophomore year, Justice participated in her first JAMP internship at the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

“You’re required to participate in two summer internships,” said Justice. “The first summer is more focused on MCAT prep. You take classes that continue online through the fall and spring until you take your MCAT. It was very involved and very studious. In addition to the MCAT prep we had to take classes at the medical school level. It was exhausting at times.”

This past summer, Justice participated in her second internship, which took place at McGovern Medical School and was aimed at preparing students for the rigorous medical school interview process. She then took the MCAT and applied to nine of the medical schools in Texas, a JAMP requirement. 

“I met the score requirement in the first round,” she said, “so the second summer internship was a lot less stressful because I didn’t have the MCAT looming over my head. A lot of the second internship was focused on preparing for interview season.”

On September 28, 2018, after Justice had completed her time at JAMP as well as her interviews, she requested that Dr. Hutchins help her with the reveal of her match results. Dr. Hutchins confirmed Justice’s match result through JAMP, wrote down the school’s name and put it in an envelope that Justice opened in front of her friends and family that evening.

Justice expressed her gratefulness for the JAMP program and the ways it prepared her for the huge transition into medical school.

“The community that it has given me has been a blessing,” said Justice. “Preparing for medical school is hard: mentally, academically and spiritually. My cohort of fellow JAMPers encouraged me and laughed with me and cried with me along this journey and made it so much more than a task to accomplish.”

After reflecting on the two-year journey leading up to her acceptance, Justice also spoke of the spiritual lessons learned.

“It taught me a lot about myself and who I am in Christ and that this is not something that I’m doing for myself,” she said. “It’s about using the gifts and talents that the Lord has given me to glorify Him. It’s scary to have really big dreams, but it’s a reminder that I can’t accomplish this in my own power. It’s very humbling, but it strengthened me a lot and made me more grateful to have my faith.”

Once she graduates from HPU in May 2019, Justice will attend medical school for four years and then participate in a residency program for three to five years to become board certified in a specialty of her choosing.

“Right now I’m just focusing on enjoying the time that I have with my family and friends and making the most of my senior year at HPU,” said Justice. “I’m currently just trying to prepare myself spiritually for the next four years of medical school. I’m excited for what the Lord wants to teach me and for how He wants to use me during medical school.”

Applications are being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University (www.hputx.edu/apply). HPU offers a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for students from Brown County and surrounding counties. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at enroll@hputx.edu.