• September 18, 2020

GOOD NEWS: Neuroscience major reflects on impact of early college high school program - Odessa American: Good News

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GOOD NEWS: Neuroscience major reflects on impact of early college high school program

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Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 5:30 am

MIDLAND Jamie Gomez has lived in Midland her entire life, and now she is ready for adventure in a new city. So, on Aug. 24, she began classes at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin. The 18-year-old Early College High School at Midland College (ECHS@MC) 2020 salutatorian is taking junior-level college courses majoring in neuroscience.

“I first became interested in psychology and how the brain functions when I took a Midland College psychology class with Professor David Edens,” Gomez explained. “We were studying autism, and I remember talking with Professor Edens after class about the relationship between autism and high intelligence.  I wanted to know more about how physiology, anatomy and molecular biology combine in the brain to determine our behavioral and cognitive functions.”

Gomez said that she applied to and was accepted at several major universities including Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

“Dr. Daniel Dickinson is conducting research on single molecule studies of cell polarity at UT, and the opportunity to work with him interested me,” Gomez said. “An added bonus is that UT is close to home.”

Jamie Gomez attended various elementary schools in Midland and was in the Gifted and Talented program at Midland ISD’s Carver Center. While she was in the 8th grade at San Jacinto Junior High, Gomez completed the rigorous ECHS@MC application, and then began the accelerated high school/college curriculum in fall 2016. Her older sister Julie Gomez is also an ECHS@MC graduate.

“Because my sister went to Early College High School, I already knew it was going to be tough when I applied, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to earn an associate degree by the time I graduated from high school,” Gomez said. “It was also a tremendous cost-savings.”

Gomez has a 4.0 GPA in both her high school and college courses at ECHS@MC. She is a Midland College Honors Scholar and participated in various honors projects under the direction of MC professors. She said that her favorite project was studying the works and life of early Renaissance artist Lorenzo Ghiberti. Gomez was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor society. While her chosen major centers on science, Gomez said that she really enjoyed her Midland College English classes, especially writing and American literature courses with Stacy and Brendan Egan.

As a creative outlet, she enjoys arts & crafts projects. She recently designed and created a cowboy hat for her dog Jabba and a painting on the back of a jacket for a friend. Gomez is the daughter of Debra Sanchez, and even though she will be leaving her mother, dog Jabba and close friends, Gomez said she is ready for a change.

“I like to surround myself with people who aren’t always interested in the same things that I am,” Gomez stated. “For example, I purposefully didn’t want a roommate who was also a science major. My roommate is majoring in journalism. We didn’t know each other before we started living together. I think going to Early College High School made me more interested in getting to know other people. In my Midland College courses, I was able to meet and work on projects with all kinds of people—not just my high school friends. I’m really looking forward to making new connections at UT.”

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