Inspirational students part of HSC’s Class of 2024

A former Fort Worth tactical medic, a first-generation college student graduating as an osteopathic physician, a labor and delivery nurse, and a couple becoming physical therapists together are just a few of the inspirational students who will walk the stage during HSC’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s ceremony will celebrate graduates from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health, School of Health Professions and College of Pharmacy. HSC’s newest school, the College of Nursing, will have its first students start classes this fall. Commencement will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at Dickies Arena.

HSC’s graduates have dedicated themselves to their studies and are now prepared to take what they’ve learned and live out the university’s mission to “create solutions for a healthier community.”

GraduationDiana Garcia-Garcia – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Her journey to becoming an osteopathic physician is one of inspiration, perseverance and determination. Garcia-Garcia is a first-generation American and is the first in her family to earn a high school diploma, a college degree and now a medical school degree. Her family left Lamont, Calif., for Midland, Texas, when she was in the eighth grade.

She is the second student from the Midland Primary Care Pathway program to graduate with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from HSC’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. On Match Day, she matched with her top choice – family medicine at HealthONE in Aurora, Colo.

 

 

Kellan Barry and Madelyn Di Orio – School of Health Professions, Physical TherapyMadelyn & Kellan

While post-commencement life can be uncertain for many graduating college students, Di Orio and Barry, a Seguin, Texas, native, made big plans before this school year ever began. The third-year physical therapy students at HSC’s School of Health Professions will tie the knot in June.

The pair met as undergraduate freshmen at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas, and both knew long before graduation they wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. They applied to the same Doctor of Physical Therapy programs in hopes that could stay together. Both were interviewed by HSC on the same day and ultimately landed on the waiting list.

Barry received his acceptance email first. Months later, just as the department was finalizing its cohort, San Antonio native Di Orio received a call from HSC asking if she wanted to remain on the waiting list. She received her acceptance email the next day.

 

KamperbanquetBrandi Kamper – School of Health Professions, Physician Assistant Studies

Kamper didn’t give it a second thought when she heard on her radio that a fellow officer had been shot. In 2016, the former Army combat medic was a tactical medic for the Fort Worth Police Department. She and every other uniformed officer in the area rushed to the scene where Officer Matt Pearce suffered seven gunshots from two assailants he had been chasing in West Fort Worth. When they found him, Kamper and Officer Jason Ricks, a former Marine, went about the business of treating Pearce – ultimately saving his life.

Next week, Kamper will be reaching another milestone: She’ll be graduating with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from HSC’s School of Health Professions. The Fort Worth native isn’t a traditional PA student. She’s a 42-year-old mother of two with an abundance of life experience. The common thread in all her career choices is service. She served 11 years in the U.S. Army and 15 with the Fort Worth Police Department. PA school, she said, was a continuation of that spirit of putting others first.

 

TaKasha Ehiogu – School of Public HealthA6db708d 247f 429b 8828 578ae70ec5eb

Ehiogu, a 36-year-old Master of Public Health student from Little Rock, Ark., is dedicated to improving childbirth for Black mothers. Her resolve stems from personal experience and a decade as a labor and delivery nurse. Despite discovering she was pregnant the same week she was accepted into the program, her ability to juggle motherhood and academics set her apart.

She embodies resilience and unwavering advocacy for changes as she said her own birthing experience was far more stressful than it should have been. Ehiogu is using her education, career and new title as “mom” to reconstruct the idea and act of the female birth experience.

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