Megan De La Paz, 21, plans to graduate from The University of Texas-Pan American with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry in Spring 2015. De La Paz graduated third in her class from H. M. King High School, Kingsville, in 2011. Since then she has become an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Bible study leader, housing resident assistant, employed with ENCORE/MEDITEC as a mentor, and is Pre-Medical Biomedical Society member. Some of her community service includes participating in Bronc Move-In, Sacred Heart immigrant assistance, United to Serve, Tex Prep Science mentor, and serving on a mission trip to Mexico. She is also a member of the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), which is a premedical acceptance program to one of nine Texas medical schools. As a JAMP participant, De La Paz has participated in summer enrichment programs at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth (2013) and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (2014) where she has taken medical school level courses, shadowed physicians, and gained insight to the medical profession.
Awards/Honors: Dean’s List, Fall 2011-Fall 2013; Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities, 2013-2014; Residence Life Community Builder of the Year, 2012-2013; Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society, 2012; Jones Academic Scholarship, 2011-2012; Townsend-Rogers Scholarship, 2011-2012; South Texas Academic Rising Stars Scholarship, 2012-2013; L. & G. Gonzalez Scholarship, 2012-2013; and Corpus Christi Caller Times Distinguished Scholar, 2011.
What are your plans after graduation? I will be enrolled in one of nine Texas medical schools working toward becoming a physician.
Do you plan to return to/stay in the Valley? Though I am not a Valley native, I have grown to love the culture and community of this region. I am open to return to the Valley, but ultimately, I will follow where opportunities arise in my career.
What has your education done for you? College is not only about learning course material, but also about learning who you are so that as a professional you can contribute to society in a strategic way. My education has provided me with enriching opportunities and experiences that have cultivated me as an individual. Furthermore, I have been able to promote a college culture within my family and community.
How do you feel about your UTPA experience? This university, like many opportunities, is truly what you make it, and I am grateful that with the guidance of professors, faculty, and peers, being a Bronc has been an unforgettable and fruitful experience.
What is your best tip for success? You need to acknowledge that there are different contributors to success – academic, social, health, happiness, spiritual, etc. Everyone has their own definition of success, but realizing what is fulfilling to you will allow you to compile your own definition of success that will become the philosophy of your desire to succeed holistically as an individual.
What advice do you have for college-bound students? “Comparison is the thief of joy”- Theodore Roosevelt. Don’t compare yourself to others because at the end of the day you are you and there is beauty in discovering yourself. College is not like high school, and finding peace in this allows you the freedom to venture out into a new field of learning. Embrace your independence. Embark on the quest of finding out your purpose in life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Avoid being your own worst enemy.