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April 29, 2002 – Four University of the Virgin Islands students have been accepted into the Boston University early medical school selection program. All of the students from UVI who applied were accepted, filling four of the only 15 available spots and beating out many other students from 13 colleges nationwide.
The UVI students are Jinne Richards, Nicole Hanley, DeNita Lima and Vickki-Ann Samuel. All of them sophomores and biology majors, each of the four will spend the summers of 2002 and 2003, along with their senior year, at Boston University. The program admits academically talented undergraduate science majors to Boston University medical school early and is extremely competitive, according to a UVI release.
"This is a significant accomplishment," said Dr. Gwen-Marie Moolenaar, UVI's vice president for institutional advancement and liaison to the Boston program.
Jinne Richards, 19, graduated from St. Croix's Good Hope School in 2000. She says it has been her lifelong goal to become an obstetrician/ gynecologist; the single life experience that guided her towards the health care profession was the death of a sibling who was stillborn. The careers of he father and older brother, who are both dentists, also inspired Richards to pursue a career in medicine. As an obstetrics/ gynecology specialist, she hopes to create an awareness of the importance of early health care and good nutrition as a means of ensuring the safe delivery of healthy babies.
At UVI, Richards is a member of the Concert Band and is on the Dean's List. She is the daughter of Dr. Rodney and Jennifer Richards of St. Croix.
Nicole Hanley's impressive combined Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores of 1160 were well above the national average for students of color. Her grade-point average at UVI is equally impressive. The 19-year-old graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in 2000. Hanley's high school biology classes sparked her interest in becoming a physician. The area of medicine, she said, is the right combination of human interaction and biology. Her summer job as a nursing assistant at the V.I. Maternal Child Health and Children with Special Health Care Needs Clinic reaffirmed her commitment to pursuing a career in medicine. Hanley is a National Institute of Health Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) scholar.
She is the daughter of Kiplin and Eden Hanley of St. Thomas.
DeNita Lima, 19, has had a passion to become a physician since she was a child. She says that witnessing a relative struggle with diabetes inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. A 2000 graduate of CAHS, Lima has an above-average grade point average at UVI. She is a former co-host of the teen talk show, "Graffiti Street," and a founder of UVI's flag team. After becoming a physician, Lima hopes to return to the Virgin Islands, where she plans to improve the territory's health care system and facilities. Lima would also like to travel around the world helping the less fortunate in impoverished countries.
She is the daughter of Agustin Lima of Orlando and Desiree Hill of St. Thomas.
Vickki-Ann Samuel had always admired teachers and thought that she, too, would become a teacher – until the summer she volunteered as a candy striper at Roy L. Schneider Hospital. Since then, Samuel has held steadfast to her goal of becoming a physician, which was solidified when she worked part time in a medical technology laboratory. The former Carnival Queen contestant hopes that as a doctor she will be able to fill a void in the V.I. community.
She is the daughter of Victor and Olga Samuel of St. Thomas.
Sharyn Niles, a junior biology major at UVI, is preparing to spend her second summer and then her senior year studying in Boston as part of the program. Niles was accepted into the program in 2001.
UVI has been a part of the Boston program for the past 10 years. For more information call Moolenaar at 693-1041.
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