Two Tarleton State Students Accepted into Competitive Medical School Program

Alexis Carter and Dafne Balderas have been admitted to the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), a highly competitive state program that supports qualified, economically disadvantaged students seeking a medical education.

STEPHENVILLE — Two Tarleton State students have been admitted to the Joint Admission Medical Program, a highly competitive state program that supports qualified, economically disadvantaged students seeking a medical education.

Alexis Carter, a senior from Port Neches, and Dafne Balderas, a sophomore from Waco, learned of their acceptance in March.

“I am beyond excited and grateful to be accepted into this amazing program,” said Carter. Balderas echoed that sentiment: “I feel very blessed and excited to have this opportunity. It was a long and stressful process, but it paid off in the end.”

Carter, a biomedical science major with a concentration in pre-med and a minor in English, first learned about the program last year, her first year at Tarleton State, when she was invited to join the College of Science and Mathematics Health Pre-Professions Scholar Program and attended the first meeting. She said coming from a medically underrepresented area inspired her to pursue a career in medicine.

“I want to become a doctor to work in towns like those, so that if there is an emergency they would have a doctor close by and not have to travel hours to get help,” Carter said. She plans to apply to all the medical schools partnered with JAMP and hopes eventually to work in pediatrics or dermatology.

Balderas found out about the program from a bulletin board post in the science building. She’s been fascinated with anatomy and how the human body works since high school, and that drew her toward the healthcare field, she said.

“I chose becoming a doctor because they dedicate themselves for the health of other people,” she said. “I’m not 100% sure what specialty I want, but I am aiming to help people in lower-income areas, with an emphasis on the Hispanic community. My top goals once I become a physician are to go on a missionary trip and to volunteer in my community.”

The JAMP program partners 14 Texas medical schools and 68 public and private four-year undergraduate institutions. JAMP provides support through undergraduate scholarships and summer stipends, summer internship placement, hands-on clinical enrichment opportunities, MCAT preparation and mentoring. If all program criteria are met, participants are guaranteed admission to a participating Texas medical school and are eligible for scholarships.

“As the JAMP Faculty Director for Tarleton State, I am extremely proud of Alexis and Dafne,” said Dr. Max Sanderford, Professor and Interim Associate Dean in the College of Science and Mathematics. “They join a list of 19 Tarleton alumni who have been part of the JAMP program.”

Carter and Balderas began their JAMP application in 2023 after their first year at Tarleton State. Dr. Sanderford said the application is rigorous in that it mimics and even goes beyond a typical medical school application process, requiring an extra essay. After students establish JAMP eligibility they are holistically evaluated on academic record, service orientation, and research and employment experience by a state appointed JAMP Council largely made up of admissions directors from Texas medical schools.

“As now fully admitted students in JAMP (informally called JAMPers), they will receive a JAMP scholarship each semester enrolled at Tarleton State, and both will participate in a JAMP summer internship at one of the Texas medical schools over the next two summers,” Dr. Sanderford added. “They do not get off easy as they will still have to prepare for and earn a strong score on the MCAT next spring as the final hurdle for acceptance into medical school.”

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