Dr. Klotman to middle school students: You’re part of the Baylor family

It was a special day for students, teachers and staff at the Baylor College of Medicine Biotech Academy at Rusk as Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor, made his first visit to the College’s newest affiliate middle school.

Dr. Paul Klotman learns about the seventh grade students’ projects to find solutions to pressing health issues.

Klotman’s first stop during his inaugural visit to the school was to speak with students who participated in the Texas HOSA competition. HOSA is a student organization whose participants are interested in future careers as health professionals. Klotman also spoke with a group of students participating in the school’s Hackathon competition in which students are given the opportunity to solve health challenges such as childhood obesity. The winning team’s idea will then be taken from concept to reality.

Next, Klotman was given a tour of the school by seventh grader Amberlyn Vasquez. She showed him what will be the school’s new library, several science classrooms, as well as the school’s Art Car, La Ambulancia Loca.

Lastly, Klotman had the opportunity to speak with the seventh grade class and offered these words of encouragement to the students:

“When you wear a shirt that says Baylor on it, you are part of us. You may not realize it right now, but you are a member of the Baylor College of Medicine family. That means we support you, we help you with your career decisions, we help with your education, but it means one other thing – we have really high expectations for you. There’s a lot of pressure because we want you to succeed and have all of the opportunities to be great. We want you to feel like you are a member of our community and to be proud that you go the Baylor College of Medicine Biotech Academy at Rusk.”

The students were given the chance to ask him questions. They wanted to know how he became the president of Baylor, how long it took him to become the president, what type of research he worked on, if there was anything he would change over the course of his career and what steps they could take now so that they could be successful in the future.

Klotman said it took many years of education and training for him to become president of Baylor. He explained how he researches HIV and its connection to kidney disease. As far as being able to go back and change something in his career, he said he wished he had gotten the opportunity to attend a school like Rusk where science was the main focus of the curriculum. He also advised the students to continue to do well and work hard so that they could be successful throughout their academic and professional careers.

Also in attendance on the visit were Dr. Nancy Moreno, senior associate director of Baylor’s Center for Educational Outreach, Jim Digan, senior vice president for institutional advancement at Baylor, and Claire Bassett, vice president for Communications and Community Outreach.

Scroll through the gallery to see photos from the visit. Photos courtesy of Travis Kelleher with the Center for Educational Outreach.

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