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Release Date: 
Friday, August 26, 2011

Alumna Esther Kelley gives props to HFCC

By Kurt Anthony Krug

Esther Kelley believes that she would not be attending medical school this fall if not for the quality of education she received through the HFCC Honors Program.

'I believe that HFCC teachers rival those at any other undergraduate learning institution. For instance, when I took Cell Biology at Wayne State University, on one of our tests I believe five people in a class of 200 tied for the highest grade on that particular test. At least three of them had been in the HFCC Honors Program,' said Kelley, of Houston, Tex. She is originally from Wyandotte, Mich.

Kelley graduated with honors from HFCC in 2003 with an associate degree in Pre-Professional Biology. She eventually transferred to Texas A&M University Commerce, which she attended on a full scholarship and earned her undergraduate degree in Biology in 2008. This fall, she is attending the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA).

Kelley speaks very highly of HFCC and said that it changed her life for the better.  She has high praise for her professors Donald Coursey and Linda Brandt, who teach Biology; Dr. Laura Yeakel, who teaches Chemistry; Dr. Thomas Kelley (no relation), who teaches Calculus and served as her Honors Program mentor; and Kathleen Cunningham, reference librarian.

'If it were not for the financial support of the HFCC Honors Program, I would probably still be working on my undergraduate degree in my spare time. I could afford to go to HFCC and the schedule worked so that I could take classes before or after my full-time job. If it were not for Phi Theta Kappa, then I would never have won the scholarships for Texas A&M,' she said.

In turn, Dr. Charles Jacobs, associate dean of the Science Division, holds Kelley in high regard.

'She is a delightful person and a great student. She is really an impressive young lady,' he said.

For the past two years, Kelley has worked as a certified histocompatability technologist in a clinical organ transplant laboratory at the UTHSC-Houston, where she performed cross-match tests between cadaveric donors and people on waiting lists for various organs.

'I have experienced firsthand the responsibility and time-sensitivity of clinical work,' said Kelley. 'I have also seen the connection between basic science and clinical practices in a way that most students have not experienced,' she added.

The reason why she chose to attend medical school is very personal: she witnessed an elderly family friend named Harvey receive poor treatment at a nursing home, which prompted Kelley to go into medicine, particularly internal medicine. She plans on specializing in geriatric patients.

'I want to help people live through these vulnerable years with health, independence and dignity,' she said. 'There is a need for people with conscience and integrity in this field, and I intend to fill that need. I believe good medicine is the marriage of the lifelong pursuit of knowledge with the continuous desire to mitigate suffering. I have chosen medicine as a career because I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of knowledge, and it is my desire to use this knowledge to benefit others. I can think of no higher calling than medicine; there is no better way to use my mind than to help and heal people,' said Kelley.