As Fabiola Chavez prepares to leave Eastfield College this summer, she will take with her the President's Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama.
Chavez, who is transferring to the University of Dallas this fall, has volunteered her time at Methodist Hospital since August 2015 in the clinical research department where she assists a clinical research scientist. “I've learned how to publish and how to submit a manuscript during that time. The hours I spent in the department were submitted for the President's Award,” said Chavez about her Bronze Award.
After earning an associate degree at Eastfield in 2015 and taking classes at the college for an additional year, Chavez has been preparing for the next phase of her education – a career in medicine – by studying hard and getting involved in student leadership organizations along the way.
As an Eastfield College student, Chavez was involved in several student organizations, and she traveled as well to study and to tell the community college story to national legislators. Fabiola was a member of the two-year academic honorary Phi Theta Kappa and served as a Student Ambassador at Eastfield. She traveled to Hawaii for biology studies one summer; to the Big Thicket Natural Preserve for more biology studies; and then to Washington, D.C., in February of this year to represent the Dallas County Community College District during the 2016 National Legislative Summit. She told the community college story to legislators at the U.S. Capitol.
Chavez graduated from W.T. White High School in Dallas and decided to enroll immediately at Eastfield College in 2013. She said she hit a "reset button" and started her higher education career at a community college because the transition from high school to college would be easier. “Instead of being bombarded with the university experience, I wanted to get a dose of college reality at Eastfield,” she said. “I wanted more personal attention from my professors and more one-to-one learning experiences with faculty.”
Chavez added, “I also wanted to stay close to home. I wanted a realistic option for college, and I wanted a realistic price. That's why I chose to attend a community college after high school.”
Her decision obviously worked. Chavez graduated from Eastfield College in May 2015 and continued to take classes in 2016. She will major in biology (pre-medicine track) at the University of Dallas and eventually would like to study medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Being a community college student gave her yet another advantage: UD offers a Phi Theta Kappa transfer scholarship to community college students which will pay half of Chavez's tuition. She said, “I'm excited to transfer to the University of Dallas after three years at Eastfield. I'm prepared for it. It's not nerve-wracking – it's exciting!”