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NMSU graduate plans to attend Harvard Medical School

As the spring semester comes to a close at New Mexico State University, so does soon-to-be-graduate Tyler Chavez’s time at NMSU and his time at the Harvard Medical School begins.

Young man standing in suit and tie.
New Mexico State University graduate Tyler Chavez plans to attend Harvard Medical School starting in August 2016. (NMSU courtesy photo)

Chavez will be graduating from NMSU with a bachelor’s degree in genetics and biotechnology, with minors in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology. This degree integrates advanced coursework in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and mathematics, making it one of the most rigorous of the undergraduate programs in the biological sciences department at NMSU. Yet, Chavez managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout college.

“I was born and raised right here in Las Cruces, so it seems as if I was destined to be an Aggie since day one,” says Chavez.

While attending Mayfield High School, Chavez played trumpet in the school marching band, as well as pitched for the baseball team. While attending NMSU, he continued to play baseball for the NMSU baseball team his freshman year.

“Based on my interaction with numerous other students during my 20 plus years as a university professor, I would rate Tyler in the top 1 percent of undergraduates in terms of academic performance, critical thinking and analysis skills, maturity, and motivation/ambition,” said academic adviser Ian Ray, professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Outside of classes Chavez has done lab research in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department. He was also vice president of the NMSU Pre-Health Professions Club and has been an Emergency Medical Scribe in the Emergency Department at Mountain View Regional Medical Center. During his time at NMSU, Chavez completed two summer research internships, one at the University of Pennsylvania and one at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“I chose my degree because my introductory genetics class absolutely fascinated me. The idea of there being a biological set of information in every one of our cells encoding who we are excited my imagination,” said Chavez.

Chavez began to see the potential for genetics to revolutionize the way medicine is practiced, which soon turned his mere interest into his passion. He saw majoring in genetics as an opportunity to get a solid background in a subject that would help prepare him to be a leader in the implementation of genetics and genomics into clinical medicine in the future.

In August, Chavez will begin attending Harvard Medical School where he will obtain a doctor of medicine degree after four years. This program gives Chavez the opportunity to take classes, learn clinical skills, and complete various rotations at the Harvard affiliated hospitals in Boston. After medical school, he plans to apply to residency programs for further training in his medical specialty of choice.