Press Releases Index

May 6, 2003
CONTACT: Millie Gonzalez
Office of University Relations
(908) 737-NEWS

Kean University International Student Plans to Pursue Medicine after Graduation

UNION, N.J – "Kean University has changed my life," said Marcela Jimenez, an international student graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Kean at the University’s 148th Commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 8, at 11 a.m. at the PNC Bank Arts Center, in Holmdel, N.J. "I am pleased to say that I have gone through a process of maturation and achieved my professional and personal goals since arriving at the University."

Jimenez is the first in her family to receive a bachelor’s degree from a university in the United States. The student’s parents and three siblings will fly in from Colombia to join Marcela and her sister, Diana Jimenez, a communication major at Kean who will also be taking part in the 2003 procession, in celebrating the momentous occasion. "I know my mother and father are very proud of me," said Jimenez. "I’m extremely happy that my family will be able to attend. I can’t wait to thank them for everything they have given to me."

Growing up with a surgeon for a father, Jimenez’s interest in health care developed at a very young age. "I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was 7 years old," she recalled. "I remember standing on a footstool in the operating room and watching my dad perform surgery from across the way." An aspiring surgeon, Jimenez is a student worker in Kean’s Health Services and a certified emergency medical technician who serves as captain of Kean’s Emergency Medical Services and volunteers at the Westfield (N.J) Rescue Squad and Callmen's Emergency Unit in Union, N.J. "Marcela is one of the most vivacious women I have ever met," said Lori Purwin, registered nurse and associate director of Health Services. "I wish I had her energy."

Jimenez lauded the exceptional education and individual attention she received at Kean. "The English as a Second Language (ESL) program strengthened my verbal communication skills," she said. "The support of Ana Torres, academic advisor in the ESL department, and Blanca Perez, representative in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, helped me overcome the challenges I faced as an international student." She showed equal admiration for the biology department. "It was amazing to be able to study subject matter ranging from cloning to isolating deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) through hands-on experience. Dr. Denise Mancarella, professor in and chair of the Department of Biological Science, and Dr. Frank Zhang, associate professor in the Department of Biological Science and my academic advisor, gave me the tools I needed to survive." An exceptional student, Jimenez has been commended by many of her professors. "I will miss the energetic and positive personality that Marcela brings to the classroom," said Mancarella. Zhang echoed those sentiments, saying, "Marcela is one of the best students I have ever had. She is an intelligent woman who has clear goals for her future."

In addition to her studies, Jimenez dedicated much of her time to extracurricular activities. "I’ve was president of the International Student Association my freshman year and have been an active member of the Student Organization of Kean University, Inc. since I arrived at Kean in 1999," she recalled. Jimenez believes the University’s cultural diversity and her involvement in student groups makes her a well-rounded individual. "When I came to Kean it felt like someone turned on the lights to my world," Jimenez recalled. "I opened my eyes and realized that the universe had more to offer than I had ever imagined."

Jimenez plans to spend the next few months applying to various medical schools throughout the country. In the interim, she will work to meet the admission requirements of these institutions by conducting genetic research as part of her optional practical training and studying for the Medical College Admission Test. She hopes to attend the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Furthermore, Jimenez would like to maintain a relationship with Kean through its Alumni Association. "When I was in Colombia, I always felt as though there was a little part of me reaching out for Kean because there were people here who spoke my language and made me feel comfortable about moving to a foreign country to pursue my education," she said. "As I graduate, I know a part of me will always stay with the University."