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Meet the Class of 2016's Jennifer Tran, whose scholarship was made possible by the Annual Fund

Second-year medical student Jennifer Tran is the first person in her family to attend college. “Knowing that donors and alumni are helping fund my education makes me feel more connected to MCV and its big intergenerational family. I chose MCV because I felt that it provided me the academic and clinical opportunities I needed to become the best physician for my patients.” Jennifer is the eldest child of Vietnamese refugees, who fled their homeland thirty years ago for a life of freedom and hope. She first became interested in medicine after her grandmother’s death from cardiac arrest. She says, “Her death made me realize that medicine was the one field where I am intricately connected to patients, learning about their lives and helping them in health and sickness.”

I grew up in a primarily low-income Latino immigrant neighborhood, which contrasted to the rest of Arlington, Virginia, an affluent city just minutes away from the nation’s capital. I received B.A. in human biology from the University of Virginia. 

Jennifer Tran

Scholarship Recipient, Class of 2016

During my time as an undergraduate, I became deeply interested in health care disparities and social injustice. I gained a greater understanding about struggles faced by the uninsured and other “have-nots” as a volunteer at a local free clinic. After graduating, I went through the medical school application process, while doing research at the National Institutes of Health as a post baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Fellow. Since entering medical school, inspiration from my grandmother and subsequent patient encounters have continued to fuel my passion to become a physician leader.

From the day I came for my interview to my current life as a medical student, I have been continually inspired and motivated by my friends and supportive classmates, who are always willing to help me understand a difficult concept and figure out better ways to learn the material. I value that my classmates and I will always be there for them at every step of our medical training. Moreover, I have been able to connect to faculty members, who have helped me explore different career paths within medicine through mentoring and shadowing. With the I2CRP honors program, I have been able to work with underserved populations in the greater Richmond area and gain a greater understanding of the social ramifications of health disparities.

In addition to being part of the International Inner City Rural Preceptorship (I2CRP) honors program, I serve as one of the tour guide directors and volunteer at various free clinics and health fairs. I am also co-president of the Student Family Medicine Association, co-vice president of Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association and secretary of Student National Medical Association on campus. In addition, I also blog about my life as a second-year medical student on the AAMC’s Aspiring Doc Diaries blog.

When I think about the cost of a medical education, I do think that the thousands of dollars of debt is a bit daunting, especially when I start to consider how I will balance paying off my loans and maintaining a comfortable standard of living. At the same time, I don’t let the costs drive my decision and outlook on specialties because I know that as long as I am doing something that fulfills me and enables me to reach my professional goals, the bills will pay themselves eventually.

When I learned that I would receive a scholarship, I was very surprised, but very grateful that someone would want to invest in my future. Annual Fund scholarships are important because they help students like me decrease their loan burden. Knowing that donors and alumni are helping fund my education makes me feel more connected to MCV and its big intergenerational family and I appreciate their support in my newfound path to medicine. I greatly appreciate their generosity in supporting the future generation of doctors!

You can help by making a gift today.