ACC student's tenacity makes medical school dreams a reality

Sammy Tran, Medical Student

Sammy Tran is packing his bags and stethoscope for medical school.

“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I thought I would be stuck for the rest of my life doing a job that wasn’t meaningful to me, but now I’m following my dreams. I can put my full heart into serving as many people as I can.”

While he was in middle school, Tran’s mother suffered an injury that required daily exercise and topical ointments.

“My mom had muscle and joint pain for five years. I made it my goal to help reduce her pain. It inspired my desire to serve others.”

Tran set his plan in place. He graduated high school ninth in his class, loaded with extra curriculars, and went straight to the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology. During his time in undergrad, his passion to help others flourished.

“I was very active in college. The philanthropy chair of Omega Phi Gamma, worked with LIVEstrong, S.A.F.E., and Project Austin. It’s when I knew for sure medicine and service was my path in life.”

Tran says his grades ended up below medical school standards.

“I applied for three straight years and never even got an interview. That equals thousands of dollars in applications, schooling, and job shadowing.”

Looking for work in the medical field during the gap in schooling, Tran became an urgent care scribe. He worked his way up to a hiring manager, but the fit wasn’t right.

“Medical school seemed like an impossible dream, so I started considering a career change.”

Tran moved into the Information Technology field, working as a support engineer. But he couldn’t let his dream die just yet. That is where ACC comes in.

“I took one last stab at raising my medical school GPA. I enrolled at ACC and UT Extension. My biggest concern was this strategy to improve my GPA wouldn’t work, and I knew this was my last time to apply. I took 45 additional credits and got an A in every course.”

Two-thirds of those credits were taken at ACC.

“My ACC professors reinvigorated my passion for the medical field. The intimate classroom setting with more teacher involvement helped me succeed. It’s something I didn’t get at a larger university.”

Sammy Tran, Medical Student

One connection in particular pushed Tran to where he wanted to be.

“Dr. Rodney Rohde was my microbiology professor. He set the standard for what a mentor should be. Through all the schooling I have done, he is the most passionate and talented teacher.”

Dr. Rohde served as a reference on Tran’s latest and successful applications for medical school.  

“After three cycles of rejections, plus another gap period of working and going back to school, I was offered admissions to Trinity School of Medicine in the Caribbean,” says Tran. “I am also waiting on interviews with ten Texas institutions.”

Tran says this unconventional path helped prepare him for what is to come.

“ACC gave me a second chance to raise my grades and qualify for medical school. When I finally received my acceptance letter, I knew I was ready.”

Tran will begin his medical school journey in fall 2019.

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