Students Share Research and Experiences After Ralph R. Jones, MD, FACS Pre-Medical Fellowship

All students from fellowship
All five 2019 recipients from left to right, Cameron Skaggs, Victoria Davidson, Morgan Hansen, Madison Sullivan, and Colton Brodock.

Five recipients of the Ralph R. Jones, MD, FACS Pre-Medical Fellowship are sharing their experiences and successes after participating in the fellowship program this past summer. The fellowship is designed to further their education and experience as pre-medical professionals on their way to applying for medical school.

Students working in lab
Colton Brodock working in the lab.

The purpose of the Ralph R. Jones, MD, FACS Pre-Medical Fellowship is to foster undergraduate research opportunities that enrich students’ understanding of the field of medicine and provide them with the experience necessary to stand out during the competitive medical school application process. This program allows students to understand the value of research but to also become involved in research projects that impact their community. Not only does the fellowship support students, but it also helps to support the research faculty with supplies needed to complete research projects.

The summer research fellowship is an opportunity for pre-medical students to engage in a rigorous ten week program, where they are expected to assist a Boise State faculty member that explores ways in which they can improve outcomes in the healthcare community through research. Students are awarded a stipend to participate in a combined employee and educational experience with a faculty mentor for 40 hours each week. The program serves as a much needed preparation tool for students as they begin to apply to medical school. Following their time in a lab with a faculty member, students are expected to present their research at the Idaho Research Conference and the Boise State Undergraduate Research Conference.

Students working with faculty in the lab
Morgan Hansen working with faculty, Juliette Tinker.

The Ralph R. Jones, MD, FACS Pre-Medical Fellowship was established in 1998 by Ralph R. Jones, a surgeon in the Boise community for nearly 42 years. He served as president for both Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s medical staff and was active on numerous medical committees and boards. Through his work as a surgeon, Jones set aside funds to create a pre-medical endowment that would later be used to enhance the quality of pre-medical academic programs. It was his wish to offer Boise State students the opportunity to achieve their dreams of medical and related research careers.

Sadly, in 2004, Jones passed away at the age of 96. He was survived by his two daughters Judith Combs and Marcia Sands who, to this day, work to share their father’s wishes in continuing the fellowship for pre-medical Boise State students.

The 2019 recipients of the Ralph R. Jones, MD, FACS Pre-Medical Fellowship are Cameron Skaggs, Victoria Davidson, Morgan Hansen, Colton Brodock, and Madison Sullivan, all of whom are juniors and pre-medical health science students in the Department of Community and Environmental Health. Each fellowship recipient had their own unique story, ambitions for their future and what they hoped to achieve out of the program. Students were split among three research faculty to focus on their research of interest. Student spotlights of this year’s recipients are available online.

Cameron presenting his research from the fellowship.
Cameron Skaggs presenting his research from the fellowship.

“Receiving the Ralph Jones Fellowship really changed my perspective on research and on healthcare as a whole,” said Skaggs. “I was able to really understand what goes on behind the scenes and gain valuable skills, which was rewarding in every possible way. But, I was also able to better understand the time commitment that goes into medical research and the value it has on a community. I now have a completely new perspective on the role that research plays within a medical profession.”

“The Ralph Jones Fellowship presented me with my first opportunity to take what I had learned in the classroom and apply it to a real world setting,” said Catie Bautista, previous fellowship recipient and pre-medical health science alumna. “The fellowship allowed me to view research in a whole new light, as I was able to understand its value and gain a new perspective on all healthcare aspects that work outside of a clinical setting. The overall experience was very humbling for me, I was able to learn more about myself, different aspects of my profession, and how to overcome failures. I am so thankful to have received such an outstanding opportunity.”

See More on Recipient’s Experiences, Photos, and Research 

-By Taylor Music