LEAP program to launch its first graduate
By Kate Hunger
Eduardo Siller is fascinated by the detective element of his chosen profession.
“There are so many areas that you play a part in,” said Siller, who is completing his graduation requirements for a Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS) this summer. “You don’t see the patients but you get different clues what’s going on with them. Trying to figure out what’s wrong — that’s really interesting to me.”
Siller discovered MLS through the Laredo Early Acceptance Program (LEAP), a collaboration between UT Health San Antonio and Texas A&M International University in Laredo. LEAP gives TAMIU students a path to a well-paying job in an in-demand health profession. The program helps students plan their undergraduate courses and other requirements to receive a Bachelor of Science from the College of Arts and Sciences at TAMIU and gain early acceptance to one of four graduate-level programs at UT Health San Antonio: Master of Science in Respiratory Care, Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Sciences, Doctor of Occupational Therapy and Doctor of Physical Therapy.
Students who gain early acceptance to the graduate programs are able to engage with faculty and School of Health Professions students and receive academic advising, career exploration and enrichment opportunities.
Siller, one of the first four students accepted into LEAP in the fall of 2020 , will be the first student in the program to graduate. He earned a bachelor’s in biology from TAMIU. He is considering his options after graduation, including pursuing certification in blood bank because of the impact of that specialty on patients who need transplants or have other special health conditions.
“The LEAP program is a great way to help your application and get academic advising from both current students and professors,” Siller said. “And being accepted to a program ahead of graduation is a huge benefit, especially for competitive programs.”
It’s gratifying to see the program come full circle, said David Henzi, EdD, associate dean for academic and student affairs in the School of Health Professions.
“This program was developed with the goal of TAMIU students finishing their professional program at UT Health San Antonio and then returning to Laredo. It’s exciting to see the first student finish this collaborative program, which was initially established in 2017,” he said.
Siller considers the anecdotes shared by Department of Health Sciences Chair and Professor George Kudolo, Ph.D., CPC, FAIC, FAACC, about his own experiences and career to be among some of his favorite memories from the program.
“All of his research and work definitely gives you an insight into what you can do after MLS,” Siller said.
“He is a very intelligent young man,” Dr. Kudolo said of Siller’s curiosity and enthusiasm. “I think he is interested in finding solutions to problems. That bodes well for our profession and his own professional growth.”