Rebecca has been hospitalized the last few days due to another intestinal ileus/blockage. The surgeons are trying medical treatments to relieve the blockage in an attempt to avoid surgery. We had some promising signs yesterday but as of today, Rebecca still cannot take a sip of fluid by mouth. We could also use big prayers about Rebecca’s liver. Her enzymes are severely elevated, and the doctors and I are struggling to understand the root cause? Rebecca’s liver always takes a hit during major surgeries, but it eventually settles. We are going on 8 months of liver inflammation though and it seems to be getting worse the last few months. We will continue working with her specialist and hope for a treatable answer soon.
Rebecca has asked me to write to our followers for a very specific, non-medical prayer. On May 1st, Rebecca has to make her college choice. As all of you know, Rebecca was accepted to Harvard University. Once she got into her first choice of college during early acceptance, she did not even bother to apply to Yale and Columbia (her other options). Assuming God allowed Rebecca to attend college – Rebecca was Harvard all the way.
And then, Rebecca received a phone call from the hospital. Rebecca was offered an elite scholarship that chooses only 15 high school graduates in the world. She was admitted to a program that paired a Master in Engineering with a Medical Degree. Because Rebecca has always wanted her PhD in medicine, they offered to allow her to add this degree onto the program in an extra fifth year. And if Rebecca chose this particular research-based program, the top world specialists in research would mentor and allow Rebecca to start her pancreas inventions and research as a Freshman in college. She would have full-access to labs, all laboratory equipment, grant-money for student research, and the ability to test her ideas with scientists. They want Rebecca’s mind, her creative ideas and her tremendous experience in the medical field. And they want to fund everything from her undergraduate in engineering, her Master in Engineering, her Medical Degree, to her PhD in medicine. EVERYTHING. This scholarship is through the Texas A&M system.
So, here is Rebecca’s choice:
Harvard undergraduate (there are no merit-based scholarships at Harvard for National Merit Scholars or scholarships of any kind at Harvard). After her Harvard undergraduate, Rebecca would apply to an MD/PhD program from scratch (all students who are accepted into a form of the MD/PhD program have the program completely covered, thus making the program competitive to get into, but the tuition would be free). She could technically apply to EnMed after attending Harvard for her undergrad degree, but acceptance again into this program is not guaranteed and she would lose her scholarship since EnMed is not considered a joint MD/PhD program.
Texas A&M undergraduate followed by the EnMed program (Master’s and MD combination) and PhD in medicine (all 100% fully funded including room and board through the Brown Scholar Program).
Harvard pros: a small student body (a little over 1,500 students per grade), low ratio of faculty to students (7:1), nearly all students living on campus for all four years, access to some (but not all) of the Harvard labs and equipment, the ability to apply for student-research grants through the Harvard system, and low average class size (about 12 students per each class so the professors have one-on-one time with the students). And again, Harvard is the school that Rebecca has dreamed about and worked for since she was in fifth grade.
Harvard cons: location across the country, extremely costly with no merit-based scholarships, no automatic acceptance into a med school, limited research opportunities, AP credits are not counted (outside of 3-4 class exemptions), and Rebecca would potentially be giving up the EnMed program.
Texas A&M pros: full coverage of all education, connections to many people in the city (including Rebecca’s grandparents), various research opportunities with ease of access, all AP credits will be accepted so Rebecca could either graduate in a year and a half (not her ideal option) or earn a second Master’s in her time at A&M (her preferred option), a guaranteed spot in the EnMed program, and all EnMed benefits.
Texas A&M cons: much larger student body (with 60,000+ students), less individual time with professors, learning is less hands-on and more lecture style (Rebecca learns best from debate and practice), and Rebecca would have to stay in the same school system for nearly a decade (less diversity of education).
Harvard vs. A&M – that is the question.
It is unexpectedly miraculous, after everything Rebecca has been through, that she has some of the most coveted school choices in the world. Rebecca cannot go wrong with either option. And it is nice for once, to be making a major non-medical decision. We have made almost every decision the last 11 years based upon Rebecca’s health but this time, she wants to decide what is best for her mind and future – not her broken body. Yes, I get the irony of this statement as I post this from a hospital room.
Prayers are greatly appreciated in this life-altering choice. Although Harvard has always been Rebeca’s dream – A&M EnMed program may be Rebecca’s new dream? In Rebecca’s perfect world she would go to Harvard for her undergraduate degree and the A&M EnMed program afterward – but that combination is not possible with the scholarship program offered.
Brian and I have left the decision firmly in Rebecca and God’s hands. Please pray with us for His clear guidance.
Thank you, Lord, for gifting Rebecca with these incredible school choices.
Love to each of you,