Student-veterans today; doctors of tomorrow

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Gavilan College students and veterans Chris Ramirez (left) and C.J. Dawson (right) will be honored Sept. 11 at Gavilan College for being accepted into, and completing a rigorous six-week pre-medical summer program at the Stanford University School of Medi

A pair of high-aspiring Gavilan College students – both military veterans who want to become doctors – will be recognized Tuesday during the 7 p.m. school board meeting at Gavilan, located at 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. in Gilroy.

Chris Ramirez, 28; and C.J. Dawson, 26; will be honored for their completion of a pre-medical summer program at Stanford University. Chris and C.J. were among 30 students selected out of more than 1,000 to participate in the Summer Health Careers Opportunity Program, a rigorous six-week residential curriculum and competitive pre-medical internship at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto.

Both students are members of the Medical Leader, Doctors of Tomorrow Club, as well as the Veterans Club at Gavilan College.

According to a Gavilan College press release, C.J. – founder of the Gavilan College Pre-medical Club – hopes his experience will serve as a model for other students who find the dream of becoming a doctor daunting.

“This program reinforced the dream, and let me see that it really is doable,” said C.J., who added that he wants to encourage other Gavilan students to apply to the program at Stanford next summer.

C.J. graduated from Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill. He served in the US Navy in Iraq and was awarded an Army Commendation Medal for Outstanding Service, Gallantry in a Wartime Environment. He is majoring in biology/applied health and plans to be an emergency room physician.

Chris returned from Afghanistan two days before getting to work on his application packet to the summer program at Stanford. His college career had already been interrupted several times prior due to military deployments.

Chris is a graduate of Salinas High School and served four tours with the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. His decorations include a Purple Heart, a Combat Medical Badge and a Combat Parachuters Badge. He is majoring in biology and says his long-term goal is to be an emergency room or operating room physician.

The two students will be congratulated Tuesday by Fred Tovar, a Gilroy Unified School District board trustee and director of Student Affairs at the Stanford School of Medicine Primary Care Associate Program.

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