August 15, 2018
Temple Daily Telegram | Janice Gibbs
High school students representing school districts throughout Bell County and beyond took part in an annual white coat ceremony Tuesday evening at the Mary Alice Marshall Performance Center at Temple College.
Each new student is presented a white lab coat at the beginning of their first year at the Texas Bioscience Institute. It’s a ceremony held at medical schools and in other health related programs and represents and serves as a rite of passage.
These teens are entering their junior year at their high school and are first-year Temple College students as they begin their studies at the Texas Bioscience Institute.
The Texas Bioscience Institute, a Temple College middle college, offers STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) based programs to high school students. The students receive dual credits for the TBI coursework.
The students were welcomed at the beginning of the ceremony by Susan Guzman-Trevino, interim vice president of academic affairs at Temple College. Guzman-Trevino recognized the student’s support system at home, including parents, siblings, grandparents and friends.
“This is one of my favorite ceremonies,” Temple College President Glenda O. Barron told the students and their guests.
While the TBI students will be spending most of their time at the Scott & White West Campus, where the Texas Bioscience Institute is located, they are always welcome on the TC campus on South First Street, she said.
Tami Annable, executive director of the Temple Health and Bioscience District in Temple, was the guest speaker.
Annable congratulated the students and their families in having the vision to attend TBI.
“This is the start, this is the building block, the back bone for the rest of your life,” Annable said.
Annable began by discussing technology and the other worldly powers seen in movies. The 2018 movie “Black Panther” was filled with out-of-this-world special effects that are impossible to imagine ever being real.
She recalled the 1990 “Total Recall,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I’ll never forget he walked into a room and there was a giant TV and the TV had screens within it that were broadcasting news and sports events,” she said.
The character gave commands for lights on, coffee and music.
“This was 28 years ago and this was science fiction,” she said. “Now, we have Alexa, we have Echo.”
Science fiction today will be these students’ reality in the future.
There may be obstacles along the way to achieving a dream and there may be times when making choices are required, Annable said.
Toddlers will fall down multiple times for days on end as they try to walk.
“You don’t look at that child and decide they are failures,” Annable said. “You’re only a failure when you stop trying.”
Annable decided in high school she wanted to be an obstetrician, but instead she got married and had children.
She still had the goal of becoming a doctor and started going to night school when her youngest turned 7. It took 10 years to get her undergraduate degree.
She began working one day a week, filing at a doctor’s office. Within a year, she was office manager and she learned to do lab work.
“Those skills lead to jobs in a research lab, starting off as a technician and eventually to research scientist where she designed her own experiments. That’s when the focus went from delivering babies to working toward a cure for cancer.”
In 2014, Annable and her husband moved to Texas to be nearer to their daughter’s family.
She started working at the VA in research project on liver cancer.
Annable met Jack Hart, the executive director of the Temple Health and Bioscience District, and became lab manager for the district’s new lab and office facility.
When Hart retired, Annable took on his role.
The district offered internships to several TBI students this summer. The district provides lab and office space for early-stage biotech companies that are taking health-related products from conception to manufacturing.
Annable talked about two of the district facility tenants.
Advanced Scanners offers a 3D optical vision system for brain surgeons to be used in real time. This system minimizes the removal of healthy brain tissue so patients recover faster and more completely.
SiMMo3D is a 3D printing company that makes simulations used by medical device companies to train physicians on a new procedure.
“This is happening in Temple,” she said.
Annable told the students to figure out what’s going to make their heart smile and will make them want to get up every morning and be glad to go to work.
“Figure out what it’s going to take to get there and head in that direction,” Annable said. “No matter the number of hurdles life throws at you, or the number of roads you have to head down, keep going.”
This TBI class is made up of 74 students. Most will have the distinction of earning their associate’s degree from TC before they graduate from high school.