Alex Brown, Rocky Jain, and Bobby McQuitty, were walking the halls of Ball High not too long ago and now each one will be making rounds as residents at major medical facilities after graduating with a doctorate from University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine (UTMB) in Galveston in June.
Dr. Alex Brown, Ball High Class of 2012, will be in Nashville, Tennessee in the fall at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she will spend the next four years in residency in the field of anesthesia. She just wrapped up four years at UTMB, preceded by four years at Rice University and four years at Ball High School.
“Biomed classes at Ball sparked an interest in me for health and biology,” recalls Brown. “The science classes I was able to take helped me find my passion in the field as well as inspiration from my grandfather Dr. Luis Leon who specialized in internal medicine.”
Her story of finding her passion and being able to pursue it in high school is echoed by Dr. Rocky Jain, Ball High Class of 2012, who also graduated this spring from UTMB and, like Brown, completed his undergrad at Rice. He will be taking up residency at HCA West Houston Medical Center in the fall and says he’s always felt like he’s had a leg up on his peers because of his opportunities at Ball.
“At Ball I took a research and design class and was assigned to a mentor at UTMB where I got to go and read and actually write research papers,” remembers Jain. “Before my senior year I got my first clinical experience at UTMB, where I shadowed nurses and doctors and that’s when I decided that I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon.”
Ball High Class of 2011 graduate Dr. Bobby McQuitty had interest in the medical field even before high school since both of his parents are in the profession. At Ball, he was able to focus on AP and science classes that he felt gave him a head start on his peers at Texas A&M, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He will begin his residency at UTMB in July, specializing in otolaryngology with hope of becoming an ear, nose & throat (ENT) physician.
“I definitely felt like I was very well supported when I was at Ball High. If I ever needed anything, there was always somebody who could help me out,” recalls McQuitty. “I received great recommendation letters for college and the career counselors were able to talk me through application processes for college and scholarships.”
Knowing that a career in medicine takes years of dedicated studying, finding that drive early on can be difficult for a teenager. Each one of these former Ball students say that the groundwork was laid in high school toward their path for success in college and medical school. Even if the medical field isn’t in your future, one of the the career & technical education (CTE) courses offered at Ball High School probably is.
“Take all the courses seriously and find out what strikes your passion. It’s never too early to start thinking about what makes you feel fulfilled and what makes you feel happy.” advises Brown. “My teachers were incredibly supportive and helped to shape and develop my interests. Regardless of what you are interested in, Ball High School has tons of opportunities and avenues to pursue them further.”
“Ball High has a surprisingly good amount of opportunities. Now they have even more hands-on things than when I was in high school,” says Jain. “You have to be motivated as a student and if you know what you want and are motivated to go get it, then the counselors and teachers there are more than willing to help you make the most of this immense opportunity.”
“My advice to current students is to try as many things as you can while you’re young enough and try not to get locked in on a very specific thing early.” recommends McQuitty. “I think it’s perfectly okay not to be ready to make that decision and just get out and experience as many different things as you can.”
They each had slightly different paths, but the drive to succeed for each of these former Tors was instilled within the walls of that iconic Galveston institution on Avenue O. Each one said that it was a lot of hard work and determination to get to where they are today, but they all remember their time at Ball and how they took advantage of the opportunities given to them.
Having a leg up in college can be directly attributed to study habits formed at Ball according to Jain, “Ball High prepared me for the independent studies and I noticed that my peers in college did not have that advantage.”
“The biggest thing is to take the time to learn what you enjoy and then it’s not hard to do well at something that you really like to do,” says McQuitty, who thought he wanted to be veterinarian but switched to ENT after a harrowing personal experience and a doctor he received treatment from.
“Ball High School was an amazing place for me to find my enjoyment of academics,” exclaims Brown, “It was a great start to pursue my dreams and ultimately get to where I am today.”
Congratulations to these alumni who began their pursuit years ago at Ball and realized their dream on June 5, 2021 when they walked across the stage at UTMB graduation to become docTORS.