Clemon Dabney accepted into Future Doctors Program
By Kalsey Larson '08
St. Thomas student Clemon Dabney has been accepted into the Future Doctors Program, an inaugural program preparing highly talented, committed and hardworking minority and disadvantaged college students for careers in medicine.
“The Future Doctors Program is a new initiative that was shared with diversity officers at Minnesota’s Private Colleges as well as the University of Minnesota and MnSCU systems,” said Dr. Lawrence Potter, executive director of the Office of Institutional Diversity.
Potter began working with his colleagues in Multicultural Student Services and the Dean of Students office to identify students of color who were interested, or pursuing a major in science and met the qualifications of the program. He quickly thought of Dabney, whom he knew through the Division of Science and Mathematics' Summer Academy, the summer REAL Project and his English 111 class.
“I think Clemon’s experiences with students like and different from him will be a strong suit for him at the program,” Potter said.
Dabney was enrolled in the Summer Academy program, which is sponsored by St. Thomas' Division of Science and Mathematics with funding from the National Science Foundation. The program is intended to attract and retain underrepresented students at St. Thomas by giving them an introduction to college-level math and science before their first semester of science courses on campus.
Summer Academy and the REAL Project helped him meet a diverse group of people and gain a large group of friends on campus before he even began his first semester. He is a first-year student with sophomore standing.
The REAL Project, which also meets during the summer, is a six-week program sponsored by Multicultural Student Services. It supports students of color, immigrants and women by providing a transition period between high school and college. Participants take classes, learn about campus services and attend workshops to prepare for their time here.
Potter said REAL and Summer Academy combine academic and social integration into the St. Thomas culture and are major contributors to Dabney’s success at St. Thomas.
“Clemon’s humility and self-determination are two of his strengths,” Potter said. “It is my hope that these strengths will be part of Clemon’s portfolio as he develops into a better human, scholar and medical practitioner.”
Potter boasts of Dabney’s strengths but remembers a time when tardiness was a weakness for him. He remembers Dabney, and two other participants, being tardy to one of his sessions. “At that moment, I paused the discussion and explained that making it to class on time would be expected in my college courses," Potter said. From the time Clemon enrolled in my English 111 course, he was never tardy and maintained a good academic record.”
Dabney believes the demanding coursework will aid him in being successful at the Future Doctors Program this summer. Participants will do coursework that applies medical applications to biology, physics, chemistry and biochemistry in addition to career planning, “real-world” experiences in hospitals and clinics, workshops, volunteer projects, social events and mentoring for the participants.
The program has accepted 20 students, five of whom are men.
“Of these five participants, Clemon is the only African American,” Potter said, “which speaks to and signifies the incredible shortage of black male doctors in the near future. That is why the Future Doctors Program is so very important to Minnesota and the world.”
Dabney hopes this experience will aid him in successfully being admitted to medical school in four years and becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Ten years from now he also hopes to be a mentor with the Big Brother Big Sister program. Dabney still has a good relationship with his mentor and believes it helped show him that “there is another way of life out there, through education.”