Jorge Roman, an Honors College student, was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2009 when he had an epiphany.
Roman, who is also a UNT Emerald Eagle Scholar, saw poverty firsthand during the trip with other Emerald Eagle students. He said seeing impoverished people relying on others for food and money impacted him.
"It just made me feel like I wanted to do something more with my life," he said. "I didn’t want to just graduate, get a job working nine to five. I want to make my life meaningful. I want to help other people as much as I can."
Roman, a junior majoring in biology and philosophy, plans to attend medical school to become a doctor after he graduates from UNT.
He applied to the Honors College during his freshman year after another Honors College student recruited him.
"He was kind of like my big brother," Roman said of the student. "He took me under his wings. And introduced me to the associate dean of the Honors College. And we just had a conversation of what I want to do with my life. Is the Honors College right for me?"
His first Honors Class – Honors Introduction to Research - had about 15 students.
"It really encouraged a one-on-one relationship with the professor," he said of the class. "And it was a class where everybody was free to speak their mind. And ask questions. And do things you wouldn’t normally be able to do in a class of like two or three-hundred."
Through the Honors College, he is preparing himself for his future career.
"I figure that all the Honors professors with all the Honors classes are going to give me information that I can use in everyday life," he said.
Roman also is a research assistant in the psychology department. He said he got the position through the Honors College.
"Working in the lab with other Honors students – it’s a pretty cool experience," he said. "I think it fosters a team dynamic."
This semester, Roman and his peers will study the effectiveness of a therapy for insomnia.
Last summer, he had a preceptorship at UT Southwestern Medical Center of Dallas, where he focused on gastroenterology. He observed the behind-the-scenes work performed by doctors, nurses and physician assistants.
"I got to really see what goes on in medicine, and that really solidified for me that I wanted to go into the field," he said.
In addition to his coursework, Roman is a UNT cheerleader for the football and basketball teams. He also is a member of the UNT Math Club.