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Future Doctor Earns Top Honors

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As a home-schooled teen, graduating scholar David Eng grew up reading about medical missions and set his sights on becoming a physician so he could help the poor and needy around the globe.

At Cal State Fullerton, the biological science major got the opportunity to participate in medical mission trips to Mexico and Honduras. He also volunteered at the Kaiser Permanente Orange County Anaheim Medical Center and shadowed a gastroenterologist.

These college experiences, along with his coursework and research, made him even more passionate about pursuing his goal of becoming a general surgeon or gastroenterologist and helped him gain acceptance into Loma Linda University School of Medicine this fall.

His community service, scholarly activities and commitment to the health professions also have earned him two of the highest University student honors: the 2015 Kenneth L. Goodhue-McWilliams and the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior awards. The late Kenneth L. Goodhue-McWilliams, a zoologist and emeritus professor of biological science who served 33 years on campus, founded the scholarship for future health professionals.

Eng will be recognized at Friday’s Honors and Scholars Awards Program.

“To win both of these prestigious awards is a great honor that illustrates to me the responsibility I have as a future physician to make an impact on the lives of those around me,” said Eng, who will graduate summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA and participate in Sunday’s commencement ceremonies.

“Looking back at past winners of these awards, I am awed by how much they’ve accomplished and the impact they’ve made on the people around them,” said Eng, whose nine younger siblings also aspire to careers in the health professions. They have formed a handbell ministry and play at nursing homes, churches and community events.

“To be placed on the same level as them definitely motivates me to continue what I am doing towards making the world a better place.”

On campus, Eng was involved in the Student Health Professions Association and most recently served as allopathic chair. He has tutored peers in biology, chemistry and physics, and participated in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Inter-Club Council.

For the past two years, he has conducted molecular biology research in the lab of Esther Chen, associate professor of biological science, applying knowledge learned in class to real-world problems.

Chen called Eng diligent, disciplined and enthusiastic — someone who goes the extra mile in the lab and in the community. “He is fascinated with the science underlying human health and is dedicated to pursuing a career that unites services with his love of science.”

Eng, who started community college at 16 and transferred to CSUF in 2012, credits his professors, mentors and the Health Professions Advising Office for helping him achieve and advance his education.

“My CSUF professors and mentors have prepared me well for medical school. I’m very grateful for all of their hard work and support,” he said.

What he is looking forward to most when he becomes a physician is not only helping others, but also serving with his younger siblings on medical missions.

“My medical mission experiences exposed me firsthand to the lack of access to health care that many people in the world face and this has motivated me to pursue a career in medicine in underserved communities,” said Eng. “The trips reinforced my passion for stepping out of my comfort zone to go to underserved areas to improve the lives of people who cannot afford health care or live in areas where doctors and needed medications are not easily accessible.”