Point Isabel ISD alum receives full-ride scholarship to Stanford University Medical School

March 18, 2019 GMT

PORT ISABEL — From graduating as valedictorian of her high school class and receiving a full ride scholarship to college to interning at the State Capitol with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and volunteering at medical clinics around the world, Janelle Chavez’s list of accomplishments continues to grow.

The Point Isabel Independent School District alum and soon-to-be University of Texas at Austin graduate has recently been named a Knight-Hennessy Scholar and received full funding for graduate study at Stanford School of Medicine in California.

This year, the Knight –Hennessy Scholars program received 4,424 applications.


Janelle was one of 69 students selected from around the world to receive the full-ride scholarship.

“It was just a dream come true,” she said. “It was something I had definitely hoped for, but I never let myself get too excited because I knew the odds were so low.”

Janelle said she immediately had a great feeling and love for Stanford during her first couple of visits.

“I felt very comfortable there, which was really important to me,” she explained. “I started picturing myself there at Stanford and I really felt like it was where I belonged.”

Her mother, Mary Chavez, said looking back, she can always remember her daughter planning for the future and working hard to reach her goals.

“I remember during her summer jobs, she would carry her little SAT vocabulary cards in her purse and flip through those whenever she had a chance,” Mary said. “She’s always used her spare time wisely to try to prepare herself for those things.”

Mary describes her daughter’s upcoming departure to Stanford University Medical School as “bitter-sweet.”

“We’re such a close-knit family, but you prepare your children their whole lives to go off and be all they can be,” she explained. “We’re so proud of her because she’s worked so hard for these things and we’re also so grateful to God because it’s a blessing.”

Janelle said she became drawn toward the medical field at a very young age because of her grandparents.

“I was very close with them and they went through a lot of illnesses when I was growing up,” she said.

In high school, Janelle helped drive her grandparents to doctors’ appointments and would translate and explain the medications to them.

“The field of medicine captured my intellectual interest and heart because in medicine, you can be there for people in their greatest time of need and provide comfort when they need it most,” she said.


Janelle aspires to become a physician and use technology to improve lives in and outside of health care clinics, to increase health care accessibility and to promote wellbeing through prevention of all illnesses.

“The goal is to come back and work in the community that I really care for and am so passionate about,” Janelle said. “My community really built me, raised me and did so much for my life.”

Janelle believes it’s very important for all students to set high goals for themselves and not be afraid to pursue them.

“Dream big and once you have big dreams, think why not me,” she explained. “I think that mindset is very valuable and I would love to share that advice to students in the Valley because we come from such a unique place with many great values, such as family, faith and hard work.”