Student overcomes incredible odds to graduate
You might say that TiQuann Jett-Jamison is a fighter. Born with gastroschesis, a birth defect in which an infant's intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord, he spent the first year-and-a-half of his life in the hospital. He continued to struggle with the condition and missed most of the ninth grade due to an intestinal blockage.
But he didn’t let his physical condition slow him down. Despite being in the hospital, he continued his studies and passed the ninth grade.
The Philadelphia native was raised by a single mother and lived with his brother and sister. In all, he has fourteen siblings. He credits his mother with always being very supportive of him through his twelve surgeries and encouraging him to pursue his education. In fact, he became a certified carpenter while in high school.
The first in his family to attend college, Jett-Jamison began his studies at Penn State Schuylkill and came to Berks to complete his baccalaureate degree in Biology. He plans to go on to medical school to study gastroenterology and learn more about the condition that he has struggled with all his life.
But his life is truly one of triumph – over illness and adversity. Halfway through his academic career, two of his cousins were murdered in Philadelphia. Although he was so disheartened he wanted to quit school, he preserved.
“I was able to pray my way through it,” he comments. “I wanted to strive to set an example for people from my same neighborhood, and for my brothers and sisters, that it is possible to succeed.”
Jett-Jamison certainly did succeed. During his time at Penn State Berks, he worked as an assistant laboratory technician in one of the college labs and conducted research with several faculty members. He made the Dean’s List and was a member of the Berks Chemical Society and the Brotherhood of Scholarship, Cultural Awareness, and Community Service.
“At Penn State Berks, there are no limits to what you can do,” states Jett-Jamison. “You can realize your full potential. The professors here are remarkable.”
He has spoken about his experiences at Temple University, and will be the subject of a film documentary later this summer.
In May, Jett-Jamison will graduate with a B.S. in Biology and his mother and grandparents will be in the audience. Sadly, he recently learned that his mother has been diagnosed with cancer. This news just strengthened his resolve to attend medical school.
He adds that he is looking for the physician who performed the life-saving surgeries that saved his life when he was an infant so he can thank her. She would surely be very proud of her former patient.