‘He just so happened to be the doctor who delivered me’

VC Gonzales Center sends student on a path to attending medical school
De Ann Atkinson

De Ann Atkinson, who is beginning medical school this fall, was a student and tutor at Victoria College’s Gonzales Center.

VICTORIA, Texas – Thirty years later, the man who brought De Ann Atkinson into the world helped change her life.

Atkinson, a mother of five daughters, attended Victoria College’s Gonzales Center. She was on her way to being accepted into nursing school when one of her instructors, Dr. Robert Williamson, suggested she take her aspirations to a higher level.

“Dr. Williamson was teaching my anatomy and physiology class, and he just so happened to be the doctor who delivered me,” Atkinson said. “He told me, ‘I just see so much potential in you. He then asked me, ‘Would you consider attending med school?’ ”

Atkinson’s plan for medical school

Williamson and Mike Bond, VC Gonzales Center biology instructor, assisted with Atkinson’s plan to attend medical school. Her journey began in Gonzales in 2016 and led to Texas Lutheran University, where Atkinson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology in 2019.

Williamson passed her Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) prior to being interviewed in November for enrollment into Sam Houston State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Conroe.

“Four days later, I got an email from SHSU, and I was totally prepared for rejection,” Atkinson said. “I was prepared to be devastated. I opened the email, and the first word I saw was ‘Congratulations.’ My heart skipped a beat, and I screamed. The rest of the day was just like a blur. I couldn’t believe it.”

Atkinson had taken some classes at Austin Community College before earning her license as an insurance salesperson.

“I really liked it, but sales just weren’t for me,” Atkinson said. “So I stayed home for a while raising the kids.”

Enrolled and ready to continue her education

The 35-year-old didn’t consider continuing her education until after her husband, Ryan, went back to school to earn his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Three months following the birth of her fourth child, Atkinson enrolled at VC’s Gonzales Center with a full load of courses.

“It was a really intense semester,” said Atkinson, who also tutored students while at the Gonzales Center. “But I would have never been able to go back to school if it wasn’t for VC being here in Gonzales. Texas Lutheran is not that far, but I wouldn’t want to make that commute for four years. It’s hard when you have kids and try to be in two places at once.”

Recently, Atkinson, her husband and daughters Ainsley (15), Blakely (13), Shylee (9), Graylee (6) and Townslee (2) moved from Gonzales to Conroe, where Atkinson will begin medical school this fall.

“It wouldn’t have been possible if not for the Gonzales Center,” Atkinson said. “Every instructor I had here was incredible. I am living proof that you can start at a community college and wind up in medical school. It’s not as big a leap as people think it is.”