Meet Emily, Kelsey and Thomas
When Ohio State seniors celebrated graduation on June 10, the Biomedical Science undergraduate major bid farewell to thirteen students with whom they have worked since before freshman year began in September 2008. Headed towards promising careers in fields such as medicine and research, these students were initially accepted to the program—which offers perks such as opportunities for clinical shadowing, and specialized attention in small classes—based on strong academic performances in high school, and a demonstrated interest in an undergraduate experience that would include medical research and exploration of careers in the sciences
Dr. John Gunn, the Director of the major, said the goal of the major is “to expose high ability students who have an interest in the biomedical sciences to an in-depth research experience, in the hopes that some will go on to have significant research careers. In addition to the research, the curriculum is designed to develop their communication, leadership, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.”
Gunn and the faculty who have fostered these thirteen students can certainly be very proud of their accomplishments and future plans. Five students will be attending medical school in the fall: three students will attend medical school at Ohio State, and the other two will attend the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve, and the medical school at Wright State. Two students will be seeking higher education in graduate school: one will attend Ohio State and the other will study at the University of North Carolina as an NSF Fellow. Diversifying the prospective careers of graduates of the Biomedical Science major, which typically sees the majority of its students seek MDs, PhDs and MD/PhDs, one student will study optometry at Ohio State, while another will attend pharmacy school, also at Ohio State. Two students plan to be dentists: one student is attending the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in the fall, and the other will undertake an exploratory gap year before applying to dental schools. One student will represent Ohio in the south, completing a Masters of Public Health at Emory, and the thirteenth student has received a Fulbright Scholarship to continue his studies in Germany, before he attends medical school at the University of Pittsburgh.
“To see the students move on to the next phase of their career is rewarding, and we feel comfortable that they are well-prepared,” Gunn said. And there seems to be a consensus with Gunn’s confidence among the students as well:
- Emily Carson, Biomedical Science major ‘12, plans to pursue her Masters in Public Health at Emory (Mentor: Mark Drew, Microbial Infection and Immunity): Carson cites the major’s focus on reading biomedical literature as critical to her success in her undergraduate studies. She also enjoyed the opportunities presented by the major’s small classes. With the preparation she received, she is excited to explore her interest in infectious diseases and global health, a fascination that was fostered by a public health class she took during her freshman year. Specifically, her program at Emory is a Master’s International, which combines a master’s degree with time spent serving in the Peace Corps. “I applied to several schools that offered an MPH/MI program, and chose Emory because of its great reputation and its close ties with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. My plan is to get an MPH in epidemiology, be a Peace Corps volunteer, and then pursue a PhD in epidemiology,” Carson said.
- Kelsey Gray, Biomedical Science major ‘12, awarded an NSF Fellowship to pursue graduate studies at the University of North Carolina (Mentor: Amanda Toland, Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics): According to Gunn, “Anytime a student wins a major award, it is a reflection on the faculty with whom the student has worked.” Certainly Carson’s receipt of the prestigious NSF Fellowship is an indication of such successful relationships between faculty and students. Like Carson, Gray enjoyed the small classes, which allowed her to form deep bonds with the faculty, and thus to benefit from excellent advising. In addition, she is grateful for experience she has acquired both in research and clinical settings through the major. She says that because her experience was so diversified, she feels comfortable and informed in her decision to pursue research at the University of North Carolina.
- Thomas Kaffenberger, Biomedical Science major ‘12, awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany before pursuing medical school at the University of Pittsburgh (Mentor: Sarmila Majumder, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry): For Kaffenberger, an outstanding memory made possible through the Biomedical Science major is his experience completing the Grever Internship in the summer after his sophomore year. Kaffenberger says, “The days are split between being in the hospital wards during the morning and then working in the research lab during the rest of the day. I had always been very interested in medicine, but this was an actual opportunity where I could see the lives and work of all tiers of the medical education system. Furthermore, because the internship was everyday of the week, I was able to see an extended view of how patients are cared for, not just a snapshot of the care of patients like most shadowing opportunities for undergraduates. It was my favorite experience of BMS and probably the experience that had the most influence on my future career goals.” His studies in Germany next year, made possible through the Fulbright Scholarship, will be an extension of the travel and research he completed while in Germany last summer.