Meet an Outstanding Graduate

Your hometown?

Kirkland, Washington, about 30 minutes from Seattle.

Is it true you were accepted into five medical schools? Which one did you accept and why?

Yes, that’s right, I was accepted to Midwestern University, (Phoenix and Chicago), Pacific Northwest University, Nova Southeastern University, and A.T. Still University. I decided early in my application process that I wanted to study osteopathic medicine, so I applied to all osteopathic schools.

There are two kinds of medical doctors that practice mainstream Western medicine in the United States. The first and most common are the medical doctors (M.D.s), also known as allopaths. I’m studying to become the other, a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.).

The main difference between the two degrees is that D.O.s have the capability to incorporate osteopathic manipulation in their practice. Osteopathic manipulation is a form of hands-on manual treatment similar to what one might get from a chiropractor. That said, D.O.s and M.D.s fill every medical specialty from neurosurgery to family practice, and are considered to be legally equivalent degrees. I decided to become a D.O. because I want to learn new holistic approaches to patient treatment, while not sacrificing training in medical and surgical techniques. I only applied to schools that I perceived to have a good standing in their communities, and strong interaction between students and administration – things at SPU that have made all the difference in my undergrad experience.

SPU was the last school of nine that I toured when I was choosing where to go to get my B.A. I knew immediately that SPU was a very special place, and a perfect fit for me and my life goals. The same thing happened when I interviewed at A.T. Still University (ATSU) in a little town called Kirksville, Missouri. ATSU provided me with everything I would ever want in a medical school. The very first college of osteopathic medicine, ATSU boasts a long history of training quality physicians that have made a huge impact on our nation.

In short, to use a SPUism, this is a place that can enable me to “engage the culture and change the world” as it has for thousands of doctors before me. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with such a quality education at SPU so that I can follow my dreams and become the best doctor I can be at ATSU.

What are you doing now?

I was sworn into the United States Navy in December of my senior year. My service in the Navy will enable me to practice medicine in some of the most medically disparaged places in the world. Navy doctors are some of the first people on the scene whenever large natural disasters strike, like Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti. They also serve our nation’s soldiers on the homefront and abroad. I can think of no better place for my talents to be put to use. In exchange for my service, the Navy is covering all my expenses while I am in school.

I am currently settling down in Missouri and studying hard for classes. Medical school is difficult, but I am loving it. After three weeks, everything is going great.

Favorite memories from your years at SPU?

I have so many great memories from SPU. I don’t even know where to begin. SPU is an amazing place and I wouldn’t change a thing about my time there. Despite being an active pre-med student, I was able to find time to get involved in some great activities.

During my freshman and sophomore years, I lived on the BroHo, third floor west, Emerson Hall. The hall has this awesome event every year called “Film Fest” that showcases short student films, and awards “Emes” in various categories. During my freshman year, the guys on my floor and I created an original movie called Passed By. The narrative follows a man in a trench coat as he passes by strangers on his way to work downtown. As the man passes each stranger, a short flashback of that stranger’s life is presented. In one scene, the man passes by a bum begging for loose change. It’s revealed through flashback that the bum is in fact a veteran that saved the life of a comrade in wartime. The tagline of the film was “every life is a story,” and that we are all intimately connected to one another through our shared humanity. I shared the role of director and producer with three other students, and also played one of the strangers on the street.

When the audience first sees me on screen, I am having a heated argument with a guy who I rear-ended on the road. My flashback takes the narrative to an operating room where my character, a doctor, loses a patient. The funny thing about filming my piece on the street was that the police actually pulled us over and tried to break up the fake argument that I was having with the other actor. In the end, Passed By was a huge success, winning best film, best original soundtrack, and me winning best actor.

In my sophomore year, being a little older, I took the reins as executive producer and director of another award-winning film, Side Effects. This movie was a tad less serious than Passed By, as it centered on a small group of students fighting their way across a zombie infested Seattle to find a cure. There is one shot in particular that I am proud of, where one of the actors gives a Chuck-Norris-style-roundhouse-kick-to-the-face to an unsuspecting zombie. That’s what I call good entertainment.

In my junior year, I became a peer advisor in Hill Hall on the men’s third floor. Because it’s a smaller floor of about 20, my residents and I became fast friends. We had a lot of fun together, like “Bro Thursdays,” where we dressed in double-popped collars and called everyone “bro” or “bra” for a day; Decade Skate, where we were the first guy floor to ever win the musical sketch competition – thanks in part to some great musical numbers and a back flip or two; Stickman War, where teams of students fought a bitter battle between blue and black stickmen across the walls of our hall; and a Christmas CD we made titled “Third Hill Christmas Classics,” which will be a proud part of my playlist until I get old and wrinkly.

Plans for the future?

Big things are happening in my life since SPU. I am looking forward to an exciting career doing what I love. I am trusting in God to guide me to the best possible position from which to use my skills and carry out His will.

Advice for prospective SPU students?

Don’t assume that you will be too busy to get involved. School is absolutely important, but it is not the only component of a quality college education. I can say for a fact college is much more than grades and books.

My biggest growing experiences came outside of the classroom through the friendships I formed with students and staff. I found in my life that the more involved I was with student government, residence life, and campus clubs, the happier I was and the better I did in classes. My extracurricular experiences made me a better student, and a better person than I was in high school. Find something you love and pursue it, you will be glad that you did.

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010