A new batch of medical school students are now spread across the country representing the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, bringing with them determination, dedication and diversity.
All seven of the PHHS students who applied to medical school in 2011 have gained admissions this fall.
“They’re just all really exceptional students,” says CPHHS Pre-Med Academic Advisor Jolene Bunce. “Their commitment and devotion to serving people is just amazing.”
Whether it was their GPA, their volunteer hours or their fieldwork, these students did whatever it took to follow their dreams to med school.
“These are people who are really devoted to going back and serving their communities,” Bunce says. “One of the students was working 30 to 40 hours a week as an EMT and was still able to get As and Bs in all of her classes.”
That student is Kaylinn Dokken, a public health graduate who is interested in emergency medicine.
“I like the fast-paced environment and the variety of people I will see,” she says. “I also like how it is a constantly changing field and requires a vast amount of knowledge.”
Dokken attributes her success in gaining admission to med school to her grades, volunteer work and more than 5,000 hours of patient contact working with Rural Metro Ambulance in Salem.
“While working there, I learned a lot about working with patients in different populations and the struggles that a lot of people face on getting access to healthcare and their medications,” Dokken says. “It’s a lot of fun, and I really enjoy it.”
The medical school students hail from all sorts of backgrounds and have faced many challenges throughout their years at Oregon State.
Josh Huhndorf is an Alaska native who spent his life commercially fishing to pay for college. He decided to major in Health Management and Policy so he could approach medicine with an understanding of the “bigger picture.”
“This has served me well, especially when I applied to medical school. It provided a lot to talk about in the essays and interview,” he says.
Part of understanding the bigger picture came from his work on campus. As a member of Rural and Minority Healthcare Advocates at Oregon State and a student employee of the Native American Longhouse, Huhndorf coordinated campus and community-wide diabetes screenings to shine light on the issue and help provide access to a service that would often be overlooked or not considered.
“I often met people who said they didn’t have enough time for a lot for these kinds of things during school, but I would argue that if they truly felt that it was a priority then they could easily make time,” he says.
Huhndorf graduated from Oregon State in 2009 and spent the next three years working for his tribe’s medical clinic and traveling the country giving presentations about clinical practice redesign. Then, last fall, he opened a new door in his life when he applied to medical school.
It wasn’t Huhndorf’s GPA or MCAT score that put him ahead of his fellow students. Instead, he believes it was his determination and commitment to healthcare that ultimately set him apart.
“At this point, I realized that it isn’t so much about doing things that will ‘look good on your resume,’ but doing things that you truly believe are important,” Huhndorf says. “It’s these things that you will likely be asked about and be able to talk about with extreme confidence and enthusiasm.”
In addition to the students’ individual success in the field, advisors point out the college is becoming a desired pathway to lead students into the medical field.
“Traditionally, we weren’t the destination for all pre-med students, but now we’re getting more students into our college and we’re preparing them really well,” Bunce says. “They’re making good connections and doing research with our faculty members, and faculty are enjoying mentoring our students.”
Advisors say the college is continuing to work to bring in high-achieving students in order to maintain its success in medical school admissions.
This year, five CPHHS students applied to medical school and will be notified of their admissions status before next fall.
Below are the seven CPHHS graduates who gained admissions this year:
Kaylinn Dokken: PH major, attending Western University- COMP Northwest in Lebanon
Ryan Haran: EXSS major, attending Virginia Commonwealth University
Erin Harrington: HDFS major, attending Western University-COMP Northwest in Lebanon
Josh Huhndorf: PH major, attending University of North Dakota
Charles ‘Craig’ Rudy: EXSS major, attending OHSU
Justin Schultz: EXSS major, attending Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ashley Wong-Froese: NUTR major, attending Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine