With the end of undergrad approaching for a chunk of current students, soon-to-be graduates are looking ahead to graduate and professional programs following their time at North Central.
Several North Central students and alumni have already been accepted into graduate programs, such as medical and pharmacy schools. Kelsey LaMartina, ’18 and Kassidee Aufderheide, ’18 were both accepted into University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Pharmacy.
Aufderheide’s mother is a nurse, which is what interested her in the health field. After taking chemistry in high school, she knew that it was the right fit for her. “I really wanted to get my bachelor’s in chemistry before starting pharmacy school because I wanted to have a solid foundation and be fully prepared,” said Aufderheide. “I felt that North Central really stood out to me for their science program.”
Although she has not volunteered in the medical field as an undergraduate, Aufderheide anticipates volunteering or interning at hospitals or pharmacies in Chicago.
While Aufderheide knew she was interested in pharmacy before coming to North Central, LaMartina didn’t decide until she was already at NCC. “I originally wanted to do pre-med but after doing some shadowing with a pharmacist I decided that pharmacy was the career path for me,” said LaMartina.
“I was interested in working in the healthcare field but chemistry is where my strengths and interests lie academically.” LaMartina describes pharmacy as “the perfect intersection of chemistry and healthcare.”
While some students enter graduate schools directly after their senior year, others take one or two gap years to gain more experience, both in and out of education. NCC alum Christopher Wojcik graduated in 2016 and has recently started his second gap year. Wojcik was just accepted into Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana, but is still waiting to hear back from 21 other medical schools he applied to.
As an undergraduate student, Wojcik worked as a pharmacy technician his sophomore year, shadowed a pediatrician once a week during his junior year and volunteered in the ortho/neuro/peds unit and the emergency department at Rush Medical Center in Chicago his senior year.
Despite taking a gap year, Wojcik made sure to not let it go to waste. “I worked as a medical scribe for ScribeAmerica in family medicine and otolaryngology settings,” said Wojcik. “As a chief scribe, I work with new doctors who request scribes and hire/train the scribe that will work with them.”
Wojcik is interested in attending the University of Colorado in Denver, which is an MD program. “Ultimately, MD programs have a better track record of students matriculating into procedural/surgical specialties, which is what I am interested in,” said Wojcik. Specifically, he would like to specialize in otolaryngology (ears, nose and throat, or ENT).
“Generally, a large portion of ENT patients are children, and as someone who wants to work with children and do something procedural/surgical, I think it could be a very nice fit,” said Wojcik. However, Wojcik is keeping an open mind and is interested in exploring different types of pediatric surgical specialties.
Graduate school, internships and jobs can be intimidating for students still staring down a few more months or years of undergrad, but these students show that with the right training and mindset, they can be a stepping stone to bigger and better opportunities.