"I'd really like to be a pediatrician." Kyle, who will be attending medical school at UT Houston in the fall, seems well on his way. "I worked as a youth intern at my home church and it showed me that I connect well with kids and enjoy helping them grow into the people they'll become. So I was looking for a med school that had a good track record with that sort of thing and was close to home." As a Houston native, Kyle's first choice was UT Houston; hard work and a Baylor degree got him there.
"I think Baylor did a great job of preparing me – just from talking with other people at the interviews, I realized I had a definite leg up on most other applicants," in terms of both academic experience and mentorship. "There are a lot of opportunities to learn about medicine at Baylor – what you put in is what you'll get out. There's no ceiling." Here, Kyle was mentored by professors and given the chance to interact with top healthcare professionals. Through one of Baylor's student organizations, "the CEO of Hillcrest Hospital came to talk to us about what the healthcare reform means for the field and how things might look in the future. They have an entire committee whose sole responsibility is to connect students to local healthcare professionals for the purpose of shadowing them."
But Kyle took advantage of more than just the pre-med opportunities at Baylor. "I was in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core," an Honors College program that combines the separate core curriculum classes into one integrated, overlapping experience. "It's easy, as a science major, to only look at things from a scientific standpoint. The BIC really forced me not to do that," by bringing ideas from different academic disciplines into fruitful conjunction. "I also did a study-abroad program last summer in Spain. We went and lived there for a while to learn the language. We were actually there during the World Cup finals, which they won, so it was really exciting!"
"I've also been doing research with Dr. Richard Duhrkopf. We're trying to figure out how fatty acid composition in water influences where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Mosquitoes are such a huge vector for so many different diseases in third-world countries. If we could find a way to control them a bit more with a cheap fix, it would really improve the quality of life in those areas."
All told, Kyle says his varied experiences at Baylor have forced him to grow in every aspect of his life – and, almost as importantly, gotten him where he wanted to go.