Alexandra Dejneka ’21
Area(s) of Study
Major in Neuroscience Minors in Philosophy and chemistry
What made you choose Lake Forest College
I chose Lake Forest College because of the great scholarships, small class sizes, and opportunities for extracurricular development. All these aspects allowed me to get to know my professors and personalize my college experience.
How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?
A liberal arts education allowed me to explore my broader interests while preparing for medical school. I was able to minor in philosophy, which I enjoyed because it gave me access to perspectives that I would not find in my science classes. A liberal arts education provided me more opportunities to take classes about topics I was interested in but may not have made time for, and I was able to interact with an incredible variety of people with diverse backgrounds and interests.
What experiences in and out of the classroom helped prepare you for MD studies?
My classroom experiences provided me with a strong base of knowledge that I needed for my classes in medical school along with presentation skills, which have turned out to be very important, and other beneficial tools such as being able to analyze scientific literature and critically think through a problem to find a solution. The research experience I had during the Richter Program, working in Dr. Kirk’s lab, will be very beneficial to me as I continue learning about clinical research and conducting my own research in medical school. I also believe the many leadership experiences I had will allow me to communicate effectively and work well with my peers and future patients.
The experiences that most helped prepare me for medical school were the various clinical experiences I participated in during my time at the college. I was able to intern at a cardiology clinic, which exposed me to hands-on patient care and taught me about operating a medical practice. I also volunteered at the Lake Forest Hospital where I learned a lot about patient care and working in a hospital setting. Further, I was able to shadow physicians in various specialties and gained insight into the kinds of cases physicians see daily.
What do you think of the new Health Professions Program between Lake Forest College and Rosalind Franklin University?
I think it’s a great opportunity. Medical school is notoriously difficult to apply and get into and any extra support you can find is only going to help. I think it’s also great to have the opportunity to learn about all the other amazing health care professions that you may not have known existed and have the support to pursue one.
What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful as a healthcare professional?
The small liberal arts environment was the most beneficial aspect of my time at Lake Forest. Medical school requires a lot of teamwork and collaboration, and I was able to experience plenty of that through the group work I had in many of my classes. Being able to do all kinds of projects, including research, with a group of peers was very beneficial in preparing me to succeed in working with a large team of providers.
Mentorship is very important and at Lake Forest College; I was able to take advantage of close relationships with my professors, which allowed me to learn more from my classes and receive good advice about the various skills I would need in my future career and encouraged me to seek out vital mentorship in medical school.
What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue health professions and is considering Lake Forest College?
The curriculum at Lake Forest College allows you enough flexibility that your experience will be what you make of it. There are numerous opportunities to take advantage of such as research, clubs, volunteering, and a large variety of classes to take. Plus, the small class sizes allow you to get to know your peers and professors so much better, which leads to a personalized experience in which you learn more about the subject matter that interests you as well as important interpersonal skills. Where you go matters less than the opportunities that you take advantage of while you’re there, but it helps to go to a school where people care about your education and goals and want to help you achieve them, and I found that at Lake Forest.