Arun Paul '05

Class Year


Area(s) of Study

Major in Biology, Minors in Religion and Chemistry


Bhoothathankettu, Kerala, India

Graduate Study

Rosalind Franklin University

What made you choose Lake Forest College?

Scholarships for international students

How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?

The skills I learned from the English Composition class by Dr. Davis Schneiderman was instrumental in learning the basic skills of effective writing. A particular exercise that he instilled in me during this class was to write “one page about something” everyday which sort of evolved into a hobby that I still practices but perhaps not daily!!  The scientific rigor that was expected from several of the advanced science classes such as organic chemistry by Dr. William Martin, advanced molecular biology by Dr. Shubhik DebBurman with special attention to scientific presentation and grant writing and 3 years of laboratory based research training under the stupendous mentorship of Dr. Karen E Kirk laid the foundation for my intense and long post-graduate training, which included 7 years of MD-PhD program and 5 years of residency training in Radiation Oncology as a physician.  Exposure to a wide variety of non-science classes such as ‘Shakespeare’ by Dr. Richard Mallete, ‘Religious existentialism’ by Dr. Ronald Miller, ‘History of social thoughts’ by Dr. Ahmad Sadri etc. expanded my intellectual horizons to different forms of human aspirations for knowledge. Training in these disciplines kindled my interest in exploring social and scientific aspects underlying religious rituals which is becoming a life-time interest for me.

What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for MSTP (MD/PhD) school?

Being the ‘On-campus meditation leader’ for two years was one of the best experiences during my life as a Forester that is still helping me in guiding cancer patients during their difficult treatment course.
Discussions and debates in a wide variety of topics as a student of liberal arts at Lake Forest College had a significant impact later in my career as an oncologist in shaping my approach to patients and families from diverse backgrounds with professionalism and compassion.  Being part of committees such as “Academic honesty judicial board’ was a unique experience in learning the importance of ethics and professionalism and how to function without compromising such values especially under stressful situations.

How did your time at Lake Forest help you prepare to apply to MSTP (MD/PhD) school programs?

I came to know the about the MD-PhD program from Dr. Timothy Morton as a freshman during one of the late-night experiments in the Biology department. Later, my life as a student researcher at Dr. Karen Kirk’s laboratory for three years and daily one-one interactions with other faculties who have mentored multiple phenomenally successful MD-PhD candidates gave me the timely and realistic guidance to get an MD-PhD admission as an international student.

What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful?

  1. Analytical skills, professionalism, and ethical standards are vital for a physician-scientist.
  2. Presentation and writing skills are essential for being an effective communicator.
  3. Ability to be a team-player .
  4. Leadership skills with modesty and patience.