Paulius Kuprys '12
Area(s) of Study
Major in Biology and Minor in Chemistry
Loyola Stritch School of Medicine
What made you choose Lake Forest College?
I was drawn to Lake Forest College by two main features: the small class sizes and abundant undergraduate driven research. The incredible student to teacher ratio meant that I would have frequent direct interactions with my professors who would know me on a first name basis. Such interactions were key to obtaining sincere and detailed letters of recommendation for future medical school applications. Furthermore, I was excited by the prospect of conducting research through the Richter Scholars program and by writing a senior thesis.
How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?
Even though I was determined to major in one of the life sciences, taking other classes outside this sphere helped ensure I was a well-rounded student. Classes outside the life sciences had much to offer from a social and humanistic mindset that has served me well currently in the medical field. In addition, interacting with students who’s major was not within the life sciences helped broaden my perspective and approach to my coursework.
What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for MSTP (MD/PhD) school?
The ability to conduct research as a first year undergraduate student is a rare opportunity offered by any school. While working with Drs. Douglas Light and Karen Kirk, I began to build the necessary skills to identify a hypothesis and create the appropriate experiments to support or reject it. These experiences became the foundation upon which I have built my current success as a researcher.
How did your time at Lake Forest help you prepare to apply to MSTP (MD/PhD) school programs?
Undertaking a senior thesis project in Dr. Karen Kirk’s Laboratory greatly helped in my preparation for an MD/PhD program. Through this research, I was able to act as an independent scientist, seeing a project from development, experimentation, manuscript composition, and ultimately publication. Meanwhile, the strong life sciences curriculum at LFC with abundant primary literature exposure helped me rapidly interpret scientific articles and assimilate their findings to my research tasks.
What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful?
One of the most important skills I learned was how to prepare and give scholarly presentations. Professors were dedicated in this effort as they critiqued and listened to the various iterations of the presentation. The numerous life science and nonlife science organizations provided ample opportunities to hone my leadership and managerial skills. In particular, within the Tri-Beta and Eukaryon journal organizations, I was able to progress through the ranks to administrative roles and oversee the future direction of these programs.
What do you think of the new Health Professions Program between LFC and RFU?
I believe the joint cooperation of LFC and RFU to create the new Health Professions Program will enable students to more rapidly realize and achieve their goal of becoming a health professional. The exposure to the health professions outside of what we commonly perceive as healthcare jobs will ensure students are able to select the profession that fits them best. Meanwhile, the opportunity to rotate in the more clinically oriented RFU laboratories will enable a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind medical concepts forming a groundwork for their future health career.
What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue pre-health and is considering Lake Forest College?
I would recommend LFC as it has a proven track record of applicants successfully entering into the health profession of their choice. The numerous opportunities to participate in biology organizations and research projects, especially in conjunction with RFU, will help create a unique application that is desirable to health care programs. Moreover, I felt that the professors at LFC were approachable and provided appropriate guidance on the outlook of my applications and what I could do improve it.