Anderson, Indiana

Alumni offer advice to students preparing for health careers

Mon, 2010-12-27 08:05 -- univcomm
December 27, 2010

Despite their hectic schedules, many Anderson University alumni take time to encourage the next generation of AU graduates. This October, the AU Pre-Professional Health Club hosted two alumni who offered advice to students who aspire to become health professionals.

bradley-bengtsonThe first speaker was Dr. Bradley Bengtson, a plastic surgeon who attended Indiana University School of Medicine after graduating from AU in 1982. Bengtson has been consistently rated as one of the Best Doctors in America, a nationwide database that recognizes the top 5 percent of doctors in their area of specialization.

During his talk, Bengtson provided a unique emphasis on spirituality as well as the professional aspects of his work.

“We have never had anyone incorporate that much of their spiritual life into a talk about their work,” said senior biology major Joanna Tilley, who will be attending medical school next fall. “I thought Dr. Bengtson had a lot of wisdom to impart.”

Bengtson emphasized the importance of relationships and their role in his career. He explained that a mentor saw something in him that he had not seen in himself: his potential to become a plastic surgeon. Though it was a career he had never considered, he found it extremely gratifying. In just 30 minutes, he can entirely change someone’s life by performing surgeries such as cleft palate reparations.

Bengtson reminded students, however, that one's career is not the only important aspect of life. He encouraged students to prioritize — focusing first on their relationship with God, then family, followed by career, personal life, and social life.

“The advice about the organization of your life was so helpful,” said freshman chemistry major Jacob Cantú, who hopes to work as an anesthesiologist. “It was a really good thing for me to hear at this point in my education because I had it backward.”

Bengtson also addressed common myths about medical school. He answered questions about the necessary course requirements and majors, as well as the types of experiences he had. He noted that music majors are often accepted into medical school, partly because they show great diversity of talents and also because they understand the dedication necessary for success.

shanu-kothariLater in the fall, the Pre-Professional Health Club hosted Dr. Shanu Kothari, a 1991 AU graduate who works in the field of minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

Kothari spoke extensively about the excellent level of preparation he received from the biology department at AU, noting that his peers in medical school often struggled with laboratory techniques he performed all four years as an undergraduate.

“It was very inspiring to hear from Dr. Kothari because he assured us that no matter how difficult school becomes, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel,” said freshman biology major Josh Smith, who plans to work in the field of medical missions.

Kothari emphasized the advantages of attending a small undergraduate school before medical school because of opportunities to work closely with professors and receive one-on-one attention.

“It was encouraging to hear that looking back on the biology program at AU, Dr. Kothari was thankful,” said junior biology major Emma Clawson, who wants to work either as a physician’s assistant or in research. “This biology department is a hidden wonder on campus.”

— Kelly Frye is a junior from Elkhart, Ind., majoring in biology and communication arts. Frye is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.