By Kelsey Luffman

Think that choosing MNU – a small, private, liberal arts university in Kansas – will limit your opportunities for making a difference in the professional world? Think again. Six of MNU’s pre-professional graduates tell the story of finding their paths, achieving their goals and getting accepted to the graduate schools of their dreams.

This year, three biology and three kinesiology new graduates have something in common. Though their fields of study and career goals are different, each one has become equipped for their future by choosing MNU – and now, they’ve all been accepted into top-tier graduate programs.

“These are some of our best people altogether,” says Professor of Biology Steve Cole. “They’re all excellent, but they’re all different from each other.”

Though each student has a unique story and career ambition, they’ve each found that MNU provided the perfect foundation for their goals. Kinesiology major Kaitlin Wertz (’13), who will start her master’s program in occupational therapy at the University of Kansas (KU) School of Medicine this summer, says that MNU not only recognized her dream “to help children with special needs reach their greatest potential” – they shared the dream by bringing her closer to achieving it.

“When I was trying to decide which college to attend for my prerequisites, MNU was one of the few Christian schools willing to work with me and help me accomplish my goal,” Kaitlin says.

Kinesiology major Jessica Gee (’13), who is slated to begin her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at KU in June, says MNU gave her the confidence she needed to continue in her career track.

“My time at MNU continually reinforced my decision to become a physical therapist,” Jessica says. “Because of my classes at MNU, I have had enough exposure to the field that I have no doubt I will like being a PT.”

But do students have as many opportunities at MNU as they would at other universities? Our pre-professionals have a simple answer to that question – more.

Biology major Ethan Alexander (’13) will be pursuing his Doctor of Medicine (MD) at KU School of Medicine. Alexander says that, in reality, other schools don’t compare with the personalized attention at MNU.

“I was once scared that being at a small university would hurt my chances of acceptance, especially in a field like science,” Ethan says. “The more I worked, the more I realized that I actually have more access to my professors, as well as things like laboratory instruments and hands-on learning. I feel blessed and prepared (as I can be) for medical school.”

Additionally, kinesiology major Ben McLane (’13), who will begin his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at KU this summer, says that both his major courses and MNU’s general education requirements pushed him to grow as a student.

“I've seen a lot of students brush off coursework because it was out of their comfort zone,” Ben says, “but the beautiful thing is that it's only out of your comfort zone until you put in three hours of work.”

And, of course, all that work eventually paid off for each of these students. Senior biology major Kori Rienbolt (’13), who will begin courses at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry in August, says that after spending four years volunteering and shadowing at dentist offices, getting accepted was worth all the hard work.

“I got the most exciting phone call of my life saying that I was accepted,” said Kori.

Even beyond the skills they need for their professional programs, our pre-professionals say that MNU has provided them with flexibility.

For instance, one student didn’t wait for graduation to start her graduate work. Christina Wilkins (’13) is a biology major with a minor in chemistry. Unlike most undergraduates, she enrolled in her graduate and undergrad programs simultaneously. So when Christina received her bachelor’s degree, she also finished the first year of her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at UMKC.

“I’m doing what people told me was impossible,” Christina says. “Part of being a pioneer is doing the impossible.”

As these six students continue the pursuit of excellence in their graduate work and future careers, they promise to make a difference not only in their professions, but also in the lives of those they serve.

“I definitely feel that MNU coursework has prepared me for graduate school,” Kaitlin says. “Not only receiving an education, but receiving it from a Christian perspective, is one of the most valuable things to me. I think [MNU] has shaped me and prepared me not only for grad school, but most importantly, for the rest of my life.”

Learn more about pre-professional programs at MNU by visiting our academics homepage.