Written by: Kedrick Nettleton, Staff Writer
The Oklahoma Wesleyan University Biology program can get you where you need to go – especially when that involves getting into graduate school.
Though the program is fairly small, its impact is tremendous. OKWU has a strong track record of sending Biology majors on to post-graduate medical programs. For example, in 2011 there were only 5 Biology majors around campus; by 2016, that number had more than quadrupled, with many showing the interest, talent, and dedication to move forward in their education. These successful students have gone on to medical school, dental school, PA school, and into pharmaceutical training. One biology student even went on to law school.
According to Dr. Doug Quick, Professor of Biology and head of the program, this post-graduate success is no accident. “Our courses focus on preparing students to not only get into quality graduate programs, but to complete them,” he said.
Kadilyn Hourigan (Biology ’11) is currently working as a Physician Assistant, having graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s HSC PA
program in 2013. And forget completing the program – just getting selected for that pathway is a monumentally challenging task. “Each spot awarded [in the program] had 10 eligible candidates,” Hourigan said. “This meant that out of the 260 applicants, only 26 were selected. I had been admitted on my first attempt.”
Hourigan credits her time at OKWU as a huge factor not only in her professional accomplishments, but to her personal and spiritual life, as well. “I praise God that my undergraduate work at OKWU not only challenged my intellect but grew me as a follower of Jesus Christ,” she said. “Now I practice medicine with the confidence and the servant attitude that comes from having Jesus as Lord of my life.”
“Out of the 260 applicants, only 26 were selected. I had been admitted on my first attempt.”
Ashley Martin (Biology ’12) is currently working towards a Ph.D in Physiology, and can likewise trace much of her professional preparation to her time at OKWU. On the other hand, she started out with a much different attitude. “When I first considered attending, I had one thing in mind: graduating as quickly as possible… OKWU offered a degree program that would get me out of there in a year, and that’s all I wanted,” she said.
Looking for expediency, Martin found life change in Bartlesville. “In the first chapel service I attended, that weight pressed upon me and broke my heart open. Out came all the anger, fear, and pain that I had kept for so long… I found God that day, and we started a journey that has changed me forever.”
And though there is no greater outcome to a student’s time at OKWU than a soul won for Christ, the academic excellence that Ashley received in the Biology program was instrumental in her post-graduate success. “The faculty of the Biology program helped me hone my study skills and obtain critical reasoning skills needed for the GRE,” she said. “The rigorous program also helped me to learn the hard work and dedication required for further scientific education. The classwork gave me the solid scientific background required to succeed in graduate school… I know that this path started at OKWU, and I’m excited and hopeful about where this journey will take me.”
Tiffany Rieger (Biology ’18) is currently pursuing her post-graduate work at Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and is
on pace to graduate in 2022. She sings the same song about OKWU’s Biology program as Hourigan and Martin: the difficulty of the undergraduate program enabled her success in a competitive field.
“[My] program has nearly 3,000 applicants each year, and accepts only 115 students,” she said. “I believe this accomplishment was because of the strong foundation of biology, chemistry, and physics that the professors at OKWU have given me, along with their constant spiritual encouragement.”
And this, perhaps, is the greatest testimony of the program: not only that students find unusual success following their graduation, but that the professors can combine this challenging curriculum with an environment of spiritual growth.
“Jesus Christ is at the center of the Biology program at OKWU,” Rieger said.
For more information on the academic programs offered by OKWU, click here.
“I praise God that my undergraduate work at OKWU not only challenged my intellect but grew me as a follower of Jesus Christ. Now I practice medicine with the confidence and the servant attitude that comes from having Jesus as Lord of my life.”