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Class of 2019: This new grad working toward career in medicine

Tyler Hicks will be the student speaker at the Spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m. He is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, cum laude.

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

High School: Revere High School

How did you come to choose your major?

Pursuit of a medical degree.

What brought you to The University of Akron?

A scholarship and closeness to home.

What’s next?

Work, research and reapplying to medical school.

Q: What college experience contributed the most to your personal growth?

A: By far, the greatest experience I’ve had at the University is working with Dr. Janna Andronowski in the Department of Biology. I took her Human Anatomy course, which was incredibly educational, entertaining and a great insight to medical school gross anatomy. After building a rapport with her during the course, I was invited to conduct research in her lab, gaining skills that will undoubtedly serve me well. Finally, I was able to get a lot of experience dissecting human cadavers, where I could isolate structures to study or take samples for our research. Altogether, these experiences shaped me greatly, and were a huge step in preparing me for my future education.

Q: Best advice you ever got from a professor?

A: This may not seem like traditional advice, but this quote from Dr. Brain Bagatto in the Department of Biology as he addressed the class on Day One was as equally helpful as it was funny: “If you’re not here to work your ass off…bye bye!” Now, hearing that on the first day of what is rumored to be the toughest course in the department was anything but comforting. However, it was a clear indicator that I was in for a true test of my skills. Because of the diligence and ambition required to do well in this course, I am a much better student, scientist and intellectual. Really diving into what I’m learning, spending time with the material and thinking about things critically expanded my mind far beyond what I thought capable. It is because of this class and this ‘advice’ that I will overcome any scholastic challenges with confidence.

Q: Biggest surprise about college life? 

A: Call me a cynic, but I was mostly surprised at how many people did NOT take college seriously at all. Plenty of people will not show up to class, not seem to care, and get 50%’s in upper-level courses! This was such a shock to me, and not something I would expect to see outside of high school. Don’t get me wrong, most students worked hard and took advantage of the opportunities at Akron, but the ones that didn’t just threw me for a loop. The biggest takeaway here is to ensure you do not fall into that yourself.

Q: Where’s your favorite place on campus? Why?

A: My favorite place is Bierce Library, 3rd floor. Grab a venti cold brew (black) and hit the books. I’ve gotten a lot of work done in this location and have grown exponentially in my understanding of the sciences. Without a set place to study like this, I do not think I would be where I’m at now. This place has taught me to dedicate proper time to my studies, and how to grind and get the work done when the time comes for it.

Q: What’s your advice to incoming freshmen?

A: One of the greatest things I’ve learned was not to be afraid of failure. I promise you that everything will not go exactly as planned. I had a 3.9 in high school and got four Cs my first semester. I realized that this probably just cost me an acceptance to medical school. So, what to do now? I could give up my dream and do something completely different, knowing that I didn’t give it my all. Or, I could work hard to fix the gaps in my application and come back twice as strong. Which do you think I recommend? It’s okay to not succeed at first, but never give up on something without giving it your very best effort. I’m looking forward to the next application cycle, and I know that The University of Akron doesn’t bring in a bunch of quitters!