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Doctors of Tomorrow

Hear from two students who came to UIndy as pre-med majors and how their undergraduate education prepared them for their next steps in graduate school.

Rolando Mendoza will graduate from UIndy with a degree in biology/pre-optometry. He will start at Indiana University School of Optometry this fall.

Why did you choose your major?

I’ve been interested in optometry since my first visit to the optometrist in middle school. It was life-changing for my vision. I chose biology as my major because it fulfills all the prerequisites to be admitted into optometry school. I also minored in business because I want to have my own practice someday.

How do you feel UIndy prepared you for optometry school?

A lot of the science classes are tailored for students who want to go into professional school. It was challenging, but I feel that I’ll be better prepared now when I start optometry school.

Tell me about your experience with UIndy faculty.

Two UIndy professors – Dr. Stemke and Dr. Joe Burnell,  Associate Professor of Chemistry – helped me decide what classes I should take and when, including the upper-level courses that would be a better option for my specific pre-professional program. They know the requirements of professional schools and what they want to see on your résumé.

Did you have any research or work experiences outside the classroom that impacted your education?

I did scientific research with Dr. Stemke, and I also worked at Eyeglass World with an optometrist. I felt that both experiences helped me to stand out on my application. Many optometry schools conduct a lot of research, and IU is known for that. The experience was also good reassurance to me that optometry is still what I wanted to do.

Michelle Otieno is now in her first year at Indiana University School of Dentistry. While at UIndy, she majored in biology/pre-dentistry.

Why did you choose your major?

I became interested in dentistry after getting braces as a child. My uncle is an oral surgeon and he recommended majoring in biochemistry. I know I’m weaker in chemistry, so I chose biology because it covered the required science classes.

Why did you choose UIndy?

During my campus visit, UIndy gave me a great overview of the biology major and pre-dentistry concentration and what I would have to do to get into the IU School of Dentistry. I like that UIndy laid it all out for me.

How did UIndy faculty prepare you for dental school?

The faculty guided me to a lot of external resources, like a summer dental camp. Dr. Douglas Stemke, Associate Professor of Biology, made connections for my research experience at IU. I also found biology to be a challenging major, and UIndy faculty ensured I was confident in the subject matter. My first semester of dental school wasn’t as taxing as I thought it would be because I was used to putting in the work.

Were you involved in any service opportunities that impacted your education?

Yes, I volunteered at Kingsway Community Care Center,a medical and dental clinic that serves low-income people. I assisted in making a library for patients to learn about diseases, and was also able to shadow dentists.