Rachel Whittaker, senior biochemistry major from Cartersville, Ga., sent in her acceptance letter to the University of Texas at Austin two weeks ago.
The idea of graduate school still scares her, Whittaker said, but she is excited to dig into the years of research it will take to get her Ph.D. in organic chemistry.
Whittaker is one of many graduating students who have, will or are currently applying to graduate schools, medical schools or law schools. Although not all students are certain about their post-graduation plans, a good number of ACU graduates are expected to return to ACU for graduate school said Brandon Lemley, graduate marketing manager.
Dr. Mel Hailey, professor of political science and pre-law adviser, said that approximately 33 seniors have asked to receive information about going to law school. About 20-30 graduates have gone to law school annually over the past few years, Hailey said, and he expects that number to be similar this year.
The number of seniors pursuing further studies within the departments of biology, chemistry and physics are holding steady as well, said Dr. Cynthia Powell, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and adviser of the medicine preprofessional program. As of the beginning of April, 16 students from these departments were going to graduate schools in traditional science fields, 15 students were going to medical or dental schools and eight students were going to graduate programs in allied health fields.
Powell said she was pleased that ACU students were further preparing themselves for careers in fields like medicine, green technology and higher education.
“ACU has a long history of preparing students to serve as medical professionals and as professional scientists,” Powell said. “As we look toward a world that has ever-advancing technology, it is important that Christians play a part in every part of our society so we can be salt and light in our world.”
Blaine Gilbert, senior biochemistry major from Azle, wants to use the knowledge he’s gained at ACU in the medicinal field. He took the MCAT on Saturday, and plans to apply to most of the medical schools in Texas.
Gilbert is not sure yet what kind of doctor he wants to be, but is confident he’ll find the right focus for him as he continues his studies.
“I’ve wanted to do medicine for six or seven years now,” Gilbert said. “I like how you can incorporate some problem solving into a scientific field.”