Emily Dickinson pursues her passion to help others

Emily Dickinson pursues her passion to help others

Feb 9th , 2017

Surrounded by family members who are healthcare professionals, Emily Dickinson always knew her calling was to care for others. In August 2013, she came to Midland as an aspiring nurse. A conversation with Professor Rachel Meyer encouraged her to further explore her strengths, passions, goals and interests, and – “after much reflection and prayer” – she chose to major in Biology with a Pre-Physician Assistant (PA) concentration. Dickinson has kept her eyes on her dream and has never looked back, and Professor Meyer has been her mentor ever since. 

With hard work, focus and dedication, Dickinson earned her bachelor’s degree with honors at Midland University, and has been accepted into two Physician Assistant programs. In August 2017, she will begin the 28-month Physician Assistant program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Emily Dickinson with Tyler RippergerDickinson is quick to admit it took hard work and sacrifice to qualify for medical school, and that she had help, encouragement, and resources along the way. When asked what advice she would give to students at Midland, Dickinson stressed the importance of building strong relationships and bonds with faculty, as these are the people who will be your advocates. She also talked about the importance of prioritizing. As an underclassman, Dickinson was involved in many areas at Midland: choirs, bands, performing in musicals and talent shows, spring recruiting tour and ministry. While this involvement fed her soul and developed her talents and confidence, her courses had become more demanding. Dickinson found it necessary to contemplate her long-term goals and to pare down to the activities and areas that would help to further her mission of becoming a Physician Assistant. 

“It is important to prioritize and be diligent about your academics, and to persevere,” she said. “If you do, you will reap the rewards!” 

Dickinson began to focus more of her time on her studies and, at the encouragement of her Student Success Advisor, Dr. Janet Lack, on being a Supplemental Instruction Leader for Anatomy and Physiology at Midland’s Supplemental Instruction Center.

“Emily is a very talented and special young woman,” Lack said. “She was a sensational Supplemental Instruction Leader. There are some very thankful Midland students who passed BIO 204 due to Emily's hard work and dedication. As their SI Leader, Emily always brought energy and enthusiasm to make the sessions fun and productive. My favorite example is when Emily would bring the A & P students out to Village Inn for a piece of pie. The purpose of the session was to discuss the digestive system and the steps that transpire in the consumption of our food. The group successfully digested their pie and had some fun at the same time. Emily will be a great health care professional. She was a stellar student and has an even better personality. It is going to be fun to see how far Emily will go and it is an honor to call her a Midland University alum!”

Dickinson also stressed the importance of leveraging the learning opportunities and the resources at Midland to help ensure success. She found great value in participating in an international study program, where she and other students traveled to Puerto Rico with Professor Chintamani S. Manish, to study that country’s various ecosystems and learn about its culture. 

“Emily Dickinson personifies everything that an ideal student should be – attentive, hard-working, inquisitive, and capable,” he said. “Apart from her regular course schedule, Emily enrolled in two interterm courses – Biomes at the Zoo and Tropical Ecology (Puerto Rico) – taught by me. She ensured she got the most out of both classes by always asking questions, participating in all activities, and understanding the importance of the lessons she was learning every day. We, in the Biology department, expect great things from her in the future.”

Through Biology Professor Lance Johnson’s connections, Dickinson participated in a Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she had the opportunity to learn from and network with healthcare professionals (one of which was a cardiologist who provided a graduate school reference for her), and to create a database scoring system used to evaluate cardiac patients. Dickison also took advantage of the resources at Midland’s Personal & Career Development Center. She worked with Connie Kreikemeier and Jennifer Gegzna in the center to polish and refine her professional documents, network with other PA’s who had been through the programs to which she was applying, and to prepare for the Physician Assistant graduate school program admission interviews. Dickinson indicated that the mock interviews and capacity to talk with others who had been in the programs helped her to anticipate the types of questions that would be asked, to mentally prepare and to build her confidence going into the interviews.

Dickinson’s ultimate goal is to be a Physician Assistant in a rural family practice, where she can care for others and establish long-term, positive relationships with patients. Her experiences as a Supplemental Instructor at Midland have also ignited an interest in teaching in a PA program. Dickinson also looks forward to starting her own family someday. 

Dr. Lance Johnson, one of Dickinson’s biology professors, sums up the character of this outstanding Midland graduate: “Emily exemplifies what Midland wants from our students. She is intelligent, thoughtful, hardworking, and is a leader. Emily will make an excellent Physician Assistant.” 

We thank Dickinson for the positive impact she has had on Midland University, wish her the very best in her graduate studies, and look forward to seeing her future successes!