Nov 11, 2022

Pre-Health Professions Club grows quickly under Keryakos

A faculty member stands at the front of a classrom.

"As future health care professionals, students are encouraged throughout our meetings to be inspired by the example and teaching of Jesus."

Once he began teaching and mentoring Dordt students in the fall of 2021, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Dr. Joseph Keryakos immediately recognized that students passionate about health care needed more guidance during college for graduate school. “Throughout my one-on-one advising sessions, I noticed that many students struggle to find health-related opportunities to highlight in their professional school applications,” he says.

To address these needs, Keryakos started the Pre-Health Professions Club (PHPC) this past spring, and it has quickly become one of the largest clubs on Dordt’s campus. With over 150 active student members, the club focuses on equipping students interested in pursuing a career in health care as well as uniting students with a passion for health care across a wide variety of interests ranging from medicine to optometry to genetic counseling.

The PHPC prepares Dordt students in many ways, including organizing volunteer opportunities and internships, inviting guest speakers, and helping students organize their prerequisites for graduate school. Those interested in attending grad school need more than high test scores and great grades; applicants need honors, awards, volunteer hours, shadowing experiences, and leadership involvement, too.

The Pre-Health Professions Club also makes students aware of internship and job shadowing opportunities. For example, by hosting guest speakers, students gain a better understanding of their future careers. They get to network with the speakers as well, which could lead to more connections.

"We try to host as many Dordt alumni as possible," Keryakos says.

Keryakos sees faith as an essential part of health care and intentionally integrates it into club meetings. "As future health care professionals, students are encouraged throughout our meetings to be inspired by the example and teaching of Jesus," Keryakos says.

For Lucy Borkowski, this means being willing to sacrifice time to serve those in need. "We know that medical careers can drain people as well as take a lot of time, so we focus on helping students see the bigger picture: serving Christ and not only your patients," she says.

Borkowski serves as vice president of communication for the club and plans to go into physical therapy one day.

Senior Elise Reinke, a biology: public health major and the president of the club, plans to attend graduate school for pharmacy. She sees the club as a bridge for students.

“People talk about the adjustment between high school and college, but there’s also an adjustment between college and graduate school,” Reinke says.

Keryakos and the executive committee are also working toward setting up a mentorship program between upperclassmen and underclassmen as well as a scholarship program to help fund study materials and conference fees for students.

“The PHPC provides a great way to build connections with health professionals,” Borkowski, a junior biology: public health major, says. “We will also host some workshops on how to build resumes, conduct job interviews, and do a session on how to apply to graduate and medical schools.”

“We’re not only there to treat aspects of patients health,” Reinke notes. “Creating that personal relationship is so important because then you build trust, and I can better advocate for them.”

Ana Timmer ('20)

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers