'Kid Doc'

Paul Gilbert, a senior in biochemistry from Fort Wayne, Ind., will launch his dream at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine this fall.

Epiphany moment: Always interested in science and medicine, when he lost a summer EMT job to budget cuts, he took on full-time babysitting and discovered that pediatrics was the right medicine for him. The experience also led the way for his involvement with College Mentors, Inc., which pairs youth with college students.

Great eyes for quality: Just as he was about to enroll at a Florida university where his parents and brother had gone, he mentioned to the recruiters that he had been accepted at Purdue. The other school’s recruiters made such a big deal about what a great school Purdue is that he decided to take a closer look. The rest is Purdue-pride history.

Biggest misperception: Thought Purdue professors were going to be hard-nosed, cut-throat and high-pressure. “When I came in as a freshman, I was intimidated. But I was wrong. They all said, ‘We’re here to help; we have office hours for you; we want you to succeed.’ I would argue that some Purdue professors are among the best in the nation.”

Ooo Baby, Baby: When he was just a year old, surgeons separated the fused sections of Paul’s skull so that his brain could expand properly. He’s pretty sure that he’ll be a surgeon one day, and that’s one reason why.

By Amy Raley