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Forrest Oberhelman

Forrest Oberhelman

Medical Student

Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine

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"The biggest fear when graduating is the unknown, because I did not know what the future held for me. I graduated with a very average GPA without taking the MCAT yet and therefore had to pursue a Master’s degree before Medical School. Even after completing that year, I was unsure if you would get in.

My greatest advice that I can give is to never give up. There are always ways that you can get more experience, improve you grades, or just get involved in particular ways that can continue to give you a shot at medical or graduate school. It is important to keep in mind that they want well rounded applicants and that grades are not everything."


What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?

Major: Neurobiology and Physiology

Minor: Psychology and Spanish


What was your most compelling class and why?

BIOL 398 Animal Physiology with Dr. Stephanie Gardner.  This class was the first Biology course I took that made me feel like Medicine was the right choice for me.


What are you currently working on?

I am currently a fourth year medical student and will be graduating in May. I am applying for a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Which includes elements of neurology, neuroscience and, non-operative orthopedics, but has a focus on rehabilitative medicine and interventional therapies for pain, spasticity, etc. The foundation for my interest in this field was developed at Purdue during my major studies and I will continue to use that knowledge as I move forward.


Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?

I was fortunate to join a research lab in the biomedical engineering department as a sophomore. It was immensely helpful to learn about the research process and made you feel more connected to what you were learning in class. I also studied abroad in Spain for a summer semester. I volunteered within the community through my Fraternity as well.

I believe that all the experiences help you stand out, but it is not so much the experience itself. It is what you take away from the experience.

All of these experiences made me have a deeper connection and appreciation for Purdue. Firstly, while in Spain we ran into a group of Purdue Alumni teachers who providing a teaching seminar in Spanish schools. Joining a fraternity also gave me an in-group and shrank the school a little. Research helps you appreciate what you learn in class and helps show you what life after college might look like.


What advice would you give to prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?

Purdue is a large school with many resources available to its students. Take every advantage you can to get experience in your field of interest. The worst people can say to you is no.

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