Recent Purdue University North Central graduates Taylor Coleman, of Chesterton, and Ryan Crowder, of Valparaiso, became close friends at PNC.
They were both Biology majors and chemistry minors and took many of the same classes. They were involved with the Dean’s Leadership Group, they served an internship together, they both were fixtures on the campus honors list and they were inducted in the Tri Beta Biological Honor Society together.
While they both intend to pursue careers in medicine, they will venture out on different paths this fall.
Coleman will enter the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Medical Sciences program, in preparation for entry in medical school.
Crowder will enroll in the Harding University ( Arkansas) Physician Assistant program.
As PNC students, they excelled in the classroom and took advantage of every learning opportunity they could. They also took on leadership roles with clubs and organizations.
They also shared an internship with IVDiagnostics in Valparaiso, assisting in groundbreaking research that will aid doctors in better diagnosing and treating cancer.
The students presented their work at a conference in San Francisco earlier this year.
The pair heard about the internship, part of the “Interns for Indiana” program, through a class announcement and quickly submitted applications. Soon, they were working with groundbreaking research.
“IVDiagnostics gave us a lot of trust and responsibility,” said Coleman. “We worked on every phase of the project and were part of something very important. It was an awesome experience.”
The two will carry on their work as part-time consultants, continuing their research and taking on other assignments.
Crowder recalls that he became interested in biology while still in middle school.
“After four science fairs, I knew that this was the field for me,” he said. “My grandfather came from the sciences and helped me access the University of Florida laboratories for some of my projects. This opened my eyes to the amazing things going on in laboratories.
“I knew that any career involving biology was going to lead to an interesting job that had the potential to make a great impact on society.”
Both Crowder and Coleman came to PNC knowing they would get a quality Purdue education, close to home.
Plus, PNC gave them opportunities they may not have found elsewhere.
According to Crowder, “My favorite PNC experience was my Gross Anatomy class. I had the opportunity to work with real human cadavers – an opportunity available to undergraduate students in fewer than five other universities in the United States. Another plus is that gross anatomy was taught by one of the best professors at PNC, Dr. Rich Hengst, professor of Biology.”
Both students made the best of their collegiate experience, joining various clubs and organizations.
Crowder belonged to Delta Sigma Science Club, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, Premed Club, Tri Beta honor Society and Dean’s Leadership Group. As a member of the Dean’s Leadership Group, he chaired a committee to college Thanksgiving food baskets and helped put together 45 food baskets to help families have a brighter holiday.
He volunteered with Shults Lewis Child and Family Services in Valparaiso, the Porter Hospital emergency room and participated in a number of cancer walks.
Coleman was a member of Student Government Association, Deans Leadership Group, Tri Beta honor Society, The Voice newspaper staff and was a teaching assistant in the organics lab. He enjoyed the opportunity to job shadow a surgeon and that helped to solidify his decision to pursue a career in medicine.
“Everything about PNC fit my needs,” he said. “PNC provided me with everything I could have possibly needed to prepare for a career in medicine. You have opportunities as PNC that you may not have at other universities.”
Crowder agreed. “I have friends who are biology majors at larger universities and they are no more advanced in their knowledge of biology. In many ways, I’ve had more opportunities. Most have never talked to their professors outside of class and rarely got involved in research. Overall, PNC has been a fantastic university. I would highly recommend it.”