With another Commencement behind us, High Point University graduates will be commencing prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2021:
Name: Brooke Smith
Hometown: Evergreen, Colorado
Post-graduation plans: Smith will be attending the Uniformed Services University of the Health Science for medical school in Bethesda, Maryland.
How HPU helped you get there: “Picture the typical shy, introverted and scared freshman on campus. That was me. Before HPU, I was not very outgoing, and I didn’t think I ever would be. When I arrived on campus, I found myself searching for ways to get involved. Charcoal Pony improv happened to be one of the first things that I signed up for. With no acting experience, and only having been on the stage for my high school graduation, I was not expecting to be accepted into the troop. You can imagine my surprise when I got the call. Improv quickly became a place for me to express myself and have fun. The first show I performed in was on family weekend in the Fine Arts Center and it was packed! As I stepped on stage in front of nearly 600 people with no script, I strongly questioned what I was doing. Before I knew it, I became comfortable on stage and began to enjoy myself. As my confidence grew, I began to branch out, joining the first-year navigator program to serve as a mentor for incoming students. From there I continued to accept more leadership roles. All these opportunities have helped me to grow as a student and as an individual, and my success translated to my academics and my research. I even worked alongside a surgeon for 10 weeks and presented our clinical research in front of the Orthopedic department at Colorado Children’s hospital this past fall. The skills that HPU helped me uncover within myself ultimately have made me who I am today. I utilized the Office of Career and Professional Development almost every year of my undergraduate career. As a freshman, that office helped me find internships on campus where I could continue to do research with my mentor. As a sophomore, I conducted mock interviews with this office and ent into my interview with Colorado Children’s Hospital prepared and confident. As a Junior, they once again helped me find and prepare for interviews and internships. Then during the final step of this journey, I began preparing for medical school applications. The office helped me perfect my written experiences and applications and once again prepared me for interviews in practical ways. They even did a practice zoom interview with me because COVID-19 caused all of my interviews to be moved online.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “The most impactful mentor that I had at HPU was Dr. Aaron Titus. When I came into the physics department, I needed to take a course for my pre-med requirements and I was placed in an algebra-based class. After a few days, I realized that my calculus background had prepared me to take on the more difficult Calc based physics course. I went to Dr. Titus and asked him to allow me to switch to his course. Of course, he said yes, but my schedule did not allow me to take the lab at the scheduled times. That didn’t stop Dr. Titus from helping me learn at my desired level, and seeing the potential in me. He created a separate lab time so that I could take the course. But his dedication to his students didn’t stop there. He frequently would adapt the course material to fit the interests of his students, like building in biomechanics and exercise science applications for me. His love for teaching is unmatched and on top of that, he sees the potential in each student and pushes them to become a better version of themselves. Without Dr. Titus, I would not be the student or the individual I am today.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “Working at the HPU home-schooled science fair was one of the most impactful moments of my undergraduate career. During this event, home-schooled students came to campus to present their science fair posters and also engage in some fun science experiments. During this day, I got to run one of the stations and share my love of science with these incredible young students. Seeing how their eyes light up with each experiment reminded me of the awe that I felt learning about these topics for the first time. It recaptured the childlike joy of science in my heart and inspired me to continue sharing the love of science.”
Advice for underclassmen: “Take every opportunity you get. It can be scary to volunteer for something, especially when you are not 100% sure what you are getting yourself into, but if you see it as an opportunity to grow, then it will be worth it.”
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