Rick Killeen

  • BS Biochemistry (Miami University), 2018
  • University of Louisville School of Medicine

How did being a Miami chemistry/biochemistry major help you enter medical school?

I truly believe that being a biochemistry major is the best way to set you up for medical school. You get great exposure to both biology and chemistry which ensures that no material you encounter for the MCAT is foreign to you. When I took the MCAT I had just taken biochemistry and physiology six weeks before which makes up the bulk of the sciences on the test, so I was very well prepared. Research was also a huge part of my career at Miami, which was my strongest extracurricular activity on my application. It is a huge talking point during interviews, and interviewers love to see that you had a good control over your project and that you were passionate about your research. Research helps so much with understanding and applying the material you learn in the classroom as well. Other extracurricular that helped me that I would highly recommend are tutoring and serving as a TA for a lab if given an opportunity. These are great leadership and education roles that also help you keep up with past information.

How does having been a Miami chemistry/biochemistry major help you currently in medical school?

With our schedule we take anatomy all first semester at UofL, and the second semester is all the molecular basis of life. After having been a biochemistry major at Miami I can honestly say that this second semester has been easy. If you can do well in Dr. Tai’s biochemistry class then you will excel in any biochemistry you take in medical school, she is awesome! In general, if you can do well in the upper level biochemistry and chemistry classes then there isn’t anything you will encounter in medical school that will be too intellectually challenging, it will just be about effort. Also one of the best things that prepared me for medical school was balancing my research and class schedule. Time management is huge in medical school, and my time management has been awesome thanks to my time at Miami.

Any advice for those who would like to go to medical school or who are considering to choose certain majors?

When I was coming in to Miami and had to pick a major I had no exposure to biochemistry whatsoever. I just knew I liked both biology and chemistry and it seemed like the logical meeting point. That was easily the best decision I ever made for my academic career. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. I would definitely give some thought to biochemistry because it is the study of life at the molecular level and to me nothing is cooler than understanding that. The classes that you take as part of the major are some of the most fun and interesting classes I have taken. Finally, I am 100% not a person that actively seeks out professors but I had a relationship with all of the professors I had in the department of chemistry and biochemistry. That is very hard to have in college, but in this department it is standard. All of my professors were amazing and so helpful. There is not a major I would recommend more than biochemistry.