Andrew Katko

  • BA Biochemistry (Miami University), 2018
  • University of Toledo Medical School

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

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Miami played an instrumental role in my acceptance into medical school. First, the opportunities I got while participating in research under Dr. Crowder gave me both the experience in research and the publications that medical schools love to see on applications. Most undergraduate institutions do not provide their students the opportunities in research that Miami does, as the money is typically allocated towards graduate research.
Furthermore, the rigorous course work that the department provides is clearly recognized by medical schools across the country, and this is represented by the acceptance rates into schools by Miami graduates. The professors and my peers at Miami challenged me to be my best each day and accelerated my learning such that I could be prepared for the MCAT and the challenges that medical school brings.

Finally, and this cannot be understated, the relationships I built with my professors in the department were among the things I cherish most from Miami. I have never been a part of a group of people who are as accepting, kind, and inspirational as the professors are at Miami as a whole, particularly in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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

As a graduate from this department, I felt as prepared as any of my colleagues to tackle the course load of medical school, if not more so. Knowledge of basic sciences is vital to be able to succeed in medical school, and while there was a recap of basic biology, chemistry, and biochemistry, this was completed in about 4 weeks. I felt very prepared for these courses (thanks to Dr. Tai for making me memorize the metabolic cycles!) and could then focus on the adjustment to a life in a new city and new school.

The skills in a laboratory and classroom setting that I acquired during my time at Miami continued to help, especially as our course load as continued to increase. Taking 30+ credit hours in a semester is culture shock regardless, but I feel that the course load and difficulty of those courses while at Miami were an appropriate stepping stone towards medical school. As a student at Miami I was taught basic sciences, yes, but more importantly I was taught how to think critically and to be capable of figuring some things out on my own, which is expected out of medical students. I feel just as capable to succeed in medical school as a Miami University graduate as my peers who attended top tier private institutions, which is not a slight on those schools but rather a testament to the education Miami provides.

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

My advice for the future medical students out there would be to get involved in undergraduate research as early as possible, do as well as you can in courses, and to reach out to your professors at Miami, as they can be a vital resource to you moving forward. While undergraduate course work can feel overwhelming at times, I encourage you to find something outside of the sciences that you enjoy and put some time into that as well, be it art, athletics, music, anything! It is okay to spend some time outside of the books. You won’t regret it and you may even find that it results in better performance in classroom. Finally, and most importantly, have fun and remember the big picture. Your time at Miami will be some of the best years of your life and while it is important to do well in classes and build your resume for medical school, you MUST go and have some fun as well.