Meet Our Graduates

Meet some of our Graduates and learn more about Point Loma Nazarene University


We asked some of our recent graduates who have moved on to Graduate and Medical Schools across the United States to provide brief statements about their Point Loma experiences. Here's what they had to say...


Matthew D. Alexander (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Michigan



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

I chose Point Loma because, unlike many higher educational institutions today, Point Loma is devoted to the development of the whole person. A commitment to scholastic excellence is supplemented with a community that facilitates the spiritual and social growth of the individual.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

The undergraduate research program at Point Loma provided me with hands-on experience with the research techniques and tools important in chemistry research today as well as an understanding of the format and methods for conducting research. More importantly, it wet my appetite and gave me a thirst for scientific investigation.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

The coursework and laboratory experiments at Point Loma provided me with a superior education in the sciences, enabling me to attend a top-ranked graduate program in chemistry. The training I received at Point Loma provided me with the foundation that is necessary to be competitive in today's aggressive world of scientific research.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

I am currently planning on seeking a position in academia, but I am also considering a career in the pharmaceutical industry.


Michael Alexander (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), M.D. Program at Loma Linda University



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

Point Loma has a unique dual major opportunity in Biology/Chemistry as well as professors dedicated to the growth of students.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Yes. Chemistry research was extremely valuable in preparing me to think independently and in training me to present my ideas to others.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

Learning science cannot be done alone; it requires the support of knowledgable, personable teachers able to interact with students individually as well as modern equipment. Point Loma offers both of these to its undergraduates.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

Practice medicine as a physician.

 

Lynnsey Bates-Stewart (Biology, 1988), M.D. Program at Loma Linda University



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

Location and academic reputation, especially in music and science.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Did not participate in summer research.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

The science education at Point Loma is excellent. However, it was the personal interest and attention from my science professors, particularly Dr. Heasley, which motivated me and sticks with me to this day.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

Practice medicine. Specific career plans are as yet undecided.

 

David Brock (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), D.M.D. (Doctor of Medical Dentistry) at Harvard University



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

I chose Point Loma for its superior Biology-Chemistry program and liberal arts education surrounded by a strong Christian tradition with the benefits of ethical training in conjunction with scientific disciplines.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Point Loma afforded me the opportunity to work side-by-side with a professor and his investigative efforts, not just as a pair of hands but as a member of the team. At Harvard and MIT, I am currently working in a lab that is developing techniques for tissue engineering, namely bone and cartilage. This opportunity was only made available due to my extensive research background in molecular biology at Point Loma.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

At Harvard, dental students are enrolled with medical students, along with additional dental classes at the dental school for the first two years. This extensive and intensive curriculum requires a solid background in biology and chemsitry. Point Loma's Biology-Chemistry program built a strong scientific foundation for the discipline of dental medicine.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

On completion of my D.M.D. from Harvard, I plan to be part of a medical missionary team for a year or so to provide dental care in underdeveloped countries. After, I will then pursue a specialty in dentistry, perhaps oral trauma surgery.

 

Jason M. Cox (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Arizona



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

Because of the high academic integrity and productivity of the Biology and Chemistry Departments.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

The summer research allowed me to experience science in a totally different arena and allowed me to see what I would encounter in graduate school.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

Summer research helped a lot in my preparation for grad school. My classes [at Point Loma] gave me a strong foundation upon which I am able to build my education.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

My career plans range from industry to academia at large or small schools.

Jeanette Eastis (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), Biomedical Sciences Certificate Program in Physiology at Loma Linda University


Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

As a junior and senior in high school I visited Point Loma. During these visits, I learned of Point Loma's good reputation for preparation for medical and dental schools.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Yes. Although I am not currently involved in research at the graduate level, I feel well-prepared should the opportunity to participate arise.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

The material covered in several of my courses at Point Loma was assumed as prior knowledge and was expanded on in my courses at Loma Linda. This was especially true in my medial physiology course.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

I am in the process of applying to medical school.

 

Jenna Haliasz (Biology-Chemistry, 1996), M.D. Program at Loma Linda University



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

Point Loma is a small, Christian college with an excellent student to teacher ratio. The science departments are a lot stronger than other colleges with similar missions.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Yes. Although I am not in a Ph.D. program and research is not a regular part of my curriculum, it's nice to sit through a molecular genetics lecture surrounded by confused students and think, "Hey, I've done that!"


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

The most valuable tool I took with me from the science departments at Point Loma (aside from a beaker that was used to transport some goldfish) was the ability to think analytically. It wasn't until I arrived at the university with students from all over the country - and all over the world - that I realized how valuable and rare a commodity that really is.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

Land a decent residency. I'm not sure what I will be specializing in - pediatrics or maybe neurology. Then? Overseas clinics perhaps. It's hard to say this early in the game.

 

David J. Hill (Chemistry, 1997), Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

Because it is a small department and the interpersonal atmosphere with the professors was important to me.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Yes. Undergraduate research at Point Loma was essential to my success not only in my classes but also in my research. I feel that I am one step ahead of the other graduate students.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

I learned how to develop a project intellectually and carry it through to the end.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

I'll do a post-doc and then pursue a career in academic research/teaching at a university.

 

Benjamin J. Pettus (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), M.D./Ph.D. Program in Molecular and Cell Biology and Pathophysiology at the Medical University of South Carolina



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

I chose Point Loma because of the strength of the Biology and Chemistry Departments, the opportunity for undergraduate research and the chance to learn from men and women with balance in their academic, personal and spiritual lives. The advantages of a strong Christian liberal arts college really appealed to me.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Yes. The two years of research and lab assisting were two of the best years of my life. The experience gave me an invaluable lead into graduate level studies as well as provided the basis for needed technical, presentational and critical thinking skills.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

My training at Point Loma was incredibly thorough and rigorous to the point where I now feel I have a distinct advantage, perhaps in ways I may never be able to fully articulate. By no means did I know everything when I graduated, but I certainly feel that the foundation, exposure and the skills I acquired at Point Loma are serving me well. I only have one regret about choosing Point Loma - the experience is so irreproducible that you will miss it terribly when you leave... if you ever realize what you had!


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

I seek to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through all aspects of my life. I want to be found faithful to my calling to love others and that is why I am so excited about my prospective future in translational research and clinical medicine. God has truly blessed me and now my desire is that others may see and understand what living a healthy, vibrant life really means.

 

Tobiah L. Pettus (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), Ph.D. Program in Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Medical University of South Carolina



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

I was searching for a Christian college of noted academic excellence. The professors I met were encouraging, personable and took an interest in me. I couldn't ask for a better location... right on the beach in San Diego! The cost was reasonable, there were summer research opportunities and I know that I would earn a liberal arts education. Most importantly, I knew that I would learn how to become a true disciple of Christ at Point Loma.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Yes. Summer research gave me a clear understanding of the scientific method. It equipped me with excellent laboratory skills and the ability to write scientifically. I was even a co-author on several peer-reviewed scientific papers! Through this process I came to understand how important the student-mentor relationship is. Most importantly, I learned how to think, not to just be a pair of hands. Scientific thought is often overgeneralized and things are more complex than we can even imagine. Once you understand that science is falable and far from perfect, you will be willing to go against the norm and tradition to explore novel ideas.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

The excellence of the professors and the personal encouragement and support which they gave me empowered me with the knowledge and gave me a superb academic edge. I cannot stress this truth enough. I feel totally prepared for my current studies. Most importantly, I was taught how to think for myself and how to be more than just a pair of hands. In science, you must be skeptical about everything. Nonetheless, it is important to develop self-confidence and the ability to reason well in order that truths may be discovered.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

My ultimate goal is to attend medical school so that I can become a doctor who has also been trained as a scientist. Specifically, it is my desire to become a clinical investigator, bridging the gap between scientific research and the practice of medicine.

 

Lorena Puto (Biology-Chemistry, 1997), Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside



Why did you choose Point Loma over other institutions for your undergraduate studies?

Because it was the dream school for me. It consisted of the perfect combination of the four features I considered equally important but rarely combined in a single institution: Christian environment, yet liberal thinking; small size; distinguished reputation in the subjects that interested me the most - Biology and Chemistry.


Did you participate in summer research? If so, how did the experience help prepare you for research at the graduate level?

Yes, but at a different institution. I became familiarized with lab techniques in molecular biology and learned how to analyze the experimental results. In starting graduate level research, it is advantageous to have previous experience because it shapes the skills for future resarch.


Please describe how your overall science education/training at Point Loma helped prepare you for your current studies:

Many of the science courses offered by Point Loma formed my foundation in science. The new knowledge I am acquiring through my current studies is more easily assimilated since the found is strong.


What are your career plans following the completion of your current studies?

My career plans are to perform research in my area of specialization either at an academic or industrial institution.