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Hospital Stays during Childhood Inspires COSAM Student to Pursue Pediatrics

Published: 04/02/2019

By: Carla Nelson

Growing up, Auburn University student John Smith spent a lot of time in hospitals. His brother was born with a rare chromosomal disorder and since the age of eight, John has struggled with symptoms from which was later diagnosed as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

Although his condition is currently under control, John said these experiences in hospitals has him interested in pursuing a career as a pediatrician.

“A lot of my experiences in medicine, are from when I was a child and from when my brother was a child,” John said. “I’ve seen so many of those experiences, through that atmosphere and being around that. Kids just have a passion and they don’t let life get them down.”

Originally from Saraland, Alabama, John attended high school in Orange Beach, Florida, and is currently a junior studying Biomedical Sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM). John has been a COSAM Leader for a year and was recently named vice president of the COSAM Leaders.

“I’m really passionate about the organization itself so I just really wanted to be a helping hand,” he said. “I love that you kind of have an opportunity to impact prospective students, current students, peers, professors, faculty, really just the whole realm of COSAM.”

John said he enjoys working with young students in events such as robotics tournaments, Science Olympiad and more.

“Seeing that passion for science and trying to help fuel that in younger people, I see that as a philanthropy all in itself, just to keep the love of science alive in general,” he said. “I did some of these things like Science Olympiad when I was younger and now getting to see all of these 13 and 14-year-olds with that spark in their eye just running around creating robots, making presentations, and just being so driven, is cool. COSAM gets hard so sometimes that it’s nice to see that passion in the younger generation.”

John has also spent time volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club, is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, and after maintaining a 4.0 was recently inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He has also made the Dean’s List every semester, was named “Outstanding Freshman” and “Outstanding Sophomore,” received the Presidential Scholarship and is a National Merit Scholar.

“I’ve never been too big on the honors personally, but that’s just me,” John said. “I’m more proud of the GPA itself more than the awards.”

John said he has learned a lot about himself through being a COSAM student.

“It’s been challenging, more so every year, and I hear it only continues,” he said. “But it’s taught me so much about myself, and about life in general. I used to think that I studied in high school and I was wrong. I learned a lot about time management. I can tell it’s already rewarding to me now, but I just know later on it will mean a lot to me graduating from COSAM.”

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