Auburn Senior Pursuing Path to Become Surgeon through COSAM
The son of two University of Alabama graduates, Auburn University senior Owen Ross said he quickly fell in love with Auburn after visiting the campus.
“I toured both Auburn and Alabama because I was interested in going to school in-state because it was the best option for me,” Owen said. “When I toured Auburn and they talked about the Auburn family and how people are really connected here, that was important to me and I didn’t feel that as much at other schools. That was attractive to me and so I came here and I love it because it’s true.”
Owen is a senior studying biomedical sciences through the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) with aspirations to one day become a surgeon. After shadowing a trauma surgeon and working part-time as a surgical technician at an oral surgery clinic, Owen said he discovered an interest in surgery.
“I’m interested in having a skill I could improve over time,” he shared. “Something I noticed at the oral surgery clinic was that some of the older surgeons at the clinic could do a wisdom tooth extraction in like 10 minutes and it might take another surgeon who was fresh out of residency like 30 minutes. I just thought it was really cool to see it’s a lifelong skill you can work on and get better at.”
Owen said he first became interested in health care because he was born prematurely and grew up hearing stories of how well he was taken care of.
“From what I’m told, the doctors were really great with me and I’ve been able to live a really healthy life,” he said. “I swam varsity in high school and I’m doing a power lifting meet tomorrow. I feel very fortune and feel like maybe I’d like to do that for someone else as well.”
Power lifting is a sport that Owen has recently began competing in.
“It’s a really cool sport because you can see how you get better over time by the numbers,” he said. “This is my first meet I’m competing in. I liked lifting weights in high school and got decent at it and decided to keep doing it and I’m loving it. It’s a great stress release and adrenaline rush.”
Other activities Owen participates in during his free time include being part of the FarmHouse social fraternity and represents the fraternity in intramural swim competitions.
On his journey to become a doctor, Owen is also considering serving his country. He is applying for the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). The scholarship offers prospective military physicians paid medical education in exchange for service as a commissioned medical department officer. He doesn’t have any military experience, but his grandfather and great-grandfather served in the military and it is an experience for which he has found interest.
“I was always interested, but when I decided I wanted to be a doctor I couldn’t figure out a great way to fit it into that plan,” he said. “I think this would be an excellent way because I know I want to be a physician and that is an awesome way to give back.”
While studying in COSAM, Owen has studied abroad in England and has also worked as a medical outreach intern for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM). He has found his COSAM education to be challenging, yet rewarding. He shared that it took him some time to become acclimated to the COSAM curriculum and shared advice with incoming COSAM students.
“You really have to think about what you’re doing and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons,” he advised. “Take what you’re doing seriously and know that if you do aspire to be a health professional, know that what you’re doing now and those responsibilities you have now could affect your responsibilities later with other people’s lives as patients. Knowing that will probably help with the way you approach your studies.”