When Ashley Starcevich earned her Purdue University Bachelor’s degree in Biology in May, she was thrilled to be part of the first commencement ceremony held in the Purdue University Northwest James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex on the PNW Westville campus.
As one of two members of the Class of 2016 who took part in the building’s ground-breaking ceremony in October, 2014, she holds a significant place in the building’s history.
“To play a role in welcoming a student activities complex was a true honor,” said Starcevich.
Today, the Lowell resident has her sights set on beginning medical school in the fall of 2017.
Preparing for medical school
She plans to fill the coming months much the same way she spent her time when she was a student – working as a Cornea Recovery Technician for Indiana Lions Eye Bank, volunteering at Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Michigan City and taking on every available activity to prepare for a career as a physician.
Starcevich spends as many hours as she can shadowing physicians to observe their interactions with patients, to ask questions about their profession and to get a better understanding of all that it means to be a physician.
An involved student
On campus, Starcevich was immersed in student activities. She was a four-year member of the Dean’s Leadership Group; Pre-Med Club and Delta Sigma Science Club. Her grades earned her placement on the Dean’s List and Semester Honors lists for eight consecutive semesters and qualified her for induction into the Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society. She also served with the Student Government Association.
A three-year member of the softball team, she was captain for two years and was named to the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic first team for two years.
“My involvement in clubs and organizations played a key role in my success,” noted Starcevich. “Softball taught me a great deal about winning, losing and life in general. I am grateful for friendships with my teammates and for the opportunity to be a collegiate athlete.
“Between the knowledge gained in my biology courses and the life skills I learned from my extracurricular involvement, I feel prepared to survive in the real world,” she continued. “I am confident I can handle anything that life throws at me and that I have a strong education to fall back on.”
A visit to campus convinced Starcevich to enroll at the Westville campus.
“I fell in love with the close-knit feel, small class sizes and friendly faces,” she explained. “Being close to home and playing a sport I loved all while working towards a Purdue degree has provided a great college experience. The campus has felt like home for the past four years.”
In the classroom Starcevich encountered faculty members who encouraged her to succeed. “The Biology professors took time to get to know me and my career goals and they did all they could to ensure I reached them,” she noted. “Professors and staff members wrote recommendation letters for me to attend medical school and I am grateful to have those relationships.”
She credited her support system of “family, friends, and boyfriend for pushing me to be the best I can be. I would not be in the shoes I am in today if not for their constant love and support. I may not have made it through some classes without the support of my friends in the biology program.”
“Stick to your goals”
She encouraged other students to “stick to your goals no matter the challenges.”
Speaking directly to the Pre-Medical students, she implored, “Do not give up. There will be moments when you consider throwing in the towel or changing majors. I would be lying if I said those thoughts have never crossed my mind. Whatever your goals are, pursue them. Whether you are studying to pass an organic chemistry exam or missing out on hanging out with your friends because you have a paper to write, remember that what you are doing will be worth it in the end. Work hard each day to be better than the last and you will reach your dreams.”