A cut above
KSU graduate earns scholarship to top medical school
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 9, 2016) — Myles Robinson didn’t have to look far to find inspiration to enter the medical field, or to see a successful Kennesaw State University graduate.
His mother, Candy Robinson, went back to school when Myles was 9 years old. She commuted from their home in Paulding County and earned a nursing degree from Kennesaw State, then became an operating-room nurse.
Robinson is following in his mom’s footsteps — first to Kennesaw State and now into health care. After graduating from KSU with a chemistry degree in May, Robinson is enrolled at one of the country’s top medical schools — the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine — with plans of becoming a doctor.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “I always felt like I wanted to work in health care, because I was exposed to it with my mom being a nurse. I really like providing care to people.”
Robinson learned that first-hand after heeding his mother’s encouragement to become a certified nursing assistant. While carrying a full load of classes and assisting chemistry professor Carol Chrestensen with laboratory research, he worked weekends caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients at a nursing home in Powder Springs. Those hands-on clinical and laboratory experiences were invaluable assets to include in his medical school applications.
“I was able to say in his letter of recommendation, ‘This is somebody you would want to be your doctor,’” Chrestensen said. “He knows exactly what he’s getting into because he experienced it from the nursing side, and he has the academic ability to do it. Further, he has shown how incredibly caring he is, because it is difficult to care for people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Robinson also worked hard in the classroom, particularly after deciding as a sophomore that he wanted to become a physician. When he posted exceptional scores on the Medical College Admission Test, several of the nation’s most-renowned medical schools took notice.
“I just worked hard and, the next thing you know, I got my MCAT score back and realized, ‘Wow, I actually can apply to some of these schools I dreamed about attending,’” Robinson said. “It worked out better than I thought it could have.”
After interviewing at eight schools, Robinson chose the University of Chicago. The Pritzker School of Medicine awarded him a $200,000 scholarship, which will cover approximately 90 percent of his tuition over the next four years.
Robinson moved to Chicago in July and started classes this week. He has not yet decided which medical specialty he will pursue, but is leaning toward dermatology or neurology.
“It is definitely fun and rewarding to see my students succeed, and Myles is an absolutely exceptional case,” Chrestensen said. “It has been great watching him have so much success and represent Kennesaw State the way he has.”
At the same time, Chrestensen will miss Robinson, whom she described as her “go-to person” in the laboratory. During his final year-and-a-half at KSU, he assisted her in research into how certain proteins interact with and regulate eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), an enzyme in blood vessels that is essential to cardiovascular health.
The research potentially could lead to advancements in treating cancer, diabetes and inflammatory diseases, according to Chrestensen. Along with assisting her in experiments, Robinson also mentored other students who joined the research project.
“He is a great teacher, which is a particularly great attribute in medicine,” Chrestensen said. “It’s really an important ability, as a doctor, to teach your patients what they need to do and what is happening with them.”
Chrestensen isn’t the only one who holds Robinson in high regard. He said that his proud mom loves to tell the doctors she works with about her son’s accomplishments.
“She doesn’t hesitate at all to tell anybody, for that matter,” he said with a laugh.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.