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Success Stories

Erika Karjalahti ’19

Major: Biology

Title: Dental Student at Roseman University

After graduation I did Gerodontology research while applying to dental schools and working as an assistant. A year later I started dental school where I am now in my third year.

I credit the Biology professors and pre-health advisor for preparing me so well at Augsburg for post-graduation. I chose to attend Augsburg for the Biology and Music program and close knit, collaborative atmosphere it provided. First day of school they handed me a suggested list of classes for pre-med students and had an assigned upperclassmen in my major walk me through signing up for courses. Professors were advisors for students in the program to touch base once a semester to help us succeed in our goals post-graduation. Tri-beta and the pre-Dental club helped me find people who are interested in the same goals I am prepared for in life after my undergrad year.


Leah Patrick ’19Three people standing in front of a fall display

Major: Biology

Title: Physician Assistant Student at St. Kate’s

I’m currently in St. Kate’s Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program and will be graduating in December of 2023.
Catherina Kipper from URGO was extremely helpful in preparing for graduate school applications. I also was inspired by Dr. B’s passion for Immunology and her course in cancer immunology which helped me to figure out that I may want to work in oncology as a future physician assistant. I also had many discussions with Dale Pederson who helped me to critically think about my future career choice. So many great faculty and staff helped to get me where I am today.

Enrico Barrozo ’14

Major: Biology

Title: NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

After graduation, I went on to a post bac at the University of Georgia, followed by a Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics at the University of Florida (‘20). Currently, I am an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

I credit the Augsburg Biology Department, my mentor Dr. Beckman, as well as the URGO, LSAMP, and Ronald E. McNair Scholars Programs for sparking and fueling my passion for research. I aim to start an independent research lab investigating pillars of virology, fetal immune development, and interventions addressing racial health disparities in perinatal health. Essential to broader impacts, I hold engagement and mentoring positions in my community and internationally, aiding others in finding their vocation, just those at Augsburg that helped me find my raison d’etre.

Joseph Buchman ’13

Joseph Buchman

Majors/minors: Chemistry and Biology majors; minor in Mathematics

Title: Graduate student at the University of Minnesota

After graduation from Augsburg, I began working in a Chemistry lab at the University of Minnesota. My project for summer 2013 was to monitor the loading capacity of a model anti-cancer drug, doxorubicin, into mesoporous silica nanoparticles.

I officially started graduate school at the University of Minnesota in Fall 2013. I continued to work in the same Chemistry lab, but switched to a new project that focused on nanotoxicity. For this project, I am part of a multi-institutional collaboration called the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.

Augsburg’s faculty members were extremely helpful in preparing me for work. They always encouraged me to apply for research opportunities. I was even able to publish a paper with Vivian Feng [Augsburg Professor of Chemistry].

Many of the skills I learned in the labs at Augsburg, and during my research experiences, have been directly applied to the work I’m doing now. In addition to experience gained in my field, I also feel that the curriculum at Augsburg strongly emphasizes critical thinking. My time at Augsburg has definitely helped prepare me for my career path.

Brittany Kimball ’13Brittany Kimball

Major: Biology

Title: Medical student at Mayo Medical School

After graduation I served for one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Campus Kitchen and Health Commons, both Augsburg organizations doing amazing work in our urban community. That experience helped me gain practical skills in community-based work and better understand the role relationships play in health and healing. It also allowed me to witness exceptional examples in Augsburg’s nursing faculty, showing me that medical professionals can make a difference in improving health for all people. I am currently a medical student at Mayo Medical School.

The three most formative experiences I had while at Augsburg were my summer research experiences at Mayo Clinic—made possible with help from URGO and an Augsburg alum, my internship with the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and my year as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

Each one of these experiences served to deepen the relevance of what I learned as a Biology major, and gave me skills that will make me a better physician. I feel especially lucky not only to have had an exceptional science education that continues to serve me well in my medical school courses, but also to have been instilled with a strong sense of community. I’ve always had a strong interest in social justice, but Augsburg gave me experiences that showed me what that can look like in practice.


Brandon Bukowski ’12Brandon Bukowski

Major/minor: Biology major; minor in chemistry

Title: Medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

After graduation from Augsburg, I worked for one year as a medical scribe for Emergency Care Consultants Professional Association (ECC).  As a scribe, I accompanied the medical provider during the medical exam and documented the history of present illness, physical exam, and laboratory results into the electronic medical record.  I started medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) in August 2013, and am currently a second-year medical student.

Augsburg provided the unique combination of a small-scale classroom environment conducive to one-on-one learning in the setting of a large metropolitan area with easy access to the necessary resources/opportunities to become an attractive medical school applicant. My experience as a Sundquist Scholar working with Dr. Jennifer Bankers-Fulbright in the Augsburg URGO Summer Research Program was invaluable in preparing me for medical school and my future career as a physician scientist. The opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty research mentor provided an avenue to solidify concepts introduced in the classroom and improve my ability to think critically and independently through experiential learning.

The foundation that I built through my research experience at Augsburg has opened doors in medical school and clinical research that otherwise would be closed.

Breann Yanagisawa ’10Breann Yanagisawa

Majors/minors: Biology major; minor in Psychology

Title: Graduate student in the Pathobiology PhD program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

When I first graduated from Augsburg, I worked for one year as a laboratory technician at a small private laboratory in Wisconsin. I then went back to school for training in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) through the Fairview Hospital program. While I was in the yearlong MLS program, I applied for graduate school PhD programs. I knew I wanted to study human disease-based research of some kind. Ultimately, I got accepted into the Pathobiology PhD program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. My thesis research focuses on targeting cancer stem cells in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

I remember being distinctly resistant to the idea of research of any kind when I was in my first year at Augsburg. But, through the encouragement of my advisor (Dr. Dale Pederson) I was directed to some research experiences that completely changed my outlook on the field. I participated in two summer research internships (one at the University of Colorado and one at Augsburg – URGO) that gave me great insights into what a career in scientific research can be.

It’s because of experiences like this that I feel comfortable in a graduate program setting at one of the top hospitals in the nation. I also believe that the intimate teaching setting at Augsburg was a huge factor for me in feeling comfortable with my own capabilities. I knew my professors genuinely cared for my learning and that really helped me have the confidence I needed to learn difficult scientific concepts and ultimately have the courage to apply and go to graduate school.