Student Q&A: Ethan Pauley

Ethan Pauley

Meet Ethan Pauley, class of 2015 from Vale, South Dakota. He’s a biochemistry major and a psychology minor.

Q. What activities are you involved in on campus?

A. I’m involved in SMACS, Chapel Musicians, Viking Varieties, lab assisting and tutoring and I serve as Admission and Advancement Ambassadors.

Q. Why did you choose Augustana?

A. I initially gravitated toward Augustana because of the institution’s excellent academic reputation, but I really fell in love with Augie when I visited as a high school senior— it just felt like a place that I could call my home.

Q. Favorite class/professor?

A. I simply can’t narrow it down to one; I’ve taken a lot of wonderful courses, but “Abnormal Psychology” with Dr. Casey Trainor, “Medicinal Chemistry” with Dr. Jared Mays, and “Pharmacology” with Dr. Mark Larson were especially stimulating.

Q. Tell us about your last semester at Augustana? What is keeping you most busy? What do you want to savor?

A. I’ve committed to attending medical school at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine starting in the fall, so the stress of planning for the future has been alleviated somewhat. This semester, I’ve been given the opportunity to take several classes that are right in my area of interest, so the academic side of things has been extremely enjoyable. I’m mostly keeping busy with other activities. I play in a band — we call ourselves the New Squids on the Dock — with a few of my classmates, and we have a number of shows coming up. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing, though. As hectic as things can get, I’ll probably miss making music with my friends more than anything.

Q. What is your favorite memory at Augustana, so far?

A. Every moment I’ve gotten to play with the New Squids has been a dream come true for me — I’m wildly grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to make music with such incredible individuals. Also, I’ll never forget the study-abroad experience I had in Ireland during the spring break of my freshman year.

Q. What are your plans for the future?

A. As a life-long South Dakota resident, I have every intention of staying in the state that made me. As a physician, I will be able to give back to the area I love by supplying a desperately needed resource: high-quality healthcare from a provider who understands the local culture. I anticipate specializing in either internal medicine or psychiatry, perhaps pursuing dual board certification. In addition to clinical practice, I hope to remain engaged in research both during medical school and through the duration of my career as a physician.

Q. Tells us about the research/internship/study abroad experiences you have had during your time at Augustana that helped prepare you for your future career and how.

A. Undoubtedly, the most useful extracurricular experience I’ve had during my time at Augustana was conducting research as a South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) Fellow. I’ve also gotten to participate in smaller research projects in several upper-level science classes, which have helped to further hone my understanding of how quality research is conducted. I hope to continue my research involvement through the duration of my career as a physician, but even in regular clinical practice it is imperative to be able to critically evaluate publications. A physician’s capacity to effectively follow current research could mean the difference between life and death for a patient.

Q. How did professors/advisors inform your decision about med school and/or support you through the process?

A. My professors — especially my advisor (Dr. Duane Weisshaar) and my research mentor (Dr. Jared Mays) — were extremely helpful in keeping me on track so that I could take classes that would be both interesting to me and useful in my future endeavors. In addition, although I entered Augustana set on a pre-med track, I was consistently given opportunities to explore other career options, allowing me to make an informed decision regarding my future vocation.