Focused on Healthcare: Meet PNW Graduate Kelly DeMichael

December 2, 2021

Kelly DeMichael

Kelly DeMichael, ’21, has known since high school that she wanted to work in the healthcare field, but it wasn’t until the second semester of her first year at Purdue University Northwest (PNW), that she realized she wanted to be a doctor.

“The human body is so incredible that I wanted to know everything about it,” says DeMichael. “I took anatomy and physiology my first year in college and just knew I wanted to work in medicine.”  

Finding the Way

The Valparaiso native was initially a nursing major and it was in a nursing class that she realized her journey was leading her in a different direction. “During that class my professor brought in nurses from different specialties. The more I learned about their day-to-day duties, the more I realized that wasn’t where my passion lies,” explains DeMichael. “Nurses are incredible, they do so much and the program at Purdue Northwest is amazing, but it just wasn’t me.” DeMichael went home that evening, talked to her parents and later that week changed her major to biology with a health science concentration. 

While DeMichael may have been sure about her career choice, she still had one obstacle to face. “The hardest part of my journey was some occasional feelings of self-doubt because of the competitive nature in the field I chose. However, there were many things at Purdue Northwest that helped me gain my confidence.” 

One of those was being asked by professors to be a supplemental instructor in their classes. As a supplemental instructor, DeMichael led study sessions in anatomy, physiology and organic chemistry. She also boosted her confidence by participating in a couple of research projects. One of those projects was for a paper in biochemistry research where she worked under Meden Isaac-Lam, associate professor of chemistry at PNW.

The manuscript is entitled, “Calorie Restriction and Breast Cancer Treatments: A mini-review” will list DeMichael as co-author and was submitted to the Breast Cancer journal and is currently under review. DeMichael also presented at PNW’s Days of Discovery in Spring 2021 on a similar topic entitled, “The Application of Calorie Restriction in the Treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.” 

Getting Involved

“Participating in different organizations and activities at Purdue Northwest introduced me to people that helped guide me in the right direction, like professors and upperclassmen,” says DeMichael. “They helped make sure that I was on the right path. For example, I don’t think I would have become a scribe without them.”

During her first few years at PNW, DeMichael worked as a hospital scribe, a personal assistant to the physician, in the emergency department at Northwest Health – Porter Hospital in Valparaiso. “When I began scribing I was just fascinated by everything the physician did,” says DeMichael. “I worked really closely with the ER physicians and that’s probably the number one factor that solidified my desire to become a physician.” 

DeMichael was an Honors College student and peer mentor, where she shared insights about everything from time management to campus employment opportunities with incoming freshmen. She was also a member of the Medical Careers Club

Having been accepted into several medical schools, she is planning on attending the Indiana University School of Medicine where she will begin studying in August 2022. She is currently interested in women’s health but is keeping an open mind on choosing a specialty. 

DeMichael offered some encouragement and words of wisdom for PNW students: “Don’t get caught up in the little things, your failures or setbacks, because you have so many successes in your future. You might not see them yet, but they’re coming. Just know that better things are ahead.”

Who inspired you?

Meden Isaac-Lam, associate professor of chemistry and Lindsay Gielda, associate professor of biological sciences

“Dr. Isaac-Lam provided me with amazing opportunities and put faith in me to be involved in her research. Dr. Gielda encouraged me in her classes and provided feedback of where I was going right and where I was going wrong. They both really helped me in my pre-med journey.”

Meden Isaac-Lam, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Meden Isaac-Lam, associate professor of chemistry

Lindsay Gielda, associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Lindsay Gielda, associate professor of biological sciences

David Richter is pictured.

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