When Dylan Caggiano was a student at Purdue University North Central, he knew he wanted to pursue a degree in medicine.
After earning Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, with a Minor in Spanish, in 2014, he spent a year working as a limited term lecturer of Anatomy and Physiology and was a lab assistant, always keeping his eye on his ultimate goal of attending medical school.
This fall he started classes at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Wash., to begin his journey to become a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.
“I have a huge heart, I am always trying to help other people. I feel a calling to medicine for that reason,” he explained. “Serving others in a medical setting is my niche.”
His primary interest is in performing surgery. “My aspirations are to practice orthopedic surgery but I am also fascinated with cardiac surgery, ear nose and throat surgery and oncology,” he continued. “At some point in time I would like to start my own practice but I need to figure out exactly what type of medicine I want to do before crossing anything else off my list.”
But he does know that he wants provide care for those who need it, whether it is in this country or abroad, “I am inspired to provide care to the marginalized and impoverished peoples of the world. I want to give back to those who have fought for my freedom by providing veterans with great and affordable health care. I have many dreams.”
As Caggiano begins his medical studies, wife Jennifer and young sons Dallas and Rhonan will be by side his side.
“They have been the biggest contributors in my academic success,” he said without hesitation. “I could not have done this without the love and support that my wife gives me on a daily basis. She has been loving and patient with me on the nights and days when I study nonstop. Dallas and Rhonan keep me busy away from my studies, but give me a break from reality. They stand as the biggest three reasons why I will work as hard as physically and mentally possible to be successful.”
In recent years a number of PNC students have been accepted to medical, dental pharmacy, veterinary and other graduate programs. Caggiano believes that
small class sizes and personal attention students receive help students succeed.
“Students interact with the professors on a personal level which enhances the curriculum in many ways,” believes Caggiano. “Such activity provides students with experience in dealing with professionals. They receive feedback and instruction and build meaningful relationships with professors that will enrich their lives and improve their chances of securing their career of choice.
“I am grateful for all of my professors. Each one was friendly, professional, willing to help and pushed me to a higher level. They challenged me to be a better person and student.”
On campus, Caggiano was a member of the Tri-Beta Honors Society and was a supplemental instructor for Anatomy and Physiology classes and was a teacher’s assistant in the freshman biology labs.
In addition to being a student, he worked for the Indiana Lions Eye and Tissue Transplant Bank as a tissue recovery specialist, surgically removing corneas from recently deceased human donors for use in transplantation surgeries. Working a 12-hour shift, his job would take him from the Indiana-Illinois border east to Mishawaka and south to Monticello whenever there was a donation.
He would perform a full physical exam of the deceased donor, draw blood for serology testing and then aseptically remove the corneas using carefully specified surgical techniques.
“This has been a great job,” he said without hesitation.
“I always had a job during my studies, it can be stressful but, it taught me to be a much better student, father and husband,” he continued. “I think every college student needs to experience this challenge. I’ve seen many students who feel entitled; they want everything done for them and feel that they deserve what they deem fit. Working while attending college promotes humility and a strong work ethic. I know other students that like me are attending a full day of classes after working all night. Sleep becomes a luxury. If you want to succeed you need to learn how to sacrifice and truly work hard.”