February 27, 2023 | Matt Kucinski

A male college student smiling wearing a sweatshirt in a hospital setting.
Myles Radersma, from Kitchener, Ontario, is one of a select number of students chosen to be part of the American College of Cardiology's Young Scholars Program.

Myles Radersma is comfortable literally jumping in to help out in an emergency. As a lifeguard over the past few summers, he’s gained experience helping people when they needed it most.

“When you can treat someone and make their life a little better, there’s a good feeling of accomplishment,” said Radersma.

His interest in the sciences combined with his desire to help people in difficult times has him dreaming of becoming a doctor.

Discovering the best path

As a high school senior, when he was looking at the path to get there [becoming a doctor], he considered where his parents went to school, where he could continue to play hockey at a high level, and which school would best propel him toward his dream career.

Calvin checked all the boxes. So Radersma, a Canadian citizen, decided to become the fourth generation on his mom’s side to head to the United States and enroll at Calvin University.

While he had some familiarity with Calvin, he expected that coming from another country would make his transition a bit choppier. Instead, his path has felt as smooth as the ice after a Zamboni resurfaces it.

Finding community and opportunity

“The sense of community and friends and the opportunity to play a college sport and to continue to develop as an athlete helped with transitioning to university,” said Radersma, who is a biology major on a pre-med track.

Radersma also got into the Phage program his first semester where he immediately got hands-on lab experience discovering bacterial phages.

“You discover new things, learn about trial and error processes, and get a small glimpse into the research process and how everything works,” he said.

With research already under his belt, when his pre-med adviser Teri Crumb emailed the class about an opportunity to apply for a unique research experience with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), Radersma went for it … and he got it.

“The Phage program that Myles is part of is an incredible opportunity for first-year students to participate in regardless of their major and where they can gain research experience their first semester,” said Crumb. “Not only does this fulfill a course requirement, but it also sets first-year students apart with research experience, and that likely was the tipping point for Myles earning this highly selective ACC opportunity.”

Building his med school resume

The program provides a select number of students who are juniors in high school through sophomores in college with a unique opportunity to be introduced to the field of cardiology. As part of the program, Radersma will be paired with a mentor, likely in Grand Rapids because of the extensive hospital systems there, who will do a year of cardiology research alongside him. At the end of the year, Radersma will have an opportunity to attend the ACC's annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

“It’s a cool opportunity to get a foot in the door in the field of research, to learn about the whole research process, and it’ll help build my resume for med school,” said Radersma.

And it’ll help him get closer to his dream job, whatever he decides that is.

“I’ve wavering between a few things, emergency room/emergency care, maybe becoming a clinical physician and doing research, and I’m also considering pediatrics,” said Radersma.

Well Prepared

Calvin graduates score far above the national average on the MCAT and get into prestigious med schools all over the world. Here’s why?

Incredible research

Med schools want to see research experience on one’s application. Calvin pre-med students do paid research in areas like tropical disease, reproductive health, cancer treatment, multiple sclerosis, and many more.

Helpful partnerships

Calvin has close partnerships with area medical schools, through which students have opportunities at filling several guaranteed seats at Wayne State or Michigan State University, or a full-tuition Calvin scholarship and guaranteed interview at the University of Michigan.

A unique community

West Michigan is home to a huge medical community that includes some of the top-rated hospitals in the world, like Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Spectrum Health. That means students have plenty of opportunities for clinical experience in cutting-edge facilities before they graduate.

A flexible program

Calvin’s pre-med programs let students major in virtually anything--even a non-STEM field. At Calvin, students are guided to choose a major that moves them toward their goals, whether it's chemistry or music or anything else.

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