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Research prepares senior for physician’s assistant program

Apr 14, 2022
A woman stands on a staircase
A woman stands on a staircase

KOKOMO, Ind. — As Logan Cox begins the competitive admissions process for physician’s assistant programs, she says her Indiana University Kokomo degree has prepared her for the challenge.

“The lab experience was excellent here. I don’t think I would have had as much hands-on attention, and given the opportunities I’ve had anywhere else,” she said. “My classes were taught by specialists in their field, with advanced degrees. It’s reassuring being taught by experts.”

She said admission is highly selective, with one of her top choices only accepting 30 students from hundreds of applicants.

Cox, from Lawrenceburg, graduates in May with a degree in biological and physical sciences, a whole year earlier than she anticipated because of dual enrollment classes she took in high school, and some advanced planning by her academic advisor. That gives her time for a gap year to work and begin applying to graduate programs.

“I went almost my whole freshman year without realizing I could finish in three years, so it was a pleasant surprise,” she said, adding that the advisor sent her a spreadsheet mapping out the credits she earned from dual enrollment and AP classes in high school, what classes she needed to take, and when, to finish in three years.

It was a daunting — but doable — journey for Cox, taking 16 to 18 credit hours per semester.

“It was stressful, but it was nice, because I could think only three more semesters to go, only two more to go,” she said. “I’m excited to graduate and have my degree, and then have some time off before I go back to school.”

She’s made the most of her time on campus, including a year as a research assistant with Kasem Kasem, professor of chemistry, assessing gels for their ability to conduct electricity.

Kasem described Cox as “a very talented and intelligent student,” who stood out in his chemistry classes.

“I noticed her talent when she grasped the fundamentals of research in electrochemistry as an undergraduate student in a very short time,” Kasem said. “She mastered running the equipment, setting the desired research project and procedures, collected the data and further treatment of the data, and displayed it to get logical outcomes.”

He noted that with her contributions, they have an academic journal article currently in the publication process.

Cox appreciates the hands-on lab experience, because it will benefit her when she begins her physician’s assistant program.

“I’m very glad I had the opportunity to work with him,” she said, adding that Kasem provided training and then gave her a great deal of responsibility and independence, so she could learn from the work. Another student provided guidance on the technology used, Kasem helped her prepare samples, and then trusted her to run the experiments, measure, and show him the data to make sure she was on track.

“For the most part, I knew what needed to be done, and accomplished it,” she said.

Her accomplishments are even more incredible when factoring in that she worked while earning her degree, first as a home health aide through a local agency, and now as a pharmacy technician. She chose both jobs with purpose — the home health aide job gave her direct patient care experience, while the pharmacy job provides a look at another health care aspect.

Cox is proud that her hard work, both in the classroom and on the job, is allowing her to graduate debt free.

“I can feel more comfortable going into a graduate program more prepared for adulthood and my education, and I was able to save some money,” she said.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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