Class of 2017: Future doctor looks forward to making a difference

Samuel Bunting will be the student speaker at the Spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13, at 2 p.m. He is a Williams Honors Scholar graduating with a degree in biology, summa cum laude, with minors in chemistry and bioethics, and a Certificate in Gerontology.

Hometown: Huron, Ohio

High School: Huron High School

What’s next?

After graduation, I will be attending medical school at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, Ill. I will be pursuing an M.D. concurrently with a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration.

Q: Campus involvement?

A: Getting involved on campus was definitely one of the most influential aspects of my Akron Experience. I served two years on the executive board of Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, including a year as president. Getting involved opened up tremendous opportunities to make a difference. I am incredibly proud of the work we did, particularly of a fundraising initiative I organized to raise money to fund the annual Cerebral Palsy Picnic at Akron Children’s Hospital. The money our chapter raised was enough to send over 500 children with this devastating disease from the Akron area to an Akron Rubber Ducks baseball game. Our chapter also sponsored multiple academic lectures on campus, and maintained the highest standards of professionalism, education and leadership. I was involved in undergraduate research, and had the opportunity to present my work at several scientific gatherings. Through collaboration with several on-campus groups, I started a program at a local nursing home that gives students the ability to give science-based presentations to the residents. Undergraduate students give the presentations, and the topics are requested by the residents, which promotes intergenerational learning and communication. I also worked on campus as a writing and science tutor.

Q: What’s your advice to incoming freshmen?

A: Get involved on campus and in the community. Your undergraduate years are what you make of them, and UA and the surrounding community provide so many options to make a difference. These are the experiences that take your education out of the classroom and into the real world, to distinguish what you are truly passionate about from what you may think you’re passionate about. Campus and community involvement is also tremendously important for personal growth.

When I moved to Akron, I didn't know anyone. But, I quickly learned how fast this campus shrinks once you get involved. I joined student organizations, got active in undergraduate research and volunteered throughout the community. Now, I am graduating with a network of people that feel like longtime friends. Being surrounded by this incredible diversity of people has taught me just as much as my coursework. I completely believe that I am a more educated person because of my time at UA, but also a more competent and considerate citizen, and I owe that to my extracurricular involvements.

Q: How do you describe your Akron Experience?

A: My Akron Experience has been one of tremendous personal and academic growth. I chose this university because I felt it could provide me with the resources I needed to achieve my personal goals of becoming a physician. During my four years on campus, I was continuously proven correct. I met professors and staff who were completely dedicated to student success. A great variety of student organizations provided ample opportunities to get involved on campus, and in the larger community. That involvement created networking opportunities that gave me an invaluable support system. I found friends here that were with me for ups and downs, and for work and for play. The experiential learning opportunities of my coursework allowed real-world application of classroom concepts, and to use this application to make a difference for others. I have grown considerably throughout my time at UA, and I feel completely confident that I am ready to take on whatever challenges that may come my way.