Once interested in coaching high school basketball, Matthew Short (B.S. ’16) is now a fourth year medical student thanks to the influence of Dr. Harvey Havoonjian, associate biological sciences professor, and Biola University Office of Health Professions Advising (BOHPA).
“I actually started out not even being sure that college was for me and wanting nothing to do with grad school, let alone medical school,” he said.
He knew Biola had a reputation for prioritizing faith in Christ and he wanted that for his education. Short transferred to Biola as a human biology major after starting school elsewhere without any idea of what he wanted to do.
“Most people that want to go to med school and become a doctor know that’s what they want to do long before college starts and they know about the prerequisites, the time requirement and they follow what we call a ‘linear path’ to medicine,” Short said. “I didn’t have that experience.”
He enrolled at the School of Science, Technology and Health without shadowing experience or research experience. He said that he was “fairly certain” that God wanted him on the track to medical school.
Lost and unsure what to do, he visited Havoonjian who helped him navigate his journey.
“Students that don't know exactly where they're gonna go are near and dear to my heart, and that's what we tried to do as a BOHPA office to help to guide them down the path,” Havoonjian said.
According to Havoonjian, the office offers students advice on pursuing a future health career, how to make themselves a competitive applicant, and what it means to serve God in whichever field they aim to work in.
The office helped Short with his class scheduling, study advice, MCAT prep and application advice for medical school.
Through his relationship with Harvoonjian, he not only received educational guidance, but personal and spiritual guidance as well.
“In med school (especially in your first two years), when you are studying 80 hours a week, it can be really easy to let your priorities slide,” he said.
Havoonjian warned him about this early on and encouraged him to be intentional about setting aside time for other activities other than school.
Without Havoonjian’s guidance, Short said that he would not be where he is now. Additionally, his time at Biola shaped him and his faith through his studies alongside the people around him.
“Your faith and your profession or your relationships do not have to be separate things,” he said. “You can be a Christian and be a doctor, for example. You do not have to check your faith at the door to pursue a career in science.”
It is because of this that Biola is a special place, according to Short, who cited that few places have believers who are willing to pour into and mentor others.
“I believe entirely that God used Biola as a place to shape me and send me on a path that he had prepared for me,” he said. “I have no doubt that God is doing that still with the students there now.”
If you are interested in a B.S. in Health Sciences, visit the webpage and apply now.
Written by Charlotte McKinley, public relations intern. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.