Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Leadership on Campus Pays off for Undergrad

Eric Keller
Undergraduate, Biology & Chemistry Major, School of Science 
2011 & 2012 Top 10 IUPUI Male Student | President of the School of Science Undergraduate Student Council
2013 B.S. Graduate
M.D./MA student, medical humanities and bioethics | Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine 

 

Eric Keller is an ambitious and determined student yet is approachable and easy-going. While his true passion is science, he also enjoys running, poetry, and video production. He started at IUPUI as a biology major but, after an organic chemistry class excited his interest, has decided to double major in chemistry as well. Eric hopes to become a physician, perhaps in a surgical field or oncology. 

What have been your most valuable learning experiences during your time at IUPUI?

My most valuable learning experience has been participating in Dr. Randall Roper’s Down syndrome research. Although I have learned a lot from various courses and activities, my time in Dr. Roper’s laboratory has help me to develop as a scientist more than any other opportunity. Research has allowed me to gain a better “real world” understanding of science. In addition, research has allowed me to pursue my passion for science to its fullest potential. Many courses have piqued my interest on various topics, but research has allowed me to further pursue those interests.

Beyond the science, Dr. Roper is a great mentor. He offers a variety of opportunities for professional growth such as conference attendance and publication. Roper has helped me to pursue my passions and develop myself professionally. I hope to continue researching with Dr. Roper throughout the remainder of my time here at IUPUI.

Another great learning experience has been my opportunities to teach subjects in which I was previously successful. After taking Biology K101 during my first semester here at IUPUI, I became a recitation leader for the following semester. I have found this and other mentoring opportunities to be very valuable to my own educational experience. Teaching a subject requires a level of understanding beyond good exam performance. As mentor, I had to explain various concepts in a variety of ways. Every student learns material differently, and I had to be aware of that and adapt to it. Currently I am helping Dr. Lin Zhu lead his honors Chemistry C106 recitation. I have truly enjoyed these experiences and I believe they have helped me grow academically and professionally.

Other than Dr. Roper, who have been your mentors here at IUPUI?

Brady Harman and Areef Kassam, two upper classmen, have been instrumental in getting me involved both within my major and the IUPUI campus. They have grown to be close friends while being instrumental to my personal growth over the last two years.

Professionally, Dr. Lin Zhu, chemistry lecturer, has been an amazing mentor to me since my freshman year. Dr. Zhu has helped me determine my academic goals and offered me many great opportunities within the School of Science.

With each new course or organization, I am constantly finding amazing individuals to look up to and emulate. IUPUI is saturated with so many great faculty and student leaders that I consistently find myself surrounded with excellent mentors and role models.

Please describe your extracurricular activities and their impact on you:

Through my involvement in a many student organizations, I have become more connected to the IUPUI campus, developed professional skills, and enhanced my academic performance. From knowing what events are taking place on campus to developing public speaking skills, extracurricular involvement is pivotal to one's success in college and future professional pursuits.

In my time at IUPUI, I have been involved in campus housing through the Apartments on the Riverwalk Council and the formation of the Resident Hall Association, the Undergraduate Student Government, Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Alpha Lambda Delta honors society, and the IUPUI Honors College. I have participated in research as a freshmen worker and now an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Randall Roper’s laboratory. I have served as a recitation leader for BIOL-K101 and CHEM-C106. And I have participated in service through events such as the United Way Day of Caring and MLK Day of Service as well as volunteering at Riley’s Hospital for Children.

My involvement in student organizations has fostered my growth as a leader. I am actively developing skills which will behoove me in my future endeavors. For example, my time at Riley has exposed me to the world of medicine and given me a more realistic view of the field in which I am interested. In addition, the experience has been immensely rewarding. I love my interaction with the various patients and the effect it has on me.

What's your advice for incoming freshman?

  1. Stay on top of your academics. You should be a student before anything else. Doing well in your first few classes and developing healthy studying habits will help set you up for success.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
  3. Get involved. Involvement in extracurricular organizations will develop you professionally and enhance your educational experience.

 


Are you a former IUPUI School of Science student with a story to share? Email Natalie or call 317-274-0618.