, August 24, 2008
If the phrase “Renaissance man” was ever adequate, it’s to describe senior biology/biochemistry major, Ben Koo. Not only does Ben have a natural affinity for science — as suggested by his chosen areas of study — but he is also a successful student of the PUC Honors Program, proving that he is equally fit to tackle the humanities as well. But is he musically gifted? Actually, yes. Ben played trombone in the PUC Symphonic Wind Ensemble for the first three years of his college career and plans to do so again before he graduates in June.
So how does a trombone-playing double science major/Honors student find time to relax? “I’ve been busy, but there’s downtime also,” he says. In his spare time he plays tennis as well as the piano, and he reads books of both fiction and nonfiction varieties. “I try to be fairly diverse in my choices; I like to read something about everything, and I always have something that I’m reading on the side.”
So how did this Renaissance man get to PUC? Apparently, the stars aligned in a way that made PUC irresistible for him. The location provided just enough distance from home to suit him, and not surprisingly, PUC offered him a scholarship right out of high school. Mostly, however, it was the academic factor that solidified Ben’s decision. “I knew I was going to pursue the sciences, and PUC is pretty well known for the science department,” he says. This department evidently trained him well, as he has been accepted to Loma Linda Medical School, where he will be headed after graduating from PUC. Is Ben apprehensive about starting medical school? Not a chance; he’s wanted to be a doctor for so long that he is too excited about coming a step closer to his goal to pay any attention to the fear. “I’ve heard all the horror stories already and the shock has passed me by now,” he says.
In addition to his medical school acceptance, Ben has had another piece of good fortune befall his professional life this year: He was chosen as one of the recipients of the J. Andrew Crane, M.D. Scholarship. Needless to say, like most college students, he is very appreciative of any financial support that goes toward meeting his career goals. “I don’t know what goes into determining who receives it, but it was a nice surprise and I’m really thankful. Every little bit helps and is much appreciated.”
Ben’s learning experience at PUC has been memorable and he has positive things to say about virtually all of his professors. He mentions Nancy Lecourt as having been an important mentor for him in the Honors Program, as well as numerous science teachers he’s had the privilege to know and work with. Included in this list is Kent Davis, who is not only his advisor but also a fellow trombonist; William Hemmerlin, who he’s worked for in the past; Robin Vance, his very first professor; and Aimee Wyrick, his first PUC employer. Other names were also mentioned (Ben’s memory on the subject is impressive) but in the end, he confesses, “Everyone has had some kind of positive impact and has been a mentor in one way or another.”
Regarding his overall PUC experience, Ben states: “It’s been what I’ve expected and more, some pleasant surprises here and there, but I’ve had very good teachers and met really good people here and I don’t regret anything.” Is there really a better compliment a college can receive? Congratulations on a successful college career, Ben, and best wishes for the future!