Shaping Role Models

Evan, '17 Biology

When Evan Stieler ’17 chose USI as the place to earn his biology degree, he did so for two reasons: the campus was beautiful and the community was amazing. Everyone he met during his Open House Day visit—from the lively student body, to the attuned administration, to friendly faculty—was focused on students’ successes. “It’s really easy to see yourself studying here because of how high-tech and state-of-the-art the facilities are,” he said. “The faculty are willing to go out of their way to help students succeed. That was evident in hearing other students talk about their love and passion for the University.”

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Evan volunteering on move in day

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Evan was USI's 2016 Homecoming king

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Evan at graduation, being given the President's Medal by Dr. Linda Bennett, USI President Emerita

The idea of going to medical school was in his mind when he looked at USI, but when he learned that USI’s MCAT scores (the admissions test for medical school) were among the highest of any public institution in Indiana— with USI students consistently scoring above the national average—it convinced him USI was where he wanted to be. “The scores were really telling as to how much faculty pushed the students, how talented the students are here and how successful they are when it comes to accomplishing their academic goals.”

You’re doing a disservice to yourself and others if you are not trying to be all you can be. That was a key takeaway from my USI role models.

Evan immersed himself in student activities and took on leadership roles as an AMIGO and as a Student Ambassador, became a resident advisor for the Honors Living Learning Community and joined the Student Government Association. The culmination of his involvement led to former Indiana Governor and current U.S. Vice President Mike Pence appointing Evan to the USI Board of Trustees as the Student Trustee in 2015.

During his time at USI, his academic skills were stellar, making his dream of becoming a physician that much more of a reality. But it wasn’t until his advisor Dr. Kimberly Delaney, assistant professor of biology, encouraged him to consider applying to prestigious medical schools that the weight of what it meant to go to USI rang home for him. “She really pushed me my junior year. She was very familiar with the medical school process and I talked to her a lot before taking the MCAT. I’d show her the medical schools I was thinking of applying to and she’d ask, ‘Why don’t you have such and such school on here?’

At that point, Evan felt the elite institutions Delaney was encouraging him to apply to were out of his league. “I didn’t think there was any chance I’d get into that school, so there was no use in spending the money on the admissions applications.”

But she believed in him and told him not to “sell himself short,” saying she was sure he had a chance to get into a lot of those prestigious schools. She knew what caliber of student he was and that he could keep up with competing peers from across the nation. “This was eye-opening to me and allowed me to expand my horizons and include some schools I would not have considered had she not had those conversations with me.”

“I’m indebted to Dr. Delaney for where I am today.”

Where is that? Having graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Indiana, Evan just finished his first year at Harvard Medical School and is on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a physician.

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Evan at Harvard

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Evan taking a selfie at the Archie selfie station at USI

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