“Let me fix you! Let me make you tea,” Jordan Konkler says. Ever since she was a little girl, she’s had an innate desire to help people feel better.
Jordan remembers being about 9 years old and watching her dad go through a series of back surgeries. She spent so much time with him in the hospital that the doctors eventually gave her a set of scrubs to take home. “The doctors gave me my own little booties to go over my shoes and a little scrub cap, and I’d walk around the house and say it was my job to take care of my dad.” She was convinced, growing up, that she would someday work in the medical field.
But when she first came to Corban as a freshman, Jordan began to doubt her calling. “I applied as a health science major,” she says, “but right before I came to college, I doubted my major. I doubted myself.” She wondered whether she was actually smart enough to study medicine, wondered if she really had what it takes. So she dabbled first in political science, then journalism. But nothing felt right.
As she approached the end of her freshman year, Jordan kept coming back to the idea of studying health science. She didn't want to regret not doing something she enjoyed. At the suggestion of a friend, she talked with Dr. Sarah Comstock, one of the health science professors. Dr. Comstock encouraged Jordan to be confident in her love of the medical field and assured her, “You’re more than capable."
Jordan made the switch to health science her sophomore year, and it’s felt right ever since. The joy she brings to her program is evident—especially the hands-on, interactive aspects, such as the mice she’s dissected in her research with Dr. Christina Cooper. Far from being queasy or uncomfortable about dissections, Jordan admits she loves it. “I’ve dissected a cat that ended up being pregnant, so that was really cool. We cut open a cow uterus one time and saw a baby cow, fetal pigs, all sorts of things.” What other people might view as gruesome, Jordan sees as fascinating, natural, and part of the journey toward helping people.
While she enjoys the dissections, one of Jordan’s favorite projects was for Medical Microbiology, when she was assigned an unknown bacteria sample and tasked with identifying it. Over a series of weeks, students conducted tests to figure out what kind of bacteria they had. “I had E. coli and B. cereus,” Jordan says.
This past summer, Jordan gained real-world experience working as a medical scribe at the Salem Hospital. She explains that a scribe’s job is to accompany a doctor as they go from room to room and document everything that happens. “I had a little computer that I typed on, and I documented everything the doctor did. I would document what the patient said, why they were in the emergency department that day, the different tests that were being run.”
Studying health science at Corban is “not for the faint of heart,” Jordan says, as she describes the rigor of her classes. “It’s not something that you can just walk into.” She smiles as she remembers hearing someone say they wanted to take biology “for fun." “It’s not really one of those classes that you just take for fun,” Jordan laughs. "The health science major is geared toward people who want to be in the medical field.”
When asked what she would say to someone considering health science at Corban, Jordan says that it “will probably be one of the most challenging things you could do.” But, she adds, “There’s nothing wrong with challenge.”
Learn more about Corban's Health Science Program! https://undergrad.corban.edu/node/315908