College of Arts and Sciences

Denis Cipurko

Hometown: Long Grove, Illinois
Major: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
Expected Graduation: 2019

Denis is a recipient of the Richard R. Otremba Chemistry Scholarship; the 2017 Morrissey Medal, which goes to the most outstanding student in each class of chemistry majors; and a Carbon Fellowship, for which he received grant funding for an independent research project. Since October 2016, Denis has been the biological illustrator for Biology Chair and Professor James Cheverud.

In 2017, Denis spent the summer with Syracuse University’s Department of Chemistry to conduct biochemistry research sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He is a chemistry and biochemistry tutor for Loyola students and was a Chicago Youth Corps tutor in underserved neighborhoods during his first year; is an emergency medical technician; and volunteers at Northwest Community Hospital. During his sophomore year, he was community outreach director for Loyola’s American Medical Students Association.

Here, Denis talks about what motivates him as a tutor, about what being a person for others means to him, and how he hopes to do so in his future career as a physician-scientist.

What was the most meaningful volunteer, service, or student organization activity you’ve been involved in? How has it influenced you or shaped you as a person?

The most meaningful activity I have been involved in has been working as a tutor for chemistry/biochemistry major courses and as a science tutor for student athletes at Loyola. As a tutor, I have developed the skills necessary to recognize the perspectives of individual students and use them to inform my approach toward helping them succeed inside and outside the classroom. Seeing my commitment to other students reflected in their academic growth and passion for the subjects motivates me to continue to strive for excellence so that I can continue to empower others in any way that I can.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your Jesuit education?

During my time at Loyola, the most impactful lesson has been embracing the idea of being a person for others. I believe that the work you put forth becomes much more meaningful and presents a better opportunity for personal growth when it’s done with the intention of serving someone or something beyond yourself. Education is an example of this: I view it as a means to benefit my patients and community during my future career as a physician scientist. I believe that I have become a more mature and compassionate person because of holding this perspective throughout my Loyola education.

What do you hope to achieve after college, and how has Loyola prepared you?

I plan to matriculate into a medical-scientist training program and work toward receiving an MD/PhD degree. As a physician scientist, I hope to serve my community by providing both patient care and the scientific discoveries that allow it to advance. I also hope to become a medical school professor and be able to educate and inspire future generations of physicians and researchers. Loyola has provided me with the strong educational foundation needed to complete an MD/PhD program as well as values that will help strengthen my moral and personal integrity and that I will carry on to my career.


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