Kellen Andersen '17

Kellen Andersen

Name: Kellen Andersen        

Graduating Class: 2017

Major: Biology, minors in Neuroscience and Sociology/Anthropology


My journey into medicine never was an outright decision. It was an accumulation of life events that helped me realize slowly that I wanted to dedicate my life in the service of others while challenging myself. I wanted to show the world that a small-town kid could accomplish big things, and being happy while doing it.

For a good majority of my life, I wanted to become an actor, and thought this was the way for me to best make a difference in the world. Theater, acting, the thrill of performing were all things I enjoyed and help me build self-confidence as a kid. Growing up, I performed in theatrical productions, partook in competitive speech competitions, all while volunteering as much as I could at my local food shelf.  I kept busy, all the while hoping that these experiences would help me gain insight into myself and into the workings of the world. However, during my youth, my family experienced many health conditions that shook my understanding of the world that I can created for myself.

These family emergencies and health changes made me realize that there was more to life than showing the world that I could make a difference. My thought processes shifted to thinking more about the lives of others, and what I could do to enrich their experiences. Volunteering became a huge passion of mine, and I jumped at every opportunity to help someone in need. During this time, I realized I liked acting because it allowed other people to become entertained. I lived life to help others. From that movement, I decided to dedicate my life to the goal of helping others. Medicine and health concerns were still an unknown element of my life, and I wanted to have questions answered. The pursuit for answering these questions about health and wellbeing directed me into the medical field, and further to wanting to become a doctor.

I decided to come to Gustavus to become a physician because I knew that an institution dedicated to justice, service, faith, community, and excellence would provide me with the life training to allow me to become someone with the good of mankind in mind. Through my interactions with classmates, faculty and staff, I have learned much about who I am, what I stand for, and what I will become. They shaped my path into medicine and motivated me to be my best. Gustavus gave me incredible opportunities to shadow physicians in the January Interim Career Exploration program, volunteer in an Emergency Department, and provided me with an education to help answer some of the unanswered questions of my youth. Gustavus gave me the strength and the self-confidence to believe I could make a difference in the world, I could make my life count. Gustavus gave me the tools to become a future physician, and inspired me to push my limits to become the doctor of my dreams.

Top Five Activities/Experiences:

  1. Pre-Health Career exploration at River’s Edge Hospital
  2. ER volunteering at Mayo Clinic in Mankato
  3. Working as a Certified Nursing Aid
  4. Being a Summer Tour Guide for the Admission Office
  5. Being Teaching Assistant for the Chemistry Department


  1. It is important to be on top of your future plans. If you want to be involved in something, do your research the opportunity before deadlines are due and work on things before they are due.
  2. The path into medicine is not all about academic performance. While it is important for you to keep your grades strong so you can be competitive, it is also important for you to be partaking in events that could provide transformative life experiences. Try new things, explore new places, self-reflect on what makes you happy.
  3. Takes classes that make you happy and that actually interest you. While it is important to have the required classes for the MCAT and for certain medical schools, it is also important for you to take classes that you enjoy. My academic experience was full of science, yet my watercolor painting class taught me more about my life and why I want to pursue medicine than any science classes. Gustavus is a liberal arts college. Take advantage of that.

Future Plans:

I will be attending Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, in the hopes of becoming an emergency medical physician. I am still open to changing what type of doctor I want to be, but I am leaning this way. I hope to live within the Midwest, but want to travel the world doing medical work in areas that need it. Eventually, I hope to get married, have a few kids, and raise a bunch of dogs. In time, I hope to make my way back to the hill, to catch up with old professors, and see new students that are making their lives count.

                                                                                                                                                          Updated: 4/25/2017 TN