Buena Vista University

Pair of BVU Grads/ Roommates Receive Medical Degrees, Award from University of Iowa

Jun. 3, 2013

Two Buena Vista University alumni — Dr. James D. Alstott and Dr. Kyle J. Glienke — were among 137 senior medical students to receive degrees from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine on May 17.

When they started BVU in the fall of 2005, little did they know the similar paths they would be taking as they pursued their dreams of becoming doctors.

They were assigned at random as roommates and remained roommates over the next four years at BVU as they majored in biology/pre-medicine. During those years, the pair continually encouraged and challenged each other to work hard and achieve. From working on a semester-long physiology lab project, completing the Honor's Program, to being the earliest participants of the Undergraduate Rural Medicine Education and Development (URMED) internship that was developed by BVU in partnership with the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, the duo had a remarkable undergraduate experience. Their undergraduate education culminated in the spring of 2009 when they graduated summa cum laude with bachelor of science degrees.

Both credit the educational opportunities they had at BVU as the foundation for their success in medical school. "My research experience at BVU helped me to build a critical thinking skill set that has been invaluable in medical education," says Kyle. "It is one thing to be able to memorize facts; it is entirely another thing to analyze data and make educated decisions. I felt prepared for medical school from day one, and I attribute that to the personal attention I received from faculty at BVU, as well as the academic rigor within the science department."

At medical school, the Northwest Iowa connection continued as Kyle and James were roommates their first year and served together in the Christian Medical Dental Association and the Family Medicine Interest Group.

Through their years at BVU and in medical school, Kyle and James have formed a lasting friendship. "So many late nights studying, discussing everything from sports to theology, and sharing joys and heartache over the past eight years has helped create a unique bond between us," notes James. "Now, at times, it is almost comical how close our thought processes can be. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about our friendship is we share similar values, keep each other grounded, and trust and value each other's opinion. I know moving forward I can count on Kyle for unbiased and sound advice which is significant in medicine, yet truly invaluable in life."

At the graduation ceremony in Iowa City, both were honored with the William R. Wilson Award in Internal Medicine. The Wilson Award is presented to only two senior students for exceptional accomplishment in clinical care, scholarship, and research in Internal Medicine. Kyle and James were each notified of their award separately during their final semester and were unaware they had each received the honor until discovering it through a casual conversation nearly a month later.

Their career goals are similar, as both are pursuing residency training in the field of Internal Medicine. James will begin his three years of Internal Medicine residency at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, La., in June. Kyle will start his four years of combined training in Internal Medicine and Family Medicine residency in Indianapolis, Ind., in June. Their future plans include options for returning to Iowa to begin their medical careers.

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