It has been a fantastic four years, and I have been fortunate to meet many amazing people and develop wonderful lasting relationships with them," he says. "Along with this I have been challenged intellectually in a manner I never have before. I’m sad my time at CU Boulder is coming to a close, but I know I definitely made the most of it." –Michael Persinger
What makes senior Michael Persinger, who graduates from CU Boulder this spring with a bachelor’s degree from the Department of Integrative Physiology, such a driven guy? His father, he says.
"My dad started out with nothing," explains Persinger. "He was an orphan and was taken into foster care when he was three or four years old, and he was treated very poorly. But despite all these struggles he was able to make a name for himself. He had a very successful military career, raised a family and put three kids through college. He made sure his kids never had to experience anything close to the hardships he did growing up."
One of the biggest lessons his dad, Michael Persinger Sr., passed down was perseverance.
"He taught me to always keep pushing no matter what is thrown at me, and I’ve tried to keep that mentality whenever I’m faced with challenges," Persinger says.
Persinger’s work ethic has allowed him to handle a challenging course load and multiple part-time jobs. He was a circulation assistant at Norlin Library and also worked in CU Boulder’s Neuroscience Outreach Program, visiting local K-12 schools to teach kids about the basics of the brain in hopes of inspiring them to get involved in STEM education fields.
"It gave me the opportunity to practice my passion for teaching and provide a positive impact on the Boulder community," he says.
As a volunteer research assistant under Associate Professor David Sherwood, Persinger studied how both internal and external focus can influence a person’s motor behavior. He also was a teaching assistant for Instructor Teresa Foley, whose specialty is endocrinology—the study of chemical messengers that hop between cells and are intimately tied to health and disease.
So what’s next for Persinger?
"Being born and raised in a military family has always given me a certain level of respect for the armed forces," he explains. "After shadowing some doctors in high school, I realized I wanted to be a physician because it involves caring for others and science."
Persinger began looking around at different medical schools. He was drawn to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (UHUHS), the official medical school for the nation’s military located in Bethesda, Maryland. He said the school’s motto, "Learning to care for those in harm’s way," made a big impression on him.
"I would love the opportunity to care for those who willingly put themselves at risk for the rest of us," he says.
During his time at CU Boulder, Persinger also found time to volunteer at Longmont United Hospital and the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.
Persinger, who was born in Nebraska and lived in Florida from ages 6 to 8 and graduated from Highlands Ranch High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, plans to take the Medical College Admissions Test (known as MCAT) in June and apply to UHUHS in July in hope of matriculating there in the fall of 2018.
"It has been a fantastic four years, and I have been fortunate to meet many amazing people and develop wonderful lasting relationships with them," he says. "Along with this I have been challenged intellectually in a manner I never have before. I’m sad my time at CU Boulder is coming to a close, but I know I definitely made the most of it."