When Dessenberger opened the email that stated he received early admittance to the University of Kansas School of Medicine, he was brought to tears.
“The pressure and stress of the last three to four years were instantly gone and it felt like I could finally breathe again,” he said. “I was so relieved that my hard work had finally paid off.”
As a junior in high school, Dessenberger knew his end goal was to one day become a physician.
“Growing up in a household with a mother who is a registered nurse, my interest in the medical field was likely sparked by her working with a general surgeon,” he said.
Dessenberger continued to pursue his interest and shadowed physicians in high school. It wasn’t until both his father and grandfather endured a series of medical emergencies that Dessenberger’s calling became clear.
“It showed me how finite life truly is and how important it is to have extremely knowledgeable and compassionate individuals who can treat people when needed,” he said.
When it came time to pick a college, Dessenberger looked for a setting that would prepare him for the rigors of medical education. He enrolled at Newman University because he could “feel the difference” after a campus visit.
“During this visit, I was able to have one-on-one conversations with Dr. David Shubert about the science program and Dr. Kelly McFall about the Honors Program, which helped to solidify the faculty-to-student connection I found lacking at other schools,” Dessenberger said.
As if beginning college during a pandemic wasn’t enough of a challenge, Dessenberger also worked in the emergency room at a Wichita hospital during the pandemic.
“I believe this grew my resiliency and strengthened my desire to continue studying so that I could one day be there to treat patients in times of need like we had lived through,” he said.
Over the past three years, Dessenberger has grown as a leader through various on-campus activities. He is president of the Newman Univerity Medical Professions Club, served as an at-large senator for the Student Government Association and president of the Newman University Chemistry Club. He also served as a teaching assistant for the general chemistry lab, organic chemistry lab and the freshman honors seminar.
“My experience and education at Newman have been nothing but exceptional,” he said. “Getting to learn from professors who have either moved on to teach at medical schools or are adjuncts is a great benefit to all students who get to learn under them. The knowledge taught to us in the classes is very comparable to what I had to review and study for my MCAT, and being able to relate what I had already learned and using that as a guide for my exam was very valuable.”
While starting over can seem like a daunting task for some, it’s what excites Dessenberger most about his new chapter at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
“One thing that attracted me to the role of a physician was the ability to continue my aspiration of being a lifelong learner, never taking for granted the knowledge that others can share with me. Aside from this, I am looking forward to hopefully being in the Kansas City area for the start of this journey, being closer to my sister who lives there, and embracing a brand-new city since I have lived in the Wichita area my whole life.”
In addition to his support system at home, whom he thanks for being “nothing but encouraging and reassuring,” Dessenberger would like to thank all of the educators and mentors who have helped him throughout his time at Newman: “Dr. Michael Bradley, Dr. Sumia Ehsan, Dr. Sarah Evans, Dr. Ryan Huschka, Professor Shannon Johnston, Professor Alan Oberley, Dr. Jenna Persons and Dr. David Shubert among many others.”
He added, “I also want to mention Dr. Kelly McFall and Emily Simon with the Honors Programs who have been nothing but supportive since I began my journey at Newman University and who have challenged me academically while also helping mold me into a better person.
“Lastly, I have to shoutout some pretty awesome Newman alums — Marisa Zayat ‘20, Daniel Knolla ‘22 and Talia Powers ’23 — all of whom provided great support and advice when it came to the MCAT and application process and who all happen to be medical students at the University of Kansas School of Medicine currently.”
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Graduates of any of the programs within the Newman School of Healthcare Professions are highly sought after by the health care community in Wichita and the region.