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Science major blends interests in medicine, business and volunteerism

Will Carspecken

Will Carspecken plans to attend medical school after completing his undergraduate degree and an MBA at DU. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

When asked what led him to double major in biochemistry and molecular biology, Will Carspecken laughs. “The glamour and the girls … Just kidding!”

Then, he thoughtfully describes the kind of doctor and researcher he wants to be.

Carspecken eschews the “wait-and-see” approach to medicine. “I want to be the kind of physician who helps put the field forward,” he explains. “I want to say to my patients, ‘Hey, I’m working on it, things will change. And if I can’t do it, then I will find out who is so we can get you help.’”

The Colorado native’s medical career is already off to a great start. As a sophomore, he began working in Associate Professor Joe Angleson’s biology lab on several NIH-funded research projects, most involving hormone secretion. One of the projects is the subject of Carspecken’s Honors thesis, which Angleson expects will soon be accepted in science publications.

That’s a phenomenal achievement for an undergrad, Angleson says.

Looking at Carspecken’s list of accomplishments, there’s no doubt he’ll go far. He’s a Rhodes Scholar finalist, a Goldwater Scholar, a Boettcher Scholar and a member of the USA Today 2007 All-USA College Academic Second Team. He’s been a chemistry and organic chemistry teaching assistant, a tutor for the athletic department, helped develop the HIV/AIDS awareness committee, sang in the Lamont men’s choir and did gene therapy research at the Baylor College of Medicine.

“He is a critical thinker who helps drive the research process,” Angleson says. And, “He does so many other things well outside of the sciences. You just don’t run into that very often.”

Whether he’s volunteering for the Spanish Red Cross and translating for a medical journal in Spain, teaching English while researching Tibetan medicine in India, or initiating a public health information program in Bolivia, Carspecken finds time to give to others while pursuing his interest in medicine.

“Science is becoming more interdisciplinary,” he says. That’s one reason why he wants to get broad training, an MBA and maybe even a PhD in addition to an MD. “Physicians and scientists need to be leaders, and an MBA will round out my education,” says Carspecken, who will apply to medical schools this summer but stay at DU for a fifth year to attend the Daniels College of Business.

“Bridging the gap between biology, chemistry and other academic disciplines— that’s how big discoveries are made,” Carspecken says.

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