Stories of the Class of 2017: Luke Endicott: A Biomedical Sciences Masters at 20

It's so surprise that Luke Endicott earned his master's degree in Biomedical Sciences from UNC a full half-year before he turns 21; he's known that he wants to be a physician all his life.

"I've always known that I wanted to be a doctor," Endicott said. "People hate when I say that, especially my advisors, because they tell me you can't say that, that that's the answer the medical schools want to hear and that everyone says that."

But with Endicott, it's the truth.

"I'd always buy anatomy textbooks and read them when I was growing up," he said. "I thought the body was so cool and the best thing ever and I wanted to learn all about it because it's so unique. And the more I learned about it, the more.I loved learning about it."

Between being home schooled and attending charter schools in Arizona, he was able to finish his high school curriculum when he was 15. He chose to get his GED, then earned an associate degree in a local community college. He enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in biology at Grand Canyon University.

That course of study included volunteering at local hospitals and a paid genetics research internship at the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute when he was 17.

Even still, when he started applying to medical schools his junior year when he was 18, he received no offers. A subsequent round of applications a year later met the same fate and his GCU advisors and medical students he knew told him that because of his age, he needed more experience.

So he decided to apply to some master's degree programs to make himself a more competitive applicant. UNC's accelerated one-year, 30-credit program in Biomedical Sciences fit the bill.

Plus, he'd never been to Colorado, a place he'd heard a lot about from his GCU classmates, and he'd always wanted to experience it.

"About a month before my master's program started, I came with my mom to check out the area and the campus was beautiful," Endicott said. "That was the first thing that caught my eye. Being from Arizona, it was completely different."

Even though he now has his master's degree, Endicott's not sure if he's going to apply to medical schools or get some more experience under his belt.

"It wouldn't hurt to get a job in a hospital as a medical scribe or something similar to build my application," he said. "One of the biggest drawbacks of going through school so young is that even though it looks good to some people, it doesn't necessarily translate into a good application or represent myself well to a medical admissions board."

Endicott said he'll weigh his options in the next couple of weeks after spending some time with his family, who attended his UNC commencement ceremony, and ironically, aren't health care professionals.

"It's the third time they've seen me graduate," Endicott said. "And it won't be the last."

- UNC News Service

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