Spotlights & Profiles

Student Spotlights

Meet IU Northwest's Brandon Karcher, who graduates from IU with double bachelor’s degrees in biology and Spanish

May 11, 2016

Brandon Karcher, 22, of Valparaiso, graduates this May with double bachelor's degrees in biology and Spanish. His degree includes a minor in chemistry. This fall, he is headed to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

brandon karcher

Brandon Karcher is headed to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine now that he's graduated from IU Northwest with bachelor's degrees in biology and Spanish. | PHOTO BY ERIKA ROSE, IU NORTHWEST

Karcher chose IU Northwest for his undergraduate education because he received the Baccalaureate/Medical School Scholarship, which granted him conditional acceptance to the IU School of Medicine as an undergraduate. However, he soon found that this was only one of many benefits of attending a college that also has a medical school on its campus. 

"Being able to see what it takes to be a medical student first-hand as an undergraduate student is a priceless opportunity," Karcher said. "Being at the same school as medical students taught me you must be professional, hard-working, and compassionate to best treat your patients. In addition, being located right next to a medical school allows undergraduates to do research and participate in programs right in our own community."

Working closely with the community quickly became a key attribute of Karcher's education. 

Since medical school applications require extracurricular activities, volunteering and job shadowing in addition to academic achievement, Karcher took every opportunity he could. This requirement came with a welcome side effect: He discovered he actually loved working in his community. 

"By staying in Northwest Indiana, all the work had a deeper meaning," he explained. "It is very gratifying when you realize you are giving back to your home community and not just doing it for an application. All of my community engagement has inspired me to continue giving back, since I have found a true passion for bettering my community."

Karcher was furthered inspired to add a Spanish major to his repertoire, a skill he will continue to use in the healthcare field when he becomes a doctor.

Karcher appreciates the opportunities that come with the small campus environment.

"I always tell students not to overlook your local universities, because they can offer better opportunities than larger schools as long as you take full advantage of them," he said. "The one-on-one relationships with my professors made me strive hard and grow academically. I never felt limited due to all the available possibilities."

Some examples of Karcher's possibilities included the Brother2Brother Program, the International Human Cadaver Prosection Program and the Study Abroad Program in Bilbao, Spain. His many achievements include membership in several honor societies, including the National Biological Honor Society Beta Beta Beta, and La Sociedad Nacional Honoraría Hispánica Sigma Delta Pi. Additionally, Karcher is graduating with honors in the Omicron Sigma Delta Honor Society.

Among his other accomplishments are serving as President of the Student Ambassadors, and bringing the 2015 Latino Leadership Conference to IU Northwest.

Read more Student Spotlights stories »