Although she originally wanted to be a veterinarian, Jackie Flickinger soon discovered at Wittenberg that that her passion was helping people, so she switched career paths to pursue a career in medicine with a goal of becoming an M.D.
Looking back, Flickinger remembers choosing Wittenberg because it had a good reputation for the things that interested her. She also liked the size, the environment and the friendliness of the people she encountered on her campus visit.
The hardest thing, she explained, was getting out of her comfort zone the first year. Fortunately, she soon learned that she had the entire Wittenberg community looking out for her.
"Wittenberg feels like home," she said. "I have been able to meet my best friends, and I've accomplished more here than I ever imagined possible. You have support from everyone around you – faculty, staff and students. Everyone wants you to succeed."
Flickinger added that she found strength in her motivation and work ethic, "and the people to back me up."
A peer mentor for WittSem programs on campus, she also volunteered with the Springfield Detention Center resource room with the Reach Out and Read program. She worked as a nurse tech at Springfield's Rocking Horse Center.
"My community service work helped me gain confidence," Flickinger said. "It also helped me see that kids in bad situations are not bad kids, and I learned important new skills."
Flickinger also interned with a surgeon (radiation and oncology) in the Springfield Regional Cancer Center.
"It is an amazing facility, and the people are incredible," she said. "Every patient has a story, and they were so interesting and appreciated my being there. They shared their fears. I hope I'll have the time to listen and share my patients' stories when I am a doctor."
Also wanting to expand her horizons, Flickinger traveled overseas to participate in "The Roots of 21st Century Science," a one-of-a-kind field study course in the United Kingdom in 2007.
"It was fantastic," Flickinger said. "We learned by doing, not by lecture." The course relied on rich media and merged environmental and historical elements to the hands-on study of life sciences and electromagnetic telecommunications.
Flickinger has also participated in faculty-directed research projects since her freshman year and has presented her findings at poster presentations, including the 118th annual meeting of The Ohio Academy of Science in April 2009.
"It's rewarding to gather the clues together to look for answers," Flickinger said. "I know becoming a doctor must be related to being a detective. I like the idea of doing something that keeps me constantly learning."
- Written by Phyllis Eberts
- Photo by Erin Pence