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Open to options while moving toward med school

Alumni Erica Korbel at a park with her dog
Alumni Erica Korbel at a park with her dog

Erica Korbel is attending medical school in Kansas City. It’s all going to plan — her plan for herself since high school and the plan the team at Boise State helped her put in motion.

She graduated summa cum laude in May 2020 with her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a minor in biology; Korbel packed a lot into her five years as a Bronco, taking part in intramural volleyball and other activities, helping to launch a new sorority and becoming a member of Honors College.

Korbel looked at more than a dozen colleges and universities, in California, the Midwest and the East, for her undergraduate experience, but Boise State rose to the top of the list the minute she visited, in 2014. Lifelong friends and a strong scholarship package, which set her up to save for the costs of medical school down the line, only sweetened the deal.

“I fell in love with the campus, the people … I really just fell in love with campus and everything about it,” she said. “It felt like a strong and supportive community.”
Kinesiology was a perfect fit for her.

“I was athletic my whole life, and when I found out that kinesiology was a degree, I was very excited about that,” she said, noting that the emphasis on human anatomy and movement made the kinesiology path toward medical school more compelling than, say, chemistry might have been.

Korbel might teach a master class called “squeezing all the juice out of an undergraduate program,” including spending time with friends and building out her medical school resume as she worked on needed courses for her minor during a fifth year.

Internships with a women’s cancer center and shadowing opportunities with a pediatrician and a surgeon “were essential to have,” she said. Research projects, work with the Boise State Biomolecular Research Center and data collection participation were also all “crucial to how I got here today.” Sorority participation taught skills she’d not anticipated.

“I met some of my closest friends, and it provided great leadership opportunities,” she said, adding, “I really enjoyed my last year at Boise State … I think I did everything I wanted to do.”

Things didn’t quit when the semesters did, either. Korbel signed up for multiple semester-long “alternative spring break classes,” in Belize, where she taught physical education at an elementary school, and in Utah, where she worked in animal advocacy and rehabilitation.

After graduation and at the height of the pandemic, she moved back to Las Vegas, where her family was. She worked for a year as she applied to medical school.

At Kansas City University in Kansas City, Mo., she is working toward an osteopathic medicine degree and is again multitasking at an extremely high level, having tackled the school’s MBA program along with the DO. The business degree, she said, will set her up to have her own practice, but also pave the way for executive roles in hospital and health system leadership.

She’s thinking of a future in pediatric surgery or ob/gyn, but is open to options — and rotations start next year, so there’s time.

“I’m definitely keeping that door open,” she said.