Biology Major Named 2021 COS Valedictorian

Published: April 08, 2021 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 3 minutes

Valedictorian Bridger JeppesenBridger Jeppesen has been named the 2021 valedictorian for the College of Sciences (COS). Jeppesen is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. He will be attending medical school this fall and plans to become a doctor.

“As a first-generation college student, I really did not know how to prepare myself for medical school, though I knew that was what I wanted to do,” said Jeppesen. “At SUU, I have had great mentors and peers around me that have shared their knowledge and really helped me to prepare myself to apply and attend medical school. The science courses that I have taken have prepared me with the knowledge that I needed to succeed on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).”

Growing up Jeppesen enjoyed watching and playing sports. He played basketball and baseball at Tooele High School in Tooele, Utah, where he graduated in 2017. Because of his interest in sports, he is considering focusing his future career in medicine on orthopedic surgery.

Studious and dedicated, Jeppesen is a 4.0 Dean’s List student, and scored in the 95th percentile on the MCAT. In January, he had a research paper on light harvesting proteins published with fellow student Clay Stahel and Dr. Jacob Dean, assistant professor of chemistry.

“Bridger is one of those students every professor hopes to have the privilege of working with,” said Dr. Dean. “He is a natural talent both in and out of the classroom, and is one of the most dedicated and successful independent research students I have worked with since being at SUU. He single-handedly launched a new research program exploring the augmentation of light-harvesting proteins with artificial pigments, in addition to contributing to other research projects ongoing in the group for several years. I cannot imagine a better candidate to represent the College of Sciences as our valedictorian this year. Bridger's enthusiasm, intelligence, and "go-getter" attitude will undoubtedly bring him much future success, and I will be following his post-SUU career with tremendous excitement.”

Involved at SUU from the beginning, Jeppesen began researching alongside Dr. Dean during his second semester. In his sophomore year, he became a teaching assistant for Dr. Ty Redd’s organic chemistry course.

“Bridger has the intellectual creativity and independence of a top researcher,” said Dr. Ty Redd. “Bridger has served as my teaching assistant for several years now and I have never been left wanting in any area of his service to me or SUU. Bridger’s initiative, work ethic, dedication, and his incredible critical thinking and problem-solving skills have impressed me. I have always found Bridger to be a self-motivated undergraduate student who challenges himself to succeed. Mr. Bridger Jeppesen has demonstrated the independence, intellect, wisdom, maturity, stamina, integrity, and moral character needed of healthcare professionals. Bridger Jeppesen is simply the best.”

Jeppesen has also been involved at the school and in the community through the Rural Health Scholars, Camp Kessem, Rock Steady Boxing, Intermountain Hospital, The Happy Factory, and SUU’s intramural basketball and spikeball clubs. He has also been involved in the community by working at Southern Utah Mortuary, helping families who have just lost loved ones.

“While working at the mortuary doesn’t necessarily relate to the medical field, the compassionate service I have been able to provide has been something I am very proud of and look forward to continuing as a physician,” Jeppesen said.

When asked what advice he’d give to current and prospective students, he said, “Ultimately, it is up to each individual to achieve what they aspire to. At SUU, you have all the resources that you need to prepare yourself for anything that you desire to, I would advise students to push themselves and leave no stone unturned to have no regrets about their time spent at SUU. Surround yourself with great mentors and friends who will push you and college will be an amazing experience.”

Learn more about the 2021 valedictorians or Southern Utah University's 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

Tags: Biology Graduation

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