Recently we had a chance to catch up with APEX alumni, Kyle Boulanger, who graduated in 2015. He was one of the first APEX student associates, and he used his time to explore areas in the medical field. After graduating from high school, Kyle attended Grand View University where he studied biology and biochemistry, conducted research, played football, participated in academic clubs, and served on student government.
Kyle explained that his time in APEX taught him a lot about who he was and who he aspires to become. “APEX allowed me to explore a field in which I was extremely interested in. I was able to gain early insight into potential careers that helped open and close doors.” He is grateful that he had the opportunity to define his career path, as it saved him time and money after graduation. “Everyone has heard countless stories of students changing their major halfway or even all the way through their four-year education. APEX gave me a real-world opportunity where I was able to interact with individuals in healthcare, so I could make a more informed decision when deciding programs of study at Grand View.”
APEX taught Kyle how to interact outside of the classic educational setting. Kyle shared, “Collaborating with physicians, university professors, nurses, and more taught me how to be productive outside of the classroom.” Meeting professionals and working on his own projects taught him the importance of being punctual and professional, which forced him to better manage his time. Kyle explained, “Once you begin a career, being late to work or failing to produce doesn’t simply result in the drop of a letter grade, it results in the loss of future career and life opportunities.” For all of these reasons, Kyle appreciated that APEX provided him a great transition between high school and college. He is certain that his APEX experience led him to be much more prepared than his fellow students during his first semester at Grand View University.
Today, Kyle is working as a research associate in Doug Melton’s lab in the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. The lab that he works in focuses on studying the development of the pancreas, and they use pluripotent stem cells to do so. Ultimately, the lab is focused on developing a cellular therapeutic treatment of Type 1 Diabetes. After his time in the Melton lab, he hopes to obtain a PhD in a stem cell program.
Kyle shared this advice for future students. “I would encourage every student to participate in the APEX program, regardless of what they believe their future entails. You never truly know what field of study will make you tick, and the only way to find out is by jumping right in.”