Alumni Profile: Kendall Schick works to improve community access to beneficial pharmaceuticals
For Kendall J. Schick, Ph.D. ‘17, coming to Concordia University, Nebraska was “a natural choice.” His parents and three siblings, as well as his aunt, uncle, and several cousins, attended Concordia, and in 2013, he enrolled as well, initially as a pre-pharmacy student.
“Shortly after beginning Organic Chemistry with Dr. John Jurchen,” said Dr. Schick, “I quickly realized my talent and passion for laboratory science.” He still loved the pharmaceutical sciences, however, so Jurchen recommended that Schick investigate the field of pharmacology for a future career. That summer, he had the opportunity to participate in a summer internship sponsored by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) and realized that his calling was to pursue further education in the field.
In 2017, Dr. Schick graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.
After graduation, he began work on his Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Rochester, Minnesota. There, he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Saad Kenderian on the development of new CAR T-cell therapies for cancer treatment and autoimmune diseases.
Keeping God “central in my life, even when times are difficult,” said Dr. Schick, “has become increasingly valuable as time goes on.” As he continued on his academic journey after graduating from Concordia, Dr. Schick recognized the impact that attending a Lutheran school had on him and his life, regarding both his professional development and hfaith.
“One of the things I am most grateful for at Concordia was the requirement of theology classes,” he said. “It helped develop my original rote memorization and biblical knowledge into contextually applied theology. As I like to say my faith became ‘Jesus with skin on,’ not just stories with red letters.”
One of Dr. Schick’s other passions during his time at Concordia was the shooting sports team. It was there that Erin Lokke, a fellow team member, introduced Dr. Schick to her sister Ann, who is now his wife. The couple was married in 2018 and now reside just outside of Rochester in Stewartville, Minnesota. Ann works as a Municipal Design Engineer for WHKS & Co. Together, they enjoy shooting and hunting as well as playing video games, which helped them connect during their long-distance college relationship.
Dr. Schick graduated from Mayo Clinic in 2022 with his Ph.D., and now works for Aptitude Health LLC as a Scientific Content Specialist. His daily tasks include creating content and hosting educational summits for health care and pharmaceutical professionals on treatment options and current trends within the health care community for various health conditions. He also gathers data that drug companies can use to inform their practices.
“I started my career...by becoming an independent consultant for private investment firms, academic research groups and private individuals providing scientific insights with everything from public health scaling within an African country, to fiscal risks of company acquisitions, to printing off FDA drug prescribing information packets to private clients,” he said.
The most impactful part of his work, however, is his ability to improve knowledge and access to important pharmaceutical therapies. “Helping to improve community access to new and better therapeutics that might previously have been reserved only for high-profile medical centers is what I find most rewarding,” he said.
Though several years have passed since his graduation, Dr. Schick still appreciates the memories he made and opportunities he had at Concordia. His favorite part of college, he recalls, was the time he was able to spend around peers who shared his faith. “[It] makes the college experience at Concordia that much more comfortable,” he said. “It is very easy to take for granted, and very few spheres of life have anything close to comparison.”
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