When Doyon Foundation student Josh Huhndorf found himself faced with a challenge, he didn’t just look for a solution – he created one. While studying pre-medicine and health management/policy at Oregon State University (OSU), Huhndorf found there were few opportunities to connect with students who shared similar backgrounds and who were pursuing similar goals.
“To overcome this, I started my own student organization in order to create a collection of students pursuing work with rural and minority populations,” said Huhndorf, the founder and president of Oregon State University Rural and Minority Healthcare Advocates, which works to recruit healthcare students and provide opportunities for students to develop their future careers in rural and minority healthcare.
In addition to leading the student group, Huhndorf is also the activities director at an on-campus cultural center, and is a varsity skipper with OSU’s competitive sailing team. He has also completed two summer internships – one as a surgery technician with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and one as a research intern at Harvard Medical School.
“I think being a successful student doesn’t simply imply good academic performance, but being well-rounded in many areas,” Huhndorf said. “I recommend networking with organizations relevant to your major, being open to the idea of creating opportunities for yourself and others, and staying involved with things that make you happy.”
Huhndorf, originally from Nikiski, Alaska, expects to graduate from OSU in summer 2009. After his schooling is complete, Huhndorf said he dreams of returning to Alaska to work as a family medicine physician in rural villages. His degree will also allow him to work in health administration.
“It’ll allow me to work as a physician in Alaska and contribute to health policies for our people,” said Huhndorf, whose sister, Amber, is also pursuing a public health degree at OSU and plans to return to Alaska to work.
Huhndorf said he is appreciative of the support Doyon Foundation has offered during his educational pursuits.
“Doyon Foundation has always been very helpful and supportive. They have provided not only financial support, but encouragement and understanding,” he said. “I owe it to all the people of Doyon to follow through with my goals and one day return as a physician for our people.”
Huhndorf is the son of Stan and Anne Huhndorf, and the grandson of Rose Jerue, and Stan and Caroline Huhndorf.