Kylee Brimsek ’20, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Posted on November 9th, 2017 by

Science has always come easily to Kylee Brimsek. She’s enjoyed her science classes, especially her chemistry classes, since elementary school. Kylee is interested in going into the healthcare field, and says that “science is a huge part of that”. She hopes to go to medical school and become an anesthesiologist, in part because when she was four she had to get surgery and the anesthesiologist who helped her and comforted her “had a huge impact on me”. Kylee is also drawn towards anesthesiology because of the focus on chemistry and the hospital setting.

Many of Kylee’s talents and gifts help her in pursuing her goals. She’s efficient, which helps her in the lab, she’s “a neat freak”, and she takes really good notes. She’s also a very visual learner, which helps her memorize diagrams like life cycles and reproductive systems in her biology classes. Kylee is most drawn towards chemistry, and says that she “just loves” balancing chemical equations. At Gustavus, she believes she has been influenced in many ways by her biology professor, who she says has gone “above and beyond” to help her. Kylee is also influenced by her friends, whose “good attributes” she tries to emulate, and her mom.

Kylee is heavily influenced by her Christian faith. Her mom is Catholic, and she was baptized and confirmed as Catholic. However, during her junior year of high school, her good friend invited her to “come check out” his Lutheran church. Kylee “loved it so much”, and became very involved with the Lutheran church, despite still attending additional Catholic services with her mom. She says that she learned more during the first retreat she went on with her new church “than I have in my whole life about values and God and Jesus”. That weekend was also the first time she had ever held a Bible, and later she got her first Bible as a present from the mom of the good friend who had first introduced her to the church. Kylee is defined by her belief that “I am here for God’s purpose and this is my life through Him”.

Kylee believes that are several “science-based” beliefs that are common in her discipline. A major one is Darwin’s theory of evolution, which Kylee says for her “gets kind of sketchy”. In her head, she understands the science behind it, but she says that with her faith “it doesn’t make sense at all”. She says it’s an interesting balance, because there is proof of evolution, but she strongly believes that “God did create the Earth”. Kylee respects the theory of evolution and is comfortable with learning it, but also “pushes it to the side” because of her beliefs. She says that “I have a wall” between what she’s learning in her science classes and her religious beliefs. However, science has never made her doubt or regret her faith.

There are many scientific ethical issues that worry Kylee as a Christian. She says that there are many morally gray areas, especially in research. One issue that particularly bothers her is live animal testing. Although she says that she hasn’t really experienced it at Gustavus, Kylee is also bothered by some of the prevailing attitudes that are common at some other colleges and medical schools among science students, especially believing that “you’re smarter than everything else” and arrogance. She especially dislikes these attitudes because “it’s God’s knowledge put into you and it’s not yours to claim”, saying “it really does bother me”.

If anything, Kylee’s beliefs have been strengthened as she’s pursued her scientific vocation. She says that “science can give me confirmation of my faith” and believes that the Bible is full of stories and teachings, especially those about love, that can be applied all the time in real life. Kylee is grounded in her certainty that “God made you, and that’s unfathomable”. Her desire to go to medical school is based in her “gut feeling that that’s what I’m here to do”, saying that “God put me on a path where I’m not interested in anything else”. She’s been focused on science and medicine since her sophomore year of high school, and has gone on numerous mission trips specifically related to science or healthcare.

Recently, Kylee went to Tanzania for J-Term and was amazed by the focus on spiritual healing and wellbeing, noting that “they would pray over people before they did surgeries”. She hopes that there will be more doctors in the future that are able to bring their faith and medical knowledge together to better help people. Kylee’s eventual goal is to end up working at both a “private practice back at home” owned by a friend’s dad and in a hospital setting, while still being able to go on mission trips. Being in Tanzania showed her that “I’m called to do pro-bono work and go on mission trips and help with medicine” in third-world countries. Kylee’s deep religious faith informs her whole life, including her passion for science.


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