April 22, 2013
Every April, SUU holds its annual T-Bird awards, a ceremony to honor the people who make a difference on campus and in the community. This year, Johnny Oh, director of the Betty McDonald Pre-Med institute, was delighted to find that he had been chosen as one of the five finalists for the Commitment to excellence award. This award, which, according to the SUU website, “honors the selfless service rendered by a caring and committed staff member at Southern Utah University,” seemed an appropriate thanks for the years of active service Oh has provided through his mentoring of international students and development of the Pre-Med Institute and the Asian Integration program on the campus.
“When I was announced as the recipient of the award,” Oh says, “I felt very flattered. It’s an honor to be recognized on that level.” This moment should serve as an example to MPI students, helping them to catch the vision of being successful contributors in their own fields. The majority of medical schools in the U.S. are looking for applicants who have had their accomplishments formally acknowledged. “It’s a way the schools can tell that you are a well-rounded individual,” Oh explains. Earning the recognition of the community you serve shows that you have made a difference people really care about. That’s not something you can do from the sidelines.
With this award and with everything he does, Johnny hopes that he can inspire the students he mentors. To those who are nervous about trying new things or afraid of failure, he offers this advice. “Don’t hesitate. You won’t understand an experience until you experience it. The biases you might have will evaporate as soon as you become involved.” And those who are studying at MPI have the support of an entire institute behind them. The mentors, tutors and teachers are there to help students manage their goals and provide support as they follow their passion.
As for Johnny Oh, being honored for his commitment to excellence has inspired him to continue to add value to the work that he does. “With great recognition comes great responsibility,” he jokes. “It expands my horizons and builds my confidence even more.” And that, after all, is the purpose of an award; to thank those who have made a difference and inspire them to keep moving forward.
By David Cowley