Brock Kabat

"My family has always looked for ways to make life better for others."

May 03, 2013

Passion for helping others leads Brock Kabat to SIU medical school

In a little more than a week, one journey will end and new ones will begin for 3,600 students earning their degrees. We are looking forward to families and friends joining us at the SIU Arena on May 11 as we congratulate the Class of 2013.

The family of Brock Kabat, who is from Scheller in Jefferson County, will have plenty to cheer about when he earns his bachelor’s degree in physiology. As a fourth-generation Saluki, Brock has maintained a tradition that dates to his great-grandmother, who earned her teaching certificate in 1925.

Brock’s undergraduate career has been marked by academic achievement, service and commitment – all of which I am confident will continue this fall when he enters the SIU School of Medicine.

"My family has always looked for ways to make life better for others," Brock says. "I decided I wanted to direct those passions toward medicine after my high school basketball coach’s son developed pediatric leukemia. I saw the struggles their family went through. If I can help and bring hope to people when they need it most, if that’s what being a doctor is, that’s what I want to do."

He saw that first-hand last summer during the week he spent as a camp companion for a nine-year-old attending Camp Quality in Chicago. The camp serves children with cancer and their families.

"For one week, these kids, who are from a pediatric hospital, can go outside and do all the things normal children do. I saw those kids having fun for 20 hours a day. The other four hours had to be spent in treatment, and when they knew that was coming, it was like a switch got flipped. They were scared. But as soon as the oncologist walked in, that light went back on for those children; you could see the difference he could make by building trust."

Brock plans to help at Camp Quality again this summer.

With just a few days left in his undergraduate career, he has been taking stock of his SIU experiences. It has been a very full four years for Brock, beginning with the research he has been conducting since his freshman year. Working with Buffy Ellsworth, assistant professor of physiology, Brock’s research has been related to pituitary gland development. The second-place award he won during our annual Undergraduate Research Forum in April – which attracted 83 entries – reflects Brock’s hard work and the commitment of his faculty mentor.

For the past three years, he has served as entertainment chairman for Up til Dawn, a wonderful student organization that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A Chancellor’s Scholar and University Honors student, Brock is also is a member of Kappa Alpha Order.

"As a freshman, I never thought I’d join a fraternity," Brock says. "But this isn’t what you see in the movies. It has been a very positive experience. Greeks do a lot of good work on campus. We have higher GPAs and we have more service hours."

We offer educational experiences that take our students as far as they want to go. Brock’s inspiring journey is just beginning.