Post-Dispatch Scholar Athlete Headed to the College

Published on 13 July 2020

This fall, St. Louis College of Pharmacy will welcome another St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scholar Athlete to campus, as Colten Duvall joins the College as a first-year student.

Each year, the Post-Dispatch’s Scholar Athlete program honors one student from every St. Louis area high school who excels in athletics and in the classroom. Those recognized must letter in at least one varsity sport, graduate in the top 25% of their class and be in good standing at their high school. Duvall is a 2020 graduate of Union High School in Union, Missouri.

“I had looked at other schools, but when I visited the College, it just felt like a family as soon as I walked in,” Duvall explained. “Everyone seemed to know each other, and when I met Jill Gebke, director of admissions, she actually remembered my application essay, which impressed me. The College’s small community feel, cutting-edge facilities and outstanding reputation for pharmacy education drew me in, and I can’t wait to start classes this fall.”

Duvall’s admissions essay was memorable because in it he described how the birth of his niece, Nora, prompted his journey into health care. Prior to Nora’s birth, Duvall planned to study aerospace engineering and had already been accepted into two prestigious programs. However, his perspective changed when he met Nora, now 2 years old, who was born with spinal bifida.

“I was with my sister after Nora’s birth and saw the doctors treat her right away for spinal bifida,” Duvall explained. “Visiting her in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and watching how the doctors and nurses helped her and my family through a difficult time made me realize that I wanted to help people in the same way. I’ve always loved science and math, and I wanted to use my skills to help other families in crisis the way those doctors and nurses helped us.”

Duvall soon decided that he wanted to study medicine, and as he looked at his higher education options, he discovered that the College could give him the foundational scientific knowledge he needed to prepare for medical school, while also providing a close-knit, supportive community. His eventual goal is to study anesthesiology, and he says he’s looking forward to the challenges that college and his future career will present to him.

“I thrive in high-pressure situations,” Duvall explained. “That’s something I love about athletics. When I’m competing with my teammates, I get the chance to place myself in an intense environment and push myself to do my best. I look forward to utilizing those same skills one day in the field of medicine.”

This fall, Duvall will have the opportunity to demonstrate his athletic skills on the Eutectics Men’s Track and Field Team under the leadership of head coach Maurice Lewis.

“Colten told the admissions office that he wanted to join the team, so I took a look at his record,” Lewis explained. “I saw a student who got great grades while also participating in student organizations and athletics, which told me that he has good time management skills. When I met him, I was also impressed with his character and knew he’d be a great addition to my team.”

Duvall has already met some of his teammates and fellow students at the College and says he’s excited to get involved in additional student activities on campus. Along the way, his niece Nora remains his inspiration and hero.

“Nora inspires me to push myself every day,” Duvall explained. “The doctors said she might not crawl, and she crawled. They said she might not walk, but just recently, I was video chatting with my sister and saw Nora try to walk for the first time by pushing herself on her little walker and swinging her legs around. I’ve watched her grow and thrive and prove the doctors wrong time and time again. In the same way, I plan to come to the College and challenge myself every day, on and off the field.”

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