After attaining his bachelor of biomedical sciences from Western Michigan, Ross Osgood took some time off to figure out what he really wanted to do.
“I was kind of on a pre-med track,” says Osgood.
“I bounced around between med school, dental and PA programs – not really feeling like any of them were the right fit.” So, he shadowed dentists and worked in a nursing home, but still was unconvinced that any of those allied health care careers were right for him. “But when I started doing research, it just clicked.”
During the year between undergrad and grad school, he missed the deadline to sign up for dental school, so he joined Americorps instead.
Americorps is a national community service organization that places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met so many cool people and it gave me the breather I needed to evaluate where I saw myself in the future,” says Osgood.
“I travelled around the Southwestern U.S. for 10 months, volunteering and working at various service positions including an after school program,” recalls Osgood. That gap year helped Osgood “get his bearings.”
After his stint with Americorps, he started looking at research jobs. “I never really experienced what a real lab would be like,” says Osgood. So, he contacted University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty member Alison Bauer, PhD, to work in her lab and pick up simple techniques. “For the first time, I felt at home,” remembers Osgood. He was in her lab for about a year when he began the PhD program in Toxicology in 2011. And, within five-and-a-half years he completed it. He recently walked with his classmates in the graduate program at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy commencement at the Anschutz Medical Campus.
Osgood has discovered his calling and is starting a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Stephanie Shore at Harvard University studying obesity induced asthma and the “gut-lung connection.” “Microbiome research is a hot field right now and is completely new to me, which is what I was looking for,” says Osgood.