You may think that among his many accomplishments and skills, Alex Bischoff can spin 48 hours out of a 24-hour day. The now fourth-year student in the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (CPMS) is doing very well academically, has been a teaching assistant in multiple classes and labs, and is active on campus and in the community. He and his wife, Kara, have two daughters, are expecting a son in August and are foster parents to three other children.
On closer inspection, though, you see that Bischoff is simply very intentional with the 24 hours he has every day. All that he’s been able to do and achieve in those hours are why he was selected by the American Podiatric Medical Students’ Association (APMSA) as the 2019 APMSA Student of the Year.
“My experience through podiatric medical school has been one of priorities,” he stated in an essay he submitted to APMSA.
The association is the national organization that represents the approximately 2,300 students enrolled at the nation’s nine colleges of podiatric medicine. Every year, students and faculty of each college nominate one third-year student to be considered for the national Student of the Year title. The APMSA President’s Committee selects the winner based on professionalism, involvement with the college or university, community involvement and contributions and dedication to the profession.
As this year’s winner, Bischoff will receive a $1,000 American Podiatric Medical Association’s (APMA) Education Foundation scholarship. The APMA also will cover his costs to attend the 2019 APMA Annual Scientific Meeting in Salt Lake City in July, during which the award will be presented.
“Alex is a really genuine person and a role model for other students. He’s excelled in all areas and provides assistance to his classmates and to the community,” says Robert Yoho, D.P.M., M.S., FACFAS, dean of the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery. “He is well-grounded and has the qualities one needs as a physician.”
Bischoff is a member of the Pi Delta National Honorary Society, which recognizes students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or higher and are in the upper 20% of the class. The recipient of several student awards at DMU, he has served as vice president of the college’s American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine chapter. He has been a teaching assistant in clinical medicine, the lower limb vascular lab, the lower limb ultrasound lab and the lower limb anatomy cadaver lab. He also has been a student interviewer of applicants to CPMS.
This spring, Bischoff and a classmate, Stephen Rockhill, were awarded second place in a national writing competition sponsored by Hallux Magazine, an online publication for students in podiatric medicine.
“My schooling is something I take pride in. This often meant waking up extremely early, staying up late, studying 18+ hours on Saturdays most weeks and other sacrifices,” he wrote in his essay. “Time management, discipline and a great support system have enabled me to perform well in school.”
In the community, Bischoff has served for years as a scout leader for the Boy Scouts of America and as a volunteer for Special Olympics, Easter Seals, the American Diabetes Association, Meals from the Heartland and the Des Moines Marathon. Active in his church, he has been a Sunday school teacher and makes monthly visits to elderly and other members of the congregation.
“Alex is the complete student,” Dean Yoho says. “He’s the picture of consistency and commitment.”
Time management and discipline, indeed: His family and his faith are why he chooses not to study on Sundays, including the one before he took Part 1 of the podiatric board exams on a Monday morning. He passed.
“Priorities are what shape and mold our life. My experience in podiatric medical school has taught me how to be successful as you hold true to all of them,” he stated in his essay. “My experience has been one of a student who is dedicated to school and leadership in the profession, but also fervently committed to family, faith and service.”