Student Spotlight: Justin Kenney, Science Prerequisite Program

Headshot of Justin Kenney, who transitioned from music school to medical school by taking online prerequisite courses through UNE Online.Ever since he can remember, Justin has always wanted to be a doctor–but his exceptional musical talent pulled him in a different direction after high school. Justin accepted a scholarship to study classical music at Vanderbilt University, where he graduated in 2014 with a BA in Classical Music.

Prior to graduation, Justin started to realize that he couldn’t ignore his draw to the medical field, and soon he decided to pursue his childhood ambition of being a doctor. Continue reading to learn more about Justin’s journey from music major to studying for the MCAT, and all the online prerequisite courses for medical school he took in between.

You must be pretty talented if you went to college on a music scholarship. Could you share more about your musical background?

I grew up enamored with music as a way to reach others, playing in any ensemble and genre that would have me. I taught myself any instrument I could get my hands on and now consider myself proficient at a variety of brass/wind instruments, guitars, piano, etc. My scholarship to Vanderbilt was in classical music, and while I focused on symphonic performance as an instrumentalist in college, I prefer to perform as a vocalist. While in college, I sang and was musical director for the Vanderbilt Melodores, an internationally renowned all-male a cappella group (look us up on Youtube if you wish, there are a ton of videos). They even won NBC’s TV show “The Sing Off” the year after I graduated! As a soloist, I recently sang the National Anthem and God Bless America at a Cincinnati Reds (MLB team) game this past September.

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Can you tell me a little about yourself and what encouraged you to pursue medical school?

I always knew I wanted to help people. Right after graduation, I enrolled in an EMT course and received certification. Shortly after, I was hired by the Cincinnati Fire Department, where I’ve been working for almost three years now. My experience as an EMT has been invaluable as far as learning about patient care, and it has completely solidified why I want to be a physician.

How did you decide on UNE Online to fulfill your prerequisite courses for medical school?

As a music major in undergrad, I did not take the science courses that are required for medical school, so I had a lot of work to do. Originally I looked around at various institutions in my area in hopes of enrolling in the courses I needed. Unfortunately, I learned that attending classes at a traditional brick and mortar institution would not be possible if I continued working for the Cincinnati Fire Department. I thought about it and decided that the experience I was gaining as an EMT was too valuable to give up.

I started looking around online for other options and I came across UNE. When I saw that I would be able to complete the coursework, and even the labs from home and around my schedule, I was sold! Over the last two years I’ve taken Biology I & II, General Chemistry I & II, Organic Chemistry I & II, and Physics I & II. Throughout every course, I’ve been consistently impressed with professors and the presentation of the course content.

What would you want a potential student to know before starting an online prerequisite course with UNE?

The self-paced format definitely requires dedication and focus. Review the syllabus prior to your start date and set a timeline. With every course that I took, I would set a goal to finish well in advance of the 16-week deadline.

Read more: Online Prerequisites Insights from the Program Director

Do you feel like the material covered in the courses has been helpful as you’re preparing to take the MCAT?

Absolutely! I’ll have to update you when I get my scores.

What are you most looking forward to?

As advanced as paramedicine is, my scope of practice is typically limited to providing emergency care between the scene of an accident and the hospital. I’m so thankful for my experience as an EMT, but I’m really looking forward to expanding the level of care I am able to provide.

Is there anything additional about your experience with UNE Online that you would like to share?

Overall the entire experience has been wonderful, but I would be remiss not to mention the incredible support staff. My Student Service Advisors, Ashley and Josh were amazing and I’m very grateful for their support throughout my courses.

To learn more about our online science prerequisites courses:

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You can also reach out to an enrollment counselor via email at or by phone by calling (855) 325-0894.

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