By Jaimie Woodard, ’02
Some people just know what they want from a young age. Mindy Bottenfield, sophomore majoring in chemistry at the University of West Florida, knew that she wanted to become a doctor when she was just four-years-old. Determined to make her childhood dream a reality, Bottenfield, graduated from high school a year early with her associate’s degree from Okaloosa-Walton College and then enrolled at UWF.
“I became interested in neurosurgery when I was in middle school,” said Bottenfield. “I am fascinated by the nervous system; without it, the whole body would fail. I want to help fix the dysfunctions within that system, like Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Bottenfield chose to study chemistry as a means to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test. She will need to do well on the test in order to be admitted into medical school.
“Chemistry and science are very important in understanding how things work in the world around us,” said Bottenfield. “The more we understand about the body, the more equipped we are to fix it when something goes wrong.”
The UWF Department of Chemistry offers two Bachelor of Science degrees, accredited by the American Chemical Society, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry. The B.A. specializations in chemistry and chemistry/biochemistry are uniquely designed for students like Bottenfield who need a strong background in chemistry for application in other fields such as pre-medical, business, education, forensic science, predental, pre-law and some environmental fields.
Once she graduates from UWF, Bottenfield plans to attend medical school to specialize in neurosurgery. She also has a desire to learn Chinese and Swahili along the way. Her ultimate goal is to work in a hospital and serve on medical mission trips using her language and medical skills to assist missionaries.
Helping others is second-nature to Bottenfield. When not hitting the books, she is helping others in need. She has aided Hurricane Katrina victims, worked with her church’s youth program and attended mission trips. Bottenfield is also a certified deep water lifeguard.
“I have a passion for helping other in need,” said Bottenfield. “I help in the community as much as I can. I hate seeing people hurting or not have the necessities like food and shelter. I have so much when others don't. I can't just sit by and watch others in my very own city go without food, clothing or even presents on Christmas.”