Undergraduate Student Spotlight
"Who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being?" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kevin Real

Major: biological Systems Engineering
Emphasis: Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Papillion, NE

What do you enjoy most about Nebraska?:

It’s hard to narrow this down to just one thing because my experience at UNL has been incredibly positive! If I had to list one, it would have to be the extraordinary faculty. I have been a priority for my teachers and many have willingly set aside their own time to help aid me in my journey. I really respect this; the mentors I have found at UNL have been second-to-none and have helped me reach heights I could never have imagined. Over this past year I have had the opportunity to interview at a few medical schools. After talking with students from public, private, and Ivy League schools I simply could not be happier that I received my undergraduate degree from UNL. I really found a home here and the emphasis on education/ quality of teachers can compete with any other college in the country.  

Are you involved in any activities outside of class? If so, which ones?:

I definitely was involved in quite a few organizations throughout college. For future students I would definitely recommend not spreading yourself too thin. In my experience professional schools/ future employers really won’t ask you about all 15 organizations/ clubs you are in, just maybe the 3 most meaningful. So my advice is to find three organizations that you are completely passionate for and invest time into them. Anyways, here are the activities I did in college!


  • 111th Class of the Innocents Society
  • Undergraduate Chemistry 109/110 Recitation and Laboratory Teaching Assistant
  • Nebraska Human Resources Institute: Peer Mentor, ALEC 102 Teaching Assistant, Lux Proejct Co-Chair.
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior
  • Member of the fraternity Beta Theta Pi
  • Honors Program: Student Ambassador, 198H Honors-On-Campus Teaching Assistant
  • Dance Marathon: Morale Captain/ Family Representative
  • Suite Staff Host for memorial stadium
  • Nebraska Legends
  • Chemistry 109,110,251,252 tutor
  • St. Elizabeth’s Regional Medical Center Volunteer
  • Medlife member 

Of all the courses you’ve taken, what is your favorite class, and what made it so enjoyable?:

Without a doubt, Organic Chemistry I and II. The critical thinking, skill-set, and visual techniques employed to be successful in Organic made the class very stimulating and rewarding. Of course the class itself required a lot of hard work but that is one thing I really pride myself on, I never claim to be the smartest/ most capable person but I will out-work the competition. Organic Chemistry had the perfect hard work to reward ratio. 

What has been your greatest achievement so far?:

I really try not to focus much on personal achievements because at the end of the day the awards and accolades we earn for ourselves really don’t mean anything. I’d much rather do something for someone else and see him or her and myself grow in the process. With this in mind, if I had to choose one award that I really am glad I received in college it would probably be being selected as a finalist for the Outstanding Student Leadership Award. 

What do you plan to do after you graduate?:

I will attend medical school in the fall, I’d tell you which one but I still haven’t made an official decision as to where I’m going, the deadline to decide is May 1st. In the future I hope to be a flight surgeon in the Air Force. In the very distant future I hope to have created my own practice titled, “Real Medicine” (get it?)  Additionally, I would also like to serve as a flight surgeon for NASA and work as a physician in space for a brief period of time. 

Do you have any advice that you would like to share with prospective students?:

College is a wonderful, incredibly unique experience. I’m sure everyone has heard the typical advice such as: get involved, make friends, take risks, so I’ll try to add something new to the advice list.

1: Believe in yourself. Coming out of High School I had absolutely zero idea of what I wanted to do. In fact, I wasn’t even a strong student. I graduated with a sub-par GPA and class rank. I tested into MATH 101 (College Algebra) on my placement exam and when I told my advisor that I wanted to go Pre-Med and Engineering she told me I may not have the skills to succeed. That brings me to my next point. 

2: What you think of yourself is more important than what others think of you. Find your passion and stick with it no matter what. This speaks for itself. I believed I could achieve whatever I set my mind to and at the end of the day this is the only thing that mattered. Your results will tell the full story.

3: Don’t shy away from your dreams when you are faced with adversity.  I fundamentally believe to lead a life worth living we all need dreams, and with dreams come challenges. Accept that there will be times in your life where you fail and embrace these opportunities to learn from your mistakes. Do not get discouraged; instead find solace in the fact that you now have an opportunity to improve.

4: If you want to make your dream a reality, don’t be afraid to stay in on a Friday/Saturday night.  We all have friends that will try to pressure us to come out and have a good time with them. In my life this happened on an almost weekly occurrence. In fact, because I would choose to stay in when I had work to do it revealed which friends were true and which friends were simply there to have a good time. It’s crucial that you surround yourself with real friends early as finding a true support network in college is perhaps one of the most important things you can do.

5: Grind: There is no way around this one. If you want to be successful and you want to achieve all of your goals it is going to take an immense amount of work. Commit yourself to the grind and you will reach your true potential and begin reaping rewards you never thought possible. I cannot begin to stress how immensely rewarding it is to set goals and achieve them. In my opinion working hard and having this hard work pay off will always be preferable to having a “good time” or going out partying Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Now that’s not to say that you can’t have fun, I certainly had my fair share of fun in college. Learning when you can afford a good time and when you have to sit down and do some studying is key.