A path to a career in medicine

Daryll Dykes’ career in medicine had its start at Onondaga Community College in New York.

Daryll Dykes’ love of medicine started as a small child, growing up in Syracuse, New York. His mother was a nurse, and he loved visiting her at work. He dreamed of a career in medicine.

In order to make his dream a reality, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a way to help pay for college. After his service, Dykes returned to New York and enrolled at Onondaga Community College.

This article continues a series on the three recipients of the 2018 American Association of Community Colleges Alumni Awards, which will be presented May 1 at the AACC Annual Convention in Dallas.

After graduating from OCC, he transferred to Syracuse University. Financial struggles and family obligations nearly derailed his plan of going to medical school. Determined to achieve his goal, he joined SUNY Upstate Medical Center as a blood bank technician. He became a valued member of the team, and was recruited for the Medical Scientist Training Program. Dykes received a full scholarship and stipend through medical school and his Ph.D. in molecular biology.

Dykes is now president and CEO of Medical and Surgical Spine Consultants of Minnesota. His interest in health policy led him to earn a law degree. Dykes uses his unique experience to advance health care. He was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow. And he’s served as a key policy advisor on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce health subcommittee. The position has given him an active voice in critical health policy issues.

He says, “While I actually don’t remember much of the advanced calculus I learned in my mathematics and science curriculum over 30 years ago at OCC, my experience there was invaluable in honing my academic skills, igniting my passion for lifelong learning and preparing me for unimaginable success in my life in science, medicine and law,” Dykes says.

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.