Initially a Discovery major, Kirk was placed in an Introduction to Biblical Literature course in the fall of his first year at Stetson, and it only took Dr. Sutherland a couple of months to convince Kirk to declare a major in Religious Studies. Around the same time, Kirk declared a second major, Health Sciences, which eventually led to his completing two diﬀerent senior research projects focusing on the correlation between religion and health, one for each of his majors. While pursuing his studies in both departments, he developed an interest in medicine and ethics. Kirk’s love for religion and health also led to his working with Dr. Bell on the creation of a student organization called Religion and Dialogue. Ultimately, he wants to use his expertise to help those in most need of physical and spiritual healing. His fondest memories at Stetson are the connections he was able to make with his professors, especially at the Religious Studies dessert socials. While at Stetson, Kirk has worked as a pharmacy technician, a fitness coach, a personal trainer, served as a student intern and volunteer at the Alliance Community Healthcare Center, and shadowed physicians. Dr. Houston, Kirk’s research advisor in Religious Studies, commented, "With his infectious enthusiasm, robust curiosity, and insightful and interdisciplinary work drawing on both religious studies and the health sciences, Kirk Mattern exemplifies what is best about both the Department of Religious Studies and Stetson University."
In addition to working as an EMT, volunteering as a fireman, volunteering at Alliance Community Health Center in DeLand, performing research with Dr. Goldstein, and applying to medical school, Kirk has pursued a double major in Health Sciences and Religious Studies. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Theta Alpha Kappa. Kirk wishes to thank Dr. Skelton and the Health Sciences Department for fostering his love of medicine and believing in him. Through the department he has been able to help a multitude of people in his community through volunteering and educating friends and family on diﬀerent health practices. Kirk completed a senior research project on the self‐reported health status and religion of Stetson University students. According to Health Sciences faculty, "Kirk is an extraordinary person as well as an exceptional scholar. He is kind, generous and always willing to help. He will be missed. Look out, world, for this young man." Kirk plans to pursue a medical degree, hopefully a DO/JD, MD/Masters of Divinity or MD/MA in bioethics dual degree program. He eventually hopes to join the mission field helping those in need of both physical and spiritual health.