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Student Spotlight - Amanda

Hometown: Mt. Prospect, IL

High School: Prospect High School

ASU Major: Bachelor of Science and Master's of Science in biological sciences, concentration in biology and society

Why ASU?

Towards the end of my high school career, I knew that I was ready to leave the Midwest and experience the next chapter of my life in unexplored surroundings. In my decision making process, I was looking to balance the energy and opportunity of a large university and the individualized education of a smaller school. After literally looking at schools coast to coast, Arizona State University presented this balance in the best possible light. Its location in the Phoenix community provided the pace of city life, which was a personal comfort, as well as a wide array of opportunities. I found smaller education "communities" through both my choice of major in the biology and society department (a program within the School of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) and Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. The large amount of teachers and advisors specific to each of these programs personalized my education by providing access to opportunity and development of my education. Also, ASU provided many scholarship options, which was very important when reviewing the financial expenses of medical school and beyond. And if that wasn't enough, the sunshine and warmth is definitely a perk.

What activities are you involved in?

Clubs: Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED): The Pre-health Honors Society, publicity chair. AED has been a crucial organization on my road as a pre-med student. It helped to sort all the resources and opportunities available (pre-med classes, internships, jobs, and volunteer experiences). Also, it provides a great way to network with students dealing with the same academic stresses. As an upperclassman, I am now able to share my experiences and advice, like those who once helped me.

Camp Kesem, student support coordinator: Camp Kesem is a summer camp for children that have/had a parent with cancer. We fundraise year round to provide this camp free of charge allowing the kids to interact with others in a similar situation while being in an environment focused on having fun. Being able to take part in camp as a counselor was a life changing experience and taught me how even an individual person can make a large impact in the world.

Devils' Advocates: I volunteer for undergraduate admissions as a campus tour guide. This has been a great way to give back to the ASU community through recruiting new students and sharing how ASU has shaped my life. This experience has connected me to ASU on a different level and I am more excited than ever to call myself a Sun Devil.

Health Devils: I work with the Health Professions Advising Office as a student liaison in both advising and recruiting events. I share my experiences with prospective and current students as means of helping them on their path into a health career.

The Triple Helix: This organization gave me the opportunity to publish an science and society-focused research article in its feature publication, The Science in Society Review. It provided a great experience in research, writing, and editing while communicating between its 20 internationally recognized chapters.

Barrett Mentoring: provides freshmen students of Barrett, The Honors College a unique opportunity to connect individually with an Honors upperclassman to ask question, acquire tips and discover on-campus opportunities. Helps to make the adjustment to college life at ASU that much easier.

Study Abroad: Although it does not technically count as an club, studying abroad proved to be one of the best networking experiences I had thus far at Arizona State University. I was able to travel to Greece and Italy during the summer after my first year with faculty and students of Barrett, The Honors College. Apart from the history and culture I learned from living in these places, I was able to connect with  students who, like myself, were passionate about education and their futures. Their influence inspired me to become more involved in on-campus organizations and service opportunities. To this day, these experiences alone are what keeps my drive for success higher than I thought possible.

Best thing about ASU

It's hard to pick only one reason. But, because I am forced to choose, I would have to say that ASU is the best, especially for Pre-health students, due to its great opportunities in research. ASU holds the highest designation for research institutions in the nation, being labelled Research 1. This provokes the highest level of research intensity and technological advancement in all areas of study. Although the experiments themselves are extremely interesting, the best part is that undergraduate students are able to take part in the research process. In the ASU student population, undergraduates heavily outweigh those seeking graduate degrees and higher. This means that the undergraduate students are needed to participate in the core procedures, not just cleaning up and plugging numbers, to make these projects as successful as possible. ASU recognizes this opportunity as it is a major requirement for different areas of scientific study, like my own. It is a great way to apply what you have learned in your many courses. Apart from course credit, students can also be hired for these positions.

I started my work in a research lab during the fall semester of this year. Through the School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research (SoLUR) program, I was connected to Dr. Jason Scott Robert, the director of the Bioethics, Policy, and Law Program within the biology and society department. His work is focused on the ethical, conceptual and methodological issues in the application of biology. Unlike the stereotypical thoughts of science lab, no physical experiments take place. Instead, conditioning in ethics is researched and combined with previous advancement in science to construct options for science policy and other ways in how science should be applied in society. This allows me to view science from a different perspective than that of biological and clinical science. Also, it provides me with a way to channel my interest in law while maintaining a health focus. My work in this research lab will help me to construct my Honors thesis and be the foundations of my Master's in Science degree I will be pursuing in bioethics, law and policy next year. Being a part of a research project is an exciting challenge and has definitely enhanced my educational experience tenfold.

Advice for students considering the pre-health program

Get involved and stay connected. It is so easy to get lost in the endless opportunities here at Arizona State University. Take advantage of your many networks, whether they be through your major, student organizations, or even your residence hall. Get your name on e-mail lists and connect with other students. Always keep your eyes and ears open to new experiences and don't hesitate to take them. You never know which opportunities may change your life.

Test preparation

I am planning on taking my MCAT. A lot of studying must be done in order to relearn everything from the core science courses, with the addition of a verbal (reading comprehension section). In my time here at ASU, I have found myself more successful in my studies when I am able in work with others in small groups. Silence is not always the thing for me. So, when deciding how I wished to study for the MCAT, I signed up for a test prep course through the Princeton Review. Each subject is taught by a teacher specifically trained and knowledgeable in that area the test. They review the subject material and help discuss test strategy with the nine students in our class. It runs three nights a week and will continue up until my test date. Each teacher is great when you have questions in class and are easy to contact via email or during office hours. I like the pressure of having deadlines for both homework and practice tests. It helps me stay on top of my work. Hopefully this study method proves me well.