ASU graduate aspires to help others by studying the human body

March 5, 2018

Editor's note: This profile is part of a series showcasing alumni of the School of Molecular Sciences.

Lyndsay Hess graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in biochemistry and psychology in 2015. Hess has a long-standing interest in studying the human body and plans to become a physician. As a student, she participated in undergraduate research, assisted in an anatomy and physiology lab and tutored other students in chemistry. Since graduating, Hess has worked as an inorganic chemist, ocular recovery technician and a medical scribe. She is currently in the process of moving to Tucson, where she will be attending medical school at the University of Arizona. Hess also has an infant daughter and is getting married at the end of March 2018. Lyndsay Hess After graduating from ASU with degrees in biochemistry and psychology in 2015, Hess will be attending medical school at University of Arizona. Download Full Image

We asked Hess a few questions about her undergraduate experience at ASU and how studying biochemistry and psychology helped foster her desire to become a physician.

Question: Why or how did you choose your current career path?

Answer: I was very motivated in high school to pursue medicine because I believed doing so would allow me to directly help the most people. I wavered on that decision throughout my undergraduate career, but ultimately knew that the pre-professional track was the way to go (in terms of pursuing a doctorate degree in pharmacy, a PhD or a medical degree). After speaking about different paths available to me with ASU professors, I decided to explore the PhD route and joined three different research labs. I also began assisting in an anatomy and physiology lab, where I enjoyed taking on a leadership role and teaching students about the cadaver. I also began tutoring in the Chemistry Learning Resource Center, where I used my knowledge to help students with chemistry concepts. While I was enthusiastic about research and teaching, I was more in love with the human body and the myriad things that can go wrong. I used connections made at ASU to land an internship at Banner UMC Phoenix, as well as a position as a medical scribe. It was through these experiences that I decided I would be happiest becoming a physician.

Q: How did your undergraduate experience in the School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) at ASU prepare you for your current career path?

A: The benefits of my experience as an undergraduate really all came down to my advisors being there to help me balance my two unrelated majors, as well as to help point me in the general direction I needed to achieve my career goals. I learned about different extracurricular opportunities through my advisors and the School of Molecular Sciences emails, and where I could potentially find these opportunities. I also felt that my professors were amazing sources of information, and I enjoyed going to office hours to pick their brains and ask for clarification on topics discussed in lecture. ASU and SMS offer an amazing amount of support and opportunities for their undergraduates, from research and internships to study groups and learning centers.

Q: What is it like applying your degree in a new area?

A: In my particular experience with applying to medical school, I think the knowledge I gained throughout my undergraduate experience aided me in doing well on my medical entrance exam (MCAT), as the exam contained many chemistry topics and problems that were similar to problems on the exams provided in school. 

Q: What are some of your favorite memories of ASU — academic, research, or otherwise?

A: I thoroughly enjoyed developing lifelong friendships with some of my peers, as well as the career advice provided by a few of the professors I worked with closely. As I mentioned already, ASU offers so many opportunities to succeed and explore different areas of interest. Some of my fondest memories include meeting with my study group at Noble Library to review material learned in organic chemistry and physical chemistry. We would stock up on energy drinks, grab a whiteboard or private room upstairs, and hole ourselves up until we could easily go through the study guides and homework problems. It was fun taking core classes together, as we all supported and helped each other.

Q: What is your advice for current students in the School of Molecular Sciences who are thinking of pursuing a career path similar to yours?

A: Take advantage of all the opportunities ASU and SMS have to offer! Get to know your professors well, as they are valuable resources for both lecture material and career information. Make friends and form study groups, and seek out tutoring centers if you are stuck on certain problems or topics.

Q: What would you tell a prospective ASU student that they need to know about studying in the School of Molecular Sciences at ASU?

A: SMS really wants their students to succeed, and the advisors at SMS are phenomenal. However, students themselves still need to put in their own work and be resourceful.

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