Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement.
Alexandria Layton, from Ahwatukee, Arizona, is a graduating biochemistry major with an emphasis in medicinal chemistry, in the School of Molecular Sciences (SMS). She describes herself as quiet and just keeping her head down and blissfully enjoying her classes, and it wasn’t until her junior year in her first biochemistry class with Professor Kevin Redding that things really turned around for her.
Layton was learning more about how many complex biochemical processes work, and how one can manipulate them, and it inspired her to learn more and do more.
“It took a while, but it finally clicked that this is what I really enjoy and want to pursue further,” she said.
Layton, a student in Barrett, The Honors College, was totally surprised when she learned she had won both the Moeur award and the Distinguished Biochemistry Merit award at the recent SMS Awards Ceremony. Here she answers some questions about her time at Arizona State University.
Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?
Answer: I learned what it actually was like to work in a lab. Initially, I wanted to go to pharmacy school and I didn't think I would enjoy lab work very much, but working in a lab changed my perspective. I realized that I really enjoyed working in a lab setting, and I wanted to have a career that was involved in research and testing.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Try to not get stuck comparing yourself to people who appear more successful, and don't stress about doing things other people are doing if you don't have a desire to do it. Find things that you want to do and do what makes you happy.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: There are a row of chairs on the second floor of Noble Library that face the window overlooking Tyler Mall. Any time I have a break between classes, I'm sitting in one of those chairs. It's a great place to relax, read and people-watch.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I've been accepted into ASU's 4+1 program, so I'll be spending next year working towards earning my master's. After that I hope to work in a research or clinical lab.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would give the money to support music and art programs in schools. I was involved in music since elementary school, and I found it such an essential part of my ability to learn and grow. It always bothered me how music and art are some of the first programs to get cut in schools due to money when they're so important to encourage children to be creative. I would want to help these programs wherever I could, and allow schools to continue to offer the creativity and freedom that art and music provide.
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