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Online biochemistry cohort share their experiences

(From left, clockwise) Leo Alaniz, Andrea Adeusi, Kouta Kobayashi and Hillary Hall

November 30, 2018

In 2017 the School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) at Arizona State University launched a new online Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry. Online degrees offer nontraditional students who may feel excluded from traditional college programs the opportunity to gain the experiences and qualifications they need to support their career aspirations.

“The ASU charter states that we as educators are measured by who we include and how we help students find success,” said Ara Austin, clinical assistant professor and coordinator of pnline programs at the School of Molecular Sciences.

Realizing their online students are not typical, the SMS faculty spoke with the first cohort to get their perspectives on the new degree program and learn how this new online route might provide the career pathway they have been looking for.

The biochemistry degree program fits the needs of this cohort, some of whom were looking for this specific degree in biochemistry while others needed to meet the requirements for medical school. The program also provided the support of advisors and professors that ASU is known for.

Hillary Hall, of Wisconsin, said, “I chose ASU because you guys really were the only university to actually offer the combination of biology and chemistry combined online. That's what I really wanted as I am pursuing pharmacy school.”

The first cohort of students came from all across the country. Whether pursuing medical school, pharmacy school or graduate school, all agreed the online program was unique in what it offered compared to other degree programs. This first-of-its-kind online biochemistry program with a hands-on lab will help them on their way to the next educational goal.    

“This has impacted my life because I never thought that I would be able to still work and still complete my degree online. Sometimes I am still pinching myself. Am I really doing this?” said New Jersey student Andrea Adeusi, who plans to attend medical school after graduation.   

Kouta Kobayashi, of Arizona, who is planning to go to graduate school said, “I think it is great that all of the science classes have some sort of lab attached to it.”

Over the past year, students in the program have said they have never felt more supported by their instructors, and the pace of the course work is what keeps them motivated to learn.

"My goal for the next several months is to get into medical school,” said Arizona student Leo Alaniz.

The intention behind offering an online biochemistry degree with the lab component is to create access to higher education for all students.

“We hope that through this online degree we are able to help those students who have been excluded previously because education should not be for some people, but for all people who desire such a degree,” said Austin.

Learn more about the SMS Biochemistry Bachelors of Science Online Degree program at ASU. 

 Watch: Student perspectives of online biochemistry

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