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ASU graduating senior inspired to become a doctor through son's illness

man's portrait

David Reed

March 05, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

David Reed’s life changed in February 2018 when his son, Isaiah, less than a year old, was in the intensive care unit. He watched the doctor as she treated his son for meningitis: “She was always teaching and using her skill for the benefit of others.”

Watching how the doctors worked together, Reed — then a worker in an aluminum mill — realized he could do more with his life.

“Instead of pursuing rigorous academics, I had chosen an easy path and then pursued unchallenging job opportunities that allowed me to leave work at work,” Reed said. “It left me unfulfilled.”

By March he was researching the prerequisites he would need for medical school.

“I kept coming across ASU. ASU was the only option that gave me the opportunity to complete the courses I needed and continue to work and provide for my family.”

Reed began his first class in August 2018 in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences. In 2020, the school recognized Reed’s hard work and success, awarding him the School of Molecular Sciences Scholarship.

While working on his education, Reed has seen growth in his own life.

“Prior to coming to ASU, I was extremely private and kept to myself," Reed said. "At ASU I have found my community and my voice.”

Reed connected with other online students through the IDEAS Society at ASU, an academic club for online science majors. Through the IDEAS Society, Reed mentors other students; he also serves as the Pre-Health Officer for the club.

It has been challenging for Reed to balance school and family, especially twin boys. Now that he is graduating from the School of Molecular Sciences with a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry, Reed looks back and reflects.

“School is hard. School with children is harder. School with children during a pandemic feels impossible at times. It takes dedication and sacrifice.” 

He appreciates those who have gone before him who helped make the online biochemistry degree program rigorous and meaningful.

“I also want to thank professors Ian Gould and Ara Austin for sparking my love of chemistry,” he said.

“David lives in a small town in West Virginia that is heavily affected by opioid drugs, and he wants to get his medical degree to help people in his community," said Austin, the school's managing director of online programs. "His desire to help others is a great testament to the fact that in addition to being a great student, David is an exceptional human being.”

The next step for Reed is medical school. He has been accepted into the Marshall University School of Medicine, where he will continue his education that will allow him to make a difference in the lives of people in his community, just like the medical professionals did for his son.

“My son is doing well; he has no lingering effects of the meningitis."

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