Psychology undergraduate aims to help underserved medical communities

Psi Chi honors society president will be going to medical school this fall

April 20, 2021

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

Lara Eltze is a senior double major in psychology and biological sciences with a minor in Spanish. Born in Germany, she is fluent in German, English and Spanish. She is also the president of Psi Chi at ASU Tempe, the psychology honors society, and works as a research assistant in the Arizona Twin Project. Lara Eltze Lara Eltze is a senior double major in psychology and biological sciences with a minor in Spanish. She will be starting medical school in the fall. Photo by Robert Ewing/ASU Download Full Image

Eltze recently found out that she was accepted into medical school and will be studying in the southwest in the fall.

“I knew from a young age that I wanted to go into medical school, so when I was in high school I shadowed a physician at the VA in Tucson. Her demeanor and patient presence were so impressive, and she had a way of making people feel at ease in a high-stress environment,” said Eltze, adding “I asked this doctor about how she handled it all, and she said it was from her degree in psychology!”

The route to medical school varies for every applicant, but the scientific rigor and people-centered research approach that psychology provides aligned closely to what Eltze was looking for in an academic experience.

In addition to her studies and research, Eltze volunteers with the Editha House, a compassionate health care facility that focuses on providing support for the most vulnerable of patients. The facility provides lodging and care for adult cancer and lung-transplant patients who live far away from the hospitals where they are receiving daily treatments.

In Arizona, over a half million people live over 30 minutes from a hospital location, and on top of that, many of those people do not have adequate transportation to and from these facilities. Additionally, more than 100,000 of those people are over the age of 65.

“We have a large population of people living in medically displaced areas that do not have adequate access to health care for debilitating conditions,” said Eltze, “I would like to research how we get well-funded clinics, residency positions and more doctors into those areas.”

An interest in stress

As a research assistant in the Arizona Twin Project, she started off coding subjective data and continued on to become a project lead for the on-call home visit team. She prepares families for home visits where researchers conduct interviews with families for the longitudinal twin study. Following the interviews, Eltze and her team go back to the lab and help to analyze the data, including salivary cortisol levels.

Eltze’s favorite part of the whole process is watching the data in action.

Her honors project is a case in point: She hypothesized and found that the patterning of children’s daily cortisol levels (an indicator of how the body’s stress response system is functioning) predicts their chronic pain levels one year later. Hers is the first research of this kind in children.

Lara embodies qualities that make her an impactful leader, budding scientist and person. She is deeply curious and excited by ideas, tenacious, open-minded, collaborative and kind. I have seen her in action and have no doubt that she will use all of her considerable skills to make an impact on the practice of medicine,” said Mary Davis, professor of psychology and co-director of the Arizona Twin Project. 

If it wasn’t clear from her busy schedule, Eltze thrives on stress and is looking forward to begin her journey into emergency room medicine.

“Ultimately, I want to have a profession where I’m able to make a difference in a high-pace, high-intensity setting,” said Eltze.


Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager, Department of Psychology


W. P. Carey Outstanding Graduating Senior pairs global perspective with individual impact

April 20, 2021

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

The W. P. Carey School of Business is proud to bestow this year’s Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Award to Shakki Bhat. Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Shakki Bhat Shakki Bhat, winner of this year's W. P. Carey School of Business Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Award. Download Full Image

Graduating with degrees in business global politics and supply chain management, Bhat aspires to be a leader who advocates for equitable and ethical business practices. He additionally participated in the Tillman Scholars Leadership Through Action program, served as a justice for ASU Undergraduate Student Government, worked at ASU’s Luminosity Lab and served as a mentor for RISE Tutoring.

While Bhat’s accomplishments over his time at W. P. Carey are impressive and numerous, what truly makes him stand out is his ability to foster relationships with his peers and inspire change. For example, while working at Luminosity Lab, he organized a team to solve a community problem, culminating in the program “Forks for Families,” a twice-weekly food distribution system in the Valley. Bhat plans to use this unique ability for the betterment of the world as he pursues a career in international business policy, specifically on how governments, NGOs and private-sector companies promote ethical business.

While his gaze is global, Bhat has also displayed a tremendous commitment to the W. P. Carey community and his peers. He is a business ambassador, Leaders’ Academy APPLE, WPC 101 facilitator and more.

We talked with the outstanding graduate to learn more about his ASU experience.

Question: What as your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I decided I wanted to major in global politics after studying and working abroad in Spain the summer after my freshman year. I was amazed at the similarities and differences between our two societies. That interest, as well as my upbringing in an immigrant household, has made me want to go into a field where I can work on solving global issues. Throughout my time at ASU, I’ve had the chance to meet multiple former heads of state, U.S. senators, ambassadors and many other people making an impact around the world. The W. P. Carey global politics degree, paired with supply chain management, has provided me with a diverse perspective I will carry throughout my career.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: A lesson I have seen displayed firsthand at ASU is the power of individual action. I have met tons of amazing people making a difference in their communities, many of whom are my age or younger. At ASU, I have seen students work on projects that provide education to refugees, micro-financing to small businesses, and platforms for underrepresented groups to have their voices heard. They have taught me that instead of waiting for change to occur, we have the power to make a difference in our own communities through our everyday actions.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: Being a sibling of an ASU graduate and Arizona native, I have always had some interest in the university. What really propelled me to the university was the opportunity to be a part of the Next Generation Service Corps program, which is designed to develop character-driven adaptive leaders who drive positive impact both locally and globally by exposing them to cross-sector collaboration. Comprised of students from over 150 majors, the chance to be a part of this unique four-year program made my decision that much easier.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: After spending over a year of college on Zoom during the pandemic, one piece of advice I’d give is to appreciate the people around you and be active in the ASU community. College is more than just getting an education; it is a time to make lifelong friends and find out who you really are as a person. Whether it be going to an ASU sporting event, joining a student organization on campus or spending time hanging out with other students, some of my most treasured memories have come from the experiences I’ve had at ASU. Have fun because it will fly by before you know it!

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus is the W. P. Carey dean’s patio. It is a nice place to see friends, grab a coffee, and see what is going on around campus!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: If I was given $40 million to solve one problem, I would use it to improve global infrastructure in order to tackle the technological divide. It is estimated that over 40% of the world’s population does not have access to the internet; in the United States, that number amounts to over 18 million people. In a world where knowledge and education are the great equalizers, I believe it is vital to provide individuals with access to the internet. Concurrently, I would also utilize the funding to promote internet critical-thinking initiatives that enable people to be digitally literate and spot online disinformation.

Emily Beach

Communications Manager, W. P. Carey School of Business

(602) 543-3296