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US Navy hospital corpsman completes ASU Online degree en route to medical school


US Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Michael Kinzler and Family

US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Kinzler, a hospital corpsman, with wife, Jess, and two children. Image credit HM1 Abir Majumdar.

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April 25, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Kinzler, a hospital corpsman, completes his bachelor's degree in biochemistry in May through the School of Molecular Science’s online program.

For the past decade he has served in the U.S. Navy, initially at the Naval Hospital Lemoore, in central California. As a junior corpsman he worked in a family and internal medicine clinic with a physician who mentored him, sparking his interest in medicine while providing a strong foundation of knowledge and experience.

Kinzler and his wife, Jess, transferred to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, shortly after the birth of their first son. Kinzler joined “America’s Battalion,” the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, as the USMC does not have organic medical units but relies on the Navy to provide them.

“Operating in real-world contingency missions is one of the reasons I joined the Navy, so this was a fulfilling assignment,” Kinzler said. “These experiences solidified my desire to practice medicine at the highest level and encouraged me to take action toward fulfilling this goal.”

Transferring to Nebraska and taking a special assignment to the Omaha Military Entrance Processing Station gave Kinzler a level of stability that allowed him to focus on his studies and complete his degree. After high school, Kinzler had attended a small community college after high school, but lacked direction.

“Although I started out well,” he said. “I quickly lost interest and changed my major three times in an effort to find something that fit me. Ironically, I was taking all online classes when I dropped out and joined the Navy.”

Five years later, while attached to his USMC unit, Kinzler began researching veteran and active-duty friendly schools.

“A friend told me of his positive experiences pursuing a psychology degree online through ASU, and it sounded too good to be true,” Kinzler said. “I was very apprehensive to be taking online classes again, however, once I began it all fell into place. ASU has been a great fit for me to finish my degree while being in the Navy.”

Kinzler, who will be exiting service in June, has been accepted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, as well as the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“I could not have done anything professionally without the support of my wife, Jess,” Kinzler said.

Kinzler looks forward to starting medical school in the fall with the continued support of his wife and their two sons, Jack and Jordan.

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