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A change of major leads to new opportunities for ASU grad

Sarah Bruder sits on concrete steps, smiling at the camera with her gold graduation sash and maroon cords draped around her neck

Sarah Bruder

December 04, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

Sometimes in the pursuit of something you’ve always wanted, you realize you don’t actually even like it. Sarah Bruder came to this conclusion during her third semester of nursing school.

“We were in lab and were learning how to do IVs and I had a realization that I did not want to cause my patients any pain, especially children, which was who I wanted to work with. So that was the moment where I was like, if I’m not comfortable with this, I don’t know that I’ll be able to do other things that come with the job.”

This was an abrupt about-face. Ever since she was in middle school, Bruder had wanted to work in the medical field and work with kids. Naturally, her mind always went to nursing as the best way to accomplish this. But Bruder says her mom taught her there’s no reason to make yourself miserable for something you’re not passionate about. That lesson helped her make the tough decision to move on from nursing.

“I’ve gone through a lot of hardship in my life, but I have learned to be resilient and to see that I don’t need to force myself to stay stuck or stay in something I’m not enjoying.”

After talking with her advisor she learned about Edson College’s health entrepreneurship and innovation program. Bruder says it intrigued her, and so she decided to follow her curiosity and give it a try.

“I found out in those classes it was a lot of bettering processes and coming up with medical devices and ideas, and my brain was just starting to go, go, go, thinking of all these new things and I felt like wow, I’m really in my element and I enjoy this.”

During this transition, she made the happy discovery that she would still be able to reach her goal of working with kids in a medical setting.

“It’s still hard to tell people I changed my major because it seems like I quit. But deep down I know I was doing what was best for me and now I’m thriving and doing great.”

Below Bruder discusses her time at ASU, the professors who impacted her the most and her plans for the future.

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

Answer: The biggest thing I learned that I will hold on to forever is to never say no to an opportunity. The best formula for growth is to take on opportunities and experience new things. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: It was Professor Therese Speer who told me to never say no to opportunities. That will stick with me for the rest of my life. Another professor who had a big impact on me was Mike Collins. He was my first professor when I changed my major. Before him, I’d never had a professor who cared so much about the information we were learning and how we grasped it. I didn’t feel like I was in class — I felt like I was having continual conversations about whatever it was, and I really appreciated that.

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

A: The best piece of advice I could give to students is to remember everything is temporary and comes in seasons. With that, remember that later on down the line, all the pressure that is on you is not going to make or break anything. So take the pressure off as best as you can, do your best, but also enjoy your college years.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will be transitioning to full time with Patient Transport at Phoenix Children’s. I currently work part time with them. I’m hoping to climb up the ladder of leadership and stay with Patient Transport. My degree has prepared my mind to think outside the box and apply that to really anything, but in this case for patient transport and creating a better environment and processes for the kids as they’re moving around the facility.

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