Since launching the first online degree in 2017, the number of undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors at Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences has more than doubled. Additionally, the new group of online students is significantly more diverse than the field student population, with 65% female and four times as many black students and six times as many military and veteran students as on-site students. field.
One such military student is Cory Smith, a line biochemist currently serving in the Air Force as a U-28A mission pilot, who recently completed his seventh deployment to the Middle East. Smith aims to get into medical school and then return to active duty as a medical officer.
Despite multiple deployments and a variety of temporary assignments, Smith has managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA.
“I’ve taken classes in several different states, as well as several countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia,” Smith said. “I even had to ship several weeks of chemistry lab equipment to myself so that I could complete the labs on the road. Without programs like this at ASU, it would have been much more difficult to continue serving while progressing on my path to becoming a physician.
In the summer of 2021, Smith traveled to Arizona and the Tempe campus, where he met students and professors he otherwise only knew through online interactions, complete his organic chemistry lab classes and feel like a real solar devil.
“Cory is an enthusiastic and dedicated student, and despite his busy flight schedule, he regularly attends office hours and stays active in class. I’m glad SMS can support military students like Cory, who serves our country, thanks to the online program,” said Ara Austin, faculty member in the School of Molecular Sciences and director of online engagement and strategic initiatives at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Last year, Smith was the recipient of the SMS Veterans Scholarship. This scholarship supports undergraduate students, whether military veterans or children of veterans, who are pursuing studies and careers in molecular sciences.
“Winning this scholarship means a lot to me,” Smith said. “Having my hard work recognized by my teachers and the (school) community gives me significant validation and motivation to continue performing well.”
Many ASU students are able to achieve their goals through the generosity of alumni, members of the school community, and ASU employees, among others. Smith is grateful to those who have contributed to ASU to make this and other scholarships available to him and other students.
“I am sincerely grateful to have been chosen as the recipient of the SMS Veterans Scholarship,” he said. “Scholarships are especially important for online students, as the recognition helps strengthen their bond with school.”
“One of the unexpected benefits of delivering programs online is the extent to which they have opened up access to college education for students from more diverse backgrounds,” said Ian Gould, Associate Dean of Innovation. online at college. this respect than any other program we’ve tried in the past few years. Cory is a perfect example. I am always amazed that students like Cory can take on heavy responsibilities in life while maintaining a perfect GPA in challenging science classes. We are very proud of Cory.