Lauren Morris breaking barriers in biomed
According to the American Medical Association, fewer than six percent of female physicians in the
United States are African-American. Lauren Morris, a sophomore majoring in
biomedical science, hasn’t let this statistic stand in the way of her success.
In fact, it drives her to achieve even more.
Morris originally came to NAU from Los Angeles,
California because of the university’s calming atmosphere, diversity of
seasons, and close proximity to her hometown. Morris began her undergraduate
career with the goal of attending medical school and creating a foundation that
would aid children with autism.
Her area of study isn’t onerous because she
possesses such interest in the subject, she explains.
“It’s not about how difficult it is, but the
passion you have for it,” Morris says. “That’s what’s going to keep you
going. It’s about overcoming a challenge
and using your passion and motivation to get there.”
Morris says her initial experience was a scary
one because the majority of her classmates and instructors were male. She takes this in stride, though, seeing it
as an opportunity to subvert stereotypes.
“I don’t let that discourage me; it motivates
me,” Morris says. “There need to be more
women going into the medical field. You
also don’t see many African American women studying a science major, so it’s a
perfect thing for me to try to be that trendsetter.”
Morris cites Douglas Friedman, a lecturer in the Department of Biology, and Alvin Altamirano, a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as two of her favorite instructors because of their willingness to go the extra mile for students.
Many of her professors have offered countless tutoring and recitation sessions, which she uses to improve her test scores and prepare for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT.
“When you have all those resources combined with easy accessibility to professors, it’s easy for students to get the help they need,” Morris says.
When she isn’t focusing on her studies, Morris also works at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a Student Admissions Specialist; she enjoys her work because it allows her to share her own NAU experiences.
Dividing time between school, work, and her social obligations—which include being a member of the Gamma Alpha Omega sorority—can be daunting, but Morris never loses focus of her long-term ambitions.
“I’m here for a reason: to go to school and get the grades I need to advance,” she says. “I can’t give up. Sure, it can get stressful at times, but I just want to keep going.”