A Passion to Help

Sidney West, a senior biomedical science major,  is starting small with a big objective: she wants to change the world by helping one person at a time. With plans to eventually become a doctor, West wants to take a hands-on approach to her goal. For now, she's helping others in a different way by getting involved in campus activities and representing her classmates.

"I like being able to know a lot of people. It has been a lot of fun helping other students get more involved," West says.

As a freshman, West jumped right into the university community. She's already been a part of the New Student Organization, chaired the special events committee, organized the homecoming float, helped with battle of the bands, and is a part of the True Blue NAU committee, which seeks to build school spirit. West has also served students as a senator with the Associated Students of Northern Arizona University (ASNAU), which gives her peers a voice at the campus, local, state, and national levels. She is thriving in the university’s supportive community.

To help and heal

"I enjoy helping others," West says. "I try to stay involved because our world is based on politics. I don't want to get too into politics as a career, though, because I don't like the anger and disagreements. I'd rather be a doctor where everyone looks for ways to help others."

The self-described "bio-nerd" has dreams of becoming a pediatric oncologist. To prepare, West is lining up opportunities to become involved with an undergraduate research project with one of her professors. Additionally, she's volunteering at Flagstaff Medical Center to get a glimpse of what her future might involve.

"To want to be a doctor, you have to love what you are going to be doing. I want to make a difference in the world, perhaps just helping one child. If I could be a primary doctor and save one child's life, to me that would be enough," says West.

West feels supported in her studies and activities by the connection between the Flagstaff community and the university.

"I like the size of the campus and how Flagstaff supports NAU and how NAU supports Flagstaff," she says. "This town is completely different from Glendale, where I'm from. It is very supportive of the schools here. At NAU I feel safe. I can walk anywhere I want. I just feel comfortable all around here."

Academic success

Academics are another area of success for West. She earned junior status after just one year at Northern Arizona University, thanks to transferring college credits she earned while in high school. West says the learning environment at Northern Arizona University makes it possible for her to be involved and stay on top of her academics.

"I've been able to have a personal experience with every professor I've had at NAU. I feel comfortable going to one of my professors if I don't understand something. I can email them and they always email back. There's a connection there," says West. "Plus it's a gorgeous campus. Being able to look up and see the mountains, it is a calm area in which to learn."