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Impact Magazine

So what are you going to do with that?

Those who ask you that mean well. But the truth is that graduates of the College of Life Sciences can do a lot with their degrees. Take a look at what ten alumnae had to say about what they’ve done over the years.

NDSF sensory lab students in white and hair nets.jpg
Photo by Nate Edwards

  • Bernice J Underwood, Microbiology, 1965

    • "My skills as a medical technologist were a lifesaver while my husband served in Vietnam. It helped pass the time constructively and gave me some much needed adult interaction since I was a lone parent with a baby girl."
  • Maren E. (Smith) Butcher, Exercise Science, 1994

    • "I continued my education and graduated from the University of Utah (I know!) in 1996, earning a degree in physical therapy and have worked part-time in the field since. I worked at Shriners Children’s Hospital, North Austin Medical Center, Desert Cove Skilled Nursing Facility, and have worked for the past eight years as a home health physical therapist. My undergraduate education at BYU prepared me very well for physical therapy school and has continued to be a fountain of knowledge from which I still draw in the field today."
  • Elizabeth Rawle Binks, Botany, 1999

    • "My children have been impacted most by my education. I love that my four daughters, as well as my two sons, know that their mom is a science major. My seven-year-old daughter calls me a plant doctor because I answer so many questions about what is ailing my neighbors’ plants. I bring home photos of the large or gross insects I see at work. We talk about what plants need to be healthy. They work in the garden with me. Harvesting potatoes in the fall is our annual treasure hunt. They even experiment with me when we grow fruits like serviceberries. They’ve learned they prefer red currants over black currants. My passion for and education in plant science has enabled me to teach my children to look for wonders in our own yard. I’ve read recently that women graduating with a STEM degree make up less than 10% of women graduates. I want women to know they can choose to study difficult subjects and succeed."
  • Jennifer Peterson Brewer, Dietetics, 1999

    • "My education has opened so many doors. I now work to fight malnutrition internationally, making trips to Guatemala every year. I have used the knowledge to impact entire communities of people who are underserved in developing countries, to help teach them the importance of good nutrition, and to help them be able to build family gardens so they can become self-sufficient in getting better nutrition for themselves and their families."
  • Melissa Pehrson, Animal science, 2000

    • "My training at BYU has served me well. I’ve worked as a certified vet tech since I graduated. I have been in some management, but now I just work part-time since my job as a mother has taken priority. By being a helpful and reliable employee, I have had the opportunity to impact the pets and owners in the Las Vegas community."
girl with syringe in river
Photo by Nate Edwards

  • Autumn Orser, Zoology, 2001

    • "Attending BYU instilled in me a desire for lifelong learning. Most of that continued learning has been self-taught, but in addition to attending medical school and residency, I am also now obtaining an MBA. I have chosen to work at a federally qualified community health center where we serve Medicaid, uninsured, and underinsured patients. I could have chosen to work in a more lucrative private practice, but I entered to learn and have been trying to go forth to serve. I have tried to make my career decisions based on where my specific skills and talents could be of the most good to the most people."
  • Sheri Neeley, Public Health, 2001

    • "For the past nine years, I’ve worked part-time as a fitness instructor, teaching spin, mind-body classes, and cardio workouts. I am certified in group exercise, spin, and barre Pilates. I am a full-time mother to five very active boys. My emphasis was community health, which to me meant I learned to effectively communicate healthy principles to a wide audience. I’ve had hundreds of people take my classes and, as such, have had an opportunity to impact those lives with encouragement to push themselves, set goals, and choose a healthier life. I’ve had multiple opportunities to present health and fitness to groups, and am frequently asked for lifestyle and exercise advice. I also have opportunities to volunteer to hold classes for those who do not have access to a gym or who are new to exercise and nervous about getting started. Being an instructor is very personally fulfilling and I enjoy building relationships with the people in my classes and the community."
  • Rachel Williams Bailey, Biology, 2006

    • "I promoted ethical implementation of clinical research practices at the University of Virginia, helping bring to market several drugs that will improve patient well being. My foundation in biological science, technical writing, and professional communication gained through my B.S. and M.S. degrees at BYU prepared me for my clinical research career and impactful community involvement, as well as my anticipated career transition to public health."
  • Khealynn Harris, Physiology and developmental biology, 2008

    • "All my knowledge of anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and anatomy labs that I gained at BYU has helped me understand the human body and enhanced my learning in dental school. Since being a dentist, I have started a non-profit organization that travels to Ecuador annually to provide dental treatment to people who have little."
  • Chelsea Slade, Biology, 2010

    • "I’m a female LDS physician and am loving life! I finished my training this summer and became an attending physician at the hospital at the age of twenty-eight. I am also the Chief Administrative Officer of a free medical clinic in our community. I have been really blessed to train under some amazing mentors who are now my colleagues. I also have an incredibly supportive husband who believed in me along the way and took on the role of parent-in-chief during my training. We had three beautiful kids during my medical training—our first was born during my fourth year of medical school, and I had two kids during residency. For all the women considering a career as a physician, I just want to say that you can do anything you set your mind to with God’s help."

Considering a major in the College of Life Sciences? Could you use help in planning for a future career? Here are some on-campus resources:

  • BYU Career Services 2590 WSC 801-422-3000

    • This is your first and last stop for career success. Feel free to come by with any of your questions.
  • BYU Women’s Services and Resources: 3326 WSC 801-422-4877

    • Our mission is to facilitate the personal, academic, and spiritual success of women at BYU by empowering them through education and connecting them with resources to help them excel as individuals, build thriving families, and strengthen their communities.
  • Life Sciences Student Services: 2060 LSB 801-422-3042

    • We assist students with declaring or changing a major, adding a minor, planning schedules, clarifying graduation requirements (including major and GEs), applying for graduation, making major modifications, improving academics, and giving general career and pre-professional advisement.
  • Women in Science Club: BYU Women in Science (Facebook)

    • The WIS Club provides a way for women interested in science-related fields to collaborate, network, and find solutions to challenges facing women in science professions while enjoying a supportive community of like-minded women, as well as resources including scholarship opportunities available to club members.