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Health professions student overcomes obstacles to graduation

Elizabeth Fisher with classmate Dustin and mentor Eva Wojcik, MD

Elizabeth Fisher with classmate Dustin and mentor Eva Wojcik, MD

Among Indiana University School of Medicine’s esteemed alumni are graduates of the Health Professions Program, which offers undergraduate degrees in core areas of medical delivery and care. Elizabeth Fisher, a native Hoosier, will soon join this alumni network as a Bachelor of Science in cytotechnology graduate.

From homeschool to health care

Fisher was just a toddler when she discovered a natural curiosity for science. As a homeschooled child, she had the unique opportunity of being present while her older brother dissected a frog for his biology class. As she grew a little older, she spent her free time using a microscope to explore the intricacies of various objects around the house. Years later, when she sat in front of a multi-head microscope during a lab tour at IU, she knew she had found her calling.

“The more I learned about cytotechnology, the more fascinated I became,” she says. “It’s a four-year program that allows me to use my passion for biology to help people! It was perfect for my interests.”

As a cytotechnologist, Fisher hopes to work in a hospital laboratory and at patients’ bedsides to assist medical professionals in the diagnosis of cancer and infectious diseases.

A bumpy ride

Although she is a determined learner, Fisher faced many roadblocks on her journey to graduation. As a child, she struggled with dyslexia and spent hours with her mother and therapists to overcome her difficulties reading. In college, she battled an illness that left her in chronic pain every day. Just as she began to recover from the illness, she experienced head trauma in a car accident. Shortly thereafter, another concussion exacerbated the initial injury – limiting Fisher’s ability to enjoy some of her favorite active hobbies such as football and other sports.

“Education is hard work. It’s exhausting, but so are most things worth pursuing in life,” Fisher said. “My college experience was filled with difficult things, and there were moments I thought of quitting. But looking back on the past four years, I know that every late night studying, every tear-jerking test, every morning I struggled through pain to get up: worth it.”

Fisher’s hard work was worth it. On Saturday, May 12, she will walk across stage at IU School of Medicine’s Commencement as one of 118 Health Professions Program graduates this academic year. Next step: the job hunt. Luckily, cytotechnology graduates like Fisher are in high demand.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Sara Buckallew

Communications Coordinator

Sara Buckallew works in the Dean's Office of Strategic Communications. As a communications coordinator, Sara supports internal and external communication needs for the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic...