Kinesiology Student, Stephen Lopez, on his LSU Experience
Baton Rouge, LA - Stephen Lopez of Meraux, Louisiana, is a senior studying Kinesiology at LSU. Lopez has made an impact that has spread wide across campus. He currently works as a Resident Assistant in the Pentagon Community for Residential Life and as a lifeguard for the University Recreation Center, as well as being deeply involved in research within his major. Lopez encourages future students to take advantage of everything the university has to offer.
"The LSU community has the connections you need to be successful, and they can point you in the right direction."
My LSU Experience
Throughout his time at LSU, Lopez appreciates the amount of diversity on campus. When participating in volunteer opportunities, working with professors or communicating with dorm residents, Lopez learned to work with various spiritual, political and moral ideologies.
“This rewarding experience has helped me to see the world from the perspective of those from different backgrounds with a greater understanding than I would have, had I not attended the university.”
Lopez also believes his time at LSU as innovative and creative because of his experience in research. Being a tier one research university, there are many opportunities for students to conduct research of their own.
“Being involved in research allowed me to apply the information learned in lecture to real-world problems and challenged me to think critically and creatively to build novel solutions to modern day challenges in the field of biology.”
Lopez is currently working in Dr. Alyssa Johnson’s lab in the College of Science where they focus on a mutant gene that allows humans to have less sleep per night while experiencing none of the negative side effects typically associated with sleep deprivation. Their research team hopes that through determining how this gene works, they might understand the clearing effects of sleep, or insight on the body’s way of naturally preventing neurodegeneration.
CHSE Faculty Impact
Lopez says that Dr. Wanda Hargroder is the CHSE faculty member that has stood out to him the most. He describes her as sincere, honest and passionate. According to Lopez, Dr. Hargroder is constantly helping students prepare to apply to their program of choice, whether it is physical therapy, medical school, or physician assistant. Lopez said that he learned self-awareness from Dr. Hargroder by knowing when to ask for help, and that asking for help is okay. He valued her mentorship through the medical school application process. He now knows to look at the requirements and expectations, to push himself and to find the best opportunity. Lopez realized the importance of goal setting and self-expectation and is looking forward to his future after LSU.
An Ideal Career
After graduation, Lopez would like to attend medical school to specialize in neurology and psychiatry. He finds the human brain to be extremely fascinating, but his interest mainly comes from personal experience. This past year, Lopez lost his grandfather who was suffering from lung cancer that spread to his brain. He states his experience at Ochsner in New Orleans was amazing. Lopez says the neurologists there were extremely caring and empathetic while treating his grandfather. Lopez’s interest in psychiatry came from seeing the devastation of Alzheimer’s first hand with the passing of his aunt and his own struggles with a depressive disorder during his high school and college years. Lopez credits his recovery to many of the faculty at the LSU Student Health Center, like Margaret Humphris and Dr. Amy Ordeneaux, and CHSE faculty, Dr. Alyssa Johnson and Dr. Wanda Hargroder.
“It is for these reasons that I take mental health very seriously and hope to care for those suffering from neurological and psychological disorders as a physician.”