CTK '20 Alumna Continues on her Pre-Med Path

After completing her first two years at the College of St. Benedict, Alexzandrea (Alex) Lewis-Smith CTK ’20 is getting closer to her long-time (since sixth grade) goal of becoming a doctor. She is a Biology/Pre-Med major and Global Health minor at the small school in St. Joseph, Minnesota. The school’s size provides her with access to and the opportunity to build relationships with her professors, Department Chair, and even the new school president, who she introduced herself to at a recent welcome event.

As a woman of color at a predominately white college, she has often been the only Black student in her major’s courses. Along with one of her friends, Alex started an Afro-STEM club “to empower minorities and women majoring in STEM” at her school. The new club provides guidance, support, and resources including scholarship opportunities. She hopes the club will help make the transition to college easier for newly admitted students in STEM majors in the years ahead.

Alex is excited about being recently asked to be a TA (Teacher’s Assistant) by her biology professor. It will be great experience and hopefully help with the medical school application process. She anticipates needing to carve out time during her junior year to study for the MCAT exam. She credits her CTK CWSP experience working for GATX for four years for developing the time management skills required to successfully juggle her work and school responsibilities. Upon enrollment at CSB, she has worked part-time, initially in a Food Service job before transitioning to a Circulation Desk Assistant role at the school library which also serves the surrounding community.

At CTK, Alex participated in band, cross country/track, National Honor Society, and in several retreats and service projects. Her favorite was a summer service trip experience at Nazareth Farm in the Appalachian region of West Virginia. Along with CTK chaperones, Ms. Maura Rocks and Mr. Daniel Zundel, and students from CTK, Crito Rey Jesuit, and a few other schools, she participated in a week of community, prayer, and service, primarily making home repairs for those in need. She formed close bonds with the other students in her group and has stayed connected with them. This experience helped fuel a continued focus on being committed to justice. “I feel it’s really important on our campus, when things happen that communities feel hurt by, to take action to make them feel safe.

Alex offered up advice to this year’s seniors as they start their own college journeys. “Find a friend group early on. A few close friends help provide support and make the college experience better and more comfortable for you. Also, get to know your professors, as those relationships can help you later on.” In Alex’s friend group at CSB are two of her former classmates at CTK, Haley Rowell and Tamia Watts, also Class of 2020. Their shared experiences and background help strengthen their connection, and they have relied on each other’s support during their first few college years.

Best of luck to Alex, Haley, Tamia, and all of our CTK graduates!