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Reflections from Class of 2011: April Wylie

Published: 5-27-2011 9:00 am

photo April Wylie graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Wayne State College on May 7. She plans to go to medical school in the near future, and this summer she will marry 2010 WSC alumnus Josh Riesberg.

She also plans to go back into remission.

Wylie never imagined she would spend her senior year in a Denver hospital undergoing treatment for leukemia.

"Finishing my senior year away from school has been a huge heart break," she said. "This semester was supposed to be my fun semester, where I got to actually spend time with my friends without studying all the time. It was supposed to be the good year. Instead, I have spent most of my time in and out of the hospital undergoing intense treatments."

Despite the distance and chemotherapy sickness, Wylie, an honors student, has managed to motivate herself to finish her project for the Honors Program and complete her coursework online with understanding from her professors. She graduated Summa cum Laude with Honors in the Major chemistry/health science. She also completed a biology minor. Wylie calls this finale both her biggest accomplishment and biggest struggle.

A Scottsbluff native, Wylie was an alternate for WSC's Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP).  In her time at Wayne, she applied herself in her major as a peer tutor for math and science and demonstrated her talents in the music department. She was also active at the Catholic Newman Center and with the Health Science Club and Cardinal Key. Currently on the alternate list to attend the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Wylie said she knows her time at Wayne State prepared her well.

"The most important part of my education that will stick with me is the relationships I built with my professors, especially all of the science professors," she said. "They are so awesome and I was truly blessed to be able to learn under them."

She also values the friendships she made with her peers. Although many friends visited her in the hospital, being away from them made Wylie value life and love in a new way.

"I was so driven, I never had time for people," she remembers. "Now I have learned that time is a blessing, especially when you are with those you love. Right now, nothing is better than taking a walk outside on a beautiful day with someone I love."

Amid the anticipation of completing her degree requirements, finalizing wedding plans and preparing for the next step in her education, Wylie will leave Wayne State, determined to "show this leukemia who's boss."


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