STEM Success Stories: Desiree’ Brionne Dillard

October 03, 2023 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
In this STEM Success Story, Desiree’ Brionne Dillard shares her inspiring journey and how ASU Online’s Bachelor of Science in biological sciences program played a pivotal role in her journey toward medical and law school.

Desiree’ Brionne Dillard, a 2020 graduate of Arizona State University’s online Bachelor of Science in biological sciences program, third-year medical student at Mayo Clinic’s Alix School of Medicine and 1L at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, is a woman on a mission. Backed with multiple degrees, including an MBA and three bachelor’s degrees in psychology, biomedical sciences and now biological sciences, Dillard  showcases an incredible dedication to learning. However, it's the why behind her pursuits that truly sets her apart.


A calling to medicine and a passion for change

Dillard's journey into the field of medicine is driven by a deep passion for the science behind it and a strong desire to make a difference. She believes in the power of medicine to bring about change and is keenly aware of the underrepresentation of Black women in this field. 

"I feel like in order to implement change in the field of medicine, it takes willingness to be the one doing tangible work," Dillard said.

Early in her educational journey, she faced discouragement when she became pregnant with her daughter. Many told her that pursuing a career in medicine while being a mother was impossible. It was only when she discovered ASU Online’s program in biological sciences that she saw a feasible path to accomplish her goals. This revelation marked a turning point in her journey toward a medical career.

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ASU Online: A pathway to success

Dillard credits ASU Online for changing the trajectory of her education and future. Without the flexibility and accessibility provided by ASU Online, she might not have been able to complete the prerequisites required for medical school.

“My experience as an ASU online lab student really prepared me well for the clinical requirements in medical school,” Dillard reflected. “A lot of medical school clinical tasks are correlated with what we were learning through the labs in the ASU online program.”

She notes that ASU Online's comprehensive curriculum surprised her the most. The depth and interactive nature of the online courses exceeded her expectations, even surpassing traditional in-person learning in certain aspects.

"It was even more comprehensive than a traditional classroom because you have access to materials, simulations and recordings that allow you to fully review content at any time,” Dillard said. “The modules were very interactive and were more aligned with my learning style than a traditional learning setting."


Balancing parenthood and online learning

As a parent, Dillard acknowledges that online learning allowed her to navigate the challenges of parenting while pursuing her education. The flexibility was invaluable, permitting her to handle her children's needs, work and studies effectively. It enabled her to embrace life's unpredictabilities while advancing towards her goals.

Nevertheless, she does admit the occasional overwhelming feeling of juggling both roles. While parenthood and academics can be demanding on their own, she successfully managed to strike a balance and encourages other parents to do the same.

“I would encourage any parents that are interested in completing a degree here online to do it,” Dillard said. “Online learning allows you to still have a life that is fulfilling and enjoyable while reaching your goals and earning your degree.”


Breaking stereotypes and aiming high

The undoubted determination and perseverance of Dillard shines through as she continues to break stereotypes and aim high. With an MBA, as a future MD/JD(Juris Doctor), she aspires to enter the realm of public policy. Ten years from now, Dillard envisions herself as a seasoned medical professional, hopefully as a dermatologic surgeon, and a dedicated advocate for healthcare policy reform.

Dillard's story is an inspiring testament to the power of online education. Her journey from discouraged student to accomplished professional and mother showcases the transformative potential of flexible, comprehensive online programs. As she continues to pursue her dreams and empower change in healthcare policy, Dillard exemplifies the remarkable opportunities that online education can provide to those willing to seize them.

Everything you need to know about ASU Online classes and degree programs

We’ve compiled what you need to know about online classes and degree programs at Arizona State University. Read on to learn all about what to expect from the ASU Online learning experience.


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