Combining medical and environmental sciences, Thaius Boyd hopes to impact children’s health and environment

Rising Up at KUEC: In this Q & A series, outstanding 2019 KUEC graduates share how KU Edwards Campus has helped them start, advance or change their career. Meet Thaius Boyd.

Thaius Boyd

Improving the health of children through both medicine and changes in their environment is something 2019 KUEC graduate 23-year-old Thaius Boyd is working toward. After receiving his Professional Science Master's in Environmental Assessment this May from KUEC, the Eudora, Kansas native is one step closer to his dream. He plans to take the environmental studies knowledge he learned with him as he begins his medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School this fall.

The oldest son of a university professor mother and mechanical engineer father, Boyd earned his undergraduate degree at nearby Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas where his mother works and younger brother, Siam, and sister, Jasmine, currently attend. While on campus, Boyd was active in Graduates United by Indigeneity and encourages other students to get involved on campus. Boyd’s Academic Success Coach Terri Woodburn said Boyd is a stand-out student in her program.

“Thaius is an excellent student who came to our graduate program from Haskell Indian Nations University,” Woodburn said. “He is taking a unique career path that will combine his environmental training with a medical degree.”

Find out more about Boyd’s inspiring plans for the future.


Q: What is a typical day in your life like?

A: My typical day starts off with a morning run, as I am an ultra-marathoner. After that, I study for classes and work on my capstone project. Subsequently, I head to class for lecture and capstone meetings, then I finish the day meeting up with friends and colleagues before heading home.

Q: What makes you the happiest?

A: What makes me the happiest is mentoring and inspiring younger generation Native American students to pursue higher education and to achieve their ambitions and goals.

Q: What motivates you?

A: Many communities are subjected to environmental problems and injustices that are impeding on their health and wellness. I am motivated to solve this problem by bringing the unique environmental angle and perspective I have acquired at KUEC to serve as a physician where I provide both compassionate patient-centered care and establish environmental practices and regulations to improve health for all.

Q: Why did you choose KUEC?

A: I chose KUEC as the faculty and students are very welcoming and supportive in reaching my goals.

Q: How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?

A: KUEC has helped me reach my goal of attending medical school at the University of Minnesota Medical School by providing me with the services and resources to further my writing skills, enhance my study habits, and expand my professional network so that I became a competitive medical student applicant.

Q: How has your KUEC degree prepared you for the future?

A: KUEC has prepared me for the future by providing me with a strong foundation in environmental assessment through rigorous science classes. Additionally, KUEC has prepared me to take on future leadership roles by providing me with classes in writing, speaking, and project management.

Q: What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?

A: The most challenging part of earning my college degree was learning to tailor my study habits for different classes. Thankfully, KUEC has a myriad of services and resources that provide information and advice on how to adapt study habits to different classes.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?

A: My proudest accomplishment up to date is being accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical School. I am very thankful for KUEC in helping me achieve this accomplishment.

Q: What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?

A: My favorite memory of my time at KUEC was in my soil science class taught by Dr. Terri Woodburn. In this class, we took field trips to learn how to properly assess soil and learn soil laboratory techniques. These unique experiences were fun and a great way to interact with fellow colleagues.

Q: What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

A: My long-term goals include bringing the environmental angle and perspective I have acquired from KUEC into medicine as I aspire to serve as a community pediatric physician where I provide both patient-centered care and improve the health of the community through environmental-health assessments. 

Q: What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?

A: My advice to those thinking of earning a degree at KUEC is to seek as many mentors as you can and join as many student clubs and groups as possible. KUEC has great mentors and many student clubs and groups available to help you achieve your goals. Moreover, my mentors and the student groups I was a part of at KUEC were pivotal in helping me achieve my goal of being accepted to medical school.

Learn more about the Professional Science Master's in Environmental Assessment from KUEC.

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