A Woman For Others

Class of 2017 Health and Human Sciences graduate LaShyra Nolen is about to give the Ivy League a dose of Lion pride. The Los Angeles native recently accepted a scholarship to attend Harvard Medical School to pursue her degree in medicine. LaShyra plans to pair her M.D. with a degree in public policy or public health, aiming to become a physician and leader who advocates on behalf of the underserved and marginalized.

“I could have gone to any undergraduate institution to learn science and shadow doctors, but LMU revealed to me the kind of doctor I want to become,” LaShyra said. “From day one, this institution invested in my success and cultivated my strengths.”

Since graduating with honors in May 2017, LaShyra has continued to put the LMU mission into action, venturing to Galicia, Spain on a Fulbright grant to conduct public health research on diabetes and teach English to high school students.

Spain taught me that there is beauty in the ability to create community wherever you are,” LaShyra said, describing the experience as challenging, but rewarding. “I arrived not knowing a soul, so I had to consistently force myself to step outside my comfort zone to meet others.”

It wasn’t long before LaShyra found herself exploring caves with co-workers, hiking the Camino de Santiago with a friend she met at a local language exchange, and even playing on a provincial women’s basketball team she found on Facebook.

At present, she is taking part in post-grad service as a health coach for Heartland Health Centers in Chicago.

Drawn to LMU for its strong sense of community and Jesuit values, LaShyra is confident the skills she picked up on the bluff will aid her on the long and arduous journey of medical school.

“I believe my Jesuit education has prepared me for this career because it reinforced the values my mother taught me,” LaShyra said. “To be a woman with and for others.”

While at LMU, LaShyra’s fierce Lion pride led her to hold office as Associated Student of Loyola Marymount University (ASLMU) president. Among the highlights of her presidency, ASLMU Senate increased its number of seats from 11 to 20 in order to better represent the diversity of the student population, changed election codes so that students no longer have to pay out of pocket for campaign materials and initiated early registration for veteran students.

Additionally, she is the recipient of the Father Graham Alumni Award for Leadership and received a Presidential Citation for her commitment to service and academic achievement. Outside of ASLMU, LaShyra involved herself in a number of pursuits, on and off campus, including the Belles service organization and volunteer work at the Good Shepherd Domestic Violence Shelter and the Venice Clinic.

Excited to begin to life’s next chapter in Boston come August, LaShyra says she still can’t help but feel homesick for the bluff every now and then.

“There is so much to miss,” LaShyra said. “I miss riding my penny board around the bluff, the California burrito at [nearby] Benny’s Tacos, Monday night Belles meetings… but more than anything, I miss the people -- friends, mentors, professors. It’s hard not to miss my special place with my special people. LMU is a seriously magical place.’

As for what advice LaShyra has for future Lions?

“Say yes to every LMU opportunity within your personal boundaries,” LaShyra said. “Don’t over-commit, but also don’t say no to opportunities because they are outside your comfort zone.”