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Breaking New Ground: Stephen Boyles

June 23, 2010

ASU biology major Stephen Boyles spends half his time trying to knock people’s teeth out, and the other half preparing for a career in fixing them.

As an offensive line starter on the ASU Rams football team, Boyles bangs heads weekly with some of the biggest and meanest players on the opponents’ rosters.  Off the field he is a gentle giant who could be the first ASU football player to apply to medical school and only the second to apply to dental school.

It almost didn’t happen that way for Boyles, though, as he was actually considering giving up football to be a full-time student, even though he had interest from NCAA Division I schools like Texas Tech.  But, when he and his parents investigated ASU, they discovered he could live out both of his dreams.

“ASU was one of my last football visits,” Boyles said.  “I loved the campus, I liked the coaches and I really liked what Dr. (Russell) Wilke and Dr. (Alan) Bloebaum said about how it’s possible to both play football and be a doctor.  So, I made my choice.”

“There has been a real push, especially in Division II athletics, for the ‘student-athlete,’” he added.  “The well-rounded student-athlete, where you are involved in the community, you do excellent in school, you have a bright career ahead of you and you do well in athletics.  At ASU it is definitely possible to do it all and I’ve done great here.”

Only a junior in football eligibility, Boyles has two more seasons to deliver teeth-rattling blows from his left guard position.  He also gets to take advantage of ASU’s pre-health program that boasts one of the top medical and dental school acceptance rates in the state.

“Basically, by the time I graduate, I will have had my first two years of dental or med school, with at least background in everything,” Boyles said.  “We have medical genetics, histology, anatomy and general physiology.  There are tons of classes here that work out perfectly to set you up to be at the top of your class in medical or dental school.  Not just get in, but to compete to be a top student.”

Boyles is already a top student at ASU.  He has been awarded a Carr Academic Scholarship and Biology Special Academic Scholarship, was picked for the Lone Star Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll and is a member of the Alpha Chi and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies.  He is also a member of the Tri-Beta biology honor society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Who’s Who Among American College and University Students, and was picked for the District 6 All-Academic Team by ESPN.

In the Athletic Department, he is a member of the Student Athlete Advising Council, is on the Champions’ Table for team leaders and is part of the Player’s Panel that helps with recruiting high school football players.

“During recruiting season, our coaches try to match up our players with high school players who have the same interests,” Boyles said.  “It might be by position or where they are from or academics.  It helps to form ties between the different players.”

In addition to all of his campus activities, Boyles also has community service and shadowing responsibilities as part of the pre-health program.  He has performed almost 100 hours of community service with agencies like Meals for the Elderly, Rebuilding Together and the San Angelo Children’s Fair, and has spent more than 100 hours shadowing various medical professionals in fields ranging from OB/GYN and orthopedics to ophthalmology, dermatology, oral surgery and periodontics. 

In fact, it was through shadowing periodontist Dr. Marshall Morgan that Boyles reaffirmed his desire to go to dental school.

“I’ve always been leaning toward the dental field because that is what I’m familiar with,” he said.  “I’ve worked in my dad’s office and I already know how to do a lot of different things that he taught me.  But, it was when I shadowed a periodontist back in Odessa that I really got intrigued with that field.”

Regardless of what medical field he eventually chooses, at 6’4” and 280 pounds, Boyles will strike a commanding figure as one of ASU’s first football players to stride the halls of dental or medical school.