Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2020
One of Kyle Williams’ biggest achievements during his undergraduate years was becoming one of the all-time pass reception leaders in the history of the Arizona State University Sun Devils football team.
But he is equally proud of getting A’s in courses on organic chemistry and transport phenomena.
For Williams, those successes represent significant steps in his plans for the future. The biomedical engineering graduate hopes for a career as a National Football League player — he was recently signed to a free agent contract by the Tennessee Titans — and then to eventually attend medical school and business school.
While football has been a big priority in his life, he has also been drawn intensely to other endeavors.
“I love science and math,” Williams says, and at ASU he has found biomedical engineering to be “infinite” in its possibilities to use those skills to pursue technological innovation and to prepare for the practice of medicine.
Williams, a student in ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College, says engineering has been consistently challenging for him, “but the competitor in me loves to overcome adversity, and I have loved every minute” of his undergraduate studies.
Williams’ engineering design capstone project involved developing a device to treat atrial septal wall defects. The task was difficult but fulfilling when he considered “the lives the device could potentially enhance.”
Williams was inspired by the teaching skills and guidance of Fulton Schools Associate Professors Bradley Gregor and Brent Vernon, whom he says turned engineering courses into intriguing explorations.
Williams’ scholastic performance helped him to earn ASU’s Pat Tillman Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, be honored as a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete by the organization’s Valley of the Sun Chapter and twice put him on the Pacific Athletic Conference Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll. He also served on the leadership committee for the Sun Devils football team.
Outside the classroom, Williams worked as an intern for a Mayo Clinic hospital. That experience and his engineering studies have given him insights into providing health care that “will help me become a better doctor,” he says.
He hopes to someday work in sports medicine as an orthopedic surgeon and perhaps go on to executive roles in health care.
As he leaves ASU, Williams says he is taking with him the “the great engineering skills I learned” and “the sense of family and unity that will stay with me forever.”