Ten-year-old Annagrace Lewis sat in the backyard inspecting each flower. She gazed at the shape, inhaled the smell and most importantly, considered the color. The color is what she needed. She picked the perfect color and ran back inside. Her mom took the little flower and taught Lewis to crush it, add water and witch hazel, and then brush her small cheeks with a little color.
“Those were the first moments I realized a plant could be so much more than just a plant,” Lewis said.
Two years later, Lewis began to suffer from acne and went to a dermatologist.
“That was a big thing for me because it reduced my self-confidence,” Lewis said. “I actually went to the dermatologist multiple times and none of the treatments worked. So, I took it upon myself to do my own research and come up with my own organic treatment and it actually ended up working for me. That was my intro into how plants can be used for medical stuff too.”
It was no surprise that as Lewis began considering college majors, she was naturally drawn to Plant Biology as she saw the versatility of plants from makeup to medication. With her eyes on a holistic medical career, Lewis expanded her knowledge with two additional majors. Now, Lewis will graduate this month with a triple major: Zoology, Biology, and her first love, Plant Biology.
“I originally started as just a Zoology major, primarily because I wanted to concentrate on pre-vet,” Lewis recalls. “Then, I took an introductory plant biology course, and found that I had a serious passion for working with plants. I've always enjoyed being around plants and being in nature, but I didn't think that I wanted to pursue a career working with them since that wasn’t a normal route to being in a health field. I later decided to declare all three majors because it would give me a well-rounded education in life sciences. I knew that would help me enter any career field that I wanted to go into since I had not truly decided what I wanted to do yet.”
Lewis has loved her time in Stillwater. Originally from the Little Rock, Arkansas, area, she discovered OSU because of the Academic Common Market, a program that would allow her to primarily study Zoology while being awarded in-state tuition.
“OSU was close enough that I could drive home in a day, but also far enough away that I could build my own life and gain independence,” Lewis said. “OSU was the perfect middle ground for me.”
Lewis plans to gain some medical experience before continuing her education. This spring she accepted a position scribing at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. This experience will help her get to her career goal: naturopathic medicine.
“Basically, I want to be a naturopathic doctor who works with plants to create personalized treatment regimens for people,” Lewis explains. “Everybody has different side effects and other medications that they're working with that could create problems. I really just want to be able to give a personalized treatment that is completely natural that reduces side effects and can help to prevent addiction to certain medications.”
Although Lewis is disappointed she and the rest of her cohort won’t be able to walk this spring due to COVID-19, she is excited to walk in December.
“It’s not what we all had planned, but it will be fun celebrating in December,” Lewis said. “I will miss this stage of my life where I'm discovering new topics to learn about and figuring out what I like. During my time, I actually felt a sense of belonging here in Stillwater because I have developed all these strong connections with people at OSU. And so I think I will miss those connections and those people the most.”