Biology Graduate Seeks Personal Approach to Healthcare
With a rigorous curriculum in modern biology, extensive practical experiences with patients, and a focus on whole-person wellness, the Biology Health Sciences major exceeds the requirements for a broad range of health sciences careers. Maddi Evans ’22, graduated with a Biology degree and minors in Chemistry and Psychology, and she was recently accepted into the Physician Assistant program at Milligan University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Evans used her education, softball experiences, relationships with professors, and clinical and research opportunities as a foundation for her PA school application.
Student-Athlete, Medical Scribe, EKG Technologist
Evans kept herself busy as a student, including excelling on Taylor’s women’s softball team and working at two jobs in the medical field. Through these experiences, she was able to combine her Biology coursework with the team-building skills learned on the softball field.
She started out working as a medical scribe where she documented patient visits from start to finish. Through this experience, Evans discovered she wanted a more personal approach to health care that would allow her to form connections with her patients, if only for a day.
Later, she got a job as an EKG technologist in Marion Health on the weekends. At her job, she was required to go where the doctors needed her, taking echocardiograms of internal organs.
“I am such a busy body,” Evans said. “I am someone that schedules every single minute of my day. I don't like the unexpected, which is difficult in the ER because you never know what's going to happen, but I find the work so fun. I know that I'm going to see something unexpected and so I'm okay with that.”
During high-stress days when nothing went to plan, Evans took comfort in the times she could slow down and get to know the patients.
“I loved talking to the patients, even if it's for just a few minutes to say hi,” Evans said. “I want to be someone that can be an uplifting part of their day—it's my goal, and I really enjoy being able to have those conversations.”
Connecting with Patients
This desire for connection led Evans to work at the Taylor-run diabetes prevention clinic. There, she met with patients and created an individualized curriculum that helped them live a healthier life by encouraging healthier decision-making patterns.
“We are accountability partners,” Evans said. “I really enjoy having my patients make goals and say things like, ‘Okay, what do you think you can do? Let's make better choices and have that better lifestyle where you can go and play with your grandchildren’ or like ‘go and walk around the house again’ or ‘go ride your bike again.’ We help them make healthier lifestyle choices to live a life that they want.
Professors Went Extra Mile
In addition to the clinic, Evans gained hands-on experience conducting directed research under Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Jessica Baker. Evans spent a semester using the fruit fly model to study genetics where she discovered not only new concepts about cell biology, but also her love of research.
In addition to Dr. Baker, Evans specifically noted Kinesiology professor Dr. Erik Hayes as a professor who poured into her career. Dr. Hayes supervises the clinic and made himself available to Evans for guidance over Zoom when Covid-19 hit campus. In addition, Dr. Hayes connected Evans with two family practices in Hartford City where she volunteered one summer.
“Taylor is a very rigorous school,” Evans said. “They make you work for your grades; they make you work for learning. It's not an easy school by any means. But that is what sets you up more than anything. Especially in the science department, you're going to put in the work but it's going to reward you. Taylor professors make you put in the work and they push you to learn a lot, but they're always here to help, and I think that's a big deal. They prepare you more than we think.”