Biology graduate seeks personal approach to healthcare

With a rigorous curriculum in modern biology, extensive hands-on experiences with patients, and a focus on the well-being of the whole person, the Biology Health Sscience major exceeds the requirements of a wide range of health science careers. Maddi Evans ’22, graduated with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry and psychology, and was recently accepted into the physician assistant program at Milligan University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Evans used his upbringing, softball experiences, faculty relationships, and clinical and research opportunities as the basis for his application to PA school.

Student-athlete, medical scribe, electrocardiogram technologist

Evans kept busy as a student, including excelling on Taylor’s women’s softball team and working two medical jobs. Through these experiences, she was able to combine her biology classes with the team-building skills learned on the softball field.

Evans set Taylor Softball’s single-season strikeout and win record. She was recognized as Academic All-Crossroads and an NAIA scholarship athlete.

She started working as a medical secretary where she documented patient visits from start to finish. Through this experience, Evans discovered that she wanted a more personal approach to healthcare that would allow her to bond with her patients, if only for a day.

Later, she got a job as an ECG technologist at Marion Health on weekends. At work, she had to go where doctors needed her, taking echocardiograms of internal organs.

“I’m such a busy body,” Evans said. “I’m someone who plans every minute of my day. I don’t like the unexpected, which is hard in the ER because you never know what’s going to happen, but I find the job so much fun. I know I’m going to see something unexpected and so I’m ok with that.

During high-stress days when nothing was going as planned, Evans took comfort in knowing she could slow down and get to know the patients.

“I’ve loved talking to patients, even if it’s just a few minutes to say hello, Evans said. “I want to be someone who can be an uplifting part of their day — that’s my goal, and I really like being able to have those conversations.”

Connecting with Patients

This desire for connection led Evans to work at the Taylor-run diabetes prevention clinical. There she met with patients and created an individualized program that helped them live healthier lives by encouraging healthier decision-making patterns.

“We are responsible partners,” Evans said. “I really like my patients setting goals and saying things like, ‘Okay, what do you think you can do? Let’s make better choices and have that better lifestyle where you can go play with your grandkids” or like “go for a walk around the house again” or “ride a bike again”. We help them make healthier lifestyle choices to live the life they want.

The teachers went the extra mile

In addition to the clinic, Evans gained hands-on experience conducting directed research under Associate Professor of Biology 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 his love of research.

In addition to Dr. Baker, Evans specifically noted kinesiology professor Dr. Erik Hayes as a teacher who helped her career. Dr. Hayes oversees the clinic and made himself available to Evans for advice over Zoom when Covid-19 arrived on campus. Additionally, 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 to learn. It’s not an easy school at all. But that’s what sets you up more than anything. Especially in the science department, you will work but it will reward you. Taylor’s teachers make you work and push you to learn a lot, but they’re always there to help you, and I think that’s a big deal. They prepare you more than we think.

Health Sciences at Taylor

Interested in learning more about studying health sciences at Taylor? You’re not alone: ​​About 25% of incoming freshmen come to Taylor with an interest in health sciences. Learn more about how Taylor’s Unique Programs equip students for a wide range of healthcare careers.

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