Mary: I was drawn to Wartburg’s strong academic foundation

NAME: Mary McDonough
MAJOR: Biology

CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: Scholars Program, St. Elizabeth Chorale, Student Senate, Tri Beta, Dance Marathon, Wartburg Ambassadors, Orientation Staff

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I grew up 40 minutes away, and I had been on Wartburg’s campus for musical and sporting events. I initially thought that a bigger school would fit my needs, but my high school guidance counselor propelled me to visit Wartburg. When I stepped on campus, I had the same feeling that a lot of students have where you feel like you’re at home right away. After meeting with the biology faculty and knowing I wanted to go to medical school, I felt that Wartburg was a place where I could not only be set up for success academically, but I could be pushed and encouraged to grow in all other aspects. I was drawn to the strong academic foundation that Wartburg would help me lay and how they provide opportunities to be involved in many on-campus organizations.

WHY DID YOU MAJOR IN BIOLOGY: I knew I wanted to go to medical school, but you don’t necessarily have to have a certain major that aligns with that. When I came to visit Wartburg on a scholarship day, I met with the biology faculty. It was on a Sunday, and I thought if all these professors were here on a Sunday willing to talk so highly about biology as a major and how that would prepare me for medical school, I knew Wartburg would set me up for success. I also enjoyed how they wanted to get to know me and valued me as a person with a story. That’s how my advising experience with my professors has gone this far. My professors have pushed me academically in a very rigorous major, along with other accompanied courses.

Mary McDonough

WHAT TIME MANAGEMENT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Academics have always come first for me, and I have learned to prioritize and focus my time and energy and try to be where my feet are. When I’m working during a certain moment, I try to devote all my energy and channel that into the thing I’m working on.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL: Dr. Golay embodies what it means to be a strong, powerful woman in science, and I think that that really sets a strong example for other women who are pursuing fields that may necessarily in the past have been more male dominated but still showing just extreme confidence. She’s an awesome, bright individual.  

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG COURSE: My senior science seminar with Dr. Golay which was surrounded by the topic of ethics in medicine. That course really prepared me well for a career in the medical field.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: My experience of getting to travel to Peru to the Amazon rainforest with Dr. Bechtel. The program Wings of the Night which was the creation of bat houses to cut down on the number of mosquito-borne diseases. Getting to experience those villages and see the project progress while we were there was really rewarding.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Get out into the community and into the field that you’re interested in. Take advantage of job shadowing but ultimately focus on your studies, while still having time to grow as a person and to move at the speed of fun.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: I plan to complete a year of service and then go to medical school. I will probably do something with AmeriCorps or their partner, HealthCorps. I did research this past summer and I’m also considering continuing research at the University of Iowa as well.

WHY IS WARTBURG WORTH IT: Wartburg is a family. I love the campus climate where you can count on people to help pull you through your tough times but also help you celebrate your successes.