Art and science are often considered polar opposites, and students can feel the pull to choose one or the other. Engineering or English? Computer science or art? Biology or music? However, employers today are increasingly seeking graduates with skill sets that blend the best of both worlds—the ability to interpret data and draw conclusions, to think and communicate creatively, to reason effectively, to work with others to solve problems, to make informed decisions.
Meet Madison Boskind, a Walla Walla University student who is finding creative ways to combine her passion for areas of study that are stronger together.
Somewhere along the line junior Madison Boskind developed a whole lot of grace and charm. Her perfectly accented “Bonjour, comment ça va?” can have you savoring an imaginary French baguette on the Champs-Élysées in an instant. Certainly her best qualities are also inspired by her parents—both medical professionals—who have kindled her dream to become a physician. Her calm nature and passion for life are the perfect ingredients for a career that will capture the best of science and the human experience.
“I’m leaning toward neurology,” she says. “I’ve read a ton of books on psychology and the brain itself, and it has always really interested me. I want to learn more about the brain and help people with disorders, such as seizure and stroke patients.”
To that end, Boskind is majoring in biochemistry. “I wanted to do a mixture of chemistry and biology because I wanted to apply both subjects to the body, which is what biochemistry does.”
One thing that stands out to Boskind about her experience at Walla Walla University is the teachers and how much they care.
“I remember last year I would go to the office of my organic chemistry teacher, Dr. Brannaka, and ask him about problems. He would just watch me as I sat there staring at his whiteboard trying to figure out the problem. He would give us hints, but he would say, ‘I’m not going to tell you the answer. I want you to figure it out for yourself. I want you to struggle.’”
In that struggle Boskind has found a small community on campus. “Especially for science classes, we struggle together, and we’ve become this little unit moving from class to class, trying to understand the material and survive,” she says.
She has discovered a good counterbalance to that science-based cognitive struggle in her French.
“For me, it’s a huge break because all my classes are very math and science oriented,” she says. “Studying French allows me to be more creative and use the other side of my brain. It helps you see the bigger picture in life and become a more well-rounded person.”
Boskind also finds balance through her involvement in another small group that meets biweekly to eat dinner, study the Bible, and enjoy community. She works at the campus rock climbing wall in the gym, is a teacher’s assistant for general chemistry, is a member of the Chemistry Club, and likes to get outside and go hiking on most weekends.
From Maddy Boskind one gets the distinct impression that she could do anything she wants to do. All in all she is just the kind of French-speaking, rock-climbing, Bible-based, grace-filled person you might hope to encounter the next time you’re in need of a good doctor.
Posted Feb. 27, 2020.