Madison Quinn '19

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Home | Stories | Madison Quinn ’19

A Change in Major Sparked a Major Change for Future Health Care Worker

Maddi Quinn, Class of 2019. Maddi is a Presidential Scholarship recipient and a Nicholas P. and Brigit A. Rashford Scholarship recipient.

A Change in Major Sparked a Major Change for Future Health Care Worker

Madison Quinn ’19 thought her path through college was decided for her early. Both her parents are in real estate, and she thought she could find a similar career by starting as an undecided business major.

But just a few weeks into her college experience, Quinn was feeling unfulfilled. So before the Thanksgiving break of her freshman year, Quinn changed her major. She had a sense that her passion for science would lead her to a career in the health care field, and chose interdisciplinary health services as her new area of study.

“[The field] was all very unknown to me, and so I was hesitant to tell my parents,” she says. “But I think they valued the fact that I knew myself enough to realize it wasn't for me.”

After the switch, things began to fall into place for Quinn. She helped coordinate Think Pink Week, a series of events to raise awareness about breast cancer. She enrolled in service-learning courses, which sent her to nursing homes and continuing care facilities to work with elderly patients.

Quinn recalls one moment that crystallized her path forward. On one of her visits to the hospice, she found herself in the area of a patient who was distraught and struggling.

“I came into the room and I was sweating,” she says. “I didn't know what to do. And I kept trying to fix things like adjusting her oxygen and her blankets and her pillows, and eventually she said ‘Stop whatever you're doing. Stop. I don't need the nurse. Just hold my hand.’ And in that moment I realized a part of healing someone is just being there.”

Quinn graduated from Saint Joseph’s with honors and quickly started her post-graduate studies to become a physician’s assistant. She said that improving access to care — something she did firsthand as part of the health promoters program in the Institute for Clinical Bioethics, giving health screenings to disadvantaged communities in West Philadelphia — will be her professional priority.

Thinking back to the moment she decided to change majors, Quinn recalls the nerves that came with the choice.

“It's a long path. But college is a time for transformation. You're not supposed to go to college knowing exactly what you're supposed to do, because it just never works out that way.”

Maddi Quinn, Class of 2019. Maddi is a Presidential Scholarship recipient and a Nicholas P. and Brigit A. Rashford Scholarship recipient.