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Dec. 15, 2016
Maci Hicks has long dreamed of becoming a physician, and Northwest Missouri State University helped her lay a foundation to make that dream a reality.
“I think Northwest really opened my eyes as to how hard and how complicated that process can actually be,” Hicks said. “My whole time at Northwest, I just kept fighting for it. The desire to become a physician just kept growing inside of me.”
Now, Hicks has completed her bachelor’s degree in pre-professional zoology. She has secured a graduate assistantship in Northwest’s Department of Natural Sciences and will begin work toward a master’s degree while she awaits her acceptance to a medical school.
Hicks chose to attend Northwest because it gave her a sense of home more than any other institution she considered. She enrolled with the assistance of a track scholarship and ran long distance for the Bearcat cross country and track teams for three seasons before an injury ended her career.
Hicks soon made a variety of connections that helped her advance academically and prepare her for her career. She served as a supplemental instructor for three years for general biology, a tutor and a teaching assistant for principles of biology and botany. She also was vice president of the biology honor society Tri Beta, and she was active in the Pre Health Occupations Club.
She completed Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) training and participated in the Missouri Hope disaster response field training exercise.
She’s also graduating with a 4.0 grade-point average.
“Everyone at Northwest just really expects a lot out of you as a student, not only academically but also to be involved in the community, on campus, in various organizations,” Hicks said. “I think that really prepared me well for the future and especially strengthened my resume.”
Hicks also benefitted by building strong, lasting connections with faculty in natural sciences. As a graduate student she will continue to team with faculty members on their research, resulting in papers that are due to be published.
“They pushed me beyond my limits, but they let me know that I could do things beyond what I thought my potential was,” she said. “To me, that was really encouraging and especially for the next step in my life, I know they have prepared me really well.”
Those connections also helped her put her knowledge and skills to practice in the community. During the summer of 2015, Hicks received an internship with the Nodaway Health County Department to lead a safety organization, Safety for Kids of Nodaway County. Hicks worked to promote childhood safety throughout the county and appeared at a variety of summer events, including the Nodaway County Fair.
She says the relationships she built with classmates, faculty and staff, and community members through those activities is one of her proudest achievements at Northwest – something she encourages all Northwest students to do.
“I’ve just really been able to branch out and use my talents, not only at the school but also at the community level as well,” Hicks said. “I love how Northwest is just a positive environment for everyone, not only for the students but for faculty and even the community of Maryville. Everyone is so encouraging and so focused on student success and the success of the University.”
Some of her most last memories of Northwest, though, are of Homecoming activities.
“It’s just such a fun time because of the current students, the faculty, the community, and then everyone else comes back, and it’s just a big coming-home party for all the Bearcats. It’s awesome,” Hicks said.
Northwest, Hicks says, helped her grow into a more confident individual who is ready to enter the healthcare field.
“I know when I came in as a freshman I was really scared,” Hicks said. “I lacked confidence because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and I was away from home. But thanks to the professors and the students and the community here, I felt very welcome and they encouraged me. I knew I could be successful these next four years and I was. It made me realize what my potential was.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468