Joel Malwitz ‘17, Biology

Posted on October 27th, 2017 by

Joel Malwitz has enjoyed science since his first science class. He says that he loved his teachers and they seemed to take a liking to him, and his interest in exploring the natural world made him well suited for science. Joel hopes to become a doctor, and be either a pediatrician or a family practice doctor. He has several talents and gifts that make him well suited for this career path. He makes good personal connections with people and believes that he “thrives one-on-one”. Additionally, Joel identifies himself as lighthearted and hard to get angry. These resilient traits will likely help him as he pursues his vocation in science.

There are many important and influential people in Joel’s life. He says that his “parents mean everything to him”, and is confident that they did a great job supporting and raising him. Joel has gone to his mother’s place of work and seen people light up when they talk about her, which touched him and is something that he really appreciates. Joel also says that his dad is very calm and thoughtful. He believes that even when his dad doesn’t express it, he’s always thinking and being considerate. Another influential person in Joel’s life has been his choir director in high school. Joel says that “he was all about the kids succeeding, and if one succeeded everyone did”. He looked up to his choir director a great deal because of this mindset.

Joel is influenced by his personal beliefs. He says that a big reason that he came to Gustavus was that he saw a sign that said “All Are Welcome”. This inclusivity is very important to Joel, as he believes that “all are welcome at the table” and that everyone is important. He believes that no one should be left out or left behind. Joel also is influenced by the beliefs that are common in his scientific discipline. He says that one of the most important beliefs in biology is the validity of evolution. There are also more abstract values that Joel believes are important in science, such as not “skewing your data”, replicating results, and using the process of the scientific method. He says that developing a proper hypothesis so that others can recreate your experiment is especially valued and important in science.

Joel doesn’t see faith and science as conflicting in his life. He is Christian, and he sees this as informing him wanting to be a doctor in some ways. Joel says that in the U.S., medicine often focuses on “masking problems” and treating symptoms rather than treating underlying problems. He thinks that people can be better helped with more preventative care. As he put it, “let’s work to make sure people are eating healthy, exercising, and making healthy habits”. Joel encourages preventative care so that down the line people don’t have to spend a great deal of money on expensive procedures. This desire to help people earlier rather than just using medicine to cover up symptoms is inspired in some ways by Joel’s faith.

Both Joel’s scientific and religious beliefs have changed and deepened as he has pursued a scientific vocation. He says that more than anything, his resolve has changed. Joel has learned a great deal about “appreciating little things” and the value of spending time with people. His faith gives him the “strength to carry on”. Joel says that he has also learned a “lot more about evolution” and how that process is where all life comes from. His understanding of evolution as a driving force of life has been strengthened through pursuing a scientific major. Joel believes that faith “completes the person”, and that his faith allows him to interact with others well and handle difficult situations. Additionally, his faith has helped him deal with issues that have arisen as he’s studied biology. Overall, Joel believes that his religious beliefs complement his scientific passion and strengthen him overall.


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