Ben Madigan ‘19, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Posted on May 16th, 2018 by

Ben Madigan first became interested in science when he was in high school. He says that “we had a pretty strong program at my high school” that helped spark his interest in science, and thinks that “I just enjoyed it naturally from the start”. Ben is not sure what his exact future career will be, but says “I’m currently thinking…either pre-med or physician’s assistant”. He is still trying to decide what his precise vocation will be, but is confident that he is interested in the medical field. Besides his strengths in science, Ben says that “I like to write quite a bit”. Another one of his gifts is being a runner, and he runs “here at Gustavus for the cross country and track teams”.

Ben says that “my parents are by far the most influential people in my life”. He goes to them for a wide range of things, and they are some of his greatest role models. Ben has never questioned if something his parents did or said was something that they truly believed. He thinks that this integrity is part of what has made their guidance so valuable to him.

A major belief that defines Ben is his faith. He is Christian, and thinks that “the overarching beliefs [of this religion] fit me really well”. Ben also values “education quite a bit”, as well as believing in the importance of hard work, “persistence, tenacity, and perseverance”. He thinks that this emphasis on persistence is very common in his scientific discipline. Additionally, he says that in science you have to have an “openness to new ideas” and be willing to embrace new things. When it comes specifically to research, Ben thinks that being comfortable “with the unknown” is particularly important. This familiarity with the unknown is something that has particularly struck him over the last few years at Gustavus.

There are some pressing scientific issues that worry Ben. He says that “abortion scares me quite a bit”. Additionally, he is very concerned about “modification of the unborn” using CRISPR or other genetic engineering technologies because “I think it could get out of hand”. Ben is worried that there might not currently be enough discussion about what these technologies could be capable of doing or creating. There are no biblical teachings that particularly worry Ben, as he says there’s definitely not “any interference with my faith and science”. He thinks that the conflict between these two ways of knowing can be a tough problem for people who either “get too caught up in science” or who “believe every teaching in scripture word for word”, but “that’s just not me”. Because of this, Ben does not see either his faith or his scientific passion as interfering with the other field at all.

Although his core beliefs have remained essentially the same, there are some beliefs that have changed since Ben started pursuing his vocation. He has put a great deal more thought into how he deals with stress and unexplainable situations since becoming interested in the health field. Additionally, Ben has started to see in both his classes and in his experience shadowing in his field that “there is a lot of empathy that has to be had”. He thinks that this empathy is crucial to successfully work in medicine and healthcare.

Ben’s beliefs are central to his understanding of vocation. He says that “I think that one of the big things that drives me is that…as a Christian, you [should] do the most you can with the gifts you’ve been given”. For him, pursuing a career in healthcare “is the best I have to offer the world”. He says that “when I think about what I want to do with my life, I don’t think about how good of a scientist I am, or how intelligent I am. I think it embodies a lot more than that, I think it embodies all the gifts I’ve been given”. When Ben considers his vocation in the context of his faith, he looks at what impact his gifts and strengths could have on the world.


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