Baylor University
Department of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences

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Honors - Jordan Cartwright

Jordan Cartwright

Because Jordan started her college career with her eye set on scientific research, Baylor seemed a natural choice. "There are hardly any Christian schools that focus on the sciences, and I think Baylor can compete with the Ivy League." But after Dr. David Eldridge gave her the opportunity to shadow a couple of academic researchers for a few days, she decided that lab work wasn't her calling. "I'm more of a people person, and I don't want to be shut away in a lab all day."

Confused and fearful, Jordan turned to her professors. "I was talking to a lot of different professors, asking, ‘should I go back home?' They helped me. I'd never heard of a Physician's Assistant, but they hooked me up with an advisor who knew about it and let me shadow some PAs – and I loved it." Here, Jordan found a career that combines her love of science with the opportunity for meaningful relationships. "Doctors have so many patients to see that they don't get a lot of time with each one. That's why they hire on PAs – the PA gets to build trust and connections with patients. Being sick puts people in a vulnerable state, and I think that the interactions that result from that are just really genuine."

If not for the patient counsel of the Biology faculty, Jordan wouldn't be headed to PA school after graduation. "I'd say that probably the biggest thing for my experience at Baylor was – and I know this will sound cliché – but I built a lot of relationships with my professors. I talk with my friends who go to bigger public schools, and they really don't know any of their professors. And for them, trying to get an office meeting outside of classes is ridiculous. Freshman year, I was in Dr. Eldridge's office probably every other week needing help with one thing or another."

Dr. Eldridge is just one part of the Baylor network that helped Jordan along the way. "I approached Dr. Marcie Moenke to ask about doing some outside research – because I'd gone to the Biology office and asked for a list of professors who do research with undergrads, and they gave me one." This research experience, while not Jordan's primary passion, has proven invaluable in her applications for graduate study. "I was also an officer in Tri Beta, the Biology honors society, and in the Pre-PA society. Having older students and advisors in those organizations was really helpful: it was the benefit of having someone who can encourage you and say, ‘I've been here and been through this. You can do it!'"

Department of Biology