Washburn senior reflects on college experience

As Washburn University gears up for its 150th year celebration, several students are preparing for another major milestone: Graduation. One of those seniors is Mollyanne Gibson. Gibson will be graduating this spring with degrees in biology and biochemistry as a member of the class of 2015. Gibson first began her studies at Washburn the fall of 2011 after graduating from Cornerstone Family Schools spring of the same year.

“At convocation [freshman year]…they [Washburn] had videos going through the history of Washburn, and so we got to watch the first installment on the videos, the first fifty years of Washburn…since then, there’ve been fifty years [of Washburn videos] at every convocation,” said Gibson.

Since that first convocation, Gibson has been making an impact on Washburn University and the Topeka community as a whole. Gibson served as Chemistry Club president for the 2013-2014 academic year and is serving as the demonstrations coordinator for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Gibson has also been involved in Christian Challenge, which meets on Thursday nights. Outside of Washburn, Gibson has been involved in ballet and Cleargold Worship Dance, and has interned for both Kansas Senate and Trash Mountain Project.

“Mollyanne’s friendship means so much to me…she has always been there to give advice for everything ranging from faith to anything science to college,” said Sarah Barnell, a dancer from Gibson’s dance studio and friend of Gibson for years. “Knowing that she is willing to stand by me is a huge confidence booster. She is such an inspiration for me, and I am so blessed to have her as a friend and mentor.”

One of Gibson’s most fulfilling experiences at Washburn and the community has been her friendship with people, especially Washburn’s international friends.

“Its been really cool seeing…how they’ve still kept in touch…it’s been really fulfilling seeing how even in just the short time frame of a semester of being friends, you can still keep up with those friendships and build a really cool friendship,” said Gibson. “And it was really hard to see them leave, but I’m really thankful that I was able to have those friendships.”

Gibson went on to say that her favorite memories at Washburn are of having lunch with her friends on the balcony of the Memorial Union. Normally, the group has to put together several tables to fit everyone.

After graduation, Gibson plans on going to University of Kansas to study medicine and become a family practice doctor. Gibson decided on a concentration in family practice after shadowing several different aspects of the medical field.

“I really like family practice because you get to treat a little bit of everything whereas in a specialty, you’re really good at your one thing, but you don’t get to see the variety,” explained Gibson.

Three desires inspire Gibson to pursue her dream: the desire to help people, the desire to challenge herself and the desire to be a good leader.

“For me, becoming a doctor is about three things. It’s about helping people, and medicine is a great way to help people,” said Gibson. “It’s a great way to meet physical needs, and…often as a doctor, you’re addressing a person’s emotional and spiritual needs too as you’re trying to best address their physical needs.”

As for her career choice, Gibson wants something more challenging.

“I also want a career where I have to use my brain,” said Gibson. “I don’t want a career where basically I show up and do the same thing. I want something that’s very challenging intellectually for me, and medicine definitely offers that. Even once you get through seven years of extra school, you still have to be constantly keeping up with what are usual best practices, what’s the current research.”

Gibson also likes the leadership and commitment to the community that comes with the career path.

“Doctors have a special place in the community because they’re looked up to as leaders; they have the resources to make a difference when they see something they want to change. That’s the third reason why I’m driven to follow my career goal.”

When thinking about her time at Washburn, Gibson is thankful for her college experiences.

“Washburn has given me opportunities to go out and become a better person academically,” said Gibson. “You know, I had a good foundation in high school, but to take it to actually the collegiate levels where I’m working in a laboratory, where I’m doing some independent research, where I can look at the most recent information on genetics and how does cancer work. WU’s given me opportunities outside of class in extracurricular activities to make friends with people from around the world, to interact with people who are very similar to myself and very different from myself.”

As Gibson reflects on her time at Washburn, she realizes all of the opportunities she experienced during college.

“It’s [Washburn] given me leadership opportunities with Chemistry Club, it’s given me opportunities to make really cool friends…Washburn has changed me by opening up a world of opportunities for me to participate in and by giving me the support in those opportunities so that I’m set up for success,” said Gibson.