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Student Spotlight: Maggie Walters

With a 4.0 GPA and plans to graduate in May 2023, Maggie Walters is a stellar scholar of precision medicine. But she’s more than that—Maggie is a joyful servant, whose interest in the field of precision flows from an eagerness to help diagnose, detect, and halt cancer for suffering patients in the world. A proud employee of Caris Life Sciences, Maggie is  earning her Master of Science in Precision Medicine from ACU Online in order to take on more responsibilities and move into leadership roles during her career in personalized medicine and biotechnology. With such a bright future Maggie can’t help but smile when she thinks about the grand possibilities before her. 

Peaking Interest in Cancer Care

Raised in Yuma, Arizona, Maggie grew up exposed to different cultures and lifestyles early on. This exposure helped her develop a love for people and their well-being, so it came as no surprise that, when she went to college, she picked a degree that she felt could help others: a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. After graduating from Arizona State University, Maggie knew she wanted to continue to study medicine and biology. She just didn’t know where to start. Fresh out of college and nowhere to go, Maggie did what any young professional would do – she searched the web. 

Looking across the spectrum of opportunities online, Maggie remembers seeing a job posting on LinkedIn with Caris Life Sciences, a global biomedical organization focused on helping patients, clinicians, and researchers navigate, advance, and reinvent cancer care. It seemed a perfect fit for someone like Maggie, who wanted to help others. Feeling elated she found something she could see herself doing, Maggie applied and waited to hear back. A few weeks later, she got a call. 

When I applied to this job, I was unfortunately in Wisconsin since my grandparent had just passed away. I just remember I got a phone call from a Phoenix area code, and I was like, ‘Okay, what’s this?’ They said they wanted to have an interview with me, and then about a week later, I was offered the job,” Maggie explains. “Of course, I accepted.” 

Moving into their molecular profiling lab located in Phoenix, AZ, Maggie was thrilled to be starting her first real job as a lab technology specialist. Working diligently on various projects and research, Maggie knew she was starting to fall in love with her work. However, that didn’t mean her hunger to further her career and education had stopped. Hearing about Caris’s partnership with ACU Online, Maggie quickly learned about the opportunity to gain a master’s degree at little to no cost to her. This was her chance. 

“Once I saw that, I knew this seemed like a great opportunity to have on my resume and just to learn more about precision medicine because it goes so in hand with everything that we do day-to-day at the company,” Maggie says. 

Making Her Mark In and Out of the Classroom

Maggie recalls her initial cohort and how it was full of people who were excited to work and learn. Building relationships and having the ability to interact with them virtually, Maggie loved that she could talk about what she learned, what surprised her, and how she felt with people who were taking the same classes. To her, it was “really helpful having the support of the people she already knew and was working with.” Seeing all the fascinating research topics everyone was interested in, Maggie started to better understand her role in Caris and why her work matters so much. 

“Being in the program, and seeing how it applies to what I do on a day-to-day basis, has been exciting,” Maggie explains. “Now, being in the pathology department, I’m seeing how we can detect actual cancerous tumors rather than just tissues. It’s kind of fun to have this new knowledge and can start applying it the next day.” 

If you ask Maggie what the future holds for the program, she would say it’s the opportunity to learn more about cancer research, technology, and personalized care for people. As a volunteer with the Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center, Maggie has seen first-hand the evolving nature of cancer treatment in a hospital setting. She’s witnessed  how technology and medicine are working together to help patients live longer and happier lives, and is eager to see how her program will address these monumental changes in healthcare and influence more students to get involved. 

“Treatment and all the science is evolving,” Maggie says. “We’re starting to see personalized medicine more and more, and we can see the kind of comfort it brings to patients when we can provide them the support they need.” 

Completing her final course before walking the stage in May 2023, Maggie is thrilled about seeing what the future holds for her. Keeping her mind focused on her growing career, Maggie aims to be a testament to what it means to care for others and conduct meaningful work in today’s healthcare system. Having the constant support from her friends and family, Maggie is joyfully waiting to apply her degree for more opportunities within Caris and beyond. 

“I’m very fortunate to be doing [this program], and I think I want to use it to continue to grow with Caris because I really love the company. Doors have been open, and if there’s somewhere for me to continue to grow with Caris, then I’d like to,” Maggie replies. 

Eternally grateful for the professors and mentors she’s met at ACU, Maggie is thrilled to join the growing ACU alum family. With support from her academic advisor and faculty members, Maggie can see taking the ACU community with her wherever she may go. 

Do you want to advance your career like Maggie Walters? Visit our website or call 855-219-7300 to learn how you can step into a fulfilling, innovative future at ACU Online.

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