My roommate, Grace Jacobs, is one of the kindest, most beautiful people I know. Most importantly, Grace loves to help others. Instead of choosing to pursue a career in order to make a lot of money, she wants to use her career to serve others.

Grace is a sophomore in the College of Science and Engineering (COSE) who is majoring in Biology: Allied Health. After college, she wants to go onto Physician’s Assistant (PA) school. Grace wants to use her major to help others because she understands what it feels like to suffer through medical hardships after watching her mother’s battle against brain cancer.

“One of my greatest desires is to comfort others and assure them that their loved ones are receiving the most professional and passionate care that is possible,” she said.

Choosing a Path

Grace knew that she wanted to go into the medical field, but wasn’t yet sure which profession. She realized she wanted to be a Physician’s Assistant after her mother was in the hospital for a long period of time battling cancer during Grace’s senior year of high school.

“During our stay at Gundersen La Crosse, you could really tell the difference between the PA’s who cared about my mother and were passionate about what they were doing, and the PA’s who were just going through the motions and didn’t genuinely care about the patient,” she said.

“There was one PA specifically, her name was Molly, who had a huge impact on my family and I’s stay at the hospital and my life personally. She took the time to relate to us on a personal level and tell us her similar experience with her father who had passed away from brain cancer as well.”

Grace said that Molly explained their options and possible future circumstances and cried along with Grace and her sisters.

“I want to be able to reach out to patients and their families when they are going through difficult situations. I want to do as much as I possibly can to comfort families and be there for them in hopes of making a difficult and heart-breaking situation even just slightly less painful than it already is.”

Life in the Science Department

Now that Grace is in the midst of pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Biology: Applied Health, she has expressed her favorite part about her major is everyone she has met in the Science Department.

“Seriously, I have learned how to work with my peers and help each other out an insane amount to help each other succeed,” she said. “It’s like a family.”

On a normal day, Grace has two to three classes, usually held in the SLC. She says that some classes can be challenging, but the professors are very helpful. Many professors and upperclassmen are happy to help through tutoring and extra study sessions.

“There are many resources available on campus for science majors that I definitely take advantage of. Tutoring is a weekly occurrence, and study sessions happen daily,” Grace said.

When she’s not in class, she can be found studying all around campus, whether it’s in the library, Zane’s, or Baldwin Lounge. Her favorite spot to study is outside in the grass, especially while wearing her red polka-dot socks.

Since being a biology major can be challenging at times, Grace said that she has considered changing her major before. However, she knows it is worth it at the end of the day.

“Those chemistry courses really get you (cough cough, Organic Chemistry),” she said, “but I am positive that it will be 100% worth it when I reach my end goal and begin my career as a PA.”

As a biology major on the Physician’s Assistant track, Grace was encouraged to become involved in different communities and clubs on campus. She volunteers at local long-term care facilities and recently became a volunteer as a Donor Ambassador for the American Red Cross. At American Red Cross blood drives, she will comfort first-time blood donors, help with paperwork, and provide other assistance.

“Along with being a donor ambassador, I’m especially excited to get involved with the Pillowcase Project. I’m hoping to reach out to local schools in Winona and coordinate presentations for 3rd-6th graders about how to be prepared in the event of a disaster.”

A Life of Passion

The most remarkable quality Grace has is her passion for other people. She loves to care for others, whether it’s through offering me a ride home from campus or using her major for a cause larger than herself.

“My patients will not just be patients to me, they are people,” Grace said. “They are people with families and children and friends and loved ones, who have lived amazing lives and accomplished remarkable things. Their lives are respected and valued and matter to me on a deeper level than just a medical provider to patient.”

Liked Grace’s story? Meet more awesome students in the More Than a Major Series!