Montana State University

Outstanding senior gravitates to hospitals, volunteer work

May 9, 2007 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

Madeline Turner visited Malawi after her freshman year at MSU. (Photo courtesy of Madeline Turner).    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Walking into a hospital always makes her happy, says a Montana State University senior who has spent plenty of time in hospitals and plans to continue.

Madeline Turner was a maintenance worker and nurses' aide at the Rosebud Health Care Center when she lived with her parents, Mark and Jan Turner, in Forsyth. After moving to Bozeman to attend MSU, she became a scrub technician and helped deliver babies, at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. During her summers, she volunteered at hospitals in Costa Rica, Panama and the African country of Malawi.

After shadowing more than 20 health care professionals over the years, Turner decided to apply for the WWAMI regional medical program and work toward becoming a doctor. The program has students from five states (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). They usually spend the first year of medical school at a university in their home state and the last three years based at the University of Washington Medical School. Turner will attend her first WWAMI classes this fall after traveling to Europe for four weeks with her twin brother, Spencer.

"When I was 14, I knew that was what I wanted to do," said Turner who will turn 22 on May 12, the same day she graduates from MSU.

Turner said she's not sure why, but everything about the medical field appeals to her. Since volunteer work is another passion, she combined the two and traveled across the country as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society. She helped start MSU's Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. She volunteered at an African AIDS orphanage after her freshman year, and worked last summer as a medical volunteer with rural populations in Costa Rica and indigenous populations in Panama. She helped organized "Up ‛Til Dawn," an MSU fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"I love it," she said of the volunteer work that occupies her time when she isn't studying or working.

Her involvement in cancer causes stemmed from a friend who had leukemia and has since recovered, Turner said. Her interest in working overseas was sparked by her grandparents, who lived in Malawi during the 1970s. Her grandfather, Jerry Turner, was a fisheries biologist who traveled with his wife, Doris, to Malawi every summer. They became involved with the AIDS orphanage, Malawi Children's Village, and Turner joined them the summer after her freshman year at MSU.

"I just really enjoy doing community service work. Even though it might be a Friday and I should be out doing the college thing, I really love doing that stuff," said Turner who maintained a 3.99 grade point average in the process. Turner's major was cell biology and neuroscience.

For those and other accomplishments, Turner was named MSU Rotary Student of the Month for May. She previously received the Torlief Aasheim Community Involvement Award and the Harold Watling Scholarship, which is given to an outstanding student who will pursue medical school. She received the MSU Mortar Board Excellence Award, the National Trow Scholarship, the Christy Foundation Scholarship, and the Cell Biology and Neuroscience Award, among others.

Turner served as president of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the world's largest honor society for premedical education. She was a CAT mentor, orientation leader, and member of the CAT Crew who help freshmen get involved in campus activities. She belonged to Mortar Board and Septemviri, an honorary society recognizing outstanding seniors. She helped organize a campus-wide clean-up, raised money for the Big Brother/Big Sisters Foundation of Gallatin County and volunteered at a nursing home.

"Your involvement with the campus and community is equally impressive and truly extraordinary," said the letter that notified Turner of her selection as MSU Rotary Student of the Month. The letter came from MSU President Geoff Gamble, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs David Dooley.

Susan Gibson, an instructor of human anatomy and Turner's advisor, said, ‛She is a deserving and impressive young woman who works hard in everything that she undertakes in academics or in the community."

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or