Athletics brought Madison R. Young to Georgia Tech, and that would have been enough to allow her to shine. “A strong member of the diving squad for the Jackets,” crows the Ramblin' Wreck sports website as it lists her accomplishments in ACC and NCAA diving competitions. But she can balance athletic ability and academic achievements: She was named Scholar Athlete of the Year as a senior at Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine, Calif., and was on the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Now she’s celebrating a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Pre-Health with Business/Research options.
What attracted you to Georgia Tech?
I am an athlete, and I was recruited to attend Georgia Tech. But I was already attracted to Tech because of its very strong academics and good reputation around the country and the world.
How would you describe your life before enrolling in Georgia Tech?
I was much less open-minded.
What is the most important thing you learned at Georgia Tech?
The most important thing I learned at Tech is that hard work does actually pay off, and collaboration is very important both now and later. I also learned that Tech teaches you to actually think, not just complete assignments. I know this will help me later on when I am presented with issues in my job that require not only knowledge of the issue but critical thinking.
What surprised or disappointed you the most about Georgia Tech?
I was disappointed during my freshman year when I got poor grades on all of my first exams. I was most surprised by how much all of my professors have cared about my individual, academic, and athletic success.
Which professor(s) or class(es) made a big impact on you?
Jeannette Yen and Bill Todd have had the biggest impact on me. They taught me how to work in professional situations and how to use what I have learned at Tech in the workplace. I did research with Dr. Yen for two and a half years and she helped me write an undergraduate thesis on behavioral ecology, something I had never expected I would be able to do. Under Professor Todd I completed a work study program with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and learned how to act as a consultant, a skill that I will carry with me forever.
What is your most vivid memory of Georgia Tech?
My participation in athletics is my most vivid memory of Tech. I formed unbelievable friendships with my teammates and cannot imagine going through four years at Georgia Tech without them.
If you participated in experiential learning activities, what was the most valuable outcome from your experience?
I participated in undergraduate research in behavioral ecology with Jeannette Yen. I was able to complete the research option and write a thesis under her supervision. The most valuable outcome of my experience was the confidence I gained to complete a project on my own, including running and designing the experiments, analyzing the data, and writing my thesis. It also taught me problem solving and perseverance.
On the basis of your experience, what advice would you give to incoming freshmen at Georgia Tech?
Time management is the key to success. Start studying way before you think you need to, and never pull an all-nighter!
What feedback would you give to Georgia Tech to improve the campus experience for future students?
I think the GT 1000 class needs to have better structure. I honestly did not learn much through GT 1000. My class was focused on the history of Tech, which was fun to learn, but I think it should show students more resources in case they need help. It should also provide more assistance on time management and study techniques.
Where are you headed after graduation?
I am heading to Auburn University Veterinary School to pursue a DVM. I wish to work with horses and eventually be an equine surgeon. Tech has prepared me by giving me a strong science foundation, which I believe will be much greater than that of my graduate-school peers.