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Senior Story 2021: Biology Major Seeks to Heal the Whole Person
May 14, 2021

Name: Johnathon Matthew Rolwes

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Major: Biology

Notable UD Memories: “Freshman year, myself and a group of friends drove to San Diego, California, for spring break. It was a lengthy drive, but it was so much fun. The drive itself was incredibly enjoyable despite the 20-plus hours in the car due to the company involved and the endless amounts of laughs. We truly also enjoyed each other and the activities we did during the number of days we spent in San Diego (which is beautiful I must add). The whole trip was filled with fun memories, and each one of us has reflected on that trip thinking about how much fun we all had.” 

Future Plans: Serving in a multidimensional role at UT Southwestern in the Hematology/Oncology Department and working on medical school acceptance for fall 2022.

This is the third in a series of 10 stories that will be published to highlight the achievements of some of our seniors in the Class of 2021.

“Today more than ever, medicine needs physicians who understand the duality of the person and can attend to both aspects of the human person,” said John Rolwes, BA ’21. 

“If one is only able to assist the physical needs, then the underlying, spiritual/mental causes will continue to prevent the patient from fully recovering,” he added. “UD has helped me understand this relationship well, and the education I’ve received will help me be a physician who can attend to both.”

This coming year working at UT Southwestern, Rolwes plans to add to his store of knowledge and experience as he applies his education in a real-world clinical setting.

From the time he started at UD, Rolwes was a biology major, though leading up to college he thought he wanted to be an engineer. 

“I don’t know what caused me to switch directions,” he admitted, “but I chose biology and have stuck with it since.” During his time at UD, he has also grown to love chemistry, though his favorite UD class was bioethics taught by adjunct instructor William Stigall, M.D., MA ’09. 

“Firstly, Dr. Stigall is an incredible teacher who presents evidence-based bioethics and promotes fascinating discussion,” said Rolwes. “Secondly, it was a pivotal class in my pre-medical preparation as it helped me truly understand what a physician is and the importance of the well-rounded education I have received in becoming a physician.”

Rolwes is also grateful to Associate Professor and Chair of Biology William Cody, Ph.D.

“Dr. Cody expects a lot of his students and holds each one of them to an unwavering standard,” he said. “This promotes an atmosphere of hard work in the classroom, which in turn results in better learning. He was scary freshman year when I first met him and realized his intensity,” he laughed, “but I truly appreciate that intensity and that high standard now, as it is critical for any work.”

A legacy student, Rolwes initially discounted UD when looking at colleges: “It felt as if everyone close to my family and in my extended family went to UD, and it was the last place I wanted to attend,” he explained. “However, after visiting UD my senior year of high school, I fell in love with it. The community and the education were too amazing to pass up, and as a result I did not even apply anywhere else.”

Rolwes played soccer his freshman year, subsequently switching to rugby because the schedule was less demanding to balance with the intensity of his science courses: “a perfect balance for a focused student,” he said. After an injury that prevented further participation in rugby, however, his main extracurricular activity at UD was the Society of St. Joseph.

“For all of my time at UD I have been a part of the Society of St. Joseph, which has played a large role in my spiritual life as well as deeping my friendships with the other guys in the club,” he said.

“I am grateful for my UD education because it has given me the necessary tools for entering the field of medicine today,” he concluded.

 
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