Student Stories

Mac Garrett

Learning to Serve: Mac Garrett '12

Mac Garrett ’12 felt at home at Hamline the first time he set foot on campus while attending a campus tour. Hamline’s small size and urban location were two qualities he desired in a college. “I felt comfortable right away,” Garrett said. “Hamline was exactly what I was looking for.”

Garrett knew coming in to Hamline that he wanted to major in biology and complete the pre-medical program. He never expected to add on religion as a second major.

“The religion major opened my eyes to a whole new world,” Garrett said. “I didn’t come to Hamline with my own faith tradition.”  Garrett was impressed with Professors Deanna Thompson and Mark Berkson. “The faculty approached the topics with such respect and thoughtfulness. They taught me about respecting people with beliefs different from my own.”

While combining a religion major with biology and pre-med studies may seem contradictory, Garrett felt the interdisciplinary nature of the combination two majors and a liberal arts degree important—necessary even—for his future in the medical profession.

“Religion and science aren’t mutually exclusive,” Garrett said. “Both are about how we make sense of the world and inform how we make decisions about our health.” For Garrett, the best parts of his Hamline education were connected to service. “The value of service is embedded in the culture at Hamline,” he said. “I experienced it from my first day on campus.”

In addition to taking the lead by serving as a new student mentor to first year students during orientation, Garrett participated in two service learning trips to New Orleans, to contribute to the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

What Garrett had learned on campus about service was made real by volunteering to serve a community that was rebuilding itself. “I learned what it means to truly serve a community. It’s not solely about the work you’re doing. It’s about listening to the people, building relationships, and learning together,” he said. 

These service-learning experiences reinforced Garrett’s decision to go into medicine. “The trips were a catalyst for me learning more about myself and my vocation. Service, I learned from Hamline Chaplain Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, has to be about the people you serve and not about you. Medicine is a service profession,” he said. “And It’s more than just science, it’s about treating real, whole people. “

After graduating from Hamline, Garrett chose not to begin medical school immediately. For him, it was important to gain real world experience. He worked first for Epic, a company that produces software for healthcare organizations, and now for Thomson Reuters.

Garrett believes his work experience will give him an edge in medical school. “I learned skills critical to success in the workplace like communication and time management. I have a better idea of what working as a member of a team of professionals will be like,” he said.

Now in medical school, Garrett is thankful for his many leadership experiences at Hamline. “My experiences at Hamline will help make me a good physician,” he said. “I know what it means to serve and make a difference.”

Find out more about the religion, biology, and pre-medical programs or the wide-variety of service learning opportunities at Hamline. Contact Hamline's Undergraduate Admission Office to learn more about the joining the Hamline community.