The day – Outstanding Williams School student to attend Yale in the fall
New London – To say that Mary Madaus is a well-rounded student who flourished during her time at Williams School would be an understatement.
The 17-year-old New Londoner, an accomplished three-season athlete – captain of the sailing and cross-country teams – who is torn between her love of science and the humanities, will travel to Yale University in the fall to study biomedical engineering. .
She was part of the inaugural Grade 6 class at Williams in 2014 and, according to her instructors, an outstanding student with vast potential.
Her favorite course this year was advanced biology, but Madaus had immersed herself in the classics while at Williams, taking a college-level course, Reason and Revelation, at Connecticut College as part of the New London Scholar program.
Her choice of which university to attend became clearer after attending a virtual open house at Yale. She listened to a panel discussion between doctors and other alumni as they talked about their humanities classes and things like “the coolest philosophy classes they’ve ever taken.”
“It made me say ‘OK, these are the types of people that I can engage with. They take advanced science classes, but they also appreciate the humanities so much and the opportunities they’ve had to balance. that, ”she said.
She traces part of her fascination with science to the time she learned that she had developed a hole in her lung after birth.
“I was able to survive without being able to breathe the first moments of my life. It was very cool. It opened my eyes to the possibilities that await me in the field of biomedical engineering and the impact it could have, ”she said.
For his senior synthesis project, Madaus created a prosthetic hand partly using a 3D printer. It was a design she had been tinkering with – regardless of school – since eighth grade after attending a STEM conference with her fellow students at the University of Connecticut. The students were grouped together and received projects. Madaus said his group worked on a road design, “using chocolate and marshmallows or something cute like that.”
She noticed that the other group had been working on what appeared to be crude prosthetic hands made of things like straw, string and cardboard. Disappointed not to have been part of this other group, Madaus returned home to try to make her own prosthetic hand.
“I ran around my house and grabbed a box of tissues and marbles and plastic cups and duct tape, lots of duct tape, and I just went up to my room and started to building it and I kind of never stopped, ”she said.
The project led to outpatient research in her freshman year and a visit to a prosthetics clinic in Springfield, Massachusetts in her sophomore year where she was able to sit with patients and watch them get set up. prostheses. She remembers seeing a female amputee walk for the first time in months.
“It was crazy,” she said. “That’s when I said it was really cool.”
After school, she found herself entering many fields: prosthetics, tissue engineering or the design and construction of medical instruments or synthetic organs.
Madaus is the daughter of Melissa Root and Joseph Madaus and has two brothers, Colin and Patrick. Colin is an officer cadet at the US Coast Guard Academy and was at his home in New London with Mary after the coronavirus pandemic hit and forced students into virtual classes.
Time at home was not a bad thing for Madaus, who joined his brother Colin and a friend to create a short film, “Cede to Reality”, which was accepted at various film festivals.
Melissa Moss, chair of the classics department at Williams, said Madaus is superlative in many ways.
“As a student she was curious and serious, going beyond the demands of a particular assignment by developing the necessary research,” Moss said. “When she was in second year, an article she wrote for one of my classes was about the first Christian communities – we had read Pliny’s letter to Trajan on Christians in a province – the letter is the first non-Christian evidence of the practice of this religion. – and Mary ended up looking for Pontius Pilate and the archaeological evidence of him, and found things that I hadn’t known, until an inscription on the “Stone of Pilate”. Where her classmates were still learning to find more in-depth sources than an encyclopedia entry, Mary waded through archaeological journal articles and scientific debates.
As the leader of the Classics Club, Madaus pushed the group to do more experiential learning, “so making wax tablets, examining coins, having a banquet, with invitations and gowns were all. activities that it has helped to carry out ”. Moss said. “She wanted to mummify something this year, but COVID restrictions made that impossible.”
“Mary’s number one quality, however, has to be her gentle kindness. If you’ve met her, you know what it looks like, ”Moss said. “She listens, she reads people well and is able to notice when someone needs a kind word or a smile.”