Devin James

From the heart

Senior Devin James never considered himself much of a scholar.

"I wasn't that big into academics in high school and didn't have that great of a GPA," he said. "I just didn't have much that interested me."

That all changed when he arrived on the Hill.

"I came in as a nursing major, and I was pretty set on that," he says. "But I took anatomy and physiology as part of the nursing curriculum and quickly realized I wanted to be a doctor. I changed my major that spring."

Also that spring, he took a class that would change everything.

"We were studying the cardiovascular system, and we actually got to dissect a hog's heart because it is very similar to a human heart," he says. "I loved it and I was always asking Dr. (William) Paschal (Professor of Biology) tons of questions that we didn't have to know. It was something that made sense to me."

And that's when Devin discovered the power of finding his calling.

"I love cardiology," he says. "Once I found something I liked, something I was passionate about and something I was good at, I enjoyed studying and it was all such much easier. I never thought I'd actually enjoy school, but now I'm really involved. I enjoy it and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else."

Devin isn't kidding when he says he's involved. He is a Presidential Ambassador, captain of the swim team, a founder of the school's new Triathlon Club, a member and second vice president of a fraternity and was a cross country runner his sophomore and junior years. He also is a resident advisor in Boatwright Hall, the freshmen men's dorm.

"I didn't know what to expect when I started working in Boatwright, but I really enjoy it," he says. "You never know what's going to happen. My guys are fun and it's always exciting – I can walk out of my room and they will be playing basketball or golf in the hallways. You never know what's coming."

He's also found a way to give back.

"One of the guys living next door to me is a pre-med major. He's facing a lot of the same things I did, so I am able to help him, like with what classes to take, when to start doing things to get ready for classes here and getting into medical school. It's a great feeling to be able to help someone else."

Devin is particularly excited about his upcoming Jan Term trip to El Salvador.

"When I saw the listing for the trip, I saw that they were offering internship opportunities in community health, ministry and education. But they had a special facet for pre-med majors and nursing students, where we'd actually be able to work in the clinics and the hospitals. And we are going to be able to go out into the communities and look at houses and assess their health risks – like if they have running water. We can help them learn what they need to do to stay healthy. I'm very excited about that."

Devin says what has made his time at LaGrange truly special has been the relationships he's been able to form with his professors.

"They are all so helpful and understanding. Sometimes things happen that you can't help, and they will work with you because they really care. They will put themselves at a disadvantage just to help you. They care not only about your grades, but they care more about us learning. They care about all aspects of our lives."

Dr. Paschal has been a particular help, Devin says.

"He also is a swimmer so we are always talking about that. I can go to his office and talk about anything. Right now, he's helping me get into medical school, making sure that I do everything I need to do so I'll be ready next fall."

It's been that caring support that Devin says had made the biggest impression.

"Since coming here, I started investing in LaGrange because it invested in me. That sense of community is what makes this place so special."