by Taylor Kilgore
Two University of West Georgia students get the chance to fulfill lifelong ambitions to become the men they have always admired. Michael Stevens and Taylor Payne graduated in December and have been accepted to medical school for start in the fall. Michael will attend Mercer University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and Taylor will be attending the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Organic Chemistry. He is a two time cancer
survivor, which fueled his drive for becoming a doctor to help others in the same
predicament he has overcome. Michael sees pediatric oncology as a special area of
medicine, but he is entering medical school with an open mind and plenty of options
to choose from.
“My acceptance into medical school means that all my hard work as an undergraduate has paid off, but also that I now have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many people,” said Michael. “I spent years in hospitals and doctor’s offices fighting leukemia, and it is very rewarding to know that I can show other children who are fighting cancer or going through a similar illness that there is a life outside of cancer. Regardless of what area of medicine I ultimately choose to go into, I plan on always volunteering at Camp Sunshine, which does programs for children with cancer, and being involved in pediatric oncology.”
Michael has been inspired by his pediatric oncologist, Dr. John Bergsagel, who has impacted many families in the area.
“All I want is to be half the doctor that my oncologist and mentor, Dr. John Bergsagel, is,” said Michael. “He has impacted many families, and I hope that my life can be as meaningful as his. I look forward to impacting people's lives. I have always been the patient, and I cannot wait to help others like so many great doctors have done for me.”
Taylor graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a minor in biology. He was vice president of the local Emerging Healthcare Leaders student club and volunteered at a local free Rapha Clinic with Dr. William Parrish. Taylor also shadowed Dr. Jeff Reid, a local physician with Tanner Health Systems and a former UWG student.
“I look forward to the opportunity to participate in a work environment that I truly enjoy while also knowing that my work is having a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Taylor.
Taylor is looking forward to his career in medicine. At the present, he has an interest in endocrinology, but anticipates it might change as he furthers his education.
“The research I’ve participated in was a great addition to my application,” said Taylor. “Many of the classes at UWG helped me prepare for the MCAT, both in terms of material covered and problem solving skills required. The guidance of my academic advisor, Dr. Vickie Geisler, was also extremely valuable.”