As someone who in her own words attended the Alexander Local School District “from pre-school on,” Amy Maggard can well remember the long bus rides endured by many students in the sprawling district before it consolidated in 2005. ”I went to all three different schools,” she recalls. “New Marshfield, and Shade, and then up to the high school.”

When Maggard decided to go to medical school, however, the trip was only a short hop — she didn’t even have to leave Athens County.

Maggard is one of the 124 students who received D.O. degrees from Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine this spring. She’s also one of 16 Athens County residents who have attended the medical college in the last decade.

The Heritage College has long prided itself on how many students it recruits from Ohio. That number has included many from Athens and nearby counties; from 2005-2014, 146 of its matriculating students, or about 11 percent, came from southeastern Ohio.

“Recruiting new osteopathic physicians from within our state is an important part of our mission, and it’s always gratifying when we can find a promising future doctor right in our own backyard,” said Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O. “I hope Amy’s example will get other Athens County students thinking about a career in medicine.”

Maggard, who graduated in 2007 from Alexander High School, said she was already thinking about becoming a physician by that time. “I think I knew throughout high school that I wanted to go to medical school,” she recalled. “I really liked science, and I really like the idea of helping people, so it kind of fit together.”

Alexander science teacher Missy Baker, who taught Maggard (then Amy Smith) in biology and anatomy classes, said it was “thrilling” to learn that her former student was preparing to graduate with a medical degree.

“She’s just an all-around great person,” Baker recalled. “When I think of her being in a classroom, she was a role model for all the other students. She gave 100 percent in everything she did. I still have some of her projects that I use as examples.”

Maggard also made her mark as a student athlete in high school, starring in basketball for the Spartans — an experience she said has helped her succeed as a physician-in-training. She co-captained a team that made it to the final four of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state championships in her senior year, and two of her fellow team captains later served as maids of honor at her wedding.

She praised the hard-work ethic of former coach Denton Guthrie, which she called “great preparation for my future and for medical school.” Guthrie’s long, grueling practices, Maggard said, got her ready for pulling long shifts as a medical student. “I have the ability to think clearly and calmly while under pressure because I have had the experience of going through Guthrie’s training,” she said.

She continued her athletic ways as an undergraduate at OU, where she competed on the club sports triathlon team while earning a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Maggard also had inspiration from within her family to enter the medical profession. Her mother worked for the Heritage College’s Community Health Programs, as coordinator of the Healthy Adult Program, while her sister, who earned her D.O. from Lincoln Memorial University- DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tennessee, is now chief family practice resident at St. John Medical Center in Westlake, Ohio.

Maggard plans to go into pediatrics, putting her among the sizable percentage of Heritage College graduates who opt for practices in primary care fields. P

She will be entering a residency at Palms West Children’s Hospital in Florida. She didn’t decide on pediatrics until well after she had enrolled at the Heritage College, she said.

“I didn’t realize I wanted to do it until I was in my third year and did an in-patient pediatrics rotation,” Maggard said. “I enjoyed working with the kids so much. It was just a lot of fun.”

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