Madi Balagtas: A WSS Success Story
By: Jessica Martin, SDSU Chapter Member
This week, I interviewed Madi Balagtas, a member of the WSS- San Diego State University Chapter- a girl who does it all. She’s a third year Cellular and Microbiology Major with an Honors Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies who is an aspiring trauma surgeon. In WSS, she served a term on the SDSU Chapter’s Leadership Team and currently works as the Chapter Liaison for WSS at the national level. Outside of WSS and her studies, Madi also works in a research lab studying stem cells, is a San Diego Alzheimer’s companion, Secretary for the Merit Scholar Student Society and volunteers her time with Flying Samaritans- an organization that offers free medical clinics in Mexico.
Although Madi’s success is evident, she has been working towards it since her freshman year at SDSU when she attended her first WSS meeting. After hearing Holly Norman, the founder and CEO of WSS, speak about her undergraduate accomplishments and involvements, Madi reminisced that “WSS inspired [her] to not wait to get what she wanted”. So, she set out to do just that. By the end of her first semester on campus, Madi had already applied and gotten into Dr. Zayas’ lab and has been working there studying stem cells ever since.
Personal development wasn’t the only thing that Madi got out of WSS, she also has made it a personal goal to give back to her science sisters through leadership positions. Although Madi was raised in an environment that never made her doubt her ability to pursue science, being a WSS member opened her eyes to the fact that not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy that luxury. In her time on the SDSU Chapter Leadership Team, she made “sure [she] did [her] best so that other girls could be confident in themselves as scientists”.
To Madi, WSS is a community, as well as a source of inspiration. She has met her best friends in the organization, and went on to talk about how it was comforting to have the presence of familiar faces in class. She said knowing that other WSS members were in the same classes often serves as a launching board to find people to study with and even create lasting friendships.
When asked if she had any advice for all the women out there who want to pursue similar paths as Madi or just want to get involved, she said, “all it takes is a little bit of self-agency to get stuff done!” In her eyes, it is no big feat to be involved in many organizations on campus on top of classes as long as you mix in some good time management!