Bailey McGuffey ’17 reflects on her Newman experience

Aug 05, 2020
Bailey McGuffey

Newman alumna Bailey McGuffey ‘17 is on her way to fulfill her dream as a physician assistant after recently successfully completing the PA program at Christian Brothers University (CBU) in Memphis.

She came to Newman for her Bachelor of Science because of its small campus size and pre-professional reputation. Newman has a 95-98% acceptance rate into graduate and professional programs for students who complete a pre-professional degree.

She also did some math and discovered her out-of-pocket cost would be half the cost of a larger state university after her scholarships. “Attending Newman was a no-brainer,” she said.

Her first focus was biology with a concentration in pre-dentistry but she soon changed her concentration to pre-physician assistant after learning more about the career through a friend.

McGuffey (far right, wearing the #4 jersey) poses with her
squad teammates inside Fugate Gymnasium.

She stayed busy during her four years as an ASC Scholar. She also joined the cheer and dance team, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Newman University Medical Professions Club, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and worked several different on-campus jobs including graduate admissions and telecommunications.

McGuffey was a 2016 recipient of the Newman University Jetspy’s Humanitarian of the Year award. She was also a 2017 Ablah Award candidate, an annual honor that celebrates the dedication and hard work of a graduating senior at the university.

She said being involved at Newman helped her meet some amazing people — all of them excited to see others succeed. 

“You will also make some of your truest friends at Newman,” she said. “My favorite thing to do was volunteer at the Lord’s Diner. I went almost every Wednesday night and on the weeks I didn’t go, my whole week felt off. But it was a great way to get involved in the community.”

McGuffey’s Newman experience was a powerful one, with staff and faculty mentors along the way and positive takeaways that will last her a lifetime. Much of what she learned and discovered at Newman, she took with her to her graduate program.

“Leadership and time management were a huge part of my time at Newman,” said McGuffey. “I had to quickly learn how to manage my schedule and still do the things I loved. I worked two part-time jobs, was on both the cheer and the dance teams, led an organization on campus, volunteered weekly at the Lord’s Diner, and took usually 18 credits hours a semester.

“All of this prepared me for the jam-packed schedule of PA school but also gave me a chance to meet some amazing people at Newman. I was able to use the servant leadership model from my ASC classes to care for the patients I interacted with on rotations as well.”

McGuffey poses with her parents at Christian Brothers

McGuffey had family close to CBU, which is one of the reasons she applied to the program. She added that the NCAA Division II private Catholic university reminded her of Newman in a sentimental manner.

The feeling of “being at home” and the strong sense of community she felt at CBU made her transition from Newman to graduate school smooth and familiar.

She spent a total of 28 months completing the program while acting as class treasurer and volunteering at health fairs teaching hands-only CPR and performing basic screening exams. 

She said finding and utilizing a support system played an important role in her success.

“I was very fortunate to have my aunt and uncle in Memphis during PA school,” said McGuffey. “They became a sort of escape during stressful times and they were where I went for holidays. At Newman, my parents made it a priority to be at all my functions and games. I have been very blessed to have such a supportive family. I know they will continue to be the support I need moving forward.

“I also had support from my teams at Newman. We would help each other out in classes we shared and create study groups. To this day my teammates help celebrate accomplishments. I am constantly receiving messages and posts from them. While we have all gone on to different things, it is amazing to see what my previous teammates have accomplished from going to graduate schools, to getting married and having kids, to being recognized for their work accomplishments.”

McGuffey took the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam on Aug. 6 and is preparing for her new career. She has been interviewing for a variety of positions in both Kansas and Memphis and is looking forward to starting her future.

“I am so thankful for my professors at Newman: Dr. Evans, Dr. Hicks, and Dr. Jones to name a few. In PA school, I was able to recall their lectures, which was very helpful. Dr. Bradley, my advisor, encouraged me throughout my time at Newman.

“The person who inspired me the most at Newman was Linda Sabala. I worked under her in graduate admissions as a work-study. Linda taught me a great deal. She was the kindest and most genuine person I have ever met. She puts the needs of others first and wanted to see Newman be the best it could be. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders at Newman. I am so thankful to her for taking a chance on me as a freshman and bringing me on as her work-study. She will forever be one of my greatest role models.”