Maya Watkins earns St. Newman Scholarship

Jun 15, 2023
St. Newman scholar Maya Watkins (Courtesy photo)
St. Newman scholar Maya Watkins (Courtesy photo)

Every year, five high school seniors are awarded Newman University’s most prestigious scholarship, the St. Newman Scholarship, which offers full tuition renewable for four years.  

Maya Watkins is one of the recipients. 

The Gower, Missouri, native shared that when she first visited campus, she felt that everyone was there for one another no matter the circumstances. 

“I come from a small school, so I didn’t want to go somewhere really big where I knew I would get lost,” Watkins added. “Whenever I visited Newman, it had a homey feel, which is something I was looking for.” 

When Watkins begins at Newman this fall, she plans to pursue the pre-med path for her major and minor in Spanish

“I know that Newman has an amazing nurse practitioner of anesthesiology program that I would like to complete after obtaining my prerequisites,” she explained. “I have always wanted to be in the medical field but never knew what field I wanted to go into. After my research of anesthesiology, I knew that was the path for me.” 

This decision was confirmed when Watkins job-shadowed a doctor. The experience also made her realize she needed to learn Spanish to help future Spanish-speaking patients feel comfortable talking to her. 

“There was a family that came into the doctor’s office who couldn’t speak any English and only knew Spanish,” she said. “While I am able to speak a little Spanish, I was unable to translate medical terms to the patient and her family. I was able to say basic things and carry simple conversations. While this was more than anyone else in the office could do for them, I still felt that I had let them down.” 

Seeing how scared the patient was when the doctor said, “Hey, can you come walk with me?” broke Watkins’ heart. 

I know without a doubt that attending Newman will be one of the best experiences I can obtain.

Maya Watkins

“The look of desperation and sadness on the parents’ face killed me,” she said. “At that point, I stepped in and said, ‘Hola chica! Puedes camina conmigo?’ Her head snapped up at the sound of Spanish being spoken and a ginormous smile appeared on her face. She then proceeded to grab my hand and walked out of the room in the hallway with me. The look of surprise on the doctor’s face was priceless.”

While Watkins was unable to translate the medical terms for what was wrong with the little girl, she still had a sense of accomplishment for being able to help the little amount that she did. 

“After that, I knew that if I wanted to go into the medical field, I had to know how to speak Spanish,” she said. “I always want my future patients to feel comfortable with me, and seeing how uncomfortable that family was is something I never want anyone to feel while they are in my care.”

Watkins feels confident that Newman will set her up for success so that she can one day serve patients as a bilingual health care professional. 

“The knowledge I will gain from being at Newman both spiritually and academically will give me a jump start to be able to talk about Christ to others and what all he has done for me,” she added. “One thing that has stood out to me about Newman is how Christ-centered the school is. As a recent Catholic convert, I like the fact that I am allowed to openly talk about Jesus and how he has helped me become the person I am today.”

“I know without a doubt that attending Newman will be one of the best experiences I can obtain while in college,” Watkins said. 

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