Josh Wiglesworth: The Accidental Physician
“I felt comfortable at Transylvania from the time I stepped on campus. Several other colleges wanted to know what I could bring to their school, but when I interviewed at Transy, the focus was more on what the college could do for me.”
Unlike many physicians, Josh Wiglesworth ‘03 did not grow up wanting to become a doctor. It wasn’t until right before his junior year at Transylvania—before he took his first chemistry, physics, or biology class—that Wiglesworth decided to pursue a career in medicine.
“I entered Transylvania without a career path in mind,” said Wiglesworth, now a pediatrician practicing in Danville, Ky. “The liberal arts education at Transylvania forced me to sample many disciplines that I would not have otherwise tried. Math professor Mike LeVan helped me eventually focus my career path on medicine, despite my wanderings through several different areas of study.”
Wiglesworth credits Transylvania’s liberal arts education with preparing him well for the next, very difficult phase of his education—medical school at the University of Louisville and a pediatrics residency at the University of Kentucky. “Several classes at Transy challenged me as much as any in my medical school career. My liberal arts education, in conjunction with the basic premed requirements at Transy, prepared me more for the rigors of medical school than most of my medical school classmates who focused solely on science in undergrad,” he said.
“While many may assume a minor in philosophy or a liberal arts education in general may not be beneficial for someone whose job is based in science, it could not be further from the truth,” he said. “The communication and critical thinking skills I gained at Transy have served me better as a pediatrician than the ability to calculate the molecular weight of methane or determine how long it takes sound to travel to Mars and back.
“As a pediatrician and someone who has spent a good portion of my life as a student at various institutions, I am often asked by adolescents about different colleges or universities and Transy, in particular,” Wiglesworth said. “I tell them that the education at Transy will help them to excel in most any career and the connections they will make will open doors to great opportunities in life. More importantly, at Transy you are not just a number, you are an individual. The small class size, the community atmosphere, and the faculty-student interaction lead to an environment where students will enjoy learning and create friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Equally important, Wiglesworth added, is Transylvania’s commitment to community and serving others—another thing he said has greatly impacted his life.
“When I entered Transy, I thought I would try to find a job where I could help myself make money. When I left, I wanted to enter a profession where I could help others,” he said.