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Q&A with 2019 Outstanding Senior Malcolm Davis

Associate Dean Georgina Montgomery and Malcolm Davis, Outstanding Senior

Each year the Michigan State University Senior Class Council recognizes up to 25 outstanding seniors in the graduating class. The awardees have succeeded academically, served the university enthusiastically, and have positively impacted MSU and the community. This year, one of those outstanding seniors graduated from Lyman Briggs College: Malcolm Davis.

At Commencement, Davis delivered the senior class address. His speech was a wonderful tribute to the Briggs experience, and what he enjoyed most. He said, “We have been given the ability to analyze scientific matters through a lens that highlights the complexity of scientific practice and the implications it has on societal institutions and social identities such as race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and more. We are armed with a unique weapon of scientific consciousness which grants us the ability to tackle the monstrous controversies that pollute our universe with passionate devotion and creativity.”

His address concluded with an admonition for his classmates to have a positive impact on the world now—not to wait until their future careers came to fruition. “Our purpose does not solely exist in the confines of the future but is alive in the gift that we call the present.”

We asked this outstanding senior a few questions:

Why did you choose History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science (HPS) as your major?

I believe that my mind is engineered in a way that highlights the bigger picture behind everything and this results in my inclination to understand the connectivity of all in existence. HPS spoke to me because it allowed me to unite my scientific passions with my passions for history, ethics, philosophy, etc., to maximize the impact I want to make in the world. I also like that it puts power in the hands of the students, providing them with opportunities to build their own curriculum, and design it in a way that aligned with their interests.

Have you always been interested in science?

Always. As a child I felt capable and purposeful when practicing science. However science is a very broad field. Being a Briggsie intensified my interests and helped me specify which disciplines my scientific interests lie.

What are your plans now that you're an alum?

I plan to continue exploration both in and outside of science through travel, volunteering, reading, mentoring, community service, my future educational endeavors, my anticipated career as a physician and more.

What was your most valuable experience as a Briggsie?

One of my most valuable experiences was partaking in undergraduate research and presenting in the LBC Research Symposium. Research is such a valuable experience and is an essential tool within all fields. Undergraduate research is not just something to put on a resume. It gives you the opportunity to actively contribute to the discovery and expansion of scientific information from a young age.

Any advice for future Briggsies?

Refrain from comparing your unique path to those of others. A path does not and should not look the same for everyone. It is also okay to “go with the flow” sometimes. If your passion is guiding you, you have no choice but to succeed.

Photo caption: Associate Dean for Teaching & Learning Georgina Montgomery awarding Outstanding Senior Malcolm Davis at the 2019 Spring Commencement