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October 17, 2023

AHA Alumna Shares Fascination with Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgeon Maddie McGovern (AHA ’13) spent part of October 10 connecting with science students from the Academy of the Holy Angels.


As “before and after” photos from some recent surgical procedures popped onto the screen in the auditorium, students visibly came alive.


McGovern leaned in toward the group, saying, “It’s cool, right?” The Angels agreed.

Maddie McGovern and AHA Principal Jean Miller.


Now a second year resident, McGovern completed her undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame and finished medical school at Thomas Jefferson University. She is currently at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the teaching hospital at Harvard Medical School.


She explained that she wanted to pursue a career that allowed her to interact with people, be part of a team, and use her mind to solve problems. McGovern shared that she had already become fascinated with orthopedics after she experienced a leg-lengthening procedure at age 13. The alumna showed X-rays of her legs, and explained how her mother was charged with turning a piece of medical apparatus each day for 40 days to gradually even the length of McGovern’s legs.


McGovern noted that there are many different medical careers, and each student’s path is slightly different. She shared that part of her journey toward becoming a surgeon included a summer spent in India, where she worked with people with diabetes.


She pointed out the importance of maintaining balance throughout life.


“Do things that make you happy,” McGovern said, adding that pursuing non-academic interests ultimately helps individuals succeed in academic pursuits.


McGovern’s non-academic interests include soccer and boxing.


“When you start something, you’re not very good at it,” McGovern said of her boxing experience. In true growth mindset style, she noted that those raw beginnings are opportunities to learn and improve.


As McGovern’s talk came to a close, AHA Principal Jean Miller (AHA ’87) observed that AHA alumnae continue to offer support and insights to current students and each other.