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Soaring to Success: Jaime Fields

Jaime Fields was presented the Etter McTeer Turner student award by Provost Beth Paul.

Jaime Fields was presented the Etter McTeer Turner student award by Provost Beth Paul at Stetson’s May 7 Commencement.

When looking at Jaime Fields’ impressive list of accomplishments at Stetson University, one has to wonder how the senior from Fort Wayne, Ind., manages to do it all.

Fields, in typical fashion, has the answer: stay ambitious and focused.

“My success has been mainly attributed to my dedication towards reaching my goals,” she says. “I was very drawn to the idea of being part of the Stetson community and was excited to be able to learn from the outstanding faculty. Another element to my success has been a sense of adventure and my constant search for new opportunities. My research and study abroad experiences ensured that I received a very well-rounded undergraduate education.”

Jaime Fields

Jaime Fields

Count those words as classic understatement from a superior overachiever. Well, make that Stetson’s top student achiever for 2016. Fields is this year’s recipient of the Etter McTeer Turner Award, emblematic of achieving the “highest standard of excellence in academic performance, leadership, community service, personal character and integrity.”

The award, which goes to a graduating senior, was initiated by the J. Ollie Edmunds family, through the Gualala Foundation, to honor the service of the late Etter McTeer Turner, Stetson’s first woman dean of students. It provides a companion student award to the William Hugh McEniry Excellence in Teaching Award, also established by the Edmunds family to recognize deserving faculty.

While Fields certainly wasn’t an easy choice, given the Class of 2016’s breadth and depth — Stetson’s largest-ever class with 830 graduates — the selection was a sure one. Fields finished a 3.987 G.P.A. (including 11 A-pluses).

“Dr. Sutherland, right, the Edmunds Scholar advisor, has had a significant impact on my undergraduate education," Fields said. Edmunds Laureates ___ and ___are also pictured.

“Dr. Sutherland, <right,> the Edmunds Scholar advisor, has had a significant impact on my undergraduate education,” Fields said. Edmunds Laureates Matthew Sweeney and Leia Schwartz are also pictured.

She was a J. Ollie Edmunds Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership honor societies. With a major in chemistry and minor in Spanish, she was the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award for the Department of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in analytical chemistry. She also was a member of the Honor System Council and president of the American Chemical Society student chapter on campus.

Plus, for good measure, she played on the Stetson women’s club soccer, tutored at the Stetson Writing Center and assisted as a peer instructor for organic chemistry, among numerous other volunteer efforts. This past semester, her final at Stetson, she even tutored a local high school student in chemistry.

“She has a giving heart to match her intellect,” comments Provost Beth Paul, Ph.D., executive vice president. “The same has been true on campus and in the DeLand community.”

Time, though, was left for another pursuit: freestyle kiteboarding. Fields rises above others in that arena, too.

“Kiteboarding is a sport I have been doing for eight years now and it is a huge part of my life. I kite for fun, but I also do compete sometimes,” she says. “Lately I have been competing in the Collegiate Kiteboarding Association competitions around the state of Florida. It is a sport that I took up after my brother got really into it. We used to always kiteboard together when we were younger, and he would push me to try new tricks and get better at it. I would say that my love for the sport influenced me to apply to colleges in the state of Florida, but I chose Stetson specifically because it was the right fit for me academically.”

That sense of adventure and passion for science brings Fields to her next big undertaking: starting medical school at the University of Florida College of Medicine this fall. “Medical innovation and a lifetime of learning are key factors drawing me to the medical field. A career in medicine provides the ideal combination of community involvement and exposure to scientific advancement,” she describes.

Fields is ready, believing that Stetson’s multifaceted, liberal-arts education has served her well.

Aside from ample advancement in the classroom, there was extensive travel while at Stetson, including summer research in medical anthropology in Mexico, a medical mission trip to Panama, study abroad trips in Chile and at Oxford University in England, and a research experience for undergraduates at Northwestern University’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. “My experiences volunteering and abroad have taught me the importance of pursuing medical innovation for the mission of both community and global health, which makes me excited to be a part of such an important and continuously advancing field,” she notes.

Fields views medical school as another step in her journey toward a life of (Stetson) significance.

“I feel well prepared to begin medical school this fall. The many chemistry and other science classes that I have taken at Stetson have provided a solid foundation for my continued education,” she concludes. “The chemistry faculty is made up of great professors, and they have done a really good job at preparing students for whatever their next step in life may be.”

In turn, this student, among many other excellent students departing Stetson this year, was special.

“In my 20 years of teaching,” says Paul, “Jaime Fields is at the top of the list as an authentic McTeer Turner Award winner. Truly earned!”

By: Trish Wieland

(Michael Candelaria, editor of Stetson University Magazine, contributed to this story.)