Mattigan Haller didn’t intend on becoming a triple major, but while on her academic journey at Lawrence University, it just fell into place.  

Already planning on double majoring in biochemistry and Spanish and starting on the pre-medicine track, Haller found that with a few additional classes, she could seamlessly add a biology major. The combination, for her, was perfect. 

“I’m looking at pediatric anesthesiology, and I want to use my Spanish,” said Haller, heading into her senior year. “Being able to communicate more with patients, colleagues, the world as a wholethat’s really important to me.” 

Haller, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is a first-generation student. She’s also a student-athlete, competing on Lawrence’s softball team the past three years.

When starting her college search, she credits her mom for being a supportive presence, helping her with researching different colleges.  

The extensive research led to Haller and her parents touring 22 colleges and universities across the country before deciding to call Lawrence home. 

“I knew I wanted the small liberal arts. I knew I wanted to know my professors by name rather than just being a number in a class,” Haller said. “We came—me, my mom, and my dad—and fell in love with it.” 

Mattigan Haller poses for a photo while studying abroad in Mexico.
Mattigan Haller spent part of the last academic year studying in Mexico. 

Along with a burgeoning downtown and gastronomic experiences, the freedom offered at Lawrence was a big draw for Haller. Lawrence was a place where she could pursue three majors, play a sport, study abroad, and still have time to participate in several different clubs and organizations.  

Haller’s love for and choice to study Spanish in college was long founded. For years, her family hosted exchange students through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The first student they hosted was from Mexico, and Haller and her family are still in contact with her today.  

It was through this exchange student that Haller was able to develop a study abroad experience in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.  

“Her husband is an anesthesiologist, and that was what kind of formed the connection,” Haller said. “From there, I was able to shadow and assist in surgeries, intubate patients, give anesthesia.” 

Madera Allan, associate professor of Spanish and Haller’s Spanish advisor, also helped her design the experience. While in Mexico, Haller was able to participate in more than 50 different procedures. With Allan’s help, she plans to turn her experience into an independent study next academic year, looking at the way medicine adapts with culture. 

In addition to her rigorous academic load, Haller also thrives on the softball diamond. The ability to compete in her sport and still pursue other academic and personal endeavors aided her decision to attend Lawrence. 

“There’s an emphasis here at Lawrence on, you’re a student (first), then you're an athlete,” Haller said. “That’s something that really made me want to come to Lawrence, because I wasn’t ready to stop playing. There’s a really good balance here at Lawrence.” 

Lawrence's medical school acceptance rate is above the national average thanks to personalized advising, strong liberal arts academic work, and a variety of health-focused enrichment experiences.

Haller also got involved in clubs and organizations on campus, including the Presidential Student Advisory Boardwhere she met with President Laurie A. Carter and her board to discuss a broad range of topics, including the Pre-Health Living Learning Community Board and LIGHT (Lawrentians Inspiring Global Change Together) 

Haller is also involved with the first gen organization on campus. She said she felt supported by the Lawrence community, particularly by Allan, who was also a first gen student.  

 “She’s just very personable,” Haller said. “We have a lot of different areas where we connect, and she goes out of her way to make sure I’m doing OK. She’s an amazing professor.” 

Although she has another year before graduation, Haller is busy planning for her future, a prerequisite, she said, for being a pre-med student. This summer, she is studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), with plans to take the exam in the fall.