Hometown: Long Beach, NY
Chemical Biology, Class of 2011
Student, volunteer, a capella singer, Summer Scholar, Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society member, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Medical Honor Society member, Resident Assistant, French nobleman and 1950s greaser—Max McQuade has filled all of these roles in his career at Saint Joseph’s University. When asked how he managed to juggle these responsibilities and not only pull them off, but excel, McQuade pulled out a thick, black planner and jokingly referred to it as one of his primary steps to success.
McQuade, a chemical biology major with his sights set on medical school, is as talented in the arts as he is in the sciences, and most recently played Raoul in the Cap and Bells Dramatic Arts Society’s spring 2011 production of The Phantom of the Opera. Beginning in early February, nearly every day on his schedule had a mention of rehearsal.
Last year, the Long Beach, N.Y., native, played Kenickie, a leading character from the hit musical Grease. McQuade is also co-president of 54th and City, Saint Joseph’s University’s a cappella group, and plays piano and writes songs in his free time. “Outside of being a student,” he says, “music is a huge part of who I am.”
Though he displays an obvious flair for playing others, McQuade’s true passion lies in helping others. Initially a finance student, he soon changed his major to chemical biology, which led him to the health care field. “The way I see it,” he says, “with finance I would be dealing with people’s assets and not the people themselves.”
His desire to interact with people and provide aid has taken him on service trips ranging from urban Camden, N.J., to the rural scenery of the Appalachian mountain range to the remote jungles of Guatemala.
This affinity for helping others, along with courses in Christian Medical Ethics and Just Health Care, have led him to Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, where he volunteers under the tutelage of Leo Zacharias, M.D. “I have seen many problems arise due to health care disparities,” McQuade says, reflecting on his time in the inner-city hospital.
“There is a lack of health care and a prominence of diseases that aren’t an issue in many affluent suburbs; diseases like tuberculosis, HIV, and Type II Diabetes, which are so preventable with proper education and care,” he says. McQuade’s focus in medicine is geared toward infectious diseases, and he hopes to one day open his own family practice.
In between maintaining a 3.75 G.P.A., attending rehearsals and performances, and his volunteer hours and other pursuits, McQuade managed to find the time to study for and pass the MCAT. Already accepted into the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., McQuade is waiting to hear if he qualifies for SUNY Downstate’s dual M.D./M.P.H. (Master’s of Public Health) Program.
With two uncles and one aunt in the United States Navy, McQuade is hoping to follow in his family’s footsteps, and has applied for a Navy Medical Scholarship. One uncle in particular, Captain Joseph McQuade, is a naval doctor and an inspiration for his nephew. Following medical school and officer training, McQuade would serve at least eight years in the Navy, including four years of active duty.
McQuade’s faculty advisor Jean Smolen, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and director of the environmental science program, is excited to see what the future will bring for this bright student.
"I am proud of Max and his accomplishments here at Saint Joseph’s,” Smolen says. “It has been a pleasure to work with him and to get to know him better. I believe that Max exemplifies many of the characteristics we hope our students possess. I am impressed by his willingness to work hard, his concern for others and the promise he shows for the future."
As commencement approaches and McQuade moves from having a lot on his plate to a lot on the horizon, he says the key behind his successful pursuit of so many activities is not really about finding time, but “It is all about finding balance.”