After a tragic turn altered her life course, Jayme Hayes found herself at an impasse.
During her second year of medical school, she suddenly lost her father in a traumatic event and realized she could no longer handle being in life and death situations in the medical field. Hayes decided to pursue her longtime love of microbiology by working in a research lab, where the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant came up.
“I fell in love with teaching right away and thought ‘Maybe this is what my path is supposed to be,’” she recalled. “I can’t do what I’ve been planning all my life to do, which was medical school, and I was left wondering where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do. Being given the opportunity to teach worked out perfectly.”
Hayes, who will begin her doctorate in the next year, applied to MACU as a lab coordinator. When she was instead offered a job as a professor, she knew that
her love of teaching was more than just a newfound passion — it was the path God had in store for her all along. This fall, she’ll be teaching courses in biology, microbiology and genetics, with classes on cell biology and embryology to follow in the spring. Hayes said she’s excited to impart to her students her passion for microbiology, which began when she was in high school.
“We collected lake and pond water samples and looked at them under a microscope.” she said. “I saw there was this whole microscopic world out there that I didn’t even know existed.”
That moment spurred her love of science, and now she’s looking forward to being on the other side of the classroom in a teaching role — especially at a Christian university where she can be open about her profoundly important faith.
“When I previously worked as a teaching assistant at a larger university, I couldn’t be open about my faith and my religion. It’s one of the things I love most about coming to MACU,” Hayes said. She said she believes there shouldn’t be a conflict between religion and science. “When you break it down to DNA, the code of life, that just can’t happen randomly,” Hayes said.
She said she believes that there is a greater power, God, who created that spark and helped pave the way for everything that has come into place — just as He similarly sparked a fire in her heart and helped guide her down His chosen path for her life. Hayes, who lives in Oklahoma City, enjoys hiking, park cleanups, crafting and traveling
in her free time. At her local church, she assists with garden cleanups, food drives, bake sales and with their work through Habitat for Humanity.