First-generation doctor influenced by trio of MUSC alumnae

Melissa Varner
July 26, 2023
Evey Adams in ceremonial graduate robes and spouse at MUSC College of Medicine Match Day 2023
Evey Adams in ceremonial graduate robes and spouse at MUSC College of Medicine Match Day 2023

Question: What do MUSC College of Medicine alumnae Dr. Elizabeth Marie Roberts, Class of 1949, Dr. Claudia Oxner Simmons, Class of 1956, and Dr. Dorothea Jenkins, Class of 1985, have in common – beyond their gender and alma mater?

Answer: All three helped Lauren “Evey” Adams, Class of 2023, become the first physician in her family.

Dr. Dorothea Jenkins
Dr. Dorothea Jenkins

Evey graduated from the College of Medicine in May and is now in her first few weeks of an obstetrics/gynecology residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. She became interested in medicine while shadowing Jenkins, a professor, researcher and neonatologist at MUSC, as part of a high school project. Neonatologists like Jenkins specialize in the care of newborn children.

“I thought she was so cool,” Evey said. She began working summers in Jenkins’ lab and became inspired to follow her mentor into medicine – even though she had promised to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

“My mom was an engineer, so she wanted me to major in engineering,” said Evey. “But the entire time I was at Clemson, I knew that I just wanted to go to medical school.”

While Evey never had the opportunity to meet Roberts, a general practitioner, or Simmons, an anesthesiologist, both directly impacted her education through scholarships.

E.M. Roberts
Dr. E. Marie Roberts, Class of 1949

Evey received the Rodman-Rohde Endowed Scholarship for all four years of medical school. Roberts established the scholarship in 2005 in honor of two women, Mrs. Jesse Rodman and Mrs. Josie Rohde, who were kind to her during medical school. In addition to honoring them, the scholarship pays forward their kindness by supporting a female student throughout medical school.

Evey is also a recipient of the Claudia Oxner Simmons & Charles N. Simmons Endowed Scholarship.

C.G. Oxner Secretary-Treasurer
Dr. Claudia Oxner Simmons, Class of 1956

Oxner Simmons is believed to be the first woman from Batesburg-Leesville to become a doctor; she was also among the first anesthesiology residents at MUSC. Her husband, Dr. Charles Simmons ’55, was also an alumnus of what was then the Medical College of South Carolina.

With each scholarship, Evey was able to borrow less money for school. She explained that for some medical students, graduating with a lot of debt may limit the specialties they can consider. “If you had to take out the full amount of money every year, it would be harder to justify going into pediatrics because it would take you much longer to pay off your loan,” she said.

Scholarships also take a huge burden off lifestyle decisions, she says. “I was able to live closer to campus so I could get to my rotations more easily,” she said. “At one point, my computer broke and I was able to replace it without having to worry about taking out additional loans.”

The benefit of endowed scholarships, like the ones Evey received, is that they last forever. While neither Roberts nor the Simmons lived to see the impact they made on Evey, their legacies live on through her and all the other students their scholarships will grow to support.

Evey says the generosity of MUSC’s alumni was a big part of why she chose MUSC for medical school. “I knew that at MUSC I would receive the support and backing of alumni and donors. That heavily influenced my decision because I don't know that I would have been able to receive that type of support anywhere else.”