Eyeing med school, graduation is sweet music to Rowan's first harp major


Lynn Goodfellow is the first — and so far only — of her kind at Rowan University.

Lynn Goodfellow is the first — and so far only — of her kind at Rowan University.

The 23-year-old Washington Township resident is the University’s lone harp major. And on May 15, when she graduates, she’s hoping that major will help her one day care for others, maybe as a D.O.

That’s as in doctor of osteopathic medicine. A physician.

Of course, it probably won’t hurt that in addition to earning a B.A. in music she’s also graduating with a B.S. in biology. And a minor in anthropology. And a concentration in international studies.

“I just can’t stop learning,” she said.

While she’s taking a year off to work before going to medical school or graduate school to study anthropology—both fields where she said she can help others—she believes her combination of studies makes perfect sense for a possible future doctor.

“I believe that osteopathic medical school would be a good fit for me because of all the undergrad work I’ve done at Rowan University in all of my areas,” Goodfellow said. “It’s odd, people don’t think about music being related to medicine. There are a lot of ailments that affect musicians. You understand that everything your body does, it’s connected to something else in your body. Each part of your body communicates with another part. That’s why I believe the holistic method of healing is more complete in its approach.”

She added, “Anthropology and international studies further solidified that by experiencing other cultures and how their methods of healing are different than Western civilization. The biology—that’s where you learn the body as a mechanism. Everywhere else you learn the body as a functioning unit in society.”

For the next year, she plans to work, maybe in a laboratory. “I’ve been in college for five years,” she said. “I need a break.”

Which is not to say that any part of Goodfellow spells slacker.

A 2004 graduate of Washington Township High School, the daughter of William and Patricia Goodfellow followed her father and two brothers to Rowan. While attending school, she crowded in a job at DUA Computer Resources, located at Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, with her already jammed academic schedule.

As the first harp major at Rowan, she worked closely with Dr. Robert Rawlins, chair of the Department of Music, and Kimberly Rowe, the adjunct professor who serves as her harp instructor.

Goodfellow—who favors playing the music of Debussy and Ravel—has been playing the instrument for seven years, and before that she played the violin for eight.

“It’s very difficult,” she admitted of her choice of instruments, the Celtic harp and pedal harp. Still, she was in middle school exploring what to study in high school when she settled on the ancient instrument. “I just realized everyone was playing the violin in some capacity, in some shape or form, either big or small, cello, bass or violin,” she recalled. “They all looked too similar to me, and I wanted to be different. We saw a video (in school) of the high school orchestra, and there was a harpist in that. I said ‘That’s the coolest thing ever. I want to learn that.’”

She plans to keep up with the harp, which she found a more difficult course of study than biology. “No one else in my family is a musician,” said Goodfellow, who conducted anthropologic research on skeletal remains and worked in a biology lab while at Rowan. “They’re all into finance or engineering. I’m the odd one out with the harp and biology.”

She may have been the “odd one out,” but Goodfellow did find her school years rewarding, exciting, even.

“I only applied to Rowan. I did visit Elizabethtown and other colleges in the area. Rowan was the closest. All my brothers went to Rowan. My parents wanted me to come,” Goodfellow said. “When I came here I had no idea how many resources I would have at my disposal. Being able to start an instrument, being able to participate in research activities has taken me all over the world. Many students don’t get opportunities to research with a professor at all at larger schools, even Ivy League schools.”

“I’m very grateful, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends and peers,” she said. “At the same time, I keep thinking, ‘What do I do next?’ I’m definitely a life-long learner.”

“The one thing I know I learned from his experience—the moment you compromise yourself and cease to learn, you settle for mediocrity,” she added.