Shelby Gillen, a 2010 graduate of Buford High School, credits a middle-school Science Olympiad with inspiring her passion for science — a passion she continues to pursue in both her career and continuing education in the health care field.
Gillen is the practice manager at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Orthopaedic Trauma & Reconstructive Surgery in Gainesville specializing in injuries to the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, nerves and tendons. She initially joined the practice as an X-ray technician in 2016 and was promoted to practice manager in 2019.
“I get the unique opportunity to follow patients from their initial admission at the hospital, through surgery, all the way through their recovery,” Gillen said, “and I think that is really special.
“I work for three of the best (I may be a little biased) Board Certified Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeons in the country and have the best clinic staff,” Gillen continued. “I am one of the few people that can actually say they have fun at work.”
Gillen also credits several classes during her time at Buford High School for inspiring a continued passion for science — Ms. Rowling’s ninth grade anatomy class, Ms. Greene’s biology classes and, Gillen’s favorite, the forensics class she took with Ms. Edwards during her senior year.
“In X-ray school I originally thought I would get a job doing forensic radiology since I loved forensics so much,” she said.
Gillen is a “lifetimer,” having attended Buford City Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. In high school, she was an honor roll student taking AP classes and participating in cheerleading, chorus and the variety show. Her fondest memory is being on the dance team for the Buford Band of Wolves and performing in a halftime show at the Georgia Dome.
In looking back on her high school years, Gillen said she excelled in the area of academics.
“Even though I cheered throughout school, I was not the most athletic and I definitely do not have the gift of being artistic,” she said. “I participated in band, chorus and various sports in school, but I really excelled in academics, specifically science.”
Several of Gillen’s high school teachers stand out as her favorites — her forensics teacher Ms. Edwards, Bonnie Davis, who taught geometry, and Coach Anthony, who taught AP U.S. history.
“He was always so kind and caring and you could tell he really loved his job and what the subject he taught,” Gillen said of Anthony. “He always made us laugh and I still use some of his quirky sayings today.”
Gillen was dual enrolled her senior year at both BHS and Gainesville State College. She graduated with an Associate of Science and then pursued an Associate of Radiologic Technology at Lanier Technical College, graduating in 2015. She received a Bachelor of Radiologic Technology in 2020 from Northwestern State University in Louisiana and is currently pursuing a Master of Healthcare Administration at LSU Shreveport. Gillen is a founding member of the NGPG Radiology Committee and a member of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Gillen lives in Buford with her husband Matt and their two children, 4-year-old Avery, who recently won Petite Miss Buford 2022, and 1-year-old Harper. She is the daughter of Michelle and Greg Wills and has one sister, Savanna Wills.