Hometown: Cecil, Pa.
Undergraduate: Waynesburg University
Graduate: PathA Program, Drexel University
Can you tell me a little about yourself before coming to Drexel?
I came to Drexel immediately after graduating from undergraduate. I went to a smaller school, Waynesburg University, in Pa. where I played soccer and studied pre-med biology. I had always known I wanted to work in the medical field, but initially thought of becoming a physician assistant. After a little more searching into careers I found out about the pathologist's assistant position. I was able to get some job shadowing opportunities shortly after and fell in love with the profession.
Why did you decide to apply to Drexel’s PathA program?
There are only a few universities which offer the Pathologists’ Assistant program in the U.S. I went into my graduate school search not wanting to be very far from home and to go to a school I felt was personable and had close interactions with their students. In my experience navigating through websites, Drexel’s was the easiest to access all information I wanted to know. Drexel appealed to me for not being far from where I lived and presenting a very strong success rate of its students.
What was your experience in the program like?
My two years in the program passed by very quickly and in coming to the end of my time at Drexel I can easily say I am very pleased this was the program I chose. Even though the academic year was challenging I felt like it provided me with all the necessary tools going into my clinical year. One thing I really value about Drexel’s program is the ability to have close connections with the teachers.
The clinical year has been a whirlwind of experiences, but overall, I now feel that I am adequately prepared to go into my career. Looking back on the progress I have made through my clinical amazes me at how far I have come in just one year of experience.
What did you like most about the program?
One of my favorite things about this program was knowing I had people supporting me and people who were there if I needed assistance. I felt like my cohort at Drexel was very close and were able to work closely together and support each other. The small cohort allowed us to study together and help each other learn. The directors and teachers also offered the students great support and allowed students to know they can come to them if they need assistance. This program truly cares about each students’ individual successes.
What was your relationship like with the PathA faculty?
The relationships that the students have with staff are very personable and allow the students to feel comfortable. I always used to have worries about asking questions in undergraduate or getting answers wrong in class. Drexel made me feel comfortable asking teachers questions or having them explain things to me. I also was never worried about getting an answer wrong in class because I knew all the teachers would take time to explain things to me. The teachers at Drexel cultivate an environment to promote learning and understanding of all students and allow us to feel comfortable in the classroom.
How was your relationship with your classmates?
I believe our class had a very close relationship with one another. During the academic year we were able to study together and help each other. Having a small class size has given us the opportunity to get to know each other more and form closer connections.
The PathA program offers a year of practical work in the field. Where did you work during that time, and what was the experience like?
My clinical sites were Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (autopsy), Chester County Hospital (surgical), Paoli Hospital (surgical), St. Christopher’s Children Hospital (surgical), Mongomery County Coroner (autopsy) and Albert Einstein Hospital (surgical).
During this time I learned an immense amount in a short period of time and was able to sharpen my skills. I feel that at the end of rotations I became very efficient and was able to gross a wide variety of specimens confidently. My last few weeks of rotations was when I felt that I was prepared for my job and knew that I could do a majority of complex specimens efficiently and well. The clinical rotations prepared me for a career and helped me to become more confident in my work.
What are you doing for work now?
I accepted a position as a PA at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha and will be starting a position there in the gross lab.
Would you recommend the PathA program to others who are interested in this field?
I would definitely recommend the Drexel program to anyone who is interested. I believe this program prepared me adequately for the job and gave me the opportunities to apply the knowledge I learned. Coming out of this program I truly believe that I am prepared for my new career position.
Do you have any advice for future PathA students?
This program is tough and challenging, but if you are passionate about this field then the end result is worth it. The best advice I could give is that for this program time management is one of the major components which helps lead to success. During the program things will become very busy and it is important to know how much time to denote to each subject or activity.