My name is Caitlyn and I am a practicing Physician Assistant (PA). I work in medical and cosmetic dermatology and I absolutely love it. I went to PA school at Pacific University and graduated in August 2018.

My path to PA school wasn’t as direct as I would have hoped for back then. I started my undergraduate degree at Colorado State University and declared my major in nutrition. I didn’t have much of a passion for anything in nutrition but several people told me that being an RD (registered dietitian) would be a good career. My GPA my first three semesters was ~2.6. Then a couple things happened. I started shadowing different professions (PA, NP, MD, DO, RD), and ended up loving the PA’s role in medicine. Also, almost all of the physicians I shadowed told me how great of a career being a PA was (some of which said they wished they would have went that route instead of med school). It was at this point I was inspired and motivated to do well in school. I then decided to declare a minor in biomedical sciences (BMS), and started applying for jobs in the healthcare field.

My jobs in healthcare: Nutrition Assistant, Phlebotomist, CNA in a private practice, and Medical Scribe

caveat: I used each job to get me to the next

(an important lesson in using your resources & experiences to move up in the world)

It was my last year of undergrad and I debated applying to PA school. I decided not to because I didn’t feel that my application was strong enough yet, and did not want to waste the money on applying. I decided to apply for graduate programs instead (to strengthen my application). I ended up completing a Master of Science degree in Nutrition which helped me to further understand and appreciate the application of nutrition, as well as the biochemical pathways much better. Although not required of my nutrition master’s degree, I sought out the graduate level anatomy and physiology classes to take anyways (to prove to PA programs I could do well in higher level science courses).

My confidence level significantly increased after one year of graduate school and I decided to apply to PA school. The third school I interviewed at was Pacific University. I received my acceptance call three days after the interview.