Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Louisiana Tech well represented in Physician Assistant Program at LSU Health Science Center Shreveport

by BIZ Magazine

Of the 39 students who make up the Physician Assistant Program Class of 2021 at the LSU Health Science Center of Shreveport’s School of Allied Health Professionals, nine are from Louisiana Tech.

Although it’s a challenging road, Tech’s students are walking it together, and they say their first semester experience has given them confidence that they arrived prepared.

“The culture at Louisiana Tech fostered building personal relationships in and out of the classroom,” said Sarah Jolly, who graduated from Tech in May 2018 after earning her BS in biology with a pre-med concentration and a minor in chemistry. “Collaboration with classmates prepared me for the model of teamwork among healthcare providers and patient-provider interactions found in the PA profession. Tech and the School of Biological Sciences gave me the background, experience, education, work ethic, leadership skills, involvement on campus, guidance, and support system to be able to thrive in Physician Assistant school.”

“I was fortunate to be accepted into several PA programs; I ultimately chose LSU,” said Melanie Paul Francis, who earned her BS in animal biology with a chemistry minor in 2008 and her MS in biology this year. “I feel like I had choices because of my fantastic mentors at Louisiana Tech. Dr. Bill Wolf’s graduate pathology, cancer, and molecular courses helped prepare me for the type of learning and material of PA school. Biostats with Dr. Terri Maness has proved an invaluable resource; I feel much more comfortable comprehending and scrutinizing research articles than I did before her class.

“There are many other faculty — some now retired — who made significant contributions to my academic success,” she said. “One professor in particular is Dr. Larry Sellers, whose clever quips still echo in my mind. I am so grateful for the personalized support and encouragement from such special faculty.”

“Tech has a challenging but rewarding biology program that has prepared me for PA school,” said Paul Butts; he earned his BS in biology with a concentration in applied biology in the spring of 2017. “Special shoutout to the instructors who teach the higher level biology classes; those classes helped me develop critical thinking skills that I use every day.”

Here are the other Tech students going into their second semesters:

  • Gracyn Gorman, 2019, BS biology, concentration in applied biology;
  • Anna Beth Hughes, 2018, BS environmental science, biology minor;
  • Tiffany Marlbrough, 2018, BS biology, pre-med concentration, chemistry minor;
  • Abigayle Neel, 2018, BS biology, concentration in applied biology, Honors Curriculum;
  • Kailey Roberson, 2019, BS biology, kinesiology minor; and
  • Bailey Woodward, 2019, BS biology, pre-med concentration, chemistry minor. 

“The curriculum for a BS in Biological Sciences has a heavy emphasis on physiology, which has made several classes in Physician Assistant school much easier,” Jolly said. “Additionally, there are several upper level and elective biology classes offered that are relevant to the PA school curriculum. Many of these classes required research, labs, analysis, and deeper critical reasoning skills that are vital to the demanding PA school curriculum.

“One specific class is bioethics with Dr. (Jamie) Newman, where we discussed authentic and applicable ethical dilemmas in medicine,” she said. “Plus, the School of Biological Sciences offers unique opportunities for internships and working in labs with faculty on campus.”

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