Physician assistant alumni host panel for students

Published: November 23rd, 2015

Category: Home Feature

By Styliana Resvanis

On Nov. 20, seven University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies alumni from across Florida traveled to Gainesville to meet with Gator PAs-in-training and share their experiences as practicing health care professionals.

From loan repayment and litigation issues to finding that first job, each graduate offered advice to first- and second-year students on how to handle real-world situations.

Alumni took turns discussing where their careers have taken them since their time at UF before taking questions from students. And while each graduate followed a different path post-graduation — one alumnus pursued a career in the military while another worked in correctional medicine — each emphasized the quality of UF’s PA education.

“This program has given me my life,” said Dana Ballard, MPAS ’99, a PA at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa who received her degree in physician assistant studies before earning a law degree from Stetson University. “You’ll always have a job. You’ll always be wanted.”

Questions from students included tips on transitioning from one specialty to another, how to find a job post-graduation and ways to track down nontraditional work opportunities.

“It behooves us to promote our field,” said Claudia Botero, MPAS ’99, a physician assistant at a pediatric otolaryngology office in St. Petersburg. “Use any opportunity to promote yourself and your friends, and doors will open for you.”

Photos by Jesse S. Jones