Michelle Porter ’13, M’15
Major: Physician Assistant Studies
Hometown: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Future Physician Assistant
Undergraduate Degree: University of Mount Union, Bachelor of Science degree, Biology
Expected Program Completion Date: August 2015
MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY
Making My Way to Mount Union (Twice)
A friend from my high school basketball team, who was three years older than me, was going to Mount Union and she loved it, so it was always in the back of my mind. When it came time for me to start exploring and visiting colleges, Mount Union was the first one I visited and I immediately fell in love…no further college visits were necessary. Mount Union is a family. It is an experience that is so indescribable that you won’t understand it until you experience it. I never wanted to leave Mount Union after my undergraduate studies. The faculty, staff and students are all so kind, helpful and incredible. I knew that these trends would continue in Mount Union’s graduate programs.
Mount Union’s Specialty
There is honestly something magical and life changing about this institution. It’s the people, the beautiful campus, the sororities and fraternities. I feel so incredibly blessed because some of the most amazing and best people I have ever known have come from friendships made at Mount Union, both in graduate and undergraduate school. I feel that no matter the obstacle or challenge I have faced throughout my six years at Mount Union, I have always had kindness around me. Whether it is the faculty, the staff, your friends, or acquaintances, there is always someone who brings joy to the community. It’s the academic aspect, the smiling faces on campus, the friendships and the sad feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have to leave that makes Mount Union the perfect culmination of everything that is sought after in a college experience with a little bit of magic.
The Greek Life
My absolute favorite place on campus would be the driveway that separates the DST sorority and the ATO fraternity house. Those two organizations have brought so much joy and love into my life. I have made so many memories and friendships from those two Greek organizations that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It has been so wonderful having those two pieces of happiness and still being able to visit when I’m feeling overwhelmed or homesick, even in PA school.
Planning for PA Success
As far as my undergraduate career at Mount Union is concerned, my advisor, as well as the faculty and staff made sure I knew the path I needed to be on in order to apply for the Physican Assistant Studies program. They provided so much time and extra help when I needed it in order to make sure I was able to meet all requirements to apply for PA school. Mount Union’s PA program is preparing me for success by setting me up for meaningful work. I am not just meeting the criteria that allow me to graduate from the PA program, but I am experiencing and learning that medicine isn’t just a science, it is an art. It is about empathizing with patients, relating to people and treating everyone as you’d like to be treated.
I am currently in my clinical year for the PA program. Being out in the medical field doing clinicals and seeing how things work and starting to be able to do procedures and interact with real patients is the best learning tool I could have. We learn the textbook in school and we learn it inside and out, but now I am learning about patients. I am learning that things present differently; patients have different beliefs, and every day I am reminded how much I have to learn. However, it is rewarding to be practicing medicine and finally putting something together; it makes all the work seem worthwhile. Not to mention, I have the most wonderful doctor as my preceptor so her encouragement and guidance has been invaluable!
My Professor, Mentor and Friend
I have had many professors at Mount Union that I could never say “thank you” to enough. I would have to say my favorite professor is Dr. Sheryl Mason. Dr. Mason was my chemistry lab and lecture instructor in undergrad and she was an exceptional professor and teacher. She was able to explain things in a way that allowed me to understand the concepts and material. If I didn’t understand one explanation, she would explain another way until I did. She also made herself available as much as possible in order to assist with test preparation, lab reports, etc. The thing that really stood out for me with Dr. Mason was that she believed in me. When I told her I wanted to apply to PA school, she wrote one of my letters of recommendation. I knew that I wanted her to write it because not only did she know me well, but I knew she would speak of how she knew I could conquer the task. As far as life goes, Dr. Mason has been a wonderful depiction of what it is to be a dedicated professor, an outstanding mother, a forever role model and an exceptionally good and kind person.
Keeping the Faith Alive
In my undergraduate studies I job shadowed a lot! That was required for some schools in order to apply, but it also allowed me to get a glimpse into the life of a PA, and it helped confirm that I was choosing the right career path. One of the best experiences I ever had was getting to volunteer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. This experience was life changing. It made me realize that not only did I want to work in medicine, but I wanted to keep the aspect of faith and hope in medicine. I think that medicine can become so scary and sad, and that is inevitable. But I don’t think it has to be hopeless or without faith. St. Jude’s showed me so many things, but the biggest lesson it revealed to me is that I am lucky to be here, to be in school, and it showed me the kind of medical provider that I want to be.
Giving Back to the Patients
My ultimate career dream would be to work as a Physician Assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I think that institution is an absolute miracle to the world. I want to be a source of faith, hope, love, comfort and help for individuals who have been dealt a less than hopeful hand. I want to work there because miracles are acknowledged, and not only is medicine practiced there, but humanity is restored.
Mount Union is a family. It was the first one I visited and I immediately fell in love…no further college visits were necessary. There is honestly something magical and life changing about this institution. It’s the people, the beautiful campus, the academic aspect, the friendships, and the sad feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have to leave that makes Mount Union the perfect culmination of everything that is sought after in a college experience with a little bit of magic.