Highlighting Hounds – Ava Walker

Congratulations to Ava Walker ’24, for her acceptance into Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science’s (MCPHS) Accelerated Master of Physician Assistant Studies program! Ava is looking forward to starting her program in Spring 2025! Read the blog below to learn more about Ava’s decision to pursue graduate school.

Ava Walker ’24

Describe why you chose to attend this program at MCPHS. What aspects of the school or program interested you?

I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but I chose a career as a PA in particular because I love that the PA profession is heavily science-based, collaborative, and focused on patient advocacy and expanding access to healthcare. The rigorous education that PAs receive allows them to practice in all specialties of medicine, and I believe that this extensive training will help me provide more well-informed and thorough care for my future patients.

I specifically chose to attend MCPHS because of its strong relationships with major healthcare facilities across the northeast, its focus on education from a primary-care model, and the school’s proximity to my hometown.

What skills did you gain during your undergraduate career at Assumption will set you up for success in your graduate program?

At Assumption, I majored in biology and minored in human services and rehabilitation studies. As a biology major, I’ve taken many lab courses, such as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology. I feel that these labs at Assumption have thoroughly prepared me for the graduate-level lectures and labs that I will take in these subjects during PA school.

Additionally, my human services minor was extremely influential in teaching me how to counsel future patients, provide care that is culturally competent and gender-affirming, and recognize and address healthcare disparities and barriers to health equity.

What are your career goals? How will this program help you reach those goals?

My goal is to become a licensed PA and ideally work in a hospital setting, likely in an intensive care specialty. I also hope to pursue a Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (DScPAS) degree after practicing in the field for some time. MCPHS will be instrumental for me in developing relationships with prominent medical facilities during my clinical rotations, providing me with an exceptional PA education that is patient-centered and evidence-based, and preparing me to practice on an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

What are you looking forward to most about graduate school?

I’m looking forward to getting hands-on experience in MCPHS’s clinical lab suite, learning from faculty that have diverse clinical experiences, and beginning clinical rotations in my second year!

What advice would you give to a student who is interested in applying to graduate school?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your professors and colleagues want to see you succeed, so ask for their advice and lean on them for support! Something that also helped me was requesting information packages from the schools I was applying to. The pamphlets they sent me had a lot of great information unique to the schools themselves, which I was able to use in my supplemental essays that were specific to each school.

If you want to be featured on Highlighting Hounds, please email us at careerdevelopment@assumption.edu!

By Abby Sproles
Abby Sproles Graduate Assistant Career Advisor