Mallory Warren-Brothers is nearing the end of her first year in the Missouri State University Physician Assistant Studies program. With her white ceremony and promotion to the clinical year just ten days away, Mallory will be just one year away from joining her parents in the healthcare arena. Read Mallory’s journey to PA and advice for prospective students below.
Hometown: Richland, MO
Colleges attended and degrees earned (major/minor)
I graduated from Drury University in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and that same year I also graduated with my Associate’s of Science in Radiologic Technology from Rolla Technical Center.
Previous health care experience
I worked as a student radiologic technologist during my last year of X-ray school at Mercy Hospital Lebanon and fulfilled all requirements to take my CT registry 2 months after my X-ray registry. I continued working at Mercy until moving to Springfield in August 2019 where I joined Cox South working in X-ray and CT, rotating through all of the different radiology departments (like fluoro, surgery, ER, urgent care, and portables).
Interesting fact about yourself
I married my best friend in December 2020, one month before PA school started. Due to COVID, we had to reschedule our wedding reception to June 2021, so we ended up having it on a weekend during my didactic summer semester. I have six nieces and nephews who didn’t mind basically having two parties, though! We’re a month away from one year married and I’m so glad to have had him by my side through this whole process.
Why did you decide to become a PA?
I grew up in a medical family with a family physician father and a RN mother. Hearing their stories nurtured my seemingly inborn curiosity about medicine and helping people. However, my path after high school didn’t go nearly as planned. I had some very deep personal and relationship struggles going on during my early twenties that diminished my academic performance. In 2016, I began realizing the kind of person I wanted to be and started working really hard to get myself out of the hole I’d dug. It took a lot of work to get where I’m at today, but those intense personal struggles are exactly the reason why I wanted to become a PA. I have a unique past that allows me to relate to patients in a way that many providers and health care professionals cannot. Working in radiology gave me the opportunity to get my foot in the door in healthcare to see how everything works, and I truly loved it, but I also realized I wanted to have a more direct role in each patient’s treatment and care.
Describe your experience so far in the program.
It has been a whirlwind! I can’t believe we’re almost to the end of our didactic year. The days/weeks go by slow, but the months go by fast. It has been the hardest, most rewarding, and amazing experience being in this program for almost three semesters. I just feel very grateful to have this opportunity! I have learned sooooo much since January, largely due to lots of help from classmates and professors- thank you Leah, Anna, and Sarah D for sharing your awesome study tools. Shout out to the back row, Melissa, and Munia for all of your help throughout this year as well! There are so many wonderful people in this cohort, I’m just very thankful to be a part of it and am trying to learn all that I can during my time here.
What do you like best about Missouri State’s PA program?
There are many great things, like the nice facility, cool things you get to do in anatomy and procedures lab… but my most favorite part about this program is the professors. It sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. I’ve doubted myself every step of the way and just when I feel like I’ve done extra horrible after an OSCE, a professor takes me aside and gives me words of encouragement. Just when I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it through or learn all of this stuff, a professor will give bonus points and raise my whole grade up. The professors have been through this before, they know what you’re going through, and they care- it shows through their actions. Even though this program is hard, I feel like I am not being set up for failure and, just when I need it, the faculty is there to support me. That’s the best part.
Do you have any advice for prospective PA students? Any helpful tips to prepare for PA education?
You can do it. Don’t let doubt get in the way of shooting your shot. I had several bad grades in my early college career, but I re-took the classes I could and worked on strengthening my science GPA for four years- you need a grade of B or higher to really be competitive, especially in Anatomy and Physiology. But those requirements are in place for a reason, you truly need that background in order to be successful in this program. If you were a non-traditional student like I was, you have hope of getting in. But, you really need to address in your personal statement what academic blunders were made (if any) and how you’ve worked on improving yourself since then. We all make mistakes!! Before you apply you should meet with LeAnne Snow to go over your application; if you don’t get in you should meet with her again to hear her suggestions. My advice is to keep working at it if PA is something you really want, all you can do is show up and keep trying your best.
What specialty or career goals do you want to pursue? Why?
I still am not totally decided because it seems hard to know until I go through clinical rotations, but at the moment I’m leaning towards primary care. I really like the idea of being able to help patients and their families throughout their lifetimes, getting to build a relationship with individuals and follow along with their healthcare journeys. But I also like the idea of specializing in something, so who knows! I’m still open to discovering where I will find the best fit for me.