PA-S1 Kaylee Percival is nearing the end of her first semester in the Missouri State University PA Program. As an undergraduate student, she maintained a strong GPA, completed almost two-hundred hours of volunteer experience, and was selected for the MSU Health Professions Scholars program where she served as treasurer and later president. Kaylee is our featured didactic student spotlight for the month of April. Read about her journey to PA education and tips for prospective students below.
Hometown: Enid, Oklahoma
College: I graduated from Missouri State in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology with minors in Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry.
Health Care Experience: I worked in a variety of settings prior to applying to PA school. I began working as a patient safety assistant at CoxHealth while working on my CNA certificate. During the pandemic, I had to switch gears and worked as a pharmacy clerk in my hometown. Once I obtained my certification, I worked as a PCA at Mercy on a neurology unit!
Interesting fact: I originally wanted to be a professional ballerina. I did ballet for 18 years and had all intentions of attending a ballet program and performing, although I had three hip surgeries in my high school years and was never able to rehab back to my original state without pain. Little did I know then, but this was a blessing in disguise. I was able to learn so much from this experience that helped me discover my passion of becoming a PA! I still have a huge passion to teach dance and hope to be able to influence the next generation of dancers once I have free time.
Why did you decide to become a PA? I decided to become a PA because I want to show compassion and grace to people amid their worst moments. The collaborative vision, medical model, patient-oriented platform intrigued me. Being able to complete my education in 24 months, will allow me to be a PA by the time I am 23. This career will allow me to follow my passions, have a family, and be able to work in a handful of specialties.
Describe your experience so far in the program. I have only been in school for 9 weeks, but it has felt like a mere second. I have already gained friendships that will last a lifetime, almost learned how to perform an entire physical exam, and dissected a human cadaver. I have already learned so much about myself and what I am capable of. I am so grateful to wake up every day and live out my dream!
What do you like best about MSU PA program? The faculty, hands down. They are extremely knowledgeable, approachable, and willing to help you succeed. They care about you as a person and as a student. I am so very thankful for all the MSU PA faculty!
Do you have any advice or tips for prospective PA students? My biggest tip for future PA students is to take care of yourself. My first few weeks of adjusting were rough with finding enough time to go to the gym, eat healthy, and connect with friends and family. I finally got into the groove of scheduling gym time, meal prepping before the craziness of the week, and allowing myself the weekends to visit my boyfriend and family. Be intentional with what is important to you!
What specialty or career goals do you want to pursue? Why? At this point in my education, I am unsure of what I would like to specialize in. I am keeping an open mind throughout my didactic and clinical years to find a specialty that fits myself and my future best!