From NMC, Anderson found a steady path to becoming a PA student

May 11, 2022

From NMC, Anderson found a steady path to becoming a PA student

Ashley Anderson laughed when she recalled it was a cat that sent her down her current career path.

Anderson will begin the master’s program in physician assistant studies (PAS) at Grand Valley State University in August. She earned an associate degree from Northwestern Michigan College (NMC); in April, she will earn a bachelor’s degree in allied health sciences from GVSU at the NMC University Center.

During an anatomy and physiology class at Traverse City Central High School, Anderson and her classmates were dissecting cats when a GVSU representative came into the class to discuss the PAS program.

“I really enjoyed the presentation and learning more about what a physician assistant does,” Anderson said. “So, from my junior year, my career path was pretty much set. I like the flexibility of being a PA and that I can give back to my community.”

There were a few bumps on her path, however.

Anderson, a lifelong resident of Traverse City, was accepted into GVSU after graduating from high school and began her first fall semester on the Allendale Campus.

“What I learned about myself is that I really preferred being in northern Michigan and being with my family,” Anderson said.

After that initial semester, she transferred to NMC.

“NMC was a great buffer for me after my one semester at GVSU,” Anderson said. “I found it was not as much pressure as a traditional campus and I continued to be on track toward my degree. It was flexible and everyone was super supportive.”

Anderson works as a medical assistant at Traverse City Orthopedics. She said her connections with the area’s health care community may help her be successful when she’s ready to enter the workforce.

“With our clinical rotations, I will be learning where I’m planning to practice,” she said.

That is the primary reason Grand Valley opened a satellite PAS program in Traverse City in 2015: to educate students who want to stay in northern Michigan and provide care for area residents. Since that year, more than 70 percent of students who earn PAS degrees work in the area.

Grand Valley’s PAS program has an articulation agreement with NMC that grants preferred admission to the program at the Traverse City Center for two qualified NMC students who meet admission criteria.

Learn more about Grand Valley’s Physician Assistant Studies program in Traverse City online.

By Michele Coffill

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Page last modified May 11, 2022