Chelsea Pendleton, Bachelor of Science in Health Science (Pre-Physician Assistant)
What program are you in?
Why did you choose that program? What was the thought process for you and how did you make it happen?
Originally, when I first started at South College it was to earn my bachelor’s in health science with a concentration in medical sonography. I had earned a diploma from a private institute in California in October of 2016, then I moved here to Tennessee in November of 2016. It was difficult finding a job in that field without work experience, and the employers wanted a two-year allied health degree. That is why I found South College initially. Halfway through my second quarter at South College, I realized that I wanted to do more than just take ultrasound images, and wanted to have more involvement with patients. I chose the Physician Assistant program to have the opportunity to help/care for people. When I was younger, I had many health complications and was in and out of the hospital; I had a great medical staff who helped make a difference in my life, by providing quality care, and made me feel safe. I want to be able to do the same for my future patients. I don’t see this path as something of monetary value, but as a way that I can truly make a difference in someone’s life.
Why did you choose South College?
I had researched all the colleges in the area, and South College caught my attention for a few reasons:
- Quarter system instead of semesters,
- Yellow Ribbon School
- Smaller classroom sizes, giving the ability to have more one on one time with professors, and
Did you come back to school after working, raising a family, etc? Are you changing careers? Or are you coming straight out of high school? Describe that journey.
Before graduating high school, in 2007, I joined the United States Marine Corps. After graduating high school, I left for bootcamp. I served 4 years in the Marines. While serving, I had two of my children. After leaving the military, I started working as an armed nuclear security officer at San Onofre Nuclear Plant in San Clemente, California, in 2012. While working at the nuclear plant, was when I had my daughter. In 2015, the nuclear plant went through lay-offs, and I was one of the individuals who was laid off, due to the plant shut down. After losing that job, I knew that I would need to find a job that had stability, so I enrolled in a private school that specified in three different medical programs, Ultrasound, Radiography, and Medical assistant. I picked ultrasound, because it was something that fascinated me, and I had had several ultrasound imaging done in the past, from pregnancies, renal/bladder complications. While interning, I was able to see things in a different light. I interned at a general ultrasound clinic, as well as at a breast center. Working at the breast center was my favorite area. I was fortunate to have the experience to assist in ultrasound guided biopsies, as well as being able to locate masses early on. When I moved to Tennessee, and finding work was difficult, I decided to go back to school. While attending South College, I decided to change my focus from ultrasound to physician assistant; this enables me to be more hands-on with patients, and work on teams to help treat patients.
What is your favorite part of your studies?
My favorite part so far throughout the time that I have been attending South College, since Fall 2017, would have to be pathophysiology, and immunology.
What is your goal for after you graduate?
I want to be able to work with patients either in family medicine, dermatology, or psychiatry. I understand that those are all varying areas to work in, but all three are areas that I know that I am passionate in and can thrive in.
Do you have any advice for future students who might be in your same position?
Dedicate time each day to study, do not try to cram and memorize information only for tests. When you study a little each day, you will be able to retain the information and understand it. The years will be challenging, but you will be rewarded for all your hard work!