Christopher G Keller,
Bachelor of Science in Health Science (Pre-Physician Assistant)
What program are you in?
Why did you chose that program? What was the thought process for you and how did you make it happen?
I originally was enrolled in the Pre-Nursing program at Pellissippi, but decided not to go the nursing route. I instead decided the best course of action for me would be to become a PA instead. I was a Corpsman in the U.S. Navy, and being a PA would allow me to continue working in a similar scope of practice as before.
Why did you chose South College?
I chose South College because it has a credited PA program and I was also able to use my VA benefits. South College also has the Yellow Ribbon program which allowed me to attend school there.
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.
I started school after serving in the Navy. I practiced medicine in the Navy and am pursuing a degree in to continue practicing.
When I graduated high school in Huntsville, AL, I enlisted in the Navy as a FMF Corpsman. I was stationed in California where I deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I then was stationed in Rota, Spain for 2 years where I worked in the Naval Hospital. I took orders to North Carolina where I deployed to Burundi. I got out of the Navy in NC and moved to Knoxville and started school at Pellissippi. I continued at Pellissippi until I earned by Associate Degree in general studies. After graduating from Pellissippi, I would the Pre-PA program at South College.
What is your favorite part of your studies?
My favorite part of my studies has been the courses themselves. I have truly enjoyed the medical and science classes that are part of my program. It has allowed me to learn more about a field I have come to love working in and therefore has made me a better medical provider.
What is your goal for after you graduate?
My goal after graduation is to attend and graduate PA school at South College. I want to work in a level 1 trauma center and one day work in a VA hospital giving back to the veteran population.
Do you have any advice for future students who might be in your same position?
Don’t get caught up in the stress of school. It’s not the end of the world and you have been through worse. Find a rhythm and stick to it. Don’t worry about grades, focus on what you have learned and retained. The teachers might come off as cold and hard the first few days, but they are truly some of the best I have ever seen. They will bend over backwards for you if you ask, but you can’t be afraid to ask. At the end of the day though, just enjoy it and have fun.