Lauren Szymanski '18

Current Position:
Graduate Student, Physician Assistant Program, Daemen College
Current Location:
Buffalo, N.Y.

Entering college, I essentially had no clue what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to study abroad or maybe do business. My uncertainty made HWS a great fit for me. It was the liberal arts education at HWS that truly helped form my path and allowed me to figure out the career for which I was meant.

In my first semester, I was placed into an “Intro to Biology” class. The class turned out to be a natural fit for me and my second semester I declared as a biology major. The following year I applied to study abroad in Copenhagen in the medical practice and policy program, which nourished my intrigue for medicine even more. This realization of passion prompted me to spend my summers shadowing PAs and working as an aide in the surgical department in a hospital in Buffalo where I accrued my clinical hours that were necessary for applying to PA graduate schools. I had also declared a Health Care professional minor. The faculty and advisers really helped me prepare for interviews, pre-requisites and gain opportunities to pursue this career path.

The application process was not easy. The program I wanted to get into had no open spots when 39 other hopeful students, and I, got interviews. I was waitlisted originally, so I started to look for other positions. I obtained a laboratory assistant position in the microbiology lab at Erie County Medical Center, and about a month into the job, I received notice that I was accepted into Daemen’s PA program as a master’s student. With only a short time to completely switch gears and start graduate school, I am thankful to HWS for all of the preparation and experiences I had through study abroad, the health care professionals shadowing program, and the wonderful advisers who made me feel like I was ready in such a short amount of time. I can absolutely thank HWS for helping me get into a notable program such as Daemen, and I am sure that the other two HWS students in the program, Kelsey Irving ’18 and Bridget Westerman ’17, could wholeheartedly agree. The program is challenging but completely worth it. I plan to graduate from the program in 2021 and hope to specialize under a surgeon in a hospital in a large city.