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Alumna Discusses Career in Health Professions as a Physician Assistant

For as long as Aleesa Griffin can remember, she wanted to work in medicine. Upon graduating from Texas Lutheran University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, she went on to complete her Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies from the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. She’s currently a Physician Assistant (PA-C) in family medicine with Christus Trinity Clinic in New Braunfels.

After many years of being a nurse and working in several different fields of health care, including OBGYN, cardiology, and family medicine, Griffin decided to go back to school to pursue a career as a PA-C. Her academic and professional achievements were directly impacted by her TLU education.

“I feel blessed to have been taught by professors that took a vested interest in my success and did truly care,” she said. “I think it's hard to see as a young adult—I've been there, too—but as an older, nontraditional student coming back, I realized how invested they were in my success.”

However, Griffin is honest about the hard work and dedication is takes to pursue a STEM degree or a career in health professions. The combination of supportive faculty and a strong personal commitment to goals is key.

“My classes at TLU were hard and pushed me and stretched me,” she said. “The professors didn't sugarcoat, cut corners, or settle for mediocrity. There is no way I would have made it through the rigorous schedule and studies of PA school had I not been challenged like I was at TLU. Of course, several classes prepared me more than others (thank you microbiology and Dr. Jonas).”

Griffin will be returning to campus on Friday, March 4 at 1 p.m. in Moody Science Building (room 101) to present a seminar to Biology students about her personal journey including her time at TLU, what to expect when applying to PA school, the interview process, surviving PA school, and what practicing medicine can look like on any given day.

Aleesa Griffin '16

She will also address what the most challenging parts of working in health care during a pandemic are like, saying that almost everything has challenges now.

“At first, it was everyone expecting us to have answers and looking to us for help and guidance,” she said. “Now, it's probably a tie between getting people timely, effective care (for anything, not just COVID,) and dealing with the attitudes of people in general. It's hard. It's not for quitters or the meek. But I still remember the days when I prayed for the career I have now.”

Griffin says the best advice she’s ever received when it comes to finding the career path you want is, "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire."

“If you fail a test and then don't learn from it, if you go through a rough patch or lose relationships and don't grow from it, if you never fully try - then you have no one to blame but yourself,” she said. “That may sound cliche, but this world wasn't created with everyone as the axis and working hard to achieve your personal goals makes the finish line so much sweeter.”

Watch Aleesa's presentation here: