Biology major Corinne Mackenzie tracks a Career as Physician Assistant

Hello, my name is Corinne Mackenzie and I am a current senior Biology major. I started my journey at the University of Scranton as a nursing major. It was not until my junior year that I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology. I would like to share with you how I came to this decision and what plans I have for the future.
Entering as a nursing major I was initially excited by my prerequisite classes. It was not until my sophomore year that I started to feel uncertain of my choice of nursing. Outside of the classroom my first two years, I pushed myself to get involved and break out of my comfort zone. I became involved in service and student leadership. These experiences were transformative for me and my confidence grew tenfold. As belief in myself increased, so too did the nagging thought in the back of my head that nursing just wasn’t quite right. I had a thirst for knowledge of the inner workings of disease and the human body that wasn’t being met in my current classes. I realized that I wanted to be a critical decision maker when it came to diagnosis and treatment plans for patients. This prompted a decision to move forward as a Biology major on a pre physician assistant track my junior year. The switch was intimidating with the ground I had to make up as a biology major. It would require an extra semester of coursework and necessitate that all my remaining semesters be heavily laden with science courses. Despite this, the semesters after switching my major have been my most successful. I have been able to take classes that I am passionate about and that will help me in my future career, such as Physiology, Immunology, and Endocrine and Reproduction. 

        While in the past I have lamented the fact that I did not come to this career decision before I started college, I now have come to appreciate the journey that led me to this decision. Starting off as a nursing major has made me a more well-rounded student and introduced me to a healthcare perspective I may not have had otherwise. I am grateful to have spent my time at this University because it has exposed me to core ideals that I know I will carry with me in my career. One of the most meaningful to me is Cura personalis, which translates to “care of the whole person”.  It is a reminder to view every individual uniquely and serve not only the body but the mind and soul as well. This is something I hope to live out as a Physician Assistant. Confronting the uncertainty of my major choice and vocation forced me to more deeply analyze my own interests and brought me to a decision in which I feel truly confident. Moving forward, I am preparing to apply to physician assistant programs. I am confident that the University of Scranton has honed my academic abilities and prepared me well. I would encourage other students not to be discouraged if at any point they find themselves uncertain of what path to follow. It is in these moments of uncertainty that I was able to deeply reflect on what I was most passionate about, and this led me to a career path I can pursue confidently!

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