After a decade working as a cardiac sonographer listening to ultrasounds of her patients’ hearts, Katie Kashmer decided it was time to listen to her own heart.
That’s when she applied to the Towson University physician assistant studies master’s, a collaborative program offered with the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)–Essex.
“I wanted to be more involved in the decision-making process for patients and help them make better choices about their healthcare,” says Kashmer, who always knew the medical field was her calling.
Kashmer made a relatively easy transition from full-time sonographer to full-time student in the 26-month program, but says the learning experience is “like drinking from a fire hydrant. There is just so much information to absorb.”
While most classes are held on the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) Essex campus, “We have a lot of interaction with other Towson University health and applied sciences students and program administrators,” says Kashmer. The faculty and staff make sure no student is left behind.”
“Physician assistants have a lot of the same benefits of practicing physicians, but we have the ability to move between different specialties,” says Kashmer.
The program’s reputation as one of the best in the region and its proximity to some of the country’s premier medical institutions, such as University of Maryland Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital, are also distinct advantages, according to Kashmer.
Physician assistant students in the program are also invested in the local community, and volunteer at Afaya Public Charter School, a Baltimore middle school focused on the intellectual, physical and social health of its students. “We offered an after-school program that taught teens and their families about health, exercise and diet,” says Kashmer.