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Ben Hubbard, MS/PA Studies '21 
MS in Physician Assistant Studies


July 29, 2021
Physician assistant graduate Ben Hubbard, MS/PA Studies
What inspired you to pursue a career as a physician assistant?

When I made the decision that I was not going to reenlist in the United States Army and work to obtain my college education, I knew that I wanted to work in healthcare. I have always had an interest in medicine and I enjoy interacting with people. I considered other areas of healthcare and initially was going down the path to becoming a physical therapist but once I learned about the role and lifestyle of a physician assistant I was sold. It’s the perfect fit for a person that enjoys medicine and interacting with people but also allows for change and hopefully more weekends off to enjoy some camping and hiking!

Why did you choose PCOM for your graduate education?

I knew that I wanted to attend PCOM for their physician assistant program during my interview experience. John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C, clinical professor, gave a very inspiring presentation about the program, the student-led tour presented the student body and campus in a positive light, and the interview itself was very down to earth and enjoyable. A fun memory from my interview was laughing with one of the interviewees about how we had both recently dissected our Thanksgiving dinners to teach our family anatomy. I probably would’ve attended PCOM after that experience even if it was in Kansas, no disrespect to Kansas, but being able to stay in a great city like Philly was also a bonus.

Were there any faculty or staff members that were influential during your time at PCOM? 

I felt comfortable going to any of the professors or staff within the PA department for help but my advisor, Sean Guinane, DHSC, PA-C, assistant program director, and Philadelphia campus site director, was a huge help in getting me through the program. He answered every question thoughtfully and I felt that he was truly rooting for me academically and personally. I always looked forward to our advising meetings during the clinical year. They usually ended up feeling like I was catching up with an old friend. 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of this moment right now, graduating from PA school. Looking back ten years ago, I was 18, I had just graduated high school, and was working on enlisting in the army as an infantryman. I planned on making that a career and preferred physical challenges over academics. I did not see a future where I ventured far enough into academia to be receiving a master's degree. I am most proud of this because getting to this point was a formidable challenge that started many years ago, well before even applying for PA school. My classmates and I were all able to overcome this challenge and right now feels like an important moment for us to reflect and see how we've grown as individuals. As I reflect on my life to date, nothing makes me feel more pride than to say that I am a graduate of the PCOM physician assistant program.

What impact do you hope to have after graduation?

I hope to provide quality patient care in a surgical subspecialty. I hope that I not only take care of patients' illnesses and concerns but also provide them with a positive interaction that leaves them feeling better. I am very interested in environmental causes so I am looking forward to having a little more time to spend volunteering for and supporting green organizations after PA school.

What advice would you give to a graduate student that is starting their journey?

My advice to a student starting their PA school journey now would be to not forget that, although during these 26 months school is very important, these are still 2+ years of your life and you need to make sure you have some fun. Pass your tests, study hard, but don't be afraid to go out and have a good time now and then. I found that when I was feeling burnt out from studying or a week full of exams, a weekend camping trip or a night out in Fishtown with my friends usually helped get me back on track. Also, find a good nap spot on campus.

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