Brooke Boland '12 delivered a presentation to Pennington's Applied Science students on becoming and working as a physician assistant (PA) on Wednesday, September 30, over Zoom. As a board-certified physician assistant specializing in dermatology, Boland described why she chose the career, explained the rigorous academic path, and shared advice for aspiring medical professionals.
After graduating from The Pennington School, Boland went on to Florida Atlantic University, where she played varsity soccer, followed a premedical track, and received a B.S. in biology. In 2019 she earned her M.S. in physician assistant studies from Keiser University. To continue her education, Boland completed a dermatology fellowship, training directly under two renowned dermatologists, Dr. Angela Weatherall and Dr. Nicole Conrad.
Boland advised students interested in medicine to dip their toes into the field while they are still in high school, as she chose to become a physician assistant after shadowing both a medical doctor and a PA. She encouraged Upper School students to seek out internships, volunteer at local hospitals, and shadow medical professionals in order to test out different specialties and career paths.
Boland cited the shorter educational path as one of the benefits of becoming a PA. Physician assistant programs are typically two years in length, whereas doctors must complete a four-year medical program, as well as a residency. However, physician assistant programs are highly competitive and intensive.
"It is a very rigorous program," said Boland, who assured the students that their Pennington education would prepare them well for the challenge. "If it's something that you love and that you know is going to be good for your future, you'll be motivated enough to push through and study and use your resources. I was really prepared, coming from Pennington."