Patterson ’21 Refuses to Allow Obstacles Slow Her in Work with Patients

Arcadia University student Megan Patterson
By Katherine Haines '21

Biology major Megan Patterson ’21, a Pre-Physician Assistant (PA) student, has always known that she wanted to have a career in medicine, which is a difficult undertaking in the most optimal of conditions. Patterson, though, who is deaf and blind, is determined to let nothing stand in her way of her goals.  

“I have a list of disabilities, and one of the things I’m proudest of is that when I talk to people and finally tell them about it, they remark how they had absolutely no idea,” said Patterson. “I’m not going to let obstacles stop me from what I want to do. They’re not going to keep me from what my goal is in medicine.”

During her last year of college, Patterson remained in her hometown of Broomfield, Colorado to complete her degree. Students entering into PA programs are required to have clinical experience, so Patterson got certified as an EMT last summer.  She now works full-time as a paid EMT and volunteers with the 911 response service. 

“Being able to get real—where this is my patient and I'm the sole source of their care—is something that you don't usually find in an entry-level medical job,” said Patterson. “I immediately knew that's what I wanted to do.”

Patterson likes connecting directly with patients, and EMTs work in many different areas of health care. Patterson works in an ambulance doing both inter-facility transport and advanced calls with paramedics, which has enabled her to learn skills to apply in a medical career.

While she’s applying to several different PA programs, Patterson hopes to be admitted into Arcadia’s Department of Medical Science because of the clinical rotations abroad. In fall 2018, she studied abroad with the First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE) in Stirling, Scotland, followed by a Preview course in Shanghai, China during spring 2019. A plan to study abroad in New Zealand was canceled due to COVID, so Patterson is instead graduating early.

Arcadia University student Megan Patterson in Scotland

Patterson on FYSAE in Scotland.

“Going to Scotland and seeing the National Health Service made me realize that I could serve not only my local community but my global community, which is something that I took away from Arcadia,” said Patterson. “I’m a huge believer in networking, and I have learned it’s a small world and it's a really diverse world, so making connections with people will get you far in life.”

At Arcadia, Patterson is treasurer for the Society for Castle Restoration, a member of cabaret, was an orientation leader, and worked as a research assistant in Associate Professor and Chair of Biology Dr. Naomi Phillips' Hemp laboratory. She is also on the Study Abroad Mentorship Program (STAMP) executive board and serves as the FYSAE Mentor Coordinator and STEM Team Leader.

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