Jessica Galli Robertson ’09, ’11 transferred to Shenandoah University to play on the softball team and pursue a career in healthcare. After completing her Bachelor of Science degrees in kinesiology and biology, Robertson was accepted into the Division of Physician Assistant Studies’ program.
“Shenandoah is a small school with a big heart,” said Robertson. “As an undergraduate, I felt comfortable approaching and collaborating with all of my professors, knowing they were invested in my success. With small class sizes and a cozy campus, it is impossible to get lost in the crowd.”
Some of her fondest memories at Shenandoah were the times spent with her softball teammates, and later her physician assistant classmates. Robertson says in between the books and the tests, there were team dinners, bus rides and athletic achievements. And, with only 40 students in each physician assistant cohort, the students became like family, spending hours studying, practicing and preparing for their careers.
Robertson is a certified physician assistant at Premier Physicians Network in Dayton, Ohio. She works in the neurosurgery section of the organization. Robertson assists with brain and spine surgeries at a level 1 trauma center. Prior to moving to Ohio, she spent nearly four years working in trauma surgery in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and almost three years in an intensive care unit in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The most rewarding part of Robertson’s career is seeing patients walk out of the hospital after being in traumatic, life-threatening situations. “I have been an integral part of numerous life-saving situations, which will stick with me forever,” said Robertson. “Seeing a trauma patient walk out of the hospital after nine months of surgeries and rehab, or watching a mother hold her infant after almost dying during childbirth will stick with me forever.”
Although earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees was a rigorous process that challenged her both mentally and emotionally, Robertson believes that her Shenandoah education introduced her to lifelong friends and prepared her for the high acuity environments in which she now works.
Robertson’s advice to students is: “Joining the PA profession is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It is a long and arduous process filled with late nights and early mornings, hours of studying and many exams, but if you are committed to pursuing the profession, it is endlessly rewarding.”