Jessica Robertson ’09, ’11 made the most of her college experience while studying at Shenandoah. She graduated this December from Shenandoah’s Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program and immediately began her first job as a physician assistant at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Prince George’s County, Md.
Robertson’s journey from undergraduate student to professional PA reflects her enthusiasm for life, drive for excellence and love of family. As an undergraduate, she majored in kinesiology and biology and played competitively on the varsity softball team. After graduating in May 2009, she fast-tracked into the university’s PA program. Robertson served as president of her PA class of 37 students and received the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award. She attributes much of her success to a solid work ethic and time management skills she acquired while playing softball at Shenandoah.
“I can remember telling them in my graduate school interview that the pressure and time management requirements of softball prepared me for PA school,” said Robertson. “There are a lot of athletes in the PA program; they’re motivated and know how to manage their time.”
Robertson’s bond with her her parents and older brother who lives in Arlington, Va., provided a solid foundation of strength and determination. She also credits her family’s support during her athletic career as essential to her success. Specifically, she spoke of her father, who barely missed a game during Robertson’s hectic travel season with Shenandoah softball.
“He appreciated what I did, as I appreciate what he does,” Robertson said.
Robertson’s father works as a career law enforcement officer in a special operations group. When it came time for his daughter’s graduation from the PA program, his deployment to Afghanistan—one of the longest deployments of his career—made it impossible to attend. Robertson knew there was another way he could see her graduate. So, on December 10, her father, along with an aunt in Washington, family members in Louisiana and a surplus of her classmate’s family members watched graduation remotely via a live video feed from the Ferrari Room in the Brandt Student Center. Through Webcast technology, they could see the Class of 2011 put on their white PA coats for the first time. Robertson made sure to say hello to her father as soon as her mom received a text saying he could see and hear everything.
Since graduating, Robertson is settling into her position at Prince George’s Hospital Center, growing and building confidence as she gains experience. She’s landed her dream job, and she feels excited to embrace this new chapter of her life.
“Shenandoah trained me well for where I’m at today,” she said. “Nothing prepares you for [the rigors of ] PA school. You don’t fully understand the challenges until you go through it. I’m grateful for the chance to apply what I learned at Shenandoah in my professional practice.”