Kimberly Siguenza Depaz ’21, ’25, knew she wanted to be a physician assistant back when she started looking at colleges in high school. Now, she’s a student in Shenandoah University’s Physician Assistant Studies program and her graduate school expenses will be fully covered by a National Health Service Corps Scholarship.
“I was in shock and felt very blessed and grateful when I found out that I had won the scholarship, and the first thing I did was call my mom and tell her about it,” she said.
In return for the scholarship, Siguenza has committed to two years of full-time service in a health professional shortage area, which was already part of Siguenza’s plans. “I have always loved doing mission trips or serving the community and I knew I always wanted to give back to the Hispanic community,” said Siguenza, who learned about the scholarship from a Shenandoah PA student who had received it the previous year. “I knew I wanted to return to school to learn to become a PA one day to see patients face-to-face, especially in the Hispanic community where there are language barriers.”
“This scholarship felt like a right fit for me with my future goals,” said Siguenza, who also deliberately took a gap year between her undergraduate and graduate studies, during which she worked in a lab making CAR-T cell therapy for patients who had large B-cell lymphoma before coming back to her alma mater for graduate school. She earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and Spanish from Shenandoah in 2021.
“I wanted to return to SU for the positive environment that is always present, the professors and the program itself, which is one of the best in the country,” she said. “I knew PA school was going to be a learning curve and being back in a place that was familiar took a lot of stress off the initial start of grad school. Throughout undergrad, the professors would teach anatomy along with clinical pearls that prepared me for the way anatomy is taught now in PA school. Professors from undergrad have also been a resource to help win this scholarship and are still available to reach out to about any academic questions I may have as well.”