During Kellie's time at E&H she discovered her passion for helping others through the healthcare field and desire to become a PA.

I graduated from E&H with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry.  I will complete my Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) this August and return to Texarkana, Texas where I have accepted a position as a Hospitalist. During my time at E&H I found myself traveling to Eastern Europe for Cross-cultural Psychology and to Costa Rica for Tropical Biology.  These experiences abroad sparked my passion for international travel.  Between college and grad school, I again had an opportunity to travel internationally when I ventured a second time to Costa Rica for my first mission trip. I am partnered with an international ministry based in Texarkana and intend to incorporate my medical training with missions.  My compassion for people inspired me to pursue healthcare, where I will be able to facilitate healing for the whole person - spirit, soul, and body.

"E&H was absolutely the right place for my undergraduate education.  The college's motto "increase in excellence" is manifested in an environment that encourages students to achieve their full potential.  E&H has countless opportunities to become involved, whatever your passion is - there is a place for you!  I had the honor of being co-captain of the women's soccer team, where I developed a strong sense of community, the meaning of team, and commitment.  I participated in numerous organizations from Fellowship of Christian Athletes to residence life to the biological honor society.  Through the Outdoor Program I discovered my enjoyment of backpacking on the Appalachian Trail.  The cultural history of Appalachia interwoven with innovative programs provides a high-quality and unique experience that makes E&H a hidden treasure."

Who to better learn from than those who have experienced what you are experiencing now. Therefore, we used this opportunity to ask Kellie a few questions that you as a Senior in high school or a first-year in college may have been wondering about yourself.

Q. Just extra work? What was the Honors Program to you?
A.
The Honors Program was an opportunity to apply myself.  Yes, this program is challenging, but the character, leadership, and life-skills that you develop as you are stretched beyond your limits will take you farther than the classroom.  The program facilitates an environment where students are surrounded by peers who share common goals.  This support and the resources available through the program are the foundation for propelling students to achieve their dreams.

Q. What was the most rewarding aspect of being in the Honors Program?
A.
Being in the inaugural class, I had the opportunity to participate in the development of the program.  This was a season when vision was being defined and flexibility was key.  Since the Honors Program, I have been in similar situations with E&H women's soccer coaching transitions and as a student in the second cohort of the UAMS PA Program.  I will again be in this position with my future employer.  The opportunity to blaze a trail for those coming behind has been a privilege and has instilled in me the importance of teamwork, communication, and commitment.

Q. What advice would you give to first-year Honors Scholars?
A.
Pursue your dreams and do not lose sight of why you are here.  Rise above adversity with a positive attitude and the willingness to learn from every situation.  Take challenges head on, and allow your character to be built as you develop leadership skills that will take you far in life.  Enjoy the time you have with the program because before you realize it you will transition into representing E&H as an alumni instead of a student.  

Q. Why did you chose to become a PA and go to PA school? How did E&H (and/or Honors Program) prepare you for PA school? 
A.
I chose to become a PA because of the flexibility this position offers in healthcare.  PAs practice with the collaboration of a physician, which emphasizes a team-based approach to patient care.  The ability to practice in a variety of medical specialties is important for what I desire to pursue in my life.  Medical missions will require me to work with physicians in different areas of medicine based on patient demand.  My faith and my responsibilities as a PA come together as an opportunity to pursue what I am most passionate about, which is helping people. Through medicine, I will be able to address both physical and spiritual aspects of a person's health, and to establish a relationship with that individual.  

Relationship provides the ability to speak into someone's life and leave an impact that changes their life forever.  This is my experience at E&H, where I established strong relationships with my professors.  During my advising meetings, they expressed their support and helped me to discover my passions.  This process of becoming a PA was just one subject of many discussions.  I am grateful for the support and close relationships I developed with my professors, coaches, and supervisors while at E&H.  Thank you for believing in me!

*All photos privided by Kellie Flaherty