Sarah Porter '22
[When I first moved back to Maine from New York] I worked on some public health grants for [UNE]. I saw firsthand how amazing the interdisciplinary approach to care is here. I had my heart set on UNE for the Physician Assistant program because of the interdisciplinary focus and also the focus on rural health, which is so prominent here. I’m really passionate about service in underserved locations. I want to give back to communities right here in Maine. I knew that no matter what, at UNE I would have lots of opportunities to get exposure to that.
Diversity, Inclusion, Connection
The diversity of the PA program here at UNE is incredible, everyone has a unique, diverse background and contributes something different. The fact that we have students from 21 to those in their forties means that we all vary in our experience.
Some of my peers have phlebotomy experience, some have worked in surgery, others were CNAs before they came to the program, and some came straight out of undergrad. There are people who were EMTs or paramedics, and they are quick to think on their feet, which is a skill I hope to develop. They stay calm in stressful situations.
UNE’s program is so strong because we come from a wide variety of backgrounds and balance each other out. I love that we all have different strengths and can learn so much from one another.
There are really no barriers in our class. Everyone is very open. One thing that I really love is the lack of competitiveness. We are all clearly competitive people to get to where we are in this program, and yet now that we are here together as a cohort, UNE fosters such an environment of inclusivity and collaboration that it does not feel competitive with one another. Grades are not advertised, and there is no ranking of students. We share study guides. We share resources. No one hoards information and tries to keep it from each other. It’s cool because that’s much more realistic of the future. No one is going to know 100% of everything, but we work together, and we are stronger for it.
We all have a major common interest in that we are all passionate about helping others and about practicing medicine. Our cohort is genuinely kind, I love it. I think it’s a really healthy environment, and I attribute that both to the UNE application process and to the type of student that UNE draws. We are encouraged to learn and work together.