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Aspects of a Learner - Katy Coyer

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Future physician assistant Katy Coyer, Class of 2020, is an avid nature enthusiast with a passion for learning.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up outside of Oglesby, a small town in north-central Illinois. Starved Rock State Park was my backyard.
What did you want to be as a child?
When I was about 3, I declared to my mom that I wanted to be a pediatrician on the moon.  
What were you like as a teen?
To be completely honest, I was a total nerd. I remember a lot of Friday nights spent at home making biology study guides while watching Star Trek.  
Where did you attend college?  
St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. I earned my BS in biology and a double minor in chemistry and mathematics.  
What inspired you to become a PA?
Growing up I was always driven to science and medicine. I sought out opportunities like shadowing that furthered my interest. During a few of these, I came into contact with PAs who were in love with their profession and cared deeply for their patients. It was quite persuasive.
What drew you to SIU’s program?
The PBL (problem-based learning) process was the biggest draw. PBL allows us to become independent learners, identifying both questions and answers. We generate stimulating discussion in our small groups that cultivates critical thinking and a real understanding of the material.
What are your future plans?
My most immediate goal is to absorb and learn as much as possible from my mentors and patients this year so that I can provide great individual care when I’m practicing.
I am also a student representative for the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA). It allows me to attend board meetings and become informed about various issues that affect PAs, such as current legislation and reimbursement. After graduation, I want to stay involved with IAPA to help advance the profession and raise public awareness of what we can offer.  
What might we find you doing when you’re not at work?
I will be outside with my husband and puppy. I absolutely love the outdoors and spending time with my family, whether it be running, hiking, camping or simply sitting in my backyard.
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I can fall asleep just about anywhere. As a child I fell asleep on the back of a horse multiple times. In college, I amazed my classmates when I slept through a boat ride across a choppy ocean.  
What’s your greatest passion?
That’s a tough one. Probably learning. I am constantly reading articles, asking questions and digging for answers. There is always something new to learn, whether it be about medicine or how to correctly fix the blocked sewer line into your house. Each day I find new ways to expand my horizons.
Answer any question you wish we’d asked.
I wish you’d asked “What’s your favorite constellation?” to which I would have to answer “Orion’s Belt.”

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