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A Dream of Becoming a Physician Assistant

Maggie Walker PB '23

Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Allied Health

A headshot of Maggie Walker

Maggie Walker

Maggie Walker PB '23 is the type of person who knows what she wants and then works very hard to get it. 

For example, she knew she wanted to be a speech therapist from a young age. So after receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, she continued to earn a master’s degree in communication science and disorders from Georgia State University. She began her career as a speech therapist in inpatient rehabilitation at a hospital in Macon. After a few years, she moved back to Atlanta and worked in acute care at a major health system.

Interacting daily with doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, Walker was inspired by the skills and knowledge they possessed.  Though she loved working in speech therapy, Walker decided she wanted more.

“When working with patients, I could only speak to swallowing, communication and cognitive disorders,” Walker says. “But I wanted to be able to treat the whole patient.”

So she decided to become a physician assistant.

After that decision, she had to make another one: How to get the classes she needed to meet the science requirement to gain acceptance into a physician assistant program.

“I hadn’t taken chemistry since tenth grade,” she explains, “and my other science credits were beyond the five-year limit that schools required.”

She knew she had to enroll in a post-bacc program and looked no further than Agnes Scott College.

“I had a friend who went through the Post-Bacc Pre-Med Program and she had great things to say about Agnes Scott,” Walker says. “She told me the faculty is supportive and really sets you up for success. I also liked the timeline of just one year to complete the program.”

The Post-Bacc Pre-Allied Health Certificate was one of several new health programs introduced in fall of 2022 to help students further their careers or gain admittance into a health professions program. The college offers innovative programs to help students achieve their professional goals.

Walker was in the first cohort and began a rigorous program that included classes and labs in biology, microbiology, chemistry, organic chemistry and anatomy.

“The amount of information can be overwhelming,” Walker admits. “But I believe this has prepared me for the next step.”

The “next step” is the Mercer University Physician Assistant Program, which she was accepted into and will start in January 2024. 

Aside from the academic preparation, Walker says she benefited from the supportive environment provided by Agnes Scott’s faculty and staff. Advisors helped her develop the required statement of purpose, coached her through the interviewing process and helped ensure she had the classes she needed.

“My interview with Mercer was via Zoom,” she says. “Working in a hospital setting, I was not used to an online environment. [Agnes Scott] did mock interviews and they helped me prepare.”

She also appreciated the diverse backgrounds of all of her classmates.

“The coolest thing is how different everyone is,” Walker says. “Some have had careers for 10 years – and they were already out there changing the world. And, like me, they are changing careers. It fills my cup daily to be surrounded by smart, dedicated, like-minded adults. It’s an unexpected gift.”

When she completes the 28-month program at Mercer University, Walker hopes to work in palliative care. 

“It’s something that really interests me,” she says. “The interactions in the hospital helped me learn so much about the field. I decided I have to be at that table.”

And knowing Walker’s dedication to achieving her goals, she will undoubtedly have a place at that table.

Learn more about how the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Allied Health Certificate program can help you fulfill your dreams.

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