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Science Graduates

Lisa Adams, MS, MSPAS, PA-C

What I do now: I am a certified physician assistant working in Hematology & Oncology for the University of Colorado Health system (UCHealth).

My work/job consists of:
I work alongside seven physicians and two other advanced practice providers. I see patients with diagnoses ranging from cancer to benign hematologic issues. I help manage chemotherapy-related symptoms, provide survivorship care at the end of treatment, and address end-of-life issues.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
I initially wanted to work in cancer research and earned a Master's degree in a translational cancer research lab. I soon realized that I wanted to be able to make more personal connections with people, and decided to go back to school to become a physician assistant. I worked at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in Shreveport after graduating from the physician assistant program, and then later moved to Colorado Springs to join UCHealth Hematology & Oncology. It is such a privilege to help care for people during one of the hardest times in their lives.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
I spent a year at Louisiana Tech, but was not sure chemical engineering was for me. I wanted to stay in science and be closer to home, so I transferred to LSUS.

Fond memories of LSUS:
I loved getting to participate in undergraduate research with Dr. Stephen Banks and Dr. Dalton Gossett. Not only did I get to help with the primary research, but I got to present our findings at local scientific meetings. I also really loved being a teaching assistant for several undergraduate chemistry labs.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Dr. Richard Thompson, professor in biochemistry, was a fantastic mentor who really got me interested in research. I loved hearing about his experiences at Abbott Laboratories. After that, I decided to pursue further education in biochemistry.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
I loved all of the upper-level science electives offered at LSUS, especially embryology taught by Dr. Stephanie Aamodt, and molecular biology taught by Dr. Cran Lucas. They were both really great teachers, and even though I did not technically need so many science electives, it was very helpful in preparing me for graduate school as well as PA school.

Advice to college-bound students:
It isn't always easy, but try to keep your mind on your long-term goals. Sacrifices will likely be necessary to make yourself competitive to be able to meet your goals. Talk to and spend time with people who actually work in the careers in which you may be interested.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
PA school is very competitive--study hard, take extra science courses, and spend a lot of time shadowing PAs. Talk to people who have been there!

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Talk to as many people as possible about what they do and how they like it--get a real-world perspective so you can make the most informed decision possible. Keep your options open!

My toughest professional challenge:
I love getting to know my patients and their families, but it is always difficult to deliver bad news. It is so important to maintain a good work-life balance and to have outlets to relieve stress.

My toughest personal challenge:
Balancing PA school with raising a family. But it was worth it!

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
2016      Outstanding Employee, UCHealth Medical Group
5/2015   Present Provider for outreach clinics in rural Colorado
8/2013   Pi Alpha Honor Society
8/2013   Chancellor's Award
8/2013   MPAS, Physician Assistant Studies
4/2013   Alpha Eta Honor Society
5/2008   MS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
5/2008   Second place, pre-proposal poster session; Graduate Research Day
5/2007   First place, pre-proposal poster session; Graduate Research Day
8/2005 to 5/2008   Louisiana Board of Regents Outstanding Scholar

I've learned this from life:
You get what you put in!

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
I'd still be doing what I'm doing--I love my job and love living in Colorado!

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