Physician Assistants (PAs) are highly skilled health care professionals educated in the medical model who practice medicine. PAs can work in any clinic setting to extend physician services, complement existing services and aid in improving patient access to health care. (CMA Toolkit) Learn more →
Shavira is a first year Manitoba Master of PA Studies student! Shavira is a successful reapplicant. Here she shares her journey to securing admission to PA school!
Shavira’s Pre-PA Stats
Manitoba Master of PA Studies
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Genetics (honours), minor in mathematics
Honours thesis project completed through CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) on the genetics of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, for which I received a first-author publication in BMC Cancer
Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
Thesis project completed through CCMB on the genetics of non-small cell lung cancer, for which I received a first-author publication in the Journal of Cancer
Other Work Experiences:
Women’s Health Clinic volunteer counsellor for ~5 years
Instructor, dance representative/manager, choreographer at the India School of Dance
Trained Kathak (style of North Indian classical dance) dancer
Completed group and solo graduations, making her the first professionally trained Kathak dancer and performer in Manitoba
Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) at CCMB for the two years between my M.Sc. and starting PA school
Helped re-establish this department after a lag of ~2 years
Facilitated meetings with different disease site groups
Produced tools and guideline documents that will be publicly available on the CCMB website
4.25 out of 4.5 on the Manitoba GPA scale
photo credit: Alex Dolynuik
Growing up, I was always interested in a career in the medical field. This led me to explore several options, including genetic counselling and research.
I first applied to PA school years ago and when I did not make it off the waitlist, I pursued my M.Sc. associated with Bioinformatics research since it was something I wanted to accomplish after completing my B.Sc.
Afterwards, I kept on being drawn back to the PA profession because it encompassed many qualities that I wanted in a profession, such as working directly with people, undergoing a condensed timeline/learning plan, the ability to switch specialties and begin learning about an entirely different area of medicine, and the work-life balance.
I also felt connected to it in my role as a women’s health counsellor but appreciated that it would allow me to do more in the treatment and management of patients.
What I think helped me stand out on PA Admissions
Although I am not entirely sure what helped me stand out, these are some points that I feel were different from my previous application:
I began volunteering at the Health Sciences Center hospital when I was 14 years old and since then I always had some volunteer connections in healthcare.
Pregnancy counselling in unique scenarios (e.g., language barriers) and experience helping clients navigate the healthcare system.
Community involvement: being a Kathak dancer keeps me connected to my heritage as a Canadian-born child of immigrant parents. It also allows me to nurture the growth and development of young children in my community and promote my culture to all Canadians.
I did not talk about my work in CPG a lot, but it does demonstrate healthcare-related work and being a team player.
Talking about obstacles I’ve overcome, whether in my personal or work life.
My tips for Canadian Pre-PA Applicants
Connect real-life examples to your statement of intent and interview questions
Connect real-life examples to why you want to be a PA and the PA role (e.g., I compared my role as a counsellor to what I learned through shadowing a PA)
Don’t be afraid to talk about any obstacles you have overcome and what you have learned from them
Show that you are a continual and lifelong learner
Don’t be discouraged by previous class statistics, whether it’s age or GPA. Just apply, and if you don’t get in or are put on the waitlist, take the next year to improve your application and try again!