The name of the game is balance, says Celia Hemmerich, who combines her current job as a physician assistant with a host of non-work passions: camping, marathon training, biking and playing cello with the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis. “My job offers me great versatility in a number of ways,” says Hemmerich, who works for Hennepin Country Medical Center as a family practice physician assistant. “I work alongside doctors and with a supervising physician, but I have my own patient panel, too,” she says.
Hemmerich is clearly comfortable doing many things at once. She was an athlete scholar who ran track all four years as an undergraduate, and she graduated with two majors in 2010: Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (CBS) and Biology, Society and the Environment (CLA). She went on to receive her master's degree and certificate in global health from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2013.
One of the highlights of her college experience was the opportunity to work in campus research labs. She worked with Clarence Lehman on his studies in HIV mathematical modeling. “I was able to travel with him to Atlanta for a presentation to the Centers for Disease Control, and I also went with him to Boston to present at an epidemic and infectious disease conference,” she says. “When working on my capstone project in the master’s project, I was able to continue with that research I’d begun as an undergraduate, thanks to Dr. Lehman’s continued mentoring and guidance.”
“CBS prepared me very well, and the connections I made through CBS were really helpful,” she says. “My advice for students is to get involved in directed research, or any research projects for that matter. It allows you to interact with faculty members you otherwise. wouldn’t have met, and to build relationships with your fellow students, as well.”
Hemmerich feels she’s landed in the right place, and that she’s doing meaningful work. “What I love about my job now is that it’s very challenging, but in a good way,” she says. “I’m learning new things every day, and getting to see patients year after year. That’s really rewarding.”
— Julie Kendrick