Sarah Shumate

“My undergraduate degree in Medical Laboratory Science has prepared me so well for my next steps in the Physician Assistant Studies program.”

Chapmanville, W.Va.
Undergraduate Degree:
Medical Laboratory Science, West Virginia University
Graduate Degree:
Physician Assistant, West Virginia University

Why did you want to become a physician assistant?

I chose Physician Assistant Studies because I always had a strong interest in the medical field, especially the diagnostic side of medicine. When I was younger I was seeing a PA that stuck their neck out for me and helped me finally get my spina bifida diagnosis. I knew then that I wanted to be that person for someone else.

Why did you choose WVU? 

I loved WVU because it was an amazing institution that allowed me to gain my independence and remain close to home. Upon my first visit to WVU, I was introduced to the Mountaineer spirit and way of life and I was hooked from the first “Let’s Go!”

What would you tell prospective students about your experience at WVU and the School of Medicine? 

The WVU School of Medicine has given more than I could have ever asked for. My undergraduate degree in Medical Laboratory Science has prepared me so well for my next steps in the Physician Assistant Studies program. We are so lucky to have the amazing STEPS (Simulation Training and Education for Patient Safety) lab with such advanced technology where we can practice unlimited medical procedures in a very realistic environment. I have no doubt that my education from WVU will provide me with all of the knowledge and skill to give my patients the best health care experience.

Have you had any particular professors or faculty members who have made an impact on you while at WVU? If so, how?

I don’t think I would be here today without the director of the Medical Laboratory Science program, Dr. Michelle Butina. She really believed in me during my undergraduate education and did everything she could to help me get into PA school. She is always looking out for her students and ensuring we have every opportunity to achieve our goals.

What are you hoping to do in your career?

As of right now, I am very interested in pursuing a specialty in either pediatrics or women’s health. I volunteered and the WVU Children’s Hospital and fell in love with pediatric medicine. Also, being from rural West Virginia, I have seen the lack of access that the women in Appalachia face when it comes to proper women’s health. I hope that one day I will be able to fill those gaps.

Have you participated in any clubs, student organizations or other groups in the School of Medicine?

The ambassador's program here at the School of Medicine has allowed me to meet a lot of amazing people. I have really appreciated the opportunity to help prospective students find their path to their future. In addition, the volunteer program at Ruby Memorial allowed me to explore my interest in pediatrics while also giving me the opportunity to help some phenomenal children and their families.

Have you received any particular honors or awards during your four years in the SOM?

I received the Clinical Laboratory Science Achievement Award in 2019. It felt great to be recognized for my hard work.