Alessandro Cavaliere, Premed and PA student.

Student Spotlight: Alessandro Cavaliere, Premed/PA ‘20

April 18, 2017

  • This fall, Alessandro Cavaliere, Premed/PA ’20 will officially begin studies in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS).

    For Alessandro, the start of graduate studies marks an important accomplishment on the road to his dream career: Physician Assistant.

    Alessandro began his time at MCPHS as a student in the Bachelor of Science in Premedical and Health Studies program, which he described as full of opportunity for students interested in pursuing a variety of future careers in healthcare.

    “There are so many professional pathways and graduate schools that the Premed program sets us up for,” said Alessandro. “It really keeps a lot of doors open. This is one of the most diverse programs because a Premed student can do anything, from PA school to Optometry, Physical Therapy, or Osteopathic Medicine.”

    We were curious to learn more about Alessandro’s experience in the Premed program and his inspiration for choosing a future as a PA, so we sat down with him for an interview.

    Why did you choose the Premed/PA program at MCPHS?

    I chose the Premed/PA program because the PA program is one of a kind. Being centrally located in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area of Boston, we have the advantage of having strong connections to many major hospitals. During my time as an undergrad at MCPHS, I was a Sun Safety Health Educator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as well as a volunteer at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Other students volunteer, shadow, and work at Boston Children's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, BWH, and DFCI, just to name a few!

    What was it like to transition to college?

    In high school, I challenged myself by taking all honors classes in addition to AP Chemistry and AP Biology, to prepare for college courses. Therefore, adjusting into MCPHS was not as difficult as I anticipated it to be!

    Tell us about your first year in the Premed program.

    During my freshman year, I took Intro to Biology, General Chemistry, Calculus 1, Expository Writing, Psychology, American Culture, and more. Additionally, all freshmen are required to take Introduction to the Major (ITM) which introduces students to MCPHS, their program, and helps them develop their professionalism skills.

    And your later experience in the Premed program?

    Later on in the program, students are required to take other courses such as Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Biochemistry just to name a few. Although these courses are much more difficult, I utilized my time management skills and was able to succeed in them. Our professors are very open to questions and encourage students to attend their office hours.

    Congratulations on your acceptance to the PA program at MCPHS! You start the PA program this fall. What are you most excited about?

    Thank you! I'm very thrilled as this is one of the last big steps in pursuing my career as a Physician Assistant. I am most excited to be continuing my education at MCPHS since the Longwood Medical and Academic Area is one of the best locations to experience healthcare and do clinical. We get to utilize the cadaver labs at Harvard Medical School, which is going to be a very eye-opening experience.

    What is it about the PA field that most excites you?

    One of the most exciting things I've noticed about the PA field is it's relatively new compared to other healthcare fields. Because of this, it is rapidly growing and there are more career opportunities. There is also a lot of lateral flexibility in this role because PA's are trained as generalists instead of specialists, meaning they can do anything from surgery to pediatrics, medicine to emergency just as easily. Being able to put my future career in a field that has so much potential to grow is truly exciting!

    Describe MCPHS in your own words. What makes the MCPHS community special? Why are you proud to go here?

    What I love about attending MCPHS is how unique it is. There is a heightened level of professionalism and maturity that students develop when they attend here. Because we all have a common goal of healthcare, the academic drive is like no other institution. Additionally, I enjoy having the best of both worlds with a small campus in a large city. The small campus gives me the opportunity to connect deeply with my peers and professors and building those crucially essential relationships for success. On the other hand, being amongst other colleges nearby and in the Colleges of the Fenway allows me to meet students from other schools. It's a very unique balance.

    What’s your advice for someone who is interested in a future as a PA?

    Get as much volunteering experience as possible and consider obtaining either a Certified Nursing Aide or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) degree in order to get patient contact experience. It is crucial to shadow a PA-C in order to get a better understanding of what exactly their career involves as well as to gain a more thorough sense of healthcare in general.

    The Bachelor of Science in Premedical and Health Studies program at MCPHS–Boston paves the way for students to attend medical school or a variety of graduate degree programs in the health sciences.