LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2020) – Ana Stone is an achiever. At only 20 years old, she’s already graduated with her bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science and is now a member of the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences' Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2022.
Born and raised in in Hazard, Stone began taking classes at Hazard Community College during high school, which allowed her to graduate with an associate degree at age 18. Shortly after, she was accepted into the rigorous medical laboratory science program at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health. She completed the 16-month curriculum in December 2019 and immediately began PA school here at UK in January.
Her plans aren’t slowing down anytime soon. “I hope to become a practicing physician assistant specializing in emergency medicine or psychiatrics when I graduate,” she said. “I plan to merge both my clinical and academic experience to one day become a professor and teach here at UK.”
To make her dream happen, Stone will need a doctorate degree, which she plans to pursue after completing the PA program.
Stone’s desire is to work closely with and directly serve the people of Kentucky. After taking her boards for medical laboratory science, she quickly realized that she was better suited in a field with more direct contact with patients.
“As a PA you are face-to-face with people on a daily basis,” she said. “I definitely would have been happy as a medical laboratory scientist, but interpersonal fields called to me because I’m very social.”
Although she has only been on the Lexington campus for a month, Stone already feels completely at home here.
“The older PA students are great mentors. They give me wonderful advice and study tips,” she said. “The professors are also extremely supportive. They are always willing to meet with me and truly want every person to succeed. The College of Health Sciences goes above and beyond for its students.”
For students who are considering PA school, Stone stressed the importance of extracurricular experience.
“Get involved with as much stuff as you can, as soon as possible. Even things you don’t think will help may end up beneficial in the long run,” she said.
So far, Stone has participated in the Area Health Education Center Camp (AHEC), was president of an honors society during undergrad, and is currently planning on running for the officer position of documentarian in PA school.
“I know there’s no limit to what I can achieve if I put in the work,” she said.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.