Physician Assistant (PA) Student, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
"I think that your academic experience is always ultimately what you make it, but your professors can have a huge impact on it. I was so fortunate to be surrounded by people that cared about my academic and personal journeys at Concordia."
Anika Whiting hails from Ashland, Wisconsin. She completed her pre-professional program in biology and intends to become a physician’s assistant (PA). She is currently enrolled in the PA program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Anika became inspired to go into the medical field through one of her professors, as well as her internship, where she worked as a Personal Care Assistant. She’s also an accomplished student-athlete who played basketball for the Golden Bears for the four years she attended. We caught up with her to check in and see how her current endeavors are going, and how her time at CSP has impacted her career in the medical industry.
Q: What were your most important factors to consider when you were selecting a college?
A: When I was first approached by my coaches at Concordia, I had never heard of it, but when I got on campus I fell in love with the small-town feel in the big city. I grew up in a small town so it was comfortable, but still had all the benefits of being in the cities.
Q: What do you think creates a quality academic experience?
A: I think that your academic experience is always ultimately what you make it, but your professors can have a huge impact on it. I was so fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of people that cared a lot about my academic and personal journeys at Concordia.
Q: What was the best moment you experienced at Concordia?
A: My favorite time at Concordia was when we made it to the Elite Eight my junior year. Not only was it cool to experience that as a basketball player, but the team received so much support from the faculty and staff at CU. I had countless professors that I didn’t even have for class anymore emailing me congratulations and that they were watching and cheering. It was such a great feeling knowing that we had the support of a whole community.
Q: Do you feel that you established significant relationships with the faculty?
A: I loved my professors at Concordia. I don’t think I could have gotten through a biology major being a student-athlete without the cooperation of my professors. Their doors were always open for questions and they were always great about making sure I got what I missed when I was on road trips.
Q: How did being a student-athlete affect your career?
A: I played basketball all four years at Concordia and it was the best decision I ever made. Basketball helped give me the leadership and work ethic that I still put to use to this day. Not to mention my coach is one of my go-to for anything including as a reference for various jobs and now graduate school.
Q: Is there a certain moment that could sum up what you value most about your time at Concordia?
A: Coming into college I was set to be a pharmacist, but my chemistry professor (Dr. Stellwagen) took me aside one day after her class, not because I was doing poorly, but because she noticed that I didn’t have the same passion as I did in her previous class. She was right, I wasn’t passionate about chemistry or pharmacy, but I hadn’t ever been offered other options. She was the one that encouraged me to be a little lost for a minute and to find something that really spoke to me. That next semester I signed up for a class that explored different careers in the science field, and that’s where I was introduced to Physician Assistants. I knew right away that’s what I was supposed to be doing. Without someone taking the time to notice that I wasn’t fully invested, I may have never had the tools or courage to find the career that was meant for me.