Sabrina Merchant: Co-Founder of the Pre-Physician Assistant Club

Sabrina is a fifth year transfer student at UC Davis. She is the co-founder of the Pre Physician’s Assistant Club.

Name: Sabrina Merchant

Year: 2016

Major: Human Development

Hometown: Fremont, CA

Biggest Strength: I’m very determined. I don’t let anything get in my way.

Biggest Weakness: I try to see the best in people. Sometimes it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s a curse.

What organizations are you involved with on campus?

I am the Co-Founder of the Pre Physician Assistant Club.

What motivated you to start the Pre-PA club?

When I first came to Davis, I was interested in pharmacy. I realized that instead of being behind the counter, I wanted to interact with patients. I switched to pre-PA and realized there was no club for it. I started one up with the hopes of allowing pre-PA students to have more tools to be successful in their future careers.

What are some struggles you ran into starting your own club?

Laying the foundation of the club was probably our biggest struggle. We had to figure out the building blocks of what we wanted to have our club known as and how to work together with all the board members. It was tough getting the name out there, advertising, and attracting members.

What are your goals for Pre-PA this year?

I would like to see the pre-PA students at Davis to become a tighter knit group. Our club is working on starting a mentorship program where pre-PA students and graduate students can get together and ask questions and get to know each other.  I am interested in starting an end of the year banquet as well. Another program is setting up tours of campuses where members can visit and learn about the different opportunities schools have to offer.

What do you love most about this organization?

I love being able to work with PA students. It’s great being a co-founder so that I am able to start up all these functions and become really involved in them. We went from 7 members to 50 members in a year. Being able to see this organization grow is an amazing feeling.

Does your club host any events?

We have been part of the spring health fair and have had the UC Davis health representative Joanne in to speak as well as other PA students. We also have socials where pre-PA students come in and get to meet each other. We are working on having EMTs come in so people can have an exposure to a good way of getting clinical hours.

What're your plans for the future?

I want the programs for pre-PA to develop and become successful. I want to see the club grow and more programs to become built. In my future, I see myself as a PA student at UC Davis. I see myself being settled in my career and eventually starting a family. I can't live without a dog so I’d need one. I’d like to start off working in a hospital. but I see myself going into a private practice more. I like the 9-5 so I can have time for my family and my kids.

Fondest memory at Davis?

My fondest memory was my 21st birthday. That was the time I had first come to Davis. I didn't know too many people, but the people I knew threw me this amazing surprise party. They made me feel important in their life and I loved it. I like making people feel important and it was really great seeing people who cared so much about me. A couple of my friends from the bay had come up to see me too so that was really nice.

If you could go back and change anything, what would you change and why?

I wish I would have known that I was going to go into the PA career sooner. There’s a lot of clinical experience that goes into pre-PA and now I feel like I'm against time and I don’t have as much time to complete that experience needed.

Do you have any advice for our readers?

There are going to be times where things just fall apart. Things don’t go your way, but never give up on your dreams. No matter how many times you fall, pick yourself back up because you never know what’s on the other side waiting for you. The best way to learn something is to talk to people. I came here not knowing very much. I learned one of the best resources is word of mouth. I was part of a clinic and shadowed a doctor. I asked them if there were any PAs that I could shadow. After many tries, I heard of one and found a a PA I could shadow. You may get shut down a lot, but don’t let that discourage you.

What's the best way to get involved with your club?

We’re always posting stuff on Facebook. Search us by looking for the “Pre Physician Assistant Club at UC Davis”. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @prepaclubatucd.We have active members and nonactive members. Active members are recommended to go to one fundraiser and two general meetings a quarter. Once we start up the programs, active members will get priority since there is not always enough space for everyone. If you come to the socials, you can get to know the board members. We can give you advice and help guide you in the right direction.