NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES

Masks are required as the campus is at red status.

My UCA Story: A Passion for Pediatrics

A biology major looks to a future of practicing medicine as a physician assistant.
Hannah leans against a brick wall

For Hannah Roberson, her desire to enter the medical field began as a child. Now, the junior biology major is studying to be a physician assistant to specialize in treating children.

Name: Hannah Roberson

Hometown: Mt. Vernon, Arkansas

Major/Year: Biology major, Junior

What UCA organizations have you joined?

      • Alpha Sigma Alpha
      • Baptist Colligate Ministry
      • Biology Club
      • Food Recovery Network
      • Pre-PA Club

Why did you choose the University of Central Arkansas? I chose UCA because of my mom and sister. They went here, and I heard a lot of good things from them. I’m 30 minutes away from Conway, and I work in town. I knew that UCA’s community was awesome, and it had a lot of people I knew who had been. UCA had connections that would be able to help me further, and it was close enough that it still felt like home.

What drew you to want to pursue the medical field? It’s actually a funny story. When I was four years old, I was watching a commercial about treating children who have conditions like cleft palates. I looked at my mom and said, ‘I want to go do that.’ I interned at the Conway Regional Medical Center when I was in 9th grade for two weeks. I really liked it, and I’m just a big fan of helping people when I can. I know that I can do that with a biology degree. I decided that I wanted to practice pediatrics as a physician’s assistant, or perhaps return to school later to study nursing so I can pursue what I really love. I’ve been teaching dance and preschool gym classes, so I get along with kids really well.

What interests you about being a physician assistant? As a PA, you can basically do everything a doctor does. I can still go in and prescribe medications. I can still go over with patients, like ‘Here’s the surgery you will have. Let me explain what’s going to happen.’ I can show X-rays. I can go and check in on people. I can assist in surgery. So it’s many of the same things as a doctor.

What classes have you enjoyed the most? I really enjoy hands-on things. I loved Organic Chemistry I and II. The classes themselves are hard, but it’s manageable or me because those labs are so hands-on. It’s really interesting to see how things work and why they work. I don’t think we realize how intricate humans or plants are until we go down into those things. So much is happening on such a microscopic level, and we can’t see it.

Who has been your favorite professor? I had Dr. [Greg] Naumiec for Organic Chemistry I and II, and he is terrific. You would run into his class, and he was that professor who would ask, ‘Are you okay? If you need to take 20 minutes and look over your notes, it’s fine.’ He just really cares about his students. I actually took his classes a year apart, and it’s awesome for me to go into his lab a year later and he’d say ‘Hannah you’re in the wrong lab spot.’ And I was thinking, ‘It’s been a year. How do you remember that?’ He really cares. He’s not just there to teach. He wants to have conversations with you and help you in the best way. I think the biology department as a whole is also good at that.

What are some favorite places to visit on campus? I love the Burdick deli, the 1907 Bread Company. That is one of my favorite spots on campus. The food there is good and it’s so homey. I also love the library. If you get a spot right by the window, it’s nice and you can see all the trees. There’s a spot right in between Doyne and the Math and Science Building. There’s a little concrete table right there, and nobody knows about it because it’s tucked in that area. It’s my favorite spot because everything is green in the summer, and the trees are turning different colors right now.

What’s been your favorite experience at UCA? I enjoyed welcome week during my freshman year. One night when we all packed into the HPER Center during the Play Fair, it was basically speed dating but it was like speed friending. I also joined a sorority on campus my freshman year, and that has been a blessing. I joined it because coming from such a small town I was used to knowing everything. But college is so different. With my sorority, I met genuine people who would see me two weeks later and ask, ‘Hey, how was that exam?’ One of my other favorite UCA experiences is I actually got the chance to sing the national anthem at the senior night for basketball right before COVID hit.

Do you have any advice for UCA students about being involved and active? Don’t try to sit by yourself in class because, most likely, you’re going to see those people again. Reach out to people; find them on Instagram, find them on Facebook, or Snapchat or GroupMe.