In Focus: Crystal Malichek
What attracted you to Hofstra University’s Physician Assistant program?
There were a variety of factors that led to me choosing Hofstra for PA school. First, I grew up on Long Island, and I liked the idea of staying close to home. Being in Hofstra for my undergraduate degree as well, I witnessed the program changing into what it is today throughout my years there. I was able to attend Hofstra knowing that I would graduate from PA school with the newly-added Master's Degree in Physician Assistant Studies, making it a dual degree program. The changes that occurred in the program were also reflected in the pass rate of the national licensing exam, the PANCE. The pass rate not only increased but surpassed the average pass rate. Finally, being at Hofstra as an undergraduate, I was able to establish relationships with the faculty before I started the graduate part of the program, which allowed me to adjust to the campus and be more involved.
What led you to be interested in this field?
Throughout my life, I have always been concerned with the well-being of others and doing what I can to help them. When I learned about the Physician Assistant profession, I realized that it would be a perfect fit for me. I love to help people. I have always been caring and compassionate, and having a job where I could incorporate this would be ideal. I love that I have the opportunity to establish relationships with people. Along with this, I have always been interested in and excelled in my science classes. A profession where I could combine my compassion towards people and love for science felt like the perfect fit for me.
Talk about your experience in/advantages of being in the Honors Program and the dual-degree program.
Looking back, I really appreciate the Honors classes that I took in my first year. They helped to shape me and expand my knowledge. I learned to think and analyze on a different level. I did not realize how useful this would be until I started the PA program. Along with this, my honors classes counted for other prerequisites needed for PA school. When applying for the program, being part of the Honors College helped me stand out on my application, and I was remembered for it. When graduating with my baccalaureate, I had a special recognition on my diploma and a medal indicating that I completed the Honors Program.
One great advantage of being in the dual-degree program was that I had one less year of undergraduate classes. I was given a very specific list of classes that I needed to take in undergrad. I liked that it was very structured and that I worked closely with my advisor so I knew that I was on track.
Tell us about what phase of the program you are currently in and your experiences in that phase.
I am currently in my master’s research semester and will be graduating this December. During this phase, we have taken classes on statistics, research design, and epidemiology to prepare us for the original research that we completed throughout the semester. Being in this phase of the program, I enjoy looking back at my time at Hofstra and how far we have all come. This semester has been much more laidback and gives us adequate time to prepare for our licensing exam and search for jobs. In the PANCE review classes that we are given, it is so relieving to see how prepared we are for our licensing exam from all the classes taken in our didactic year and our rotations from the clinical year.
What other opportunities and extracurricular activities did you take advantage of at Hofstra?
Being a Physician Assistant Studies major with a minor in biology, I looked to involve myself in activities that had a medical aspect to it. I was a member of Project Sunshine, where we would visit children in hospitals and make crafts with them, the Red Cross Club, and the Association of Pre-Health Oriented Students.
Once in the Physician Assistant program, I was very eager to involve and establish myself. I am the Vice President of the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, an organizer and participant of the peer mentor program, which provides incoming PA students with a personal mentor to guide them, and a student representative of Hofstra’s Bone Marrow Drive in conjunction with the Red Cross. I was also a member of our PA Program’s Medical Jeopardy team, winning second place in NYSSPA’s competition.
Describe your experience working and studying with faculty in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
My experience has been excellent. The staff and faculty are very professional, and I have built relationships with all of them. I know that what they do to help us succeed goes above and beyond because when sharing my experiences with students from other schools, I am one of the only ones without a single complaint about my program. Hofstra’s PA program also has a sound professional reputation in the medical field. The faculty has groomed us into being respectful, professional, and well-educated future healthcare providers. Because of this, we stand out on rotations and are remembered by hospitals and medical offices. When hiring, some places will only ask for Hofstra graduates from their experiences with us which speaks so much more than words.