PA Q&A: Morgan Jansen

Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Physician Assistant Commencement Ceremony is December 2, 2022. Members of the Class of 2022 reflect on their time in PA school ahead of graduation day.

Portrait of Morgan Jansen


Solon, Iowa

Degrees and distinctions:

Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Iowa State University

Master of Physician Assistant Studies from University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Future plans:

I am hopeful to pursue a career path in adult specialty medicine within the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

How did you choose this career path?

In high school, I developed a passion for both basic sciences and communication. Naturally, this led me to pursue a career in medicine. During my undergraduate studies, I explored a variety of health care professions, but I struggled to know which career path I wanted to take.

A few months before graduating from undergrad, I was having a conversation with my brother, who graduated from the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program in 2018. We were discussing all the things I wanted out of a career in medicine—the ability to work on a team, the chance to serve a diverse patient population, a world-class education—and my brother told me, "I think you want to be a PA."

I ended up applying to PA school later that year, and the rest is history. I am now so excited to join my brother and other family members as a graduate of the #1 PA program in the country!

What experiences outside the curriculum enhanced your education?

While at the Carver College of Medicine, I had the chance to partake in a variety of extracurricular experiences that really enhanced my educational experience. One of those experiences was serving on PA Student Government as vice president of the PA Class of 2022.

As part of that role, I planned and organized events and volunteer activities for PA and medical students and acted as a PA representative in CCOM Student Government. The experience allowed me to bond with my peers, create wonderful memories, and enact changes that I hope will be beneficial for future CCOM students!

Who was helpful in guiding and mentoring you?

Dr. Sarah Shaffer was especially helpful. She was my preceptor during my OBGYN rotation, and she was always quick to provide advice or a word of encouragement. She was instrumental in helping me develop my skills as a clinician. She was, and still is, one of my biggest cheerleaders, both in and outside of medicine.

In fact, because of the impact she made in my and my classmates' lives, Dr. Shaffer will be awarded the Preceptor of the Year award at this year's graduation ceremony!

What was the most rewarding part of your experience?

I think the most rewarding part of my PA school experience has been the people I met along the way. Particularly, I am referring to my patients and my classmates.

For my patients—I am so grateful for how they accepted me as a student and gave me the opportunity to learn each and every day. I am thankful for their feedback and their encouraging words. I am so excited to enter the community soon and serve these patients as a physician assistant!

For my classmates—I am so thankful to have had all of them by my side during these past two and a half years! They have walked beside me and encouraged me in every moment of learning, joy, and difficulty, and I couldn't imagine doing this journey without them.

Share one memory that sticks out from your time as a student here.

I think it is very difficult to pick out a single memory from my time during PA school. But, if I had to summarize, I would say that every moment I spent with my classmate were my favorite memories! From late-night pizza, to happy hour at Mosley's, to long phone calls during clinical year—I am so grateful for every moment I got to spend with them.

What advice would you give to an incoming PA student?

Work hard in every experience that you are offered during PA school, but make sure that to prioritize the things that bring you joy outside of medicine. I think oftentimes it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work of PA school—it's a very challenging program, after all, and we all want to improve ourselves every day. However, if you can find balance between PA school and finding joy in things outside of medicine, I think you will be immensely more satisfied with your time in PA school.