International Experiences Guide Katie Ulrich '15 on Her Medical Path

Katie Ulrich gains valuable experience as a physician assistant.

For alumna Katie Ulrich ’15 her aspiration of working in the medical field came one step closer because of her time at Lebanon Valley College. Recognizing the strong reputation of the science program, Ulrich knew that LVC was the best fit for her coming out of high school. 

Ulrich remembers her time at The Valley, and the many opportunities that presented themselves to her during her four years.

“I studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain, during the fall semester of 2013,” Ulrich said. “I also had the opportunity to go on the College’s first international service-learning trip in Cusco, Peru, in May 2014.”

Ulrich’s time abroad helped her to remain open-minded and understanding of different cultures. 

“My time at LVC really helped shape me into the person I am today,” Ulrich said. “I got to experience and learn about different cultures through my time studying abroad and taking Spanish courses at LVC.” 

In addition to studying abroad, Ulrich double majored in biology and Spanish. Balancing the two majors, she claims, was difficult, but worth it. 

“It took a fair amount of planning to be able to complete the course requirements for two majors during my four years of college. I planned out tentative schedules for every semester my sophomore year, before I committed to studying abroad, to ensure I would be able to complete all the requirements for graduation,” said Ulrich.

Growing up, Ulrich admired her pediatrician, and knew she wanted to work in the medical field to help people. She decided to major in Spanish as well in order to become more versatile when speaking with patients.

“I planned to go into college as a biology major. I found out about the physician assistant [PA] profession during my sophomore year at LVC through an information session I went to,” Ulrich said. “I really liked the versatility and flexibility the PA profession offers and decided to apply to PA school.”   

However, it wasn’t until her mission trip to Nicaragua during her spring break of PA school at Arcadia that Ulrich knew she had made the right career choice. 

“We gained experience taking patients’ vital signs, and performing histories and physicals and worked alongside physicians to develop treatment plans for the patients we saw,” Ulrich said. “This experience was great to remind myself of why I chose to go to PA school and how all of the long hours studying pay off when you are able to help a patient.”

Starting in December, Ulrich will work as a physician assistant at the Penn State Health St. Joseph’s where she will work with a health care team at a family practice.

“My duties will include performing histories and physicals, developing diagnoses and treatment plans, and prescribing medication for the patients I see,” Ulrich said. 

This job will help Ulrich perform the skills she learned during her four years of undergrad at Lebanon Valley College, along with the skills she learned during her two years of PA school.