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Passing the Torch: LVC Alums are Creating a Legacy at Penn State Health
Like many other college students, when Lexie Lantz ’17 came to LVC as a first-year student, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after college.
A day shadowing LVC alum and physician assistant (PA) Mark Stout ’77 in the Radiation Oncology Department at Penn State Health led Lantz not only to her career but a place that would eventually become her first job.
“After spending a few days with Mark, I realized that I really enjoyed the role of a physician assistant and could see myself working as one, especially in the field of oncology,” said Lantz, who received a neuroscience degree from LVC.
What began as a shadowing experience eventually turned into an internship and mentorship that continued to solidify Lantz’s love for the profession and helped her gain valuable experience, despite her busy college schedule. Stout remembers hosting Lantz and watching her balance her responsibilities.
“I saw her as a highly intelligent student, very outgoing and friendly with my patients, and a very organized student who managed to combine a challenging classroom schedule with her participation in the women’s basketball program all four years of college,” he said.
Stout didn’t just see this balance at work in the Oncology Department, he also saw it on the court.
“Outside of work, Mark also became one of my biggest fans during my basketball career at LVC, cheering me on from the stands for many of my games,” said Lantz.
As she neared her junior year, Lantz applied to Penn State’s highly competitive Physician Assistant Program, a program that Stout had pursued years before. She earned one of 30 spots in the program from a pool of more than 5,000 applicants and traced her success to LVC.
“The rigorous academics that LVC provided prepared me for the academic demands of physician assistant school,” said Lantz. “Playing NCAA basketball, serving as a Resident Assistant, and being a member of various clubs helped me establish time management skills and a strong work ethic, which carried into physician assistant school and my career.”
Once she finished her PA program, Lantz’s experience in the Oncology Department positioned her perfectly so that when an opening arose for a new PA in the department, she landed the job.
Now working alongside Stout in the place where she was once a college first-year just testing the waters, Lantz is helping her own patients.
“I love being able to share in the joy of my patients who achieve and stay in remission, but I also value being there to support and guide my patients who unfortunately relapse,” said Lantz.
Stout finds it rewarding to see Lantz establish her career and follow in his footsteps from The Valley to Penn State Health. He notes the power of alumni networking and the way that they are able to pass the torch to upcoming students.
“I always told Lexie that she is my legacy since I am on the tail end of my career while she is just starting out,” he said. “I am truly proud of our LVC connection as well as our sharing of the Penn State PA program.”
— Darby Seymour, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant