Avera Health Articles


Early career spotlight: One student's journey to become a physician's assistant

Makenzie Haensel is no stranger to challenging, new adventures, and she’s about to embark upon one such opportunity yet again.

This fall, Haensel, 23, is one of 26 students who will pursue a physician assistant, or PA, degree at the University of South Dakota, a highly competitive program that routinely admits approximately 26 students per year, which amounts to accepting just 2.5 percent of applicants. With a 16.9 percent population increase in Sioux Falls since 2010, Makenzie’s chosen career path is also critical to the area’s growth, as hospitals are increasing care for more patients.


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Talent Tour at Avera sparks interests in health care

Myrna Niamba has been intrigued by a career in health care ever since she arrived in the United States in November 2014. An immigrant from the Ivory Coast, Niamba, 22, recently completed her post-secondary studies at in biology at the University of South Dakota (USD) in Vermillion, yet she’s unsure of what type of health-related career she’d like to pursue.

“As you grow older, your parents have a strong influence on what you want to do, and by the time you get your bachelor’s degree, you’re not sure what they wanted you to do is what you actually want to do,” says Niamba. “So you graduate, and you are confused and scared, and you don’t know what you can do at that very specific moment.”


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