There are students at The Master’s University who knew for years before coming that they wanted to attend TMU, and who knew exactly what they wanted to study. Kayla Marchesani was not one of those students.
“Master’s was not at the top of my list,” Kayla said with a small laugh. “I had quite a few schools ahead of it in my mind. But when I came and visited Master’s . . . I knew pretty immediately that it was a special place.”
When she visited her top pick school, she felt a nagging lack of peace. In contrast, when she spent time on TMU’s campus and got to know the soccer team, she found herself wanting more.
“Master’s kind of stole my heart.”
When she showed up on campus her freshman year, she was passionate about soccer and intrigued by Master’s, but she wasn’t sure which major she wanted to choose. However, she enjoyed science, and she signed up to take several classes in the Biology department her first two semesters.
“Being in biology classes—seeing the human body and its anatomy—I was just amazed by what God created. And I thought, ‘I could study this forever.’”
By the end of her first year, Kayla was committed to pursuing a Biology degree. But there was still the question of what to do with it after.
“Probably midway through my second year at Master’s, I knew I wanted to go into medicine, and I was toying with the idea of being an MD . . . It was a combination of having a brain for science, and enjoying it, but also really liking people.” Of all the possible outlets for her love of science, medicine seemed the most social.
Around this time, Kayla began learning more about the possibility of becoming a physician assistant. PAs, while having more training and autonomy than nurses, don’t need to go through the same protracted residency process that doctors do. They also don’t need to specialize, meaning that a PA can work on a wide variety of cases throughout their career.
Kayla was excited about the idea of having so much flexibility. As she approached her final year at Master’s, she decided that this was what she wanted to work towards. After graduation, she moved to Boston for PA school. A year later, she married Jake Marchesani (a fellow Master’s student), and he moved out to join her.
Now Kayla and her husband live in Colorado Springs with their two young daughters, and she is more grateful than ever for the flexibility of being a PA.
“I’m still able to be a mom and give that my all . . . If I was going the MD route, I would still be a resident and wouldn’t even have my first job!”
However, as thankful as Kayla is for her career, she has especially warm gratitude for her time at Master’s.
“It was such a wonderful experience . . . I felt such a sense of community and home, being alongside people that love the Lord and love others.”
Kayla remembered one moment in particular that encapsulated this feeling. One day during her freshman year, she was in a chemistry lab with the late Dr. Taylor Jones. She asked him a question, and while he was in the middle of responding, he knelt down, tied Kayla’s shoe, and then continued on as though such a thing were totally normal.
“I was just stunned. I could not believe that a professor of chemistry cared that much . . . It blew my mind, and that has stuck with me ever since.” She compared that to the undergrad experience of people she met in PA school, who often never truly met their professors, let alone had an interaction like that.
“That really went for all of the Biology department. There wasn’t a single professor I had that wasn’t willing to answer questions—and always with such a biblical worldview. When it comes to science, I think that it’s just so important to be able to see God in every aspect.”
Reflecting on her years at Master’s, Kayla concluded with this: “We had it so good, and it’s important to take advantage of that. Looking back, it was such a special time. Obviously, it was very busy, and there’s always something to draw your attention. But try to take it all in and enjoy everything that’s available.”
“I sometimes think, if I could go back and do it all over again, would I? I totally would.”