We sent questions to some of the UAB Physician Assistant Studies program students who volunteer at the School of Health Professions' Firehouse Shelter Clinic. We wanted to know more about them, the current PA program and why they serve.

Cristina Pardinas headshot.

Q: What inspires you to become a PA?

A: My family, my friends, my community all inspire me to want to become a PA. I aim to help those who need it the most, I desire to take all that I have learned and give it to those in need. The motivation and drive my family and friends give me and the notion of helping my future patients all inspire me to want to become the best PA I can be.

Q: Advice for future students?

A: My advice for incoming students to any program but specifically UAB is to come in ready to learn, ready to work hard, to come in open-minded and to find a group of friends that you can not only study with but have fun with. For me personally I was fortunate enough to meet some of my best friends at UAB, they have helped me through these past couple of semesters. We study together, we quiz each other and push one another to do better and be better, but most importantly we have fun together. I have learned that studying is essential but also winding down and relaxing with friends is equally as important. Without them this program would be a lot more difficult.

Q: What did you take away from participating in the Firehouse Shelter project?

A: The Firehouse Shelter opened my eyes to the Birmingham Community as a whole, it also showed me not to judge a book by its cover. There are men and women who have made all the right decisions in life and unfortunately have ended up with nowhere to go and no one to help them. It makes me happy and I know it makes my fellow classmates happy to help those in need.

Q: Where will we see you in 20 years?

A: In 20 years, I see myself in two places; first I see myself sitting at my children’s graduation with family and friends surrounding and second I see myself as a hard-working successful PA serving the community where I reside. Being able to balance my family and my career is one of the reasons becoming a PA to me was so important to me.

Learn more about Cristina and other students in UAB’s Physician Assistant program here.