Master of Science in Anesthesia

Student Profiles


Tyra Jenkins
Tyra Jenkins
Hometown: Saint Louis, MO
Class of 2020
College/University Attended: University of Missouri - Saint Louis (UMSL)
Undergraduate Major: Biology (pre-med)
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC School of Medicine?

I chose to attend UMKC School of Medicine once I discovered there was an MSA program. I already attended a school in the UM system for undergrad so I knew this would be a great transition. This school was also the closest to home and affordable for residents and non-residents. Having a small class size was also very attractive considering I learn well in smaller classroom environments, which I got to experience as a student of the UMSL Pierre Laclede Honors College. With a smaller class size, it allows for more one-on-one assistance. After doing further research into the MSA program I found that they had a 100% job placement and 100% first-time pass on the certifying exam which caused me to solidify my decision to attend UMKC School of Medicine.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

Being a professional graduate student at UMKC has given me a chance to experience having really invested professors in my future that want to see me excel. Having the opportunity to work in the simulation lab and work through real life scenarios that we may encounter as health care providers has been very beneficial and exciting. Having the opportunity to start being in the operating room within the first two months of starting the program eventually helps with overcoming the fear of being new in the operating room before actually starting your clinical rotations. Also having multiple resources along with the faculty, professors, and classmates available to help you along the way makes the experience at UMKC more enjoyable.

Why are you pursuing a career as an Anesthesiologist Assistant?

I chose to become an Anesthesiologist Assistant because I love medicine and being in the heath care field. Being an Anesthesiologist Assistant is a very lucrative profession with many valuable opportunities to work in different places. Becoming an Anesthesiologist Assistant is very rewarding because it consists of a team of people that come together to make the best decisions for their patients.



Kayla Hickey
Kayla Hickey
Hometown: Blue Eye, MO
Class of 2019
College/University Attended: College of the Ozarks
Undergraduate Major: Biology and Psychology
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC School of Medicine?

I have always resided in southwest Missouri, so I was extremely interested in staying in Missouri. Looking at other AA schools around the country, I was attracted to UMKC based on the small class sizes. My hometown is one of the smallest in the state of Missouri, and I came from an undergraduate college that boasted around 1,200 students. A small class size means more opportunities for the students and more one-on-one help available. UMKC offers great resources available to all students in the medical school like the simulation lab and the health sciences library. While taking a tour of the school in college, I was introduced to these resources and was very impressed with the simulation lab, especially its ability to offer awesome, hands-on experiences before I even stepped into a real operating room.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I have enjoyed the overwhelming support offered by everyone at UMKC. All of the professors, preceptors, and faculty at UMKC always convey how much they are here for your success. It is a transition from undergraduate study to graduate study, but UMKC makes the transition seem easy. UMKC offers a great support system and always reminds you that you can and will succeed.

Why are you pursuing a career as an Anesthesiologist Assistant?

I’m pursuing a career as an anesthesiologist assistant because I love the option of being a mid-level practitioner with a specialization in anesthesia after 2.5 years. I LOVE being in the operating room all the time, and I love the adrenaline rush that anesthesia provides. The fact that I can potentially have a balanced work and personal life is also an attractive aspect of this career.



Jason Laughlin
Jason Laughlin
Hometown: Waynesville, MO
Class of 2019
College/University Attended: University of Missouri-Kansas City
Undergraduate Major: Biology
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC School of Medicine?

Coming from a small town, moving to Kansas City for my undergraduate career was a big step for me. I did not really know anyone in the area, but quickly meshed with the city and the people here. Kansas City is very welcoming, and the people on and off campus are very friendly. I attended UMKC for all four years of my undergrad and really wanted to continue my education here. UMKC has given me so many opportunities to become involved and to get a great education. With that, I knew that I wanted to continue my education at UMKC School of Medicine for the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program. I really liked that the class sizes were small, giving more opportunity for hands-on experience. I also received some great advice from current students that supported my decision to apply for this great program.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I really enjoy the opportunity to be able to learn in the classroom and to take that knowledge to directly develop skills through skills lab and real-life clinical experiences. The didactic and clinical instructors are very supportive and put an emphasis on helping students learn and succeed in both settings to become great members of an anesthesia care team. I also enjoy that the small class size allows us all to come together and work as a team. It allows a comfortable setting when going through first year classes together. Everyone is very supportive and assists one another when any struggle comes along. In this program, everyone wants you to succeed and goes above and beyond to make sure that will happen.

Why are you pursuing a career as an Anesthesiologist Assistant?

Coming to college, I was a pre-medical student. I shadowed physicians in many different specialties, but never really found what I was looking for in a possible career path. Around my junior year, a colleague of mine who was currently going through the MSA Program explained the experience and profession to me. I went and shadowed an anesthesiologist assistant for the first time and instantly knew that this was the profession for me. What really fueled my interest was the collaboration not only with the anesthesia care team, but with many other interdisciplinary teams in a surgical setting. I also enjoy the fast pace and ever-expanding advancement of anesthesia. Lastly, the knowledge basis, empathy, and professional skills I observed in the anesthesiologist assistants I followed was unprecedented. My goal was to find a program leading to a profession where I can continually improve myself both professionally and personally. I know that having a career as an anesthesiologist assistant will help me to reach my goals.