June 30, 2016 – About 600 people cheered from the audience of UF’s University Auditorium as 60 members of the University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies class of 2016 crossed the stage, transitioning from students to health care professionals on June 18.
For Loren Bonenclark, MPAS ’16, this walk across the stage meant following in the footsteps of her mother, Susan Bonenclark, MPAS ’05.
Having her mother understand all she is going through at school has been a blessing, Loren said.
“I come home from school or I’ll leave a rotation and call my mom to tell her every detail of my day, and she 100 percent understands what I’m saying,” she said. “After a long day, she’ll be the first one to comfort me, and after a good day she’s the first one to give me a high five and make me feel good about it.”
Sharing the educational experience has also strengthened the mother-daughter duo’s relationship.
“She’s always known she can talk to me, but now she knows I can identify with her,” Susan said. “We were close to begin with, but this has really brought us closer.”
Loren’s interest in medicine stemmed from an early age. Growing up with parents in the medical field and taking an anatomy and physiology class in high school confirmed her love of medicine, she said.
“I found out PA school would be the better path for me, especially because I have a variety of interests,” she said. “I love learning about different things, so it just fit my personality to be a jack of all trades rather than an ace.”
While she has an open mind about her future, Loren said she has a passion for surgery and trauma care. She is interested in military medicine and could see herself working for the military reserves in the future.
Her interest in critical care has led her to her first job with the acute care emergency surgery service at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. She is looking forward to the next chapter in her life and continuing her education, even at her new job, she said.
“UF has prepared me well, but I still have a whole lot more learning to do in Baltimore,” she said. “I am excited to see where this takes me.”
Photos by Mindy C. Miller. View more snapshots from the UF School of PA Studies commencement ceremony on Facebook.