Julia Allan is a kind-hearted lady who resides in the North Side of Pittsburgh and works at Children’s Community Pediatrics of Bellevue. In the following interview, you will see how her studies at Grove City College have allowed her to live our her passions every day!
Tell me a little bit about you, your hobbies, your family… etc?
I graduated in 2004 and I went straight to PA (Physician’s Assistant) school for two years following my graduation. I began practicing in February of 2007, so I have been practicing for 10 years. I married a graduate from Grove City College who is now a pastor. I live on the North Side with my husband and 3 children who are the ages 6, 4, and 2 and I am expecting now with twins! The oldest, Keely, is in Pittsburgh Public School and Jay (age 4) will be joining Keely there soon. I love Pittsburgh and I am very devoted to the neighborhood that I live in. I love to be a part of the community in my neighborhood and my children’s school. Dennis (my husband) and I are involved at Pittsburgh Project and are attune to the needs of our neighbors.
Where do you work and what is your specific title?
The practice I work at is located 10 minutes away from my house, which means I care for my neighbors! It is call Children’s Community Pediatrics of Belleview and my specific title is Physician Assistant.
What does your current job entail and what do you love about it?
I basically do what a Pediatrician does. I see children from 2-3 days old to age 21. I do yearly physicals, vaccinations, developmental check-ups, and basic sickness care. I work two nine-hour days in the office and do after-hour emergency phone calls two nights a week. I love that I can be involved in my community through this job and care for my neighbors’ children.
Some view pediatrics as being monotonous, but I feel there is a variety because of the age range of my patients. Something difficult about my job is the social dynamics. There is a fair amount of poverty in the North Side and many of the children I care for are involved in the foster system or have parents with substance abuse. Because of this, my patients have developmental issues, but I love practicing in this environment and doing what I can to help them. This can be as simple as teaching basic nutrition and health care. I love understanding the dynamics of my neighborhood and doing all I can to benefit my neighbors.
What club(s) were you involved in?
I did Orientation Board all four years and I was on OB exec my Junior and Senior year as co-chair of religious committee. I also did Orchesis where I was Junior Head Choreographer and Senior Head Choreographer my last two years. My freshman year I participated in an ICO mission trip to New York City. Lastly, through the pre-health program, I did two overseas medical trips. The first was during spring break of my junior year, and the second was during the summer before my senior year. During these trips, we cared for patients in a Haitian refugee program in the Dominican Republic.
How do you feel GCC prepared you and benefited your future career?
The pre-health program at Grove City College is excellent. It really kicked my butt and taught me to work hard after I breezed through high school as valedictorian. I learned that hard work is not something to complain and lament about, but it provides the opportunity to learn something valuable. This hard work also prepared my for an intense master’s program to get my PA degree.
The people I encountered at Grove City College were remarkable. They challenged and encouraged my faith, which is the foundation of everything I do. The ICO trip and mission trips that I took opened my eyes to a greater awareness of the realities people live in. This created a discontent to the injustice and a desire to work against the injustice. My perspective was vastly shifted. The more poverty I saw, the more I wanted to help and not ignore it.
How available are the professors after class time if you need additional help?
My professors were very available to help. I went to office hours and worked through problems with them regularly. The coursework kicked my butt, but the professors seemed to want to help us succeed and learn to do our best. They met me where I was and helped me through.
What does the school offer that you wished you had taken advantage of while at GCC?
If I had had more time, I would have loved to mentor at George Junior or participate in Young Life. I have been very involved in Youth Ministry and I would have loved to have that prior experience.
After graduation, were there any classes you wish you had taken to help with your degree?
The Molecular Biology major had many required courses and there was not much room for electives. I did a Religion minor. I would have loved to do a Psychology minor, but they did not offer it when I was there. Seeing now how psychology affects my patients, I would have loved to have more experience in psychology.
What is your best advice to give an incoming freshmen at GCC? What did you enjoy the most and find most beneficial at GCC?
The best advice I can give is to embrace the reality you get to experience a very rich Christian Community and allow your college years to be a time when your faith really deepens. Challenge yourself to invest in activities that continue to expand your perspective and awareness of realities in the world that Christians should be involved in. Use these four years to understand how you can use your education to make things right where they are not right. Always acknowledge the great privilege it is to get an education from a Christian perspective.
Thank you, Julia! We do offer a psychology minor now, so that may be a good thing for any incoming pre-health students to look in to if they have passions like Julia!