During one of her labs, a veterinarian visited and showed students samples of tumors that had been removed from pets. The students practiced identifying cancer cells.
Dressel’s favorite course was Molecular Cellular Biology II with Program Director Jim Burritt, where she learned about cellular and molecular biology and how they apply to the human body’s cellular pathways.
“Camrin is remarkable in the way she engages topics because of her fascination with human biology. She learns because she cares, and not because her lessons are part of a course requirement. She knows she will be able to apply her education in her future,” said Burritt.
Dressel is a certified nursing assistant. She earned her certification from Chippewa Valley Technical College during her sophomore year at UW-Stout. Earning her CNA was a natural step to becoming a physician’s assistant, as she needed clinical hours in a health care setting in order to apply to physician’s assistant school.
She completed her co-op experiences as a CNA at the Neighbors of Dunn County, where she worked mainly in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia home, and at Mayo Clinic Health System in Menomonie.
Dressel has overcome different challenges in her college career, including having appendicitis and needing surgery a few days before finals in her junior year. Although her doctor recommended she postpone taking her exams and having approval from the Dean of Students office to do so, Dressel decided to take her finals anyway.
“In retrospect, it would have been better to have taken time to heal and study instead of rushing to get it done. I learned from the experience to have patience – to take a step back,” she said. “It’s OK to give yourself time.”
Onto her master’s in physician assistant studies
Dressel is most proud that she maintained good grades and was on the Dean’s list most semesters.
Her adviser, assistant professor Brian Teague, recognized Dressel’s ambition from the get-go. “From an advisers’ perspective, Camrin has always been extremely on top of things. She has needed very little advice,” he said.
Dressel has been accepted into the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Carroll University in Waukesha. In her search for graduate schools, Dressel was most interested in Carroll because of its partnership with the local free clinic. The partnership offers first-year graduate students clinical experience opportunities, which is unique for master’s programs, she said.
“Through my hands-on lab experiences and co-ops as a CNA, I learned so much about myself and have grown as a caregiver. I have learned critical thinking skills, empathy, and have become much more patient. This will all help me in my master’s studies,” Dressel said.
“My whole Stout experience has meant to so much. I’ve grown and gained independence being away from home and my parents. I’ve learned about myself and my interests. Stout made that possible. It was stressful, but life doesn’t stop. I never thought, ‘I can’t do this.’ The professors are so supportive and cultivate that experience for you,” she added.
The prehealth pathways in ABMB can lead to careers and graduate studies in many medical fields, including dentistry, optometry, pharmacology, physical therapy and veterinary medicine. Faculty and staff advisers help students make curriculum and career decisions and can help with graduate school applications.