PA WEEK: Student Walked Away from Everything She Knew to Help Others

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

Cassidi Spurlock’s life was all in place.

She had a career as an audio engineer in a city she knew well — Nashville, Tenn. She was comfortable. But she wanted more — she wanted to make a difference, and to do it in her home state of Kentucky.

“I had to live a little more life than some to realize that I wanted to be a PA,” she says. “Making the decision to walk away from (my) career in Nashville felt really scary at the time, as one can never know for sure what the future holds. It felt overwhelming to leave a city and a job I loved to go back to school in my upper 20s to complete a biomedical science degree.”

Now, nearly a year into her graduate studies at UK, she can look back at that time in her life with a sigh of relief — she now knows the sacrifice was worth it. 

Spurlock is on track to graduate in summer 2024 with a degree in physician assistant studies. Located on the Morehead campus, she is well on her way to achieving her goal of helping the people of the Commonwealth. Her people.

“PAs are committed to team-based practice with physicians and other healthcare providers to ensure the needs of their patients are prioritized and met,” she says. “Spending my days improving the quality of life of others while being able to provide a stable life for my own family will be a dream come true.”

When Spurlock made the decision to pursue a career in medicine, she knew she wanted to learn from those who had walked down a similar path; UK was the destination, where she could work with healthcare professionals who were actively helping the people of the state.

“Receiving an education from professors and PAs who are actively engaged in managing the health needs of my fellow Kentuckians felt like an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” she says. “(And to do it) from the comfort of the Morehead satellite campus has been an enormous gift. Graduate school is stressful. The workload can be intense. It’s crucial to have adequate support to make it through these years. For me, support has been being able to live close to my family in a quiet small town with few distractions.”

Even more beneficial? Her professors have gone through the same program.

“They are familiar with the academic and personal stress that comes with being a UKPA student,” she says. “Their understanding of the student experience not only shapes how they teach, but also enables them to empathize with and provide encouragement to us. It’s inspiring to see what others who have gone through this program have been able to accomplish.”


Oct. 6-12 is National PA Week! Celebrate with us here in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky.