Picture of Petra NicolasYear in School: 4th

Hometown: Antioch, CA

Major: NPB

On-campus leadership roles/positions/organizations: 
Health Occupation Students of America- Secretary

Willow Clinic Volunteer

Pre-Physician Assistant Club Member

Central Valley Autism Project in Sacramento- Behavior Interventionist

Why do you choose to be involved as a student leader?
As a freshman, I wasn’t involved.  Sophomore year I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities on campus.  Now, as a senior, I’m sad I didn’t take advantage of more opportunities to be involved on campus.  I chose to be involved as a student leader to help other- pre-PA, first generations students.  I want to help other students reach their goals, give them a different perspective, and make a difference.

What have you learned about leadership through your work with others on campus?
Communication is the key to make anything ever happen.  Want to be on a team?  You need it.  Want to be in a professional field? You need it.  Communication is important when you interact with different people.  It exposes you to people of different cultures and backgrounds and gives you important life experience.  In addition, communication helps you build trust with the people you interact with every day. I would argue that communication is more important than teamwork.  It is important to learn it now while were undergraduates and before we go out into the real world after graduation.

What is your most memorable experience at UC, Davis? What is your favorite UC, Davis tradition?
My anatomy lab.  Working with real prosections and real human bodies isn’t something students get to do everywhere.

What is your favorite UC, Davis tradition?

Picnic Day is  one of the best events held on campus.  I love seeing the research done by the different departments, engaging in all the hands on activities, and watching the cute dogs in the Doxy Derby races.

What advice would you give to a student thinking about getting involved?
Try everything and don’t limit yourself.  You don’t know what you might find you are interested in.  I didn’t know I wanted to work with kids with disabilities until I did. Also, it’s fun to try new things!

How does getting involved complement your studies?
I’m the kind of person that does better when busy.  It helps me stay focused.  I like to compartmentalize my time.  Being able to set priorities helps.  Also, working in the medical field I need a lot of hours of experience.  I have 1000 hours so far which will definitely help me when I apply to PA school.

Future plans
I plan to work for a year and then apply to PA school.  I will be working full time as a Behavior Interventionist with the Central Valley Autism Project in Sacramento and possibly scribing or shadowing PAs.

Fun Facts

  • Role Model:  Dr. Gross and all the lab aides.
  • Favorite Quote/Motto: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky
  • Hobbies: Being in the  outdoors, hiking, Netflix, and my co-curriculars