As the College of Charleston’s Class of 2020 crosses the finish line, The College Today will highlight how some of our graduating seniors spent their time at CofC, and what the future holds.

Kennedy Toole is spending her stay-at-home time cleaning her new apartment, and rather than binge-watching Netflix, she’s refreshing her studies on anatomy. That’s because Toole, who officially graduated from the College of Charleston last week, will soon start classes in the physician assistant program at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) on May 20, 2020.

Toole always knew she wanted to become a physician assistant, but she thought she would major in biology to achieve that goal. But once she discovered CofC’s public health program, she thought it would help her stand out when it came time to apply to medical school. Toole, however, probably didn’t need the assistance – she’s spent her time at CofC participating in groundbreaking research, helping others and saving lives.

“I had a total vision to become a physician assistant,” says Toole. “I set small goals for myself while at school to help me get into medical school.”

She says she appreciates the opportunity to work in different fields, from psychiatry to emergency medicine, within the scope of being a P.A.

When she began looking for undergraduate universities while still in high school, Toole sought out somewhere with smaller class sizes and more opportunities to interact with professors. The first time she set foot on CofC’s historic campus, she knew she wanted to attend the College.

“If you explore one opportunity, it seems like another one always opens,” says Toole of the variety of educational experiences she had at CofC.

Her time with the Women’s Health Research Team led to her receiving a Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty (SURF) grant. She used the funds to study the relationship between social media use and the mental health of students at CofC. She later presented the results to CofC President Andrew T. Hsu and it turned into one of the focuses of the Office of Institutional Diversity’s Be Well campaign.

In addition to being the vice president of the College’s Public Health Society and all her other extracurricular activities, Toole says that joining the College of Charleston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team was a great opportunity to get real-life experience for a career as a P.A. She recommends that anyone going into healthcare consider signing up.

While she starts her next chapter at MUSC soon, Toole still looks forward to crossing the Cistern in the fall with the delayed Commencement ceremony and having her family in the audience to celebrate her accomplishments.