Kinesiology degree helps former Navy corpsman transition to PA program

Tyler Proper has always had an interest in the medical field. After graduating from high school in 2006, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman, acting as a first responder on the battlefield to Marine Corps infantry. When his military career came to an end, he knew he wanted to continue his studies in the medical field. He will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology on Saturday, May 9. On May 18, he will begin the Penn State College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

“After researching undergraduate programs, I decided that the kinesiology program at Penn State Berks was the perfect fit for me,” explained Proper. “In order to perform my duties in combat and ensure the survival of my Marines, my health and physical fitness was paramount. Naturally, health and fitness became a part of my life and a passion for me. Studying kinesiology at Penn State Berks would allow me to invoke this passion and serve as a stepping stone for various medical graduate programs, so enrolling at Penn State in the fall of 2012 was an easy decision.”

Proper commuted from the home he shares with his wife in Harrisburg, traveling approximately 100 miles per day and completing his degree in just three years, taking 18-21 credits per semester. During that time, he completed internships at the Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute, where he was exposed to many different aspects of the medical field. He also completed an internship at the Arthritis and Joint Replacement Center of Reading/Joints in Motion, where he worked in physical therapy. This spring, he received the college’s Kinesiology Leadership Award.

“During my first semester I decided that among the many medical career paths I could embark on, becoming a physician assistant (PA) was the ideal fit for me,” explained Proper. “When Penn State Hershey Medical Center announced it would begin a PA program in 2014, I was ecstatic at the possibility to continue my education at Penn State and so close to home. I immediately set out to do everything within my power to make myself the strongest applicant possible in this very competitive program.”

When asked how his time at Penn State Berks has prepared him for the future, he stated, “This degree, with all the anatomy and how in-depth the professors go in their courses, really helped me to achieve my goal of getting into the physician assistant program at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. I wanted to come to Penn State Berks because of the smaller class sizes and the personal relationships I could form with my professors, and it was the best choice for me.”