Gustavus Alumnae Thrive at Mayo School of Health Sciences

Posted on August 3rd, 2015 by

Pictured left to right are Michaela Holm, Paige Dieleman, and Ashley Petersen.

Pictured left to right are Michaela Holm, Paige Dieleman, and Ashley Petersen.

Three talented students began their first year at Gustavus Adolphus College in 2010, drawn in by the welcoming community of people and the high-caliber of academics, athletics, and activities. All three students: Paige Dieleman ’14 (chemistry), Michaela Holm ’14 (biology), and Ashley Petersen ’14 (biology), knew they were interested in the health care profession, but had no idea that Gustavus would bring them to the Surgical First Assistant Program at the Mayo School of Health Sciences, a school that is part of one of the most renowned hospital and clinic systems in the United States.

The Surgical First Assistant Program at Mayo is unique to Minnesota and operates out of Rochester, MN. It is a three-year-old program that prepares students to become an integral part of the surgical team and become proficient in skills necessary for a variety of surgery specialties. This year’s class features Gustavus alumnae Dieleman, Holm, and Petersen, who will all graduate in early August, 2015.

Dieleman, Holm, and Petersen were challenged academically during their time at Gustavus, gaining the skills needed to succeed in their chosen career path while also developing character and benefiting from the well-rounded liberal arts perspective that Gustavus offers. Each student experience at Gustavus is different, but all contain support in both the students’ professional and personal lives from the College’s many resources.

Dieleman, who majored in chemistry and was a member of the Gustavus gymnastics team, said, “I graduated from Gustavus feeling extremely prepared for my post-baccalaureate program. I also learned a lot about myself at Gustavus. I was able to find my way, develop my own dreams, and define my character throughout my college experience. The friendships and relationships that I gained while at Gustavus made my time there so enjoyable.”

Dieleman cites several mentors for her during her time at Gustavus, one being her adviser and chemistry professor, Amanda Nienow, whose support and encouragement have been appreciated long after graduation. Also, health and exercise science instructor Kiki Harbitz inspired Dieleman to pursue a career involving human anatomy and taught her many skills that she uses each day in the operating room.

Holm, a biology major, said, “One important skill I took away from Gustavus is how to juggle my life. My four years at Gustavus helped me to realize what is important in my life and how to make time for it all.”

Holm was also student-athlete on the Gustavus swim team and was greatly impacted by her coach Jon Carlson and her adviser, Biology Professor John Lammert, both of whom helped her maintain a positive attitude and not let the little things drag her down. The supportive people by her side, especially her teammates on the swim team, made her mentally and physically demanding schedule worth it.

Petersen, a biology major, said, “One of the most important things that I learned from Gustavus was truly the College’s mission statement of ‘Make Your Life Count.’ I feel that the community Gustavus has built allows for individuals to learn from each other and gives them motivation to try to make the world a better place.”

Petersen had a positive experience at Gustavus that prepared her well for life after college. She credits this to experiences like her time traveling abroad, which allowed her to learn about other cultures and enriched her way of thinking. She was also a Gustie Greeter and a student worker in Health Services, both of which provided her with supportive environments for personal and professional growth. She cites valuable experience gained from volunteering and career shadowing as an integral part of her Gustavus experience.

All three alumnae are excited to begin their careers as Certified Surgical Assistants. Dieleman plans to work at St. Mary’s Hospital-Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, specializing in General/Trauma and Critical Care General Surgery. Holm has also received a job offer to work at St. Mary’s, primarily in Orthopedic and Neurosurgery. Petersen has accepted a position at Rochester Methodist Hospital-Mayo Clinic, expanding on robotic surgery.

At the Mayo School of Health Sciences these exceptional Gustavus alumnae have excelled, learning from hands-on experience and working side-by-side with Mayo’s acclaimed surgeons. Dieleman, Holm, and Petersen are highly motivated to assure quality care is provided for patients, knowing that they are making a difference in the lives of others, a quality Gustavus is proud to consistently cultivate in its students.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Sarah Penkava says:

    What successful individuals!