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Spartans of UD - Nicholas Dahm

By University Relations Staff

Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.

Nicholas Dahm, of Pella, Iowa, is a master of science in physician assistant studies student. His father, who is a dentist, will cloak Dahm at the White Coat Ceremony Honoring the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2024. The ceremony will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, December 8, 2023, in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center. Students will be cloaked for the first time in their white coats, symbolizing the transition from classroom to patient care.

What inspired you to become a PA?

"Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be involved in health care. I was applying to dental schools, feeling unsure if it was right for me when both a mentor and friend unsolicitedly suggested within a weeks' time that I look into the PA profession. I knew it was right for me as I have always loved connecting with people and hearing what they have been through, where they come from, and what gets them excited about their own health. As my professors say, medicine is all about the history!"

The White Coat Ceremony symbolizes the transition from classroom to patient care with students being cloaked for the first time in their white coats. How do you feel about making this transition?

"I will always have more to learn but I feel that UDPA has prepared me to take the step into the clinical setting. Despite the uncertainty and monthly change of location, I'm excited to put my classroom time to good use and further my medical knowledge under the guidance of professionals."

What does it mean to you to know your father will be able to cloak you at the White Coat Ceremony?

"It will be a symbolic and memorable moment for me. I have so much respect for him as a dentist and father and have always looked up to the way that he pursues lifelong learning. I hope to emulate the same passion for encouraging, teaching, and caring for patients as I have always seen in him."

What advice do you have for future physician assistant students?

"School is hard but take it day by day - you will make it! I found that a good attitude served me better than anything else, and I found great value in learning to balance hobbies, exercise, and sleep. Don't compare yourself to your classmates, be flexible, and protect yourself by setting boundaries with school and friends."

In your opinion, what makes the University of Dubuque unique?

"The University of Dubuque has made a huge impact on me throughout the past year and a half. I think the interview process for UDPA is unique in selecting like-minded, quality classmates that I gelled with immediately. The professors are passionate and invested in our education. There was never a time where I felt they wanted me to fail or teach me a harsh lesson. Lastly, the community at UD is amazing and something that I will always cherish. We had fun, memorable events like a chili cook off, relay marathon, talent shows, and tons of themed potlucks."