|MC Photo by Rebecca Bell|
By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations & Special Events
In 1992, Dawn Reeves was a pregnant teenager and high school dropout living in Andrews, Texas. Today, 41-year-old Reeves is assisting orthopedic surgeons with total joint replacement surgeries. During the past 24 years, she earned her GED, self-financed her way through an associate’s degree at Midland College (MC) and master’s degree at Texas Tech, and became a successful Physician’s Assistant (PA) working at West Texas Orthopedics in Midland.
“I started attending Midland College when I was 29,” explained Reeves. By then, I had been on my own for several years and had various responsibilities such as earning a living and paying bills. Education has always been important to my family, and I was determined to earn a degree.”
Reeves said she became interested in orthopedics while working as a physical therapy technician in a clinic in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for 6 ½ years. During that time, she also obtained a massage therapy license and supplemented her $14/hour wage working in the evenings as a bartender. She researched various healthcare professions, and when she moved back to West Texas, Reeves was ready to start working toward her goal of becoming a PA.
“I loaded up on as many courses as possible at Midland College,” stated Reeves. “I continued to work as a bartender during the evening so that I could take courses during the day. I managed to stay on the Dean’s List the entire time I was at MC and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I knew that if I wanted to get into a PA program, high grades would be important.”
Reeves graduated from Midland College with an associate’s degree in Kinesiology and was accepted into Texas Tech’s PA program, which is located on the Midland College campus. Her last year in the program, she lived in Lubbock while she was participating in clinical rotations at various locations in Lubbock and the surrounding communities.
In 2009, at the age of 34, just 5 years after entering Midland College, Dawn Reeves graduated from Texas Tech University with a Physician’s Assistant Master’s degree and accepted a position at West Texas Orthopedics, where she is currently under the direction of orthopedic surgeons Dr. John Dean and Dr. Daniel Nelson. As the only PA in the busy orthopedic clinic, Reeves assesses patients, administers injections, prescribes medications and assists Dr. Nelson with knee and joint replacement surgeries.
“I really love what I do,” said Reeves. “Once I decided to go back to school, I’m glad I chose Midland College to begin my higher education. My teachers knew that I was focused and determined to earn a degree, and they gave me the support I needed to stay on track toward my career goals.”