About The PA Cafe

My name is Jennifer, a PA student at Nova Southeastern University and divorced single mother of one awesome little girl. I am a South Florida native and a U.S Army Veteran. While enlisted, I served as a Medical Laboratory Specialist completing my Associate’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from George Washington University. Once discharged, I returned home and became board certified/licensed as a Medical Laboratory Technician.

….And that’s when life hit the pause button on my career. My life changed drastically when I returned home. I instantly became a wife, homeowner, stepmother and pregnant with my first child … All while readjusting to civilian life.

I was overwhelmed to say the least, but my drive and passion for more wouldn’t let me stop. I continued some undergraduate course work at South University then completed my degree and prerequisite courses at Florida Atlantic University. My entire college experience, both undergrad and graduate, has been as a mother. I’ve changed my major more times than I’d like to admit and there’s been a few semesters when I’ve had to either reduce my workload or not attend. I finally graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration. That same year I submitted my CASPA application and was accepted into PA school.

I have always been drawn to the medical field, but it took a few years, trials and errors before I took the steps to fulfilling my PA quest. I had to find the courage and confidence in myself to just go for it. I searched endlessly for someone else out there who could relate and help guide me on this journey… but my results often came back empty. This would eventually lead to the birth of The PA Café.

The road up until this point hasn’t been a smooth one. This blog will highlight the daily grind and misadventures that comes along with being a mom in PA school. I hope that sharing our personal experiences will not only encourage you but also help you navigate the road to becoming a PA.

Shatara Francisco-Martinboro
Undergrad: B.A Ethnic Studies from Brown University

I was born and raised in Boston, MA then moved to Florida a year after graduation, where I married my military service member. Shortly thereafter, I completed my post-baccalaureate pre-requisite coursework at Florida International University.

My path to medicine came to a standstill after the arrival of my son and my husband’s deployment. During that time, I almost gave up on the idea of a career in medicine. Juggling motherhood, marriage, active duty military life, and graduate work seemed next to impossible.

I looked for someone’s story that remotely resembled my own. I needed evidence that someone else out there was tackling PA school with a family and/or military obligations. To be honest, I did not find many stories that encouraged me as I took a leap of faith to chase my dream. I had spent many years unhappy, not being where I wanted to be and allowing fear to dictate my actions. This time I did not allow myself to be discouraged. I knew what I wanted to do and I went for it. I wanted to be apart of a blog that documents the experiences of navigating motherhood and marriage while in PA school because I know I was looking for this when I was a prospective student. While my story is just one of the many narratives of parents on their journey to PA-C, I hope it encourages you to step forward in the direction of your dreams. You have everything to lose if you don’t.