Alumni Spotlight: Jaelyn Snead ‘11, Anesthesiologist Assistant

We wanted to spotlight another alumnus in our Healthcare and Clinical Research community and share her insights on her career journey and how her identities have impacted her path. Jaelyn Snead ‘11 is currently an Anesthesiologist Assistant at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. 

Tell me a little bit about your career journey from your time at Denison to where you are now.

I graduated Denison University in 2011 with a BS in Biology and a pre-med concentration. After graduation I worked for the Cleveland Clinic for some time. Later I learned about a medical profession that caught my attention, a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant also known as an AA or an anesthetist. 

I researched more into the career and requirements and knew right away it was what I wanted to do and there was a program right in my own backyard at Case Western Reserve University! I set up a couple of times to shadow an AA in the OR and everyone talked about how they loved the work-life balance and with family being a priority for me it was very good to hear this trend.

One of the required classes that I needed to matriculate into the program was human anatomy which I did not take at Denison, so I signed up for the course at Cleveland State University. Another requirement at the time was the MCAT. I was later accepted into the program and it was the best decision I have made for my life. 

Jaelyn Snead ‘11

How have your identities shaped your career journey?

Being one of the few African American female AAs has been eye opening for me. I was the only African American in my class, and the only African American female in the workplace for the past 5 years of my career. This experience has shaped my career journey by encouraging myself to come to work everyday being the best person I can be and to show by example that great medical care in the OR has nothing to do with the color of your skin. It is nice to know that some patients are comforted in knowing that there is some diversity in the OR and when I come into the room they have a smile on their face. I really wish to help educate and expose more people to this profession so that there can be more representation not just in the profession, but in Columbus, Ohio as well.

What does it mean to you to be a Black professional in the Healthcare industry?

For me being a Black professional in the healthcare industry means a familiar face for those who may have hesitated in coming in for fear of not being represented, it means providing the best possible care, it means taking the time to fully explain procedures in terms that they can understand and relate to. Having a diverse medical staff is so important to a successful visit because our different backgrounds and experiences help to contribute to a more well rounded visit. 

As you reflect on Black History Month, what words of wisdom would you like to share with Black students at Denison who are interested in a healthcare career?

Don’t hesitate to go for what you want. If you are interested in a career with a great work-life balance, great pay and an exceptional job outlook look into being a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant! I would love for you to come shadow me in the OR here in Columbus and talk more about the profession. 

By Erin Kistler
Erin Kistler Peer Career Fellow: Healthcare and Clinical Research