By Kate Hunger
Teaching was a calling Bent Shriver, Ph.D., physician assistant studies associate professor didn't see coming.
"Never say 'never," Shriver said. "When I got out of grad school, I was going to be a researcher."
Shriver, who once had even considered veterinary school, found himself leading lectures instead of working in a lab. More than 20 years later, he says he finds working with students in the challenging PA Studies program to be rewarding.
"I mostly enjoy working with struggling students and seeing them make it," said Shriver, who also serves as the program's academic coordinator. Shriver said he tries to boost the confidence of students who need a little extra encouragement.
"You have to tell yourself, 'If this other person can do this, so can I," Shriver tells them.
Shriver grew up in West Virginia and earned his bachelor's in agriculture, his master's in animal nutrition and his doctorate in nutritional biochemistry. He joined the UT Health San Antonio faculty om 2007. His career has included faculty positions at Texas Tech University, as well as working as a scientist outside academia.
Shriver has been honored with a number of awards for teaching, including the 2016 Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence from the University.
"When you teach, you are making an impression on 40 other people," he said.
"You are magnifying your efforts."
Looking ahead, Shriver sees more opportunities to work with the students, who will be expected not only to earn good grades in their courses but also to excel in a competency-based framework that requires them to demonstrate professional attributes before they can begin their clinical rotations.
"It's really the way medical students are trained," Shriver said. "We believe it's future of PA education."