Anna Tystahl

Anna Tystahl aspires to become a physician assistant, combining her love for science and volunteering. When she isn’t busy studying, she enjoys hanging out with friends, going on Target runs, outdoor activities, and spending quality time with those she’s close with.

Get to know Anna

  • Major/minor: Kinesiology, pre-health option
  • Class: Junior
  • Hometown: West Des Moines, Iowa (Polk County)
  • Career goal: Physician assistant
  • Clubs/activities: Dance Marathon, Be The Match nonprofit organization, Pre-Physician Assistant Club, Chi Omega sorority
  • Awards/honors/scholarships: Dean’s List, top 2% of freshman (2018) and sophomore (2019) class, Winifred Tilden High Scholar Award, finalist for Sophomore of the Year Award, finalist for Sophomore of the Year Award through Sorority and Fraternity Engagement
  • Favorite place on campus: 3rd floor of Parks Library
  • Most influential ISU mentors: Lisa Phillips
  • Favorite class: PSYCH 101, Introduction to Psychology
  • Why Iowa State:  Opportunities for a successful, well-rounded college experience,  to carry on a piece of grandfather’s legacy and Cyclone passion

Anna Tystahl combines love for science and volunteerism to become a physician assistant

Iowa State University has always been close to Anna Tystahl’s heart. One of her biggest role models, her grandfather, was a Cyclone.

“My grandpa, Don, was a huge Iowa State fan and always spoke so highly of the university. As the last grandkid and the only one to attend ISU, I feel like I am carrying on a little piece of his legacy and Cyclone passion,” Anna said.

When it came to deciding what to study at Iowa State, Anna knew that both science and volunteering were two key components she wanted to implement into her career path.

“Combining these two interests of mine, I knew that the health field was the right place for me. I chose [kinesiology and health] specifically because of its close tie to medicine, its flexibility, and wide array of field options,” Anna said.

Talking with her cousin who is a physician assistant helped confirm Anna’s decision. The job’s flexibility appeals to her greatly, as she’d like to start by working in orthopedic surgery and eventually pursue a path that is more relationship driven.

To work toward her goal of becoming a physician assistant, Anna became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and worked in a nursing home in Des Moines over the summer. In doing this, she gained her necessary patient care hours to apply to graduate school and made lifelong memories with the residents.

Outside of working as a CNA, Anna also started a program through her position as the community service chair in her sorority, in which sorority members are paired up with pen pals from a nursing home in Ankeny, Iowa.

“It’s so rewarding to see the impact you make, and to know that you’re capable of making an impact,” Anna said about her volunteer experiences.

She is looking forward to continuing her journey at Iowa State, and obtaining more leadership roles and experience within clubs and student organizations.

“I am excited to start to get more leadership positions in clubs that I am involved with, as well as become a role model for underclassmen within those organizations,” Anna said.

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