John Katsetos ’09, Senior Physician Assistant, Weill Cornell Medical College

“I was fortunate enough to have amazing professors at Merrimack to give me a great background in molecular biology and genetics that play such a big role in the pathogenesis of leukemia.”

Unlike many freshman, John stepped on Merrimack’s campus with a clear vision­­ – pursuing a career in cancer research. His initial plan was to work in a lab setting, until a professor suggested he consider a profession in patient care. John was then introduced to the idea of becoming a physician assistant.

“I was able to reach out to a family friend who was a physician assistant and he told me all the amazing things he gets to do in the medical field. From there I became an EMT by junior year, and realized that providing care to patients was something I wanted to pursue.”

After graduation, John completed his masters in 2012 in Physician Assistant studies from New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, NY. 

“I knew I wanted to pursue a field in hematologic malignancies and was able to have a clinical rotation with Dale Janson who was a Physician Assistant in Oncology for over thirty years.”

John’s relationship with Janson developed into a full-time opportunity once he completed his degree. Through this connection, John was able to get a job as a Physician Assistant on the Acute Leukemia service at Weill Cornell Medical College. There he takes care of patients who are receiving chemotherapy or are admitted due to complications of their disease.

How did your experience at Merrimack help you as a professional?

Merrimack College got me prepared in so many ways to begin my career as a physician assistant. From an academic standpoint, the biology program challenges you to master basic sciences to give you the backbone needed to understand medical problems you may encounter. The small class sizes allow you to have a personalized educational experience to excel.

From an athletic standpoint, Baseball Coach Sarno always drove you to be the best you could be in the classroom and on the field. He was one of the greatest mentors in my life and always wanted the best for all of his players.

What is the best advice you could give current Merrimack students?

The best advice I could give is to take full advantage of the opportunities Merrimack College gives you. From the classroom to the athletic fields, the people at Merrimack are there to help you succeed.  The friends and mentors you will meet at Merrimack will continue to be there for you passed your days in college to help you achieve your goals.

What is your Favorite Merrimack memory?

I think my personal favorite Merrimack College moment was watching two teammates and friends get a chance to play professional baseball. Jeff Bercume, ’09 (Oakland Athletics) and Ryan O’Rourke, ’10 (Minnesota Twins) were both close friends of mine during my years at Merrimack College.  I think it was surreal now living in New York to go to Yankee Stadium to see Ryan pitch against guys like Jacoby Ellsbury. Thinking about all the early mornings and late nights training with these guys and seeing them reach the ultimate goal of playing professionally is amazing.