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From Phoenix College to Yale - Komal's Story

komal and anil kapoor komal and anil kapoor

Phoenix College (PC) has been around for nearly 100 years. Students enroll at PC with a variety of goals; many students come to PC to take liberal arts classes or transfer to a four-year university. Numerous students enroll at Phoenix College for technical degree programs like Nursing, Emergency Medical Technology, Dental Hygiene, American Sign Language Interpreter Preparation, and many more. A large percentage of students attend right out of high school and some return to PC later in life to re-career or explore alternative options for achieving new goals.

Komal Chattha, likewise came to Phoenix College both to prepare for future studies and to re-career. Komal graduated from Berkeley College with a sociology degree in 2013. After her first few years in the field, she decided to make a change, moving from California to Illinois. While she was there, Komal took a biochemistry class at Malcolm X College in Chicago. She fell in love with and knew that her true passion was medicine.

“I closed my eyes and pointed to a map to see where I would go next. My finger landed on Phoenix.” – Komal Chattha

Komal’s next step was getting accepting into a good medical program to pursue a master’s degree. She quickly found out that most programs are highly competitive. To give herself the best chance at success, Komal enrolled at Phoenix College, taking the prerequisite courses her chosen schools suggested.

The field of medicine is wide and Komal used her time at PC wisely; taking classes to help narrow her focus.

Komal feels blessed to have attended Phoenix College. “I found my purpose at PC. I re-gained confidence, because it had been a long time since I received my Bachelor’s Degree. I formed my community. PC helped me learn more about who I am and who I want to be in the future.” – Komal Chattha

While at PC, she connected with Dr. Anil Kapoor, a Biosciences Faculty member. After taking his class, Dr. Kapoor was so impressed with Komal’s work ethic that he asked her to be his teacher’s assistant (TA); balancing this new role with her studies, while also tutoring PC students.

“Dr. Kapoor is such a great professor – everyone loves him! He genuinely cares for his students and is always willing to help.” – Komal Chattha

Dr. Kapoor recently received the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction Award for his passion, willingness to support students and going above and beyond what is required to ensure students are successful. He will be recognized during the AACC 100th Annual Convention in National Harbor, MD on March 29th.

The anatomy and physiology courses, Biology 201 and Biology 202, were two of Komal’s favorite classes.  Komal knew that the education she was receiving at PC was exceptional.

“In California, it’s unheard of for community college students to learn in a cadaver lab. Having these resources made learning the science concepts much easier.” – Komal Chattha

Komal is completing a Master’s Degree in Public Health, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2020.  Armed with the necessary educational credentials, Komal can finally pursue the last leg of her medical journey. She was recently accepted to the Masters in Medical Science Program at Yale University. After she completes the program at Yale, she will enter the workforce as a physician’s assistant (PA) with a specialty in either dermatology or surgery.

For current students and Phoenix College alumni seeking a career in the medical field, Komal has this advice:

“Do your research. Seek out campus resources like counselors, teachers and tutors. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Reach out to grad programs and ask them what they are looking for in an applicant. Shadow different health professionals. Ultimately, shadowing different professions is how I realized that I wanted to be a PA, not a doctor.”

Learn more about PC’s biosciences program on the College website.


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