Where are they now: Payden Land

Cynthia Reyes
Staff Writer

Payden Land, formerly Dompe, grew up in Borger. She was involved in a multitude of academic activities, including band and color guard. After graduating from Borger High School in 2013, she moved to Abilene to attend college at McMurry. Similar to her participation in high school, Payden was involved in “basically everything,” as she puts it.

“Four years and a major thesis focused on genetics later, I graduated and was accepted to physician assistant school at Hardin Simmons as part of their inaugural class. I married my amazing husband, Dennis Land (who I met at McMurry) in August. We have 2 dogs, JoJo and Lola, and a cat, Everest. If you ask anyone, they would tell you they are actually my children,” Payden says.

Currently, Paydens's life revolves around studying--constantly. “PA School has been crazy hard but crazy rewarding,” Payden says, “This spring break, along with a group of 10 other students and 5 providers, I went to Peru to set up a free clinic for people in the Chocco community. God really showed up and we amazingly saw 716 patients in 4.5 days. It was great to be able to immerse ourselves in the culture, practice our new skills, learn from the locals, and just have fun. Anyways, I will be finishing my didactic year of school this summer and early September I will start my clinical rotations.”

Payden explains she has always had a passion for science, people and a desire to understand how the human body works. “I’m pretty sure Mrs. Tracy Howard (Queen of the Universe) really made that evident for me during high school. Once I got to McMurry, I was able to flourish in ways I didn’t know was possible with the incredible professors and research opportunities. Dr. Sharp, my academic advisor, really had me think about going the PA route and I haven’t looked back since. I am so lucky I have had educators like him and Mrs Howard in my life.”

When asked what she is proudest of, Payden answers: “the skills and heart I have obtained throughout life from my parents, educators, and friends.” For Payden, it's those skills and experiences that has allowed her to help others which she says brings her heart true joy. “For example, the clinics I worked in while in Peru and Haiti during my undergraduate studies are in my thoughts at least once a day, and in turn are able to push me forward even when I’ve been studying for 8 hours already that day. I know it will pay off and give me the opportunity to have that joy of doing what I love every day,” Payden says.

Looking to the future, Payden says: “As of now, after I am done with school I would love to work as an OB/GYN PA, although I think I could be happy with nearly anything that will help pay off my student loans. Dennis and I will be moving to the San Antonio or Austin area where he can start getting his masters degree and we can be closer to our ranch in Junction. I will graduate PA school in December 2019, and then take my certifying exam in January 2020. So -shameless plug- if there is anyone in those areas looking for a PA, I’m your gal.”