Successful Skyhawk: Yvannah “Yvee” Willis (’16)

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Category: Successful Skyhawk

Each month, the UT Martin Alumni Association highlights an alumnus who has soared to great heights and made significant contributions in their career, post-graduation. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Yvee Willis, a proud Skyhawk whose achievements inspire us all and remind us of the boundless possibilities that lie ahead!

From Campus to Clinic

Yvee Willis, a former Martin resident, started her journey at UT Martin in 2013 as a Biology major with a concentration in cell and molecular biology. Although an active member of numerous organizations on campus, Yvee’s dedication to her studies placed her in the top of her class.

As a student, Yvee was heavily involved in the UTM Honors program, numerous honors societies, the National Society of Leadership and Success, Habitat for Humanity, and the National Student Exchange program where she was able to study at the University of New Orleans during the spring of 2015. She even founded the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Wellness) UTM organization.

Yvee’s journey at UT Martin led her to further her career at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine through their physician assistant program. She currently resides in Columbia, SC and is a general and bariatric surgery physician assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is also working on her doctorate in physician assistant studies with a concentration in health systems administration at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Everyone at UTM is here to help you become successful in all aspects of life.

Yvee Willis

Class of 2016

B.S. in Biology, Magna Cum Laude

Q&A with Yvee

My favorite memories were definitely during my junior and senior year where my classes were more Biology focused. I was able to spend more time with other people in my major and formed a strong bond with them. We would spend hours in EPS, the library, or the lab to study or work on research, but we always had fun. It was nice being surrounded by people who all had the same goal and helped each other to make sure we all made it to the finish line! Special shout out to Genetics with Dr. Collins. I always enjoyed attending his class and cracking jokes with him. He is so deeply missed.

Growing up, my goal was to go to medical school and become a doctor. As a student, UT Martin allowed me to expand my horizons and open my mind to other possibilities, which led me to pursuing the physician assistant path. While the academic aspect was crucial, I also gained the communication skills and confidence that have helped me today. At UTM, I was able to take risks and venture into unfamiliar territory with ease. They offered so many opportunities that helped me learn more about myself and my potential. All of my experiences at UTM – academic and extracurricular – have made me who I am today: a multi-faceted, confident, thriving person who wants to learn and experience as much as possible.

Since graduating from UT Martin, I attended the USC School of Medicine where I served as the Community Chair for our PA class. While going through the program, I competed in Miss Tennessee 2017, Miss South Carolina 2019, won the Advocacy Award from NAMI Mid-Carolina and became a board member, and got married in 2021. In 2022, I started out in general surgery at MUSC. I’ve enjoyed my career journey and am thankful I can serve in the medical field while staying heavily involved in the TN and SC communities!

Be okay with asking for help! I never took risks or ventured into anything unfamiliar found outside of a classroom. Use the resources around campus to aid in your success and growth, whether it’s spending time with TA, going to Student Health for counseling, or seeking academic or extracurricular advisors’ advice! UT Martin is the best place to help you become successful in all aspects of life and I had a great time as a Skyhawk!