History will be made at Stephens College tomorrow. Among those earning their degrees at commencement will be the 20 members of the inaugural graduating class of the College’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S.) Program.

 The December 2018 PA graduates — 15 women and five men — are making their walk across the commencement stage following the completion of their 27-month professional program, which involves 13 months of didactic education in the College’s state-of-the-art Center for Health Sciences, and 14 months of clinical training with rotations in areas, including family medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, general surgery, behavioral medicine and emergency medicine.

“We are thrilled and extremely proud of these new clinicians,” said PA Program Director Eric Johnson. “They are eager to enter the world of healthcare and make a difference.”

Inaugural graduating class member Samantha Belvin ’18 M.P.A.S. says that she is leaving Stephens well-equipped to begin her career as a PA in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

“My education in the Stephens College Physician Assistant Studies Program was unparalleled,” said Belvin, who will give the graduate class address. “I feel well prepared for my future career, and I cannot imagine getting this level of education from any other program.”

“You won’t find another PA program with the same quality of education, state-of-the-art facilities, or as genuine of faculty as you will find here at Stephens College.” 

Classmate Dana Heggemann ’16 B.S., ’18 M.P.A.S., agrees, stating that she’s ready to begin her future career as a PA.

“As I look forward toward my PA future, I feel the Stephens College PA program has prepared me well,” said Heggemann, who also completed her undergraduate study at Stephens. “The extensive didactic year required me to dive deep into all the medical material and pushed me further in my education than any other program I have completed. The well-developed curriculum laid a solid foundation for my medical knowledge and the support and encouragement of the faculty made the transition to clinical rotation as smooth as possible.

“I believe the M.P.A.S. has given me the education and training I need to take the next step to my future job as a PA.”

After graduation, she will enter the University of Missouri post-graduate Hospital Medicine PA Fellowship Program.

The graduate commencement ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 14 with Dr. Scott Richards as the keynote speaker. He is the founding chair and program director for the Department of Physi­cian Assistant Studies in the School of Health Sciences at Emory & Henry College in Marion, Va.

Stephens undergraduate students will earn their degrees at the undergraduate commencement ceremony earlier that day at 2 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Angeleigha Mendez ’14, a Stephens College alumna and trustee who is the marketing and publications officer for the New Mexico State University Foundation in Las Cruces, N.M. Senior Class President Andrea Keltz ’18 of Kirkwood, Mo., will deliver the class speech. She is earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Stephens.

A total of 75 degrees will be conferred by Stephens College President Dianne Lynch during the two ceremonies, which both will be held in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall.


Pictured: Inaugural graduating PA class

Tags : Student Success, College & Campus, School of Health Sciences

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