New PA students take their first professional step

WEST LIBERTY — Every summer, the donning of the white coat and recitation of the professional oath is a big moment for students enrolled in West Liberty University’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. It signifies the acceptance of all the duties, responsibilities and work involved in caring for the health and welfare of all future patients.

Eighteen graduate students who began the 24-month program on June 30 received the coats at a ceremony held Friday, July 28, in Kelly Theatre. Family, friends, faculty and staff joined the students for the occasion.

Program Director Dr. William A. Childers, Jr. welcomed guests and offered advice and congratulations to both them and their families. President Stephen Greiner also addressed the class and welcomed them to the Hilltop.

“We are excited to welcome so many motivated, intelligent students to the hilltop that are not only from West Virginia, but also literally from all over the country,” Childers said.

The new class includes students from all over the country, some who just graduated from college, and others who are returning to school after time spent in the workforce.

The new class of PAs include: Connor Clark, Parsippany, N.J.; Aubrey Graham-West, Dallas, Texas; Mariam Harb, Gilbert, Ariz.; Ashley Haught, Moundsville; Bryce Hinde, Fulton, Kansas; Anthony Houston, Elkhart, Ind.; Garrett Lyman, Provo, Utah; Sierra Moore, St. Clairsville, Ohio; Jenna Ogden, Steubenville; Kevin Paschall, San Diego, Calif.; Mark Penaranda, Charlottesville, Va.; Zachary Ransom, Beaver, W.Va.; Douglas Reckner, Somerset, Pa.; Alexandria Rios, Fort Worth, Texas; Jordan Robinson, Mathias, W.Va.; Taylor Rogerson, Wheeling; Kami Sisson, Hinton, W.Va. and Whitney Wigal, Waverly, W.Va.

The class also heard from a member of the second year class, Jillian Laslo of Shadyside, Ohio who is expected to graduate with her master’s degree next spring. Laslo also earned her undergraduate degree at WLU in 2016 and is now completing her first of nine clinical rotations at Wheeling Hospital.

More than 1,000 hopeful students applied for the 18 spots in the master’s program, which accepts admission applications from qualified undergraduates every fall.

Members of the class of 2019 who also are WLU graduates include: Connor Clark, Ashley Haught and Taylor Rogerson.

Other members of the PA program faculty include: Medical Director Howard L. Shackelford, MD, FACS, FACC; Assistant Professor Jennifer L. Childers, MSPAS, PA-C; Clinical Coordinator Kristie L. Meintel, PA; Assistant Professor Tonda Stauffer, MPAS, PA-C; Academic Coordinator Sarah G. Brammer, MSPAS, PA-C; Assistant Professor Robert J. Wetzel, MD, FACOG. Staff includes Administrative Secretary Tara K. Hardman, AA, AS and Records Assistant Connie C. McVicar, BS.

The PA program has held four graduation ceremonies since the program began in 2012 and claims 69 graduates now employed all over the country.

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