WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., April 13, 2021 — Despite the challenges of the year of COVID, West Liberty University’s PA program held an in-person, socially distanced White Coat Ceremony for its first-year master degree students last Friday.
Eighteen future physician assistants received the official coat and took the PA oath as they continue their studies.
The ceremony included a welcome from Dr. William Childers, program director, and comments by Dean Karen Kettler, who leads the College of Sciences.
“The first-year students began the program last summer, but the ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic. “We are pleased that it could finally take place in a safe manner,” explained Dr. Childers.
To allow for social distancing, each student was permitted to have two family members only at the ceremony, which was held in Kelly Theater.
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: Janette Adkins, Beckley W.Va., Kira Barondeau, Salt Lake City, Utah; Emily Bender, Langeloth, Pa.; Abbey Cusick, Shadyside, Ohio; Tyler Fancher, Joplin, Mo.; Connor Hall, Orem, Utah; Kaylee Hilliard, Bradley, W.Va.; Robert Hutcheson, South Charleston, W.Va.; David Lee, Jacksonville, Fla.; Haleigh Marlowe, Stanley, N.C.; Ethan McDonald, Inwood, W.Va.; Jennifer Myers, Wellsburg, W.Va.; Madison Neiswonger, Beallsville, Ohio; Corey Parsons, Cross Lanes, W.Va.; Abigail Runatz, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Alessa Safko, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Siarra Shaw, Olean, N.Y. and Zachary Sites, Sugar Grove, W.Va.
The class also heard from member of the 2021 graduating class of PAs, Dylan Ringer, who is the WLU Physician Assistant Student Society (PASS) president.
Jenna Ogden, a physician assistant at Trinity Medical Center, Steubenville, Ohio, was the guest speaker. Ogden is an alumna of the program.
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.
West Liberty University’s Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies degree program is a 24-month, year-round course of studies that begins each year in July. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, it includes one year of didactic, in-classroom work, and a second year of clinical rotations under the supervision of licensed clinical preceptors.
Featuring a small class size of 18 students, WLU has one of the most affordable programs in the state.