WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 10, 2022 — West Liberty University’s College of Sciences held its spring commencement ceremony for Physician Assistant (PA) master degree students at 6 p.m., Friday, June 10 in Kelly Theater. The ceremony celebrated 18 students and their achievements.
Dr. W. Franklin Evans, WLU president, conferred the degrees and offered greetings from the university. Also speaking were the Chairman of the Board of Governors Richard “Rich” Lucas and Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Vincent Mumford. Keynote speaker was attorney and alumnus David R. Croft.
Program Director William Childers, EdD, MS, PA-C, began the ceremony by welcoming guests and families to the event.
The PA Class of 2022 and their hometowns 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, Vt.; Kaylee Hillard, Bradley, W.Va.; Robert Hutcheson, South Charleston, W.Va.; David Lee, Jacksonville, Fl.; 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.; Alexxa Safko, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Siarra Shaw, Olean, N.Y. and Zachary Sites, Sugar Grove, W.Va.
Graduates also received Pi Alpha Honors during the ceremony (national honor society for physician assistants). This honor is an indication of academic achievement, community service and leadership.
Winners of the 2022 Pi Alpha Awards are:
Pi Alpha Student Awards:
- Janette Adkins
- Abbey Cusick
Pi Alpha Alumni Award:
Alex Franke, PA-C, who is a 2020 graduate of WLU’s PA program and assists by acting as a preceptor to students. Franke is now employed at WVU Wheeling Hospital Cardiovascular Surgery.
Pi Alpha Honorary Award:
Heather Shields, PA-C, who has acted as a preceptor to WLU PA students since 2013. Shields also does clinical scenarios in the didactic year curriculum for WLU students. She is employed at East Ohio Regional Hospital Family Medicine.
Before the close of the ceremony, the new PAs recited the official Physician Assistant Professional Oath, led by Kristie Meintel, WLU PA instructor and clinical coordinator.
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 is one of the most affordable programs in the country.
Other members of the PA program faculty include: Medical Director Howard L. Shackelford, MD, FACS, FACC; Assistant Professor Jennifer L. Childers, MSPAS, PA-C; 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 Assistant Tara K. Hardman, AA, AS and Records Assistant Connie C. McVicar, BS.