Physician Assistant Students Honored at Annual Convocation for Clinical Clerkship at Alderson Broaddus University

Thirty-four members of the physician assistant (PA) studies Class of 2020 were honored during the official white coat and pinning convocation at Alderson Broaddus University on Friday, July 26.

“This ceremony is so important to the families and students because it symbolizes professionalism and commitment to patient care while transitioning from one phase to another,” said Thomas Moore, director of the physician assistant studies program and dean of the College of Medical Science.

This final year will be spent in clinical rotations at local hospitals and medical centers, focusing on and delivering high-quality, patient-centered care.

The Class of 2020 includes: Azin Akar from Gibsonia, Pa.; Josiah Baker from Douglassville, Pa.; Allyson Branham from Prestonburg, Ky.; Jessica Chance from Louisville, Ky.; Taylor Chevalier from Belington, W.Va.; Peter Cioloca from Philippi, W.Va.; Brandon Coburn from Bridgeport, W.Va.; Keeley Diggs from Hurlock, Md.; Rachel Graziano from Dewitt, Mich.; Noel Guido from Spanish Fork, Utah; Jacquelin Harper from Grovetown, Ga.; Regan Houston from Leesburg, Va.; Brady Huttinger from Pasadena, Md.; Kyle Lehosit from Clarksburg, W.Va.; Aneeq Malik from Philippi, W.Va.; Kelsea Martin from Stevens Point, Wis.; Zane McGuire from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Sarah McMillan from Morgantown, W.Va.; Cassandra Mueller from Fond Du Lac, Wis.; Scott Nesland from Philippi, W.Va.; Ashley Norman from New Philadelphia, Ohio; Lauren Peyton from Chapmanville, W.Va.; Yuenan Pitrolo from Bridgeport, W.Va.; Christian Porter from North Liberty, Ind.; Hannah Prontiker from Elizabeth, Pa.; Nathaniel Rainey from Philippi, W.Va.; Douglas Sievers from Mt. Carmel, Ill.; Amy Stewart from Philippi, W.Va.; Briana Stine from Columbia, Md.; Julia Tucker from Romeo, Mich.; Sania Ullah from Federalsburg, Md.; Reid Van Bussum from Lexington, Ky.; Anna Warfield from Gaithersburg, Md.; and Shayne Zaplitny from Coatesville, Pa.

Shawn Beltz, Class of 2019 and recipient of the Clinical Excellence Award—an award based on compassion, leadership, working relations, clinical adequacy, academic performance, and support of the goals and objectives of the physician assistant program—addressed the Class and encouraged them always to keep learning.

Beltz quoted from Dr. Lisa Sander’s book “Every Patient Tells a Story,” by saying: “in medicine, uncertainty is the water we swim in.” Beltz explained that while this may be true, he is certain that the professors at AB have provided the Class of 2020 with a solid foundation to build upon throughout their yearlong clerkships. He then challenged the Class to be uncomfortable.

“Put yourself out there,” said Beltz. “Show up each day with the intentions to learn something new. Come with an infectiously positive attitude and look for ways to be helpful and make the people around you love working with you. Come early, stay late, ask questions, and study hard, because your patients will depend on you.”

Moore concluded the ceremony by saying, “you’ve learned about the science of medicine. Today is the significant transition between the science and art of medicine. Remember, it’s all about what the patient needs. Always look at the patient and not the disease. Grow, develop, be a leader, but most of all—care for your patients. That’s why we do what we do in this profession. We are proud of you and look forward to your future endeavors as a physician assistant.”

As the Class of 2020 transitions into their clinical phase, Beltz and the physician assistant studies Class of 2019 prepare for graduation on August 16 at Alderson Broaddus University.

The mission of the Alderson Broaddus University School of  Physician Assistant Studies is to academically and clinically prepare physician assistants who deliver high-quality, patient-centered, primary, and specialty care with physician collaboration, to diverse populations.

Alderson Broaddus University stands out as one of the most innovative health education providers in Appalachia, pioneering the nation’s first baccalaureate physician assistant program of its kind in 1968 and the first post-baccalaureate physician assistant master’s degree program in 1990. For more information, call AB Admissions at 1-800-263-1549 or visit

Physician Assistant Twentieth Annual Convocation Photo Album:

Physician Assistant Twentieth Annual Convocation Video:


Alderson Broaddus University students sweep public relations awards

Alderson Broaddus University students and faculty received 23 awards at the Public Relations Society of America—West Virginia Chapter’s Crystal Awards Gala in Morgantown on June 19. Dr. Jim Owston, AB mass communication professor, and his daughter Lora, a 2019 AB graduate, took the top prize, “Best in West Virginia,” and 15 additional awards. The accolades were in response to their WV Remembers campaign for the 2018 Beckley Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day sponsored by Temple Beth El.

As a pro bono campaign, Owston & Owston competed with advertising agencies in the state, as well as those in the PRSA’s East Central District, which covers West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky. Three regional Diamond Awards of Merit were given in the campaign category of events (7 days or less) and for the tactics of public service announcements and feature story. Only one other West Virginia entry received a regional award.

In addition to the “Best in West Virginia” award, Owston & Owston received 12 awards from the PRSA-WV Chapter. These included Crystal Awards for three campaign categories: community relations, events (7 days or less), and public service. Crystal Awards were earned for the tactics of blogs, collateral, logo, media relations, social media, video, website, and writing. An honorable mention was also awarded for the campaign category of integrated communications.

“We were inspired by other campaigns to offer our services to promote the Beckley Holocaust Remembrance Day,” said Jim Owston. “I had a never-before-seen interview of Holocaust victim Max Lewin, who started the yearly commemoration; Lewin requested that the 1996 video not be published until after his death. This interview became the centerpiece of the 2018 event, and we believe that the publicity surrounding its unveiling was responsible for more than doubling the commemoration’s largest attendance to date.”

In addition to the WV Remembers campaign, seven honors were awarded to AB students. Lora Owston won Crystal Awards for the tactics of collateral (for an AB wrestling team flyer), single issue publication (for the AB mission team calendar), and website (for “A Covered Bridge Christmas”). She also received an Honorable Mention for her articles relating to AB student Morgan Winterbottom’s scientific research through WV-INBRE.

The Digital Edge, AB’s mass communication organization, took home two Crystal Awards for the tactics of media relations for “A Covered Bridge Christmas” and video for “AB’s 2018 Giving Day.” Jeremy Linaburg, a 2019 graduate, received a Crystal Award in writing for the article “Go Out and Play in Old Town Winchester.”

Since 2016, Alderson Broaddus’s mass communication department has won 34 awards from various organizations.


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