Thirty-four members of the Class of 2018 physician assistant studies program received their Master of Science degrees during AB’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony in Wilcox Chapel on August 17.
The Class of 2018 include: Brittany Nicole Abruzzino from Bridgeport, W.Va.; Tiffany Ann Aeling from Columbus, Ohio; Andrea P. Negrete Anderson from Houston, Texas; Alyssa Jane Barker from Huntington, W.Va.; Callie Lynn Beegle from Winchester, Va.; Megan Ruth Bellush from Mount Pleasant, Pa.; Tyler Cherie Bradley from South Charleston, W.Va.; Robert Thomas Brannick from Minooka, Ill.; Sierra Cheyenne Elsa Cook from Hamlin, W.Va.; Alexis Despina Dandalides from Virginia Beach, Va.; Cristina Lee Eddy from Charleston, W.Va.; Alexa Marie Falo from Connellsville, Pa.; Allison Marie Fansler from Fairmont, W.Va.; Jimmy David George from Houston, Texas; Shannon Harman Kerr from Canaan Valley, W.Va.; Casey Shannon Hatfield from Hurricane, W.Va.; Richard Chase Johnston from Concord, N.C.; Andrew S. Laird from Williamsport, Pa.; Katlyn Nicole Laird from Morgantown, W.Va.; Gretchen D. Lantz from Lost Creek, W.Va.; Sarah Catherine Lobert from Charleston, W.Va.; Kelsey Dawn Mathis from Charleston, W.Va.; Alycia M. Perrine from Oakland, Md.; Cara Renea Ravagli from Daleville, Va.; Brooke Ann Rayokovich from Brooklyn Heights, Ohio; David Brandon Riley from Fairmont, W.Va.; Tyler Scott Sensenig from Ephrata, Pa.; Catherine Mary Siegfried from Seven Fields, Pa.; Brittany Elizabeth Snider from Richmond, Va.; David Tomczyk from New Port Richey, Fla.; Alexandra Leigh Tranchini from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Alex Truong from Annandale, Va.; Raafeh A. Waseem from District of Columbia; Thomas Wilson Wood from Buckhannon, W.Va.
These professionals join a long line of physician assistants graduating from the nation’s first physician assistant program, founded in 1968 by AB’s own Dr. Hu C. Myers.
The commencement speaker, Daniel J. Laffuer had the privilege of knowing and completing clinical rotations with Dr. Myers. Lauffer is a 1981 graduate of AB University and current president of the Thomas Health System in Charleston, W.Va. Lauffer addressed the class, giving them eight points of wisdom to help them navigate the ever-changing health system. His last point: Stay engaged in the healthcare profession by always learning.
Lauffer went on to explain that nothing gives him greater joy than being asked about his alma mater. “I was talking to a physician the other day and I told him I was an AB graduate. The physician said, ‘AB really knows how to train their graduates well. I’ve always been impressed with that school.’”
Lauffer assured students that they have received the best possible training, but to never hesitate to ask questions in a dynamic healthcare system.
Associate Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Joan Propst presented the class with degrees and special recognitions. Five students were inducted into Pi Alpha, the national Physician Assistant honor society that honors significant academic achievement, leadership, research, community and professional service. Those awarded were: Callie Lynn Beegle, Tyler Cherie Bradley, Robert Thomas Brannick, Alexis Despina Dandalidesk, and Cristina Lee Eddy.
AB University President Dr. Tim Barry conferred the degrees and left the graduates with his last remarks. “You have received an outstanding education from caring and dedicated faculty who have invested time, talent, personality, and energy into your preparation as physician assistants. This day has been your goal, your vision, and your dream. Class of 2018 physician assistants, I applaud you!”