Alderson Broaddus University Celebrates Physician Assistant and Teacher Leader Graduates

Thirty-four members of the Class of 2020 Physician Assistant Studies program received their Master of Science degrees, and four members of the Teacher Leader program received their Master of Education degrees during Alderson Broaddus University’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony on August 21.

The Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2020 includes: Azin Akar from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Josiah Baker from Douglassville, Pa.; Allyson Branham from Prestonsburg, Ky.; Jessica Lá rie Chancé from Sylvania, Ala.; Taylor Morgan Chevalier from Belington, W.Va.; Peter Michael Cioloca from Bel Air, Md.; Brandon L. Coburn from Bridgeport, W.Va.; Keeley D. Diggs from Trappe, Md.; Rachel M. Graziano from DeWitt, Mich.; Noel Christian Guido from Spanish Fork, Utah; Jacquelyn Nicole Harper from Savannah, Ga.; Regan Houston from Leesburg, Va.; Brady Theodore Huttinger from Pasadena, Md.; Kyle Emil Lehosit from Clarksburg, W.Va.; Aneeq A. Malik from Atlanta, Ga.; Kelsea Anne Martin from Marshfield, Wis.; Zane T. McGuire from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Sarah Marie McMillan from Ripley, W.Va.; Cassandra J. Mueller from Fond du Lac, Wis.; Scott Andrew Nesland from Moatsville, W.Va.; Ashley Norman from New Philadelphia, Ohio; Lauren Brianne Peyton from Chapmanville, W.Va.; Yuenan Sun Pitrolo from Bridgeport, W.Va.; Christian Porter from North Liberty, Ind.; Hannah R. Prontiker from Elizabeth, Pa.; Nathanial Lewis Rainey from Saint Albans, W.Va.; Douglas L. Sievers from Mt. Carmel, Ill.; Amy Stewart from Lavaletter, W.Va.; Briana Nicole Stine from Columbia, Md.; Julia Marie Tucker from Romeo, Mich.; Sania Khawar Ullah from Federalsburg, Md.; Reid Van Bussum from Lexington, Ky.; Anna E. Warfield from Damascus, Md.; and Shayne Aubrey Zaplitny from Coatesville, Pa.

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. Four 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: Rachel M. Graziano, Jacquelyn Nicole Harper, Kyle Emil Lehosit, and Scott Andrew Nesland.

The Teacher Leader Class of 2020 includes: Brianna Danielle Burger from Grand Prairie, Texas; Leah Christine Casarano Fraley from Hancock, Tenn.; Mariah Tess Murphy from Belington, W.Va.; and Candice Marie Phipps from Clarksburg, W.Va. AB’s Teacher Leader program is designed to assist teachers in becoming leaders in their schools, provide a strong understanding of research-based practices, and guide authentic, hands-on research within their classroom and school.

This year’s commencement speaker, Danny F. Scalise II, spoke to graduates about always sticking to their values and remembering and keeping the passion that drove them to succeed in his message, “Preserving the Pandemic: Find Faith, Hold Hope, and Embrace Charity.” Scalise is the executive director and chief lobbyist of the West Virginia State Medical Association and its subsidiary organizations and a professor of health policy at the West Virginia University School of Public Health. He is considered one of the leading health policy experts in West Virginia and is a passionate advocate for public health.

AB University President Dr. James “Tim” Barry bestowed honorary doctorates to Dr. Robert V. Digman’51, former chairman of the Division of Natural Sciences, professor of chemistry, and interim president at AB, and Roberta Jo Jacobs, Alderson Broaddus University’s longest-running administrative assistant and recipient of the Service Award from the West Virginia Association of Physician Assistants.

President Barry conferred the degrees and left the graduates with messages of encouragement and congratulations. “We have extreme confidence in your abilities,” said Dr. Barry. “We admire your personalities and your presence these last couple of years at Alderson Broaddus University. For all that you are going to do, thank you. You will bring hope, prayer, and gentle touch and a smile to a world in need of people just like you.”

About Alderson Broaddus University

Alderson Broaddus University is an independent institution of higher learning, committed to serving the region as an academic, cultural, and religious resource, with programs based on a liberal arts foundation.

The mission of AB is to provide students with the highest quality education, striving to prepare students to succeed in their chosen disciplines and to fulfill their roles in a diverse society as well-rounded and responsible citizens.

Since its founding in 1871, AB has been a leader and innovator in higher education, with accolades in the health and natural sciences. 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, a post-baccalaureate physician assistant master’s degree program in 1993, and West Virginia’s first baccalaureate nursing program in 1945.

AB is located on a historic hilltop in Barbour County in Philippi, West Virginia. The University is rooted in historic and continuing relationships with the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. and the West Virginia Baptist Convention.

For more information about AB, visit


Photo Caption:

Class of 2020 Physician Assistant Studies Program Graduates – First row, from right to left: Keeley D. Diggs, Rachel M. Graziano, Amy Stewart, Taylor Morgan Chevalier, Cassandra J. Mueller, Kelsea Anne Martin, Jacquelyn Nicole Harper, Ashley Norman, Sarah Marie McMillan. Second row: Hannah R. Prontiker, Allyson Branham, Anna E. Warfield, Regan Houston, Sania Khawar Ullah, Briana Nicole Stine, Azin Akar, Julia Marie Tucker, Yuenan Sun Pitrolo. Third row: Noel Christian Guido, Aneeq A. Malik, Douglas L. Sievers, Reid Van Bussum, Nathanial Lewis Rainey, Peter Michael Cioloca, Kyle Emil Lehosit, Shayne Aubrey Zaplitny, Lauren Brianne Peyton, Jessica Lá rie Chancé, Brandon L. Coburn, Josiah Baker, Zane T. McGuire, Christian Porter, Scott Andrew Nesland, Brady Theodore Huttinger.