SAAAPA’s Assembly of Representatives annually elect and appoint PA student leaders who represent PA students around the country. The following individuals are the SAAAPA leadership through June 10, 2014.
The Student Academy’s leadership includes:
SAAAPA Board of Directors
Nick Rossi- President
Nick is originally from Connecticut but has spent most of his life in metro Atlanta. He earned his undergraduate degree in management from The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ga. in 2007. While at Georgia Tech, Nick worked as a student athletic trainer for the football team and developed an interest in sports medicine and healthcare in general. This interest inspired him to complete two years of research in orthopaedics before entering the Mercer University PA program in Atlanta in Jan. 2011. Nick’s recent leadership roles include serving as his class president, student society president, a member of the National Leadership Task Force and the president-elect of the Student Academy this past year. When not studying, Nick enjoys playing soccer, mountain biking, and cooking and eating with his wife, Adair. As a recent graduate of the Mercer PA program and a newly certified PA, Nick will start work at a sports medicine clinic in Duluth, Ga. in June 2013. Nick is very passionate about the role that students can play within the PA profession and believes that they are best positioned to shape the future of the profession in a positive manner.
Melissa Ricker- President-elect
Melissa is a yankee-born, southern-raised second-year student at East Carolina University (ECU). In 2010 she graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in biology. Throughout her undergraduate career, Melissa triaged for a rural urgent care clinic, volunteered at the local hospital and conducted independent research at the National Institutes of Health. These roles fostered her passion for medicine, ultimately leading to her pursuit of the PA profession. Her roles as PA student society external affairs chair and most recently as southeast regional director for the AAPA Student Academy from 2012-2013 have prepared her for the challenges ahead serving as president-elect. Melissa is very passionate about better facilitating communication with all students and bringing them new opportunities, and she looks forward to other ways this position will enable her to help and be an advocate for PA students. During her free time, Melissa enjoys going to the beach, playing the piano, brewing beer and seeking outdoor adventures!
Tom Towle- Chief Delegate
Tom Towle is from the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn. His undergraduate career began at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc., where he began a degree in biology and Spanish. A welcomed detour in his education led him to a career in emergency medical services. Tom spent 10 years working in emergency services with seven of those as a critical care flight paramedic in Minnesota and Wisconsin. His primary role was in helicopter EMS but also included working in neonatal transport medicine. His areas of interest in medicine include emergency medicine and cardiovascular intensive care. Tom completed his bachelor of science at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in life science, emergency health services and Spanish. He is currently in his third year at the Augsburg College physician assistant program, looking forward to an exciting career as a PA. While at Augsburg, Tom has served on his student society as the AOR in Toronto in 2012 and the HOD representative in 2013. Away from school, Tom's interests include biking, hiking, boating, travel and spending time with family and friends. As chief delegate, he is looking forward to working with student delegates from across the country during the coming year!
Elizabeth Prevou- Director of Outreach
Elizabeth hails from a family of medical practitioners in America’s heartland. She has traveled the world, first as a military dependent and more recently for leisure. Exposure to various ways of life led Elizabeth to study cultural anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. After that, she began her search for a career that would pair her appreciation for diversity with hands-on medicine. She now attends George Washington University and is in her didactic year of the dual PA/MPH program. During her time as a student, Elizabeth has established an on-campus interest group for primary care innovation, engaged the community through health-related service, and represented GWU in the SAAAPA Assembly of Representatives. She has discovered a passion for fostering teamwork, collaboration and interprofessionalism in medicine. Following graduation, Elizabeth plans to work in community-oriented primary care in our nation’s capital.
Annie Mullin- Director of Student Communications
Annie was born and grew up in a suburb of Omaha, Neb. She earned her bachelor’s of science in biology, with minors in biochemistry and psychology from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. She became interested in the physician assistant profession through the influence of her cousin, who works as a PA in pediatric infectious disease. During her undergraduate years she was involved in leadership positions, community service and philanthropic events through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. She also held leadership positions at the UNL chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-health honor society. She now is in her second didactic year of PA school at Union College in Lincoln, Neb., where she serves as president of the student society there. Annie helps lead students at Union to participate in monthly foot clinics at a local homeless shelter, an annual medical mission to Iquitos, Peru, as well as fundraising events for the society. She is very excited to bring her energy and ideas to SAAAPA administration as the director of student communications.
Michelle Melchiorre- Northeast Regional Director
Michelle has been a relentless advocate and community organizer for healthcare reform. Feeling a calling to serve, she went back to school after raising two children in Arizona. After receiving her degree from Arizona State University in 2009, she threw herself into the national debate on passing comprehensive healthcare for the first time in our country’s history. After reform was passed, she developed her own tools to teach the people of Arizona about the coming benefits in the Affordable Care Act. She took her act on the road and simply went out to talk to people. She has spoken to groups as diverse as League of Women Voters to the Retired Federal Employees Association. Realizing a great need for primary care providers due to the rolling out of the healthcare law in 2014, she decided to apply to PA school. She is now ready to begin her clinical year and looks forward to graduating in 2014 as one of the first PAs serving under the new law! She attends Pace University in New York City.
Charmeen Mack- Southeast Regional Director
Charmeen is from Charlotte, N.C. She received her bachelor of science in athletic training from Appalachian State University. She received her master's of education in exercise science from Campbell University, where she also worked as a certified athletic trainer for three years. Working with various collegiate sports teams at Campbell is where she became interested in the physician assistant profession. Charmeen is currently in her clinical year of PA school at Campbell University and is a part of the inaugural class for Campbell’s physician assistant program. She will graduate in Dec. 2013 with her master's of physician assistant practice. After graduation she would like to work in orthopaedics. Charmeen has a passion for leadership, networking and advocating for the PA profession. In her spare time she likes to spend time with family and friends, listen to music, take in a good movie and watch sports.
Courtney McCotter- North Central Regional Director
Courtney grew up in Battle Creek, Mich., and obtained her bachelor’s degree in clinical exercise science from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. She also played for the varsity volleyball team at Grand Valley, serving as captain during her senior year. She was drawn to the physician assistant profession after hearing about the broad scope of practice, generalist training and ability to specialize and change specialties without doing multiple residencies. After deciding that she wanted to become a PA, she volunteered with several healthcare organizations in Grand Rapids and worked as a certified nursing assistant at Spectrum Health. She began attending Grand Valley’s PA program in Sept. 2012 and plans to graduate in Dec. 2014. In addition to serving as the North Central Regional Director, Courtney has also served as the AOR rep for her school and is currently the president of her class. She believes that professional advocacy is imperative in order to maintain the rights that PAs have currently and to remove barriers to PA practice. When she’s not studying, Courtney enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching the NBA and college basketball, shopping and going out in downtown Grand Rapids.
Sarah Davis- Western Regional Director
Sarah grew up in Bellingham, Wa. but has spent the better part of the last 18 years enjoying the mountains, hiking and skiing in Salt Lake City, Utah and Denver, Co. She established a background in the marketing field after earning an undergraduate degree in business from Weber State University in 2001. In 2008, she earned her MBA from Brigham Young University. Sarah always wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but didn’t early on because of family reasons. After several years of feeling like her real passion for working with the underserved populations in healthcare had eluded her, she decided to follow her dream and apply for PA school. Sarah is now a second-year student in the CHA/PA program at the University of Colorado and is involved in the CU Unite track for the urban underserved population as well as the LEADS track, focusing on leadership, education and advocacy. Prior to PA school, Sarah was very active in volunteering her time as a consultant for a nonprofit micro-franchise in Ghana, as a volunteer at Fourth Street Homeless Clinic in Salt Lake, and as a Big Sister at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. When she’s not studying, you can usually find her hiking with her dog, cycling, skiing or spending time with family and friends. Sarah is very passionate about being involved and making a difference and she looks forward to helping promote SAAAPA, the PA profession and our common goals through her role as regional director.
Ashley Cole- South Central Regional Director
Ashley Cole is a third-year student at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss. Originally from Effie, La., Ashley earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Louisiana Tech University, while serving as an advocate for women and children as president of the Association of Women Students and counselor at Med Camps of Louisiana, a summer camp for children with chronic and debilitating illnesses. After earning her degree, Ashley spent three years teaching and coaching debate, where she found a way to combine her love of medicine with her interest in policy, while serving the youth of Louisiana. After teaching, she returned to her medical goals by attending the Mississippi College physician assistant master's program. There, Ashley served as SAAAPA representative on the Mississippi College PA program student academy, whose main goal is helping the inner-city youth of Jackson, Miss. She spent the last year working through clinical rotations while serving as the Governance Commission student representative in SAAAPA and preparing for her participation as a GE-NMF Primary Care Leadership Program scholar.
Christine Boyer- Mid- Atlantic Regional Director
Christine grew up in the small coastal town of Newport, Ore. She attended Willamette University in Salem, Ore., where she earned a bachelor's degree in biology. Upon graduation, Christine served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya as a secondary science teacher for two years. During her time in Kenya, she served as the vice chair of the Gender and Development Committee for Peace Corps Kenya and also worked in community outreach clinics that provided HIV/AIDS testing and counseling as well as childhood nutrition and vaccination services. She is currently in her second year at The George Washington University (GWU) PA program in Washington, D.C. While at GWU, Christine has served as the student society's secretary and on the SAAAPA National Service Project Workgroup. As a National Health Service Corps scholar, Christine is looking forward to providing healthcare services in underserved communities following graduation.
Jennifer Adams - PA Foundation Student Representative
Jennifer Adams is a licensed physician assistant practicing in plastic and reconstructive surgery. After graduating from her third and final high school in Columbus, Ga., Jennifer joined the Bulldog Nation at The University of Georgia, where she completed her undergraduate studies at UGA in 2010. After graduating, she attended Mercer University’s Physician Assistant Program where she received several accolades for her leadership, commitment to academic excellence, and humanitarian approach toward patient care. She graduated summa cum laude with her master's of medical science degree in 2013. Throughout her scholastic career, Jennifer developed a true passion for providing quality medical care to patients in need. Some of her most powerful medical experiences include spending a summer in South Africa, working with Dr. Patch Adams in Peru, and caring for and operating on patients in Haiti. She is certified through the National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistants (NCCPA). Her position with the Student Academy and Physician Assistant Foundation enables her to pursue her passion for engaging and teaching physician assistant students through philanthropic efforts. She is also an active member of the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA).
Jenny Kluznik - PAEA Student Member at Large
Jenny Kluznik recently graduated from the Augsburg College PA program in Minneapolis, Minn. She is eager to begin her career as a PA practicing in family medicine. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from The George Washington University with a focus in global health promotion, and a bachelor’s degree in biology and anthropology from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn. Prior to beginning PA school, she worked at the Minnesota Department of Health in the Refugee Health Program managing a project in infectious disease surveillance. She eventually hopes to work in a position educating future PAs. In her free time, Jenny enjoys biking, swimming, writing and traveling the globe with her husband.
AAPA Graduate Advisor - Rachel Carlson, PA-C, MSBS
Dr. Carlson is currently the program director at Shenandoah University's PA Program in Winchester, Va. She has been in PA education for more than 10 years and received her Ed.D. in higher education from Nova Southeastern University, master's degree from the University of Toledo, and bachelor's degree from the Pennsylvania State University. In addition to her director and teaching duties at Shenandoah, she works part time in an employee-based medical clinic and has served the House of Delegates of the AAPA for nine years. She is originally from Ithaca, N.Y., and is married with three children who keep her life fulfilled and busy. She is also an editor and author of the "Lange Q & A Physician Assistant Examination, Sixth Edition." She is passionate about access to affordable medicine, educating future PAs and active learning styles.
PAEA Graduate Advisor - Curt Stilp M.S., PA-C
Curt is an assistant professor and clinical coordinator at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) PA Program in Portland, Ore. He also practices part time at HOPE Orthopedics of Oregon in Salem, Ore. Curt received a master's degree from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, Ill., in 2001. Since that time he has worked primarily in the area of orthopedics. Prior to PA school, he was a registered nurse in a general medical/surgical floor of a community hospital. He has been an active member of Physician Assistant Education Association, serving on the finance committee. His leadership positions have included Rosalind Franklin University PA Class of 2001 president, student society faculty advisor for Rosalind Franklin PA Program and now for the OHSU PA Program. Curt’s professional interests include student leadership development, admissions, clinical education and teaching various skills-based courses in the OHSU PA Program.