University of Southern California
Annie Yang is a second-year student at University of Southern California’s Primary Care PA program, where she currently serves as the Student Academy Representative of her class and student society. In her first year of PA school she attended USC’s annual PA Advocacy Trip with PA Education Association (PAEA) to Washington, D.C., which sparked her interest in PA education and advocacy. Yang is passionate about educating PA students regarding various issues facing the profession. She hopes to empower more students to exercise their voices.
Prior to PA school, Annie graduated in an accelerated four-year program with a Master of Science in global medicine and a Bachelor of Science in health promotion and disease prevention from USC. While being a full-time student, she worked as a part-time medical assistant at a Worker’s Compensation Clinic to gain clinical experience. It was in her master’s program where her passion for disease prevention and policy work was ignited.
After PA school, Yang plans to remain in the Los Angeles area to serve her community and hopes to one day work in PA education or policy. In her spare time, Yange loves baking different desserts and watching crime dramas. She enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her adorable poodle, Chucko.
Jamie Pepi Shelstad
Jamie Pepi is a second-year PA student at Bethel University in Tennessee where she currently serves as the AOR representative for her program and is a member of an opioid crisis student volunteer group. Driven by a passion for global and underserved populations, Shelstad volunteered in numerous rural clinics and began her studies of public health while living in Gaborone, Botswana during her undergraduate education. Prior to PA school, Shelstad earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in neuroscience from the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and linguistics from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Shelstad also worked towards her Masters of Public Health with a global health emphasis at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
As a recipient of the 2017 Timi Agar Barwick Scholarship for Humanism in Medicine, Shelstad is eager to give back as means of appreciation. As the PA Foundation student representative, Shelstad hopes to engage and expand service leadership among PA students by connecting to individuals and schools on a personal level. Through increasing philanthropic participation, she hopes to increase awareness of cultural competency and inspire her fellow students to get involved with their passions on local and global levels.
After graduation Shelstad will participate in a Spanish immersion program just outside Guatemala. She then hopes to work with a pediatric subspecialty while using her public health and medical education to support and empower global underserved communities. In her extra time, Shelstad enjoys hiking, traveling, baking, finding new adrenaline activities, or doing anything out in the sunshine.
Sacred Heart University
Ashton Ogle is a first-year student at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. Born and raised in Georgetown, Kentucky, she completed her undergraduate education at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in exercise science with a biology minor in 2016. While at Transylvania, Ogle worked for the Office of Residence Life as an area coordinator to the first-year students. She was a member of the women’s lacrosse team and she also served as her sorority’s new member educator. As a hobby, she coached club soccer in her hometown throughout her college years.
After graduation, Ogle worked in orthopaedics before moving to Stamford, Connecticut for PA school. At Sacred Heart, she serves as her student society’s vice president and is the student member on the Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee. She is a student member of the Connecticut Acamdemy of PAs (ConnAPA) as well as the Kentucky Academy of PAs (KAPA) and enjoys learning about advocacy through her state chapters. Her program director’s passion for advocacy led Ogle to seek a national leadership role. As the Northeast Regional Director, Ogle hopes to rally more students to become involved in PA advocacy at the community, state, and national levels.
After completing PA school, Ogle plans to pursue a career devoted to the underserved. She is interested in women’s health, pediatrics and orthopaedics. In her free time, she enjoys mission work, going to the beach, exercising, and spending time with her family in Westport and Kentucky.
University of Lynchburg
Adanna Hackett is a recent graduate of the University of Lynchburg, PA Medicine program. During her didactic year she was voted the Student Society’s first-year coordinator and served alongside the class president and other student leaders, helping coordinate and implement class objectives and volunteer activities. While in PA school she dedicated time to PA advocacy to help other pre-PAs and PA students along their PA school journeys. Her commitment and passion to PA advocacy on social media has led to her partnerships with many medical related companies to increase awareness of the PA profession. Hackett is excited to hit the ground running to help out any way she can with the Communications & Outreach Committee and looks forward to what is in store not only for the Student Academy but for the future of the PA profession.
Chrissy Rutherford is a second-year PA student at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, NY. She served as the Student Academy Representative of her student society from 2018-2019. Attending the 2019 AAPA Conference sparked a passion for advocacy, inspiring her to seek further leadership opportunities.
Prior to PA school Chrissy attended the University of Rochester where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Brain and Cognitive Science. She became interested in global health after studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. Chrissy was heavily involved her college community. She served as Programming Chair of the 2016 Class Council and President of the Irish dancing team. She also studied neurocognitive bases of Autism as a research assistant. Chrissy actively volunteered with Service for Sight, Friends of Strong, and as an Irish dancing teaching assistant.
After graduation Chrissy worked as a Patient Care Technician at Strong Memorial Hospital. Her time at Internal Medicine shaped her desire to work with under-served populations. Chrissy joined the Internal Medicine Council as the Tech representative. Together with her colleagues she promoted team based care.
Outside of school Chrissy enjoys traveling, concerts, and watching British gardening shows. She is interested in internal medicine and dermatology, but is keeping an open mind during rotations.
Wayne State University
Garrett Smigelski is a second-year PA student at Wayne State University located in Detroit, Michigan where he serves as president of his class.
Prior to PA school, Smigelski attended Oakland University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in health sciences along with a minor in Spanish language. While studying abroad in Rosario, Argentina, he had the opportunity to shadow physicians at Maternidad Martin, an urban public maternity hospital, for multiple months. During his undergraduate studies, he worked as a certified nursing assistant in multiple hospital systems in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon. Concurrently, Smigelski actively volunteered as a medical scribe at a clinic providing free medical care to uninsured individuals, assisted in multiple bike path clean-ups and as a food pantry volunteer.
He has continued to serve his community while in PA school by helping organize a water drive for Benjamin Carson High School, a Detroit public school whose water was shut off due to high lead and copper levels. Smigelski is currently a member of his program’s newly-created ultrasound education organization, Physician Assistant Ultrasound Education (PAUSE).
In his downtime, Smigelski enjoys hiking, speaking Spanish, biking, playing tennis, and figuring out which country he will travel to next.
Saint Louis University
Heather Trattner is starting her first year of PA school at Saint Louis University in St. Louis Missouri, where she plans on becoming involved in her student body government and, ultimately, aspires to work in Pediatric Neurosurgery or Emergency Medicine upon graduating.
Heather hopes to draw upon her recent application experience, along with her upcoming experience to bring light to any challenges PA students may face, and how to potentially lessen them with her position on the Communication and Outreach Committee. Heather recognizes the important impact that having the right resources, tools and guidance can have on one’s success in getting accepted into a program and maintaining academic success within a program. She looks forward to assisting her fellow students on their journey to become physician assistants this year with her role on the student board committee.
Before PA school Heather attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas where she earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology. During her undergraduate education she was an active member of The Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) Pre-Medical Honor’s Society and Phi Betta Kappa’s Honor’s Society. She served as student volunteer at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital’s Emergency Department and worked as and EMT for an ambulance company. During her senior year of undergrad Heather became interested in research and began working as an undergraduate research assistant for the university’s health behaviors lab, where she studied the effects of exercise on overall mood and health. After graduating Heather returned to her sunny home state of California where she expanded her healthcare experience by working as a lead clinical research coordinator for Santa Monica Clinical Trials under the direction of Dr. Daniel Norman.
When Heather is not working or studying she loves to take Latin dance classes, hike, cycle, attend plays or concerts, and spend time with her family and precious dog, Cowboy.
Texas Tech University
Kiara Redmon is a second-year PA student at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center where she serves as the president of her class and student society. Though she is originally from Houston, Texas, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fl. While there, she played NCAA Division I basketball and served as team captain. She was also the president of the Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In her free time, she volunteered as a chemistry lab assistant and freshman mentor. After graduating in 2014, she went on to earn her Master of Science in Microbiology and Immunology from Tulane University. During that time, she also worked as a research assistant and volunteered at the Tulane Lakeside Hospital for Women and Children.
Prior to starting PA school, she worked as a medical scribe at the University of Texas Medical Branch Pediatric and Adult Primary Care clinic. She also volunteered at the Luke Society Medical Mission to the Homeless. That time made a formative impact on her decision to become a PA and fueled her compassion for underserved populations. In the past year she has served on the AAPA Student Academy Service Committee and participated in various service opportunities around the Permian Basin. When not studying, she enjoys working out, watching basketball, and spending time with her family.
Megan Belanger is a PA student at Emory University, is almost finished with didactic year, and excited for clinical rotations! Belanger was previously a licensed Athletic Trainer in Florida and worked in high school, clinic and community outreach settings. She enjoys getting involved in community outreach and communicating about preventive medicine. Belanger looks forward to the duties of the Communication and Outreach Committee and hopes to serve her peers, the Student Academy, and AAPA well.
Meghan McGrath is a second-year student at Rutgers University’s PA program, where she served as the 2019 NJSSPA student representative. She is also a member of the service learning committee and an RUPA Student Ambassador. After attending the 2019 AAPA Conference in Denver, she realized that she wanted to become more of a leader and an advocate for the PA profession, in addition to practicing clinically.
Before PA school, Meghan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science with a minor in disabilities studies from the University of Delaware. There she served on the executive board of the YesUCan extension program that aimed at increasing inclusion, awareness, and access to health and physical fitness for people with limited mobility and disability. She was the lead medical scribe at a community hospital near her home town in New Jersey, where she gained knowledge and experience that prepared her for PA school.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling, exercising, spending time at the beach, and spending quality time with her family, friends and two dogs, Dakota and Myles.
Radford University Carilion
I am a second year PA student at Radford University Carilion in Roanoke, Virginia. During my first year of PA school, I represented my student society as the Student Academy Representative and advocated for my future profession in various facets, including at the Leadership and Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. I am originally from northeast Tennessee, right beyond the city limits of Johnson City, where I grew up on a small family farm. I was very active girl, playing soccer, cheerleading, and participating in theatre. I obtained a B.S. in Biology at Middle Tennessee State University while also being involved in a variety of student leadership organizations. After graduating, I worked as a pharmacy technician and CNA to gain experience in various healthcare settings. Shortly after getting married to my now husband of four years, I pursued a Master’s degree in Biochemistry at UNC-Greensboro. Upon completion, I worked as a Quality Control Chemist at a pharmaceutical company. My hobbies include yoga, traveling, and exploring the outdoors with my husband and our rescue German Shepherd.
Vincenzo Julian is a second year PA student at Yale University. He is one of the AAPA Representatives for his class and student society. During his time in this role, he has attended the 2018 and 2019 AAPA Conferences and served as an AOR Representative during the 2018 Conference in New Orleans. He has also attended the Leadership and Advocacy Summit in Washington DC for the past two years. He has greatly enjoyed learning about AAPA and the current issues and many successes affecting the PA profession today.
He is originally from Michigan and attended Oakland University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences. During his undergraduate years, he was involved with student organizations such as Alternative Spring Break and the Pre-PA Society, and worked for University Housing as an Academic Peer Mentor. To prepare for PA school, he worked as a nursing assistant in a hospital on a medical/surgical floor.
Outside of being a busy PA student, he enjoys reading, exercising, watching The Great British Baking Show, and spending time with friends!
University of Detroit Mercy
Hello! My name is Virginia Fielhauer, and I am going into my second year at University of Detroit Mercy PA Program. Prior to PA school, I attended Oakland University and graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Sciences. During my undergraduate studies, I worked as a Nurse Assistant through Beaumont Health and volunteered on Alternative Spring Break trips. I also worked through Oakland University Housing as an Academic Peer Mentor, tutoring students and putting on academic-based programs throughout the year. My medical fields of interest include ER, Cardiology, and Surgery. I am really excited to be a part of this committee, and my goal is to help students become more involved and informed about AAPA!
Lincoln Memorial University
Paula Miksa is the director of interprofessional education and an associate professor at the LMU PA Program where she is actively involved in many aspects of program accreditation, teaching, course directing, and promoting interprofessional education. She is also actively involved in the program’s annual international mission trips. Miksa has recently graduated with her doctor of medical science degree in education, and has held the title of both director of didactic education and director of clinical education in the LMU PA Program.
MIksa has worked clinically in emergency medicine, family medicine and gastroenterology and she currently volunteers weekly at her local free clinic. She has served on the Tennessee Association of PAs (TAPA) Board of Directors, on several TAPA committees and most recently served two years as one of the TAPA House of Delegate representatives. Miksa is currently the public affairs chair for the South Carolina Association of PA’s (SCAPA).
MIksa enjoys working with PA students and especially enjoys promoting the PA profession locally and nationally. When she isn’t working, Miksa enjoys hiking, running and camping with her family.