Stay Up to Date on Student Academy Initiatives

What We’ve Been Working On

December 18, 2019

By Cooper Couch, PA-S

Cooper CouchPA student leaders across the nation are making an impact on the PA profession through their volunteer involvement in the Student Academy of AAPA. The Student Academy Board of Directors and Student Board Committees work hard throughout the year to represent the best interests of PA students. I’d like to share with you some highlights of the Student Academy’s ongoing work this year. 

What the Student Board Committees Are Working On

The majority of the Student Academy’s work is determined by Student Academy Representatives (SARs) at the annual Assembly of Representatives (AOR) meeting. Any student member may submit an AOR resolution for consideration.  These resolutions reflect issues that have a direct impact on PA students. After discussion and debate, each resolution is voted on by the SARs. Passed resolutions form the foundation for the Student Academy’s work for the subsequent leadership year. The resolutions are assigned to one of five Student Board Committees for action. These committees are comprised of student volunteers and Student Academy Board members, and each committee has specific charges.

[Student Academy President Appoints Student Board Committee Members]

Since the AOR meeting, the Student Board Committees have been hard at work addressing their committee charges. Communication & Outreach Committee Chair Annie Yang, who is also the Director of Student Communications on the Student Board, spearheaded a social media campaign to highlight PA programs across the country. The Service Committee created a new regional participation contest for PA Student Service Week. The contest encouraged PA students to participate in community service during PA Week. The Advocacy & Policy Committee is currently putting the finishing touches on a social media campaign to raise awareness of Optimal Team Practice (OTP) educational materials and the importance of advocacy for the PA profession.

George Washington University PA students during PA Student Service Week
George Washington University PA students during PA Student Service Week.

The Leadership Committee has been working to identify potential panelists for the 2020 Student Leadership Panel, which will be held at Conference in Nashville during the Student Leadership Workshop. The Student Leadership Workshop is a professional skills and leadership training workshop covering issues critical to a PA student’s transition from PA school to a first job. Topics will include salary negotiation, financial planning, the power of LinkedIn, and professional advocacy. The featured Leadership Panel will bring experience and expertise from a variety of speakers who will share their personal journeys and illustrate the potential of a PA career.

[6 Tips to Leverage LinkedIn]

The Student Governance Committee is reviewing the Student Academy Policy Manual and student election processes to bring both into alignment with practices and procedures of AAPA’s Policies and elections. This committee was also charged with changing the name of the “Assembly of Representatives Representative” to “Student Academy Representative (SAR)” (Resolution 2019-01), which has already been updated in official AAPA communication and will be updated in the Student Academy Policy Manual.

[PA Students: Engagement in AAPA is Vital]

Student Board October Meeting
The Student Board met in October at AAPA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, where we engaged with AAPA staff on important topics such as Optimal Team Practice (OTP), federal advocacy, pre-PA and student membership, and PA Foundation initiatives. We also discussed the student conference experience in Nashville, ideas for resolutions to the House of Delegates (HOD), and raising awareness of the importance of SAR resolutions. We heard reports from Director of Student Communications Annie Yang (University of Southern California), Director of Outreach Josh Loew (St. Catherine University), and PA Foundation Student Representative Jamie Shelstad (Bethel University-Tennessee). In addition to this in-person meeting, the Student Board meets each month via conference calls to conduct business.

The Student Board reviewed a record number of applications for the student delegation to the House of Delegates (HOD). The Student Board elected 22 PA students to represent PA students nationally at the HOD meeting this year in Nashville. The HOD is responsible for enacting policies establishing the collective values, philosophies, and principles of the PA profession.

On behalf of the Student Board, I’d like to thank each one of our student volunteers for their time and dedication to the Student Academy of AAPA. If you are interested in getting more involved with the Student Academy, AAPA is currently seeking PA students to volunteer on the 2020 AAPA Awards Committee. Please also like and follow our Facebook page. Make sure to activate the “See First” in your News Feed option and turn notifications “on” so that you can stay up to date with the Student Academy throughout the year!

Cooper Couch is president of AAPA’s Student Academy and sits on the AAPA Board of Directors as the Student Director. When not in school at the University of Southern California, Cooper spends his time back home in Colorado with his fiancé Martin and their cattle dog Mila. They enjoy long-distance running, cooking, hiking, camping, traveling, and volunteering together. Contact Cooper at   

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