SAAAPA Origins and Structure

The involvement of physician assistant students in the American Academy of Physician Assistants has been valued and encouraged since the Academy was founded in 1968 by several students at Duke University. Since then, students have had an influential voice in the Academy's direction, serving in important leadership positions.

The student academy has its own structure within the AAPA, starting with PA students at each PA educational program, whether organized as student societies or student contacts.

The PA Student Society is formed by each new class of Marietta College PA Students. The group works to promote the physician assistant profession. Attached are excerpts from The Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants Student Society Handbook explaining the function of the society, etc.

The Marietta College PA Program Class of 2015 Officers

President: Brian Peppel

Vice President: Kristyn Heagan

Secretary: Allison Heck

Treasurer: Cora Wayman

Student Historian: Kendra Hentkowski

State Chapter Student Representative: Krissy Rowe

Outreach Chair: Danielle Lang

AOR Representative: Vera Filatova

AOR Alternate: Amanda Swickard

Student Diversity Committee Representative: Chelsea Remster

Event attended by the Class of 2014 in memory of one of the student’s sister:

One of West Virginia’s largest collaborative fundraiser, the Jackson County Community Foundation’s annual Charity Challenge Run and Fun Walk, was held on Sept. 22nd in Ravenswood, WV. This unique matching program and event engaged over 800 participants in support of their community. The 2012 Charity Challenge produced $136,000+ for 20 local nonprofits as well as the Jackson County Community Support Fund. Over 40 local businesses and individual donors helped build a Matching Fund to provide a $1 match for every $2 raised by the 20 individual nonprofits. Event sponsor, The Dickirson Corporation, underwrote the expenses for the five month long matching program and 5K Run & Walk event to allow 100% of the funds raised to be returned to the community for a wide variety of local programs and projects that will touch just about everyone in the community from youth to seniors.

One of the 20 nonprofit groups participating in the 2012 event was the Pleasant Valley Patriots 4-H Club. This club worked in collaboration with a number of other 4-H clubs, youth and college groups and businesses to raise funds to build a permanent local scholarship fund that was created in memory of a very special fellow 4-H member who lost her battle with leukemia at age 17– Sara Gwisdalla.  Sara’s sister, Nickie Gwisdalla, brought 19 classmates from Marietta College’s Physician Assistant Program to run and walk in the event. This group raised funds to sponsor their involvement and added their support, both monetary and as runners and walkers, to the efforts of many others from the local community and around the nation.

Collectively the group had 157 people run or walk in the event, a record number of runner and walkers for a single group, and produced a collaborative total of $13,500 for the Sara Gwisdalla Memorial Scholarship Fund held at Our Community’s Foundation – Jackson County, WV.  On October 25th a check will be added to endow the Sara Gwisdalla Scholarship Fund in the amount of $16,500, representing the $13,500 the group raised plus $3,000 in matching funds for program achievement and a bonus incentive for having the most runners and walkers in the event this year.

This group’s efforts provide a shining example of what can be accomplished when people want to make a difference and work together to accomplish a goal. The funds they produced will provide college scholarship assistance for local Jackson County youth forever in memory of a 17 year old 4-Her who touched the lives of so many in her community during her short life.  Please see Our Community Foundation’s Facebook Page for more event information and photos.

Sarah Hathaway, Jenny Daubert and Christine Widgren (pictured from left to right), took advantage of their time off to educate others about the PA profession. During Christmas break 2012, they visited Parkersburg South High School to give a presentation to the students in a medical skills course. With this presentation being a success, the program plans on doing future presentations at other high schools and colleges throughout the spring semester.