The first cohort of students enrolled in June of 2014. On Saturday, Dec. 17, the inaugural class of 29 MPAS students received their graduate degrees and were ready to begin working in one of the fastest growing professions in America while filling one of the most essential roles in healthcare.
Many of these first St. Ambrose MPAS graduates have received multiple job offers. Several will fulfill the program's foundational mission to provide needed care across the state of Iowa, while others will fill healthcare gaps in rural settings across the Midwest.
One of them, Jessica Hoeffler, has been awarded one of just four PA residencies at the prestigious DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston, Texas. Another, Trevor Portiner, will work in internal medicine at Lower Manhattan Hospital in New York. Another, Jennifer Hermanson, will work in neurosurgery in Anchorage, Alaska.
"We are proud to send these graduates forward to help address serious needs in the healthcare industry," said Sandra Cassady, PT, PhD, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. "This initial class of motivated and caring students was chosen from a very large pool of applicants, and they have validated their selections in important ways by helping us build the program and enhancing its reputation.
"Each student will have logged more than 12,000 hours of clinical experience, working and learning beside the more than 100 valued partner providers who now are even more eager to help us prepare new physician assistants, thanks to the passion, skill and work ethic of this inaugural group."
From a Quad-City Times report:
Amanda Proczak of Storm Lake, Iowa, who will work as a physician assistant in general surgery in Burlington, Iowa, added that working with her classmates helped in developing that skill as well as many others.
"It's been really special to be a part of this, we've been like a family," Proczak said. "It's been an honor to be a part of the first graduating class. We kind of set the bar, and now it's up to the students coming up behind us to exceed those expectations."