When the inaugural Physician Assistant (PA) Studies
Class of 2009 came together for its 10-year reunion, there was a familiarity still apparent, like the members hadn’t been apart at all for the past decade.
“I joked that we all looked the same,” said Jennifer Hoffmaster, MMS ’09. “If we would have gone into the classroom, we could have all sat in the same seats where we sat day in and day out and it would have looked exactly the same.”
The Class of 2009, which graduated 20 members that year, had 11 of those classmates return for a reunion weekend on campus Oct. 19-20, which included a reception at Frankford Hall. Those in attendance included Hoffmaster, Jesse McAllister, Virel Prajapati, Deanna (Reynolds) Alan, Elizabeth Bruce, Christine McAndrew
, Katie Kubicek, Emily Parker, Joe Lamb and Erik Ness and Jennifer (Benfield) Ness, all MMS ’09.
“It was nice to see the school and how it has changed and how the rooms have changed since the program has more than doubled in size,” said Hoffmaster. Although the inaugural class was only 20, the program’s current class now has blossomed into 50 students. “The reception at Frankford Hall was very nice, too. It was a relaxed atmosphere where we could all catch up.”
The class features two couples who met at Salus and ended up getting married. Erik and Jennifer (Benfield) Ness and Steve and Julie (Psota) Rohe all formed a study group 10 years ago and eventually shared a house during their clinical year. The Nesses now have two sons and the Rohes have three sons, and they joked that the class has grown.
“To a certain extent, we kept thinking that people largely looked as they did 10 years ago,” said Erik Ness. “But it was also great to talk to people about where they are in life now. Many, like us, with children and balancing clinical responsibilities with parenting.”
The biggest change, as many noted, was how the PA program has grown in the past decade.
“The bigger classrooms go with the bigger class size,” said Jennifer Ness. “And, multiple classmates commented that they now have a microwave in the classroom, which is nice. Everyone seems to be thriving and all are still practicing as PAs. And everyone seemed to look the same after 10 years!”
Erik Ness also pointed out that the current class of PA students, in addition to being quite larger (20 vs. 50) has fewer men (seven) than the Class of 2009 (nine).
“The faculty has changed, essentially completely, and we enjoyed our time meeting Ms. (Donna) Agnew
(director of the PA program),” said Erik Ness. “We discussed the changes and additions to the curriculum to better prepare students for clinical practice, which was very helpful and interesting.”
Erik also said he spent some one-on-one time with a classmate who is doing similar work clinically as he is, and they discussed administrative roles and “. . . hopefully we have professionally reconnected going forward,” he said.