Long White Coat luncheon attendees
Just in case they’d forgotten — spoiler, they probably hadn’t — the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Class of 2021 president Kaitlyn Carmo, MMS ‘21, wanted to remind her classmates they’d all gone through 17 practicals, 18 quizzes, 83 exams and 39 presentations and papers on their way to where they were sitting on the evening of Oct. 11.

Held at the Hafter Student Community Center on the University’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus, the PA Class of 2021 cohort received their long white coats in a ceremony held the evening before commencement.

And, it was nice to be back in person, face-to-face for the donning of the coats.

Class of 2021 president Kaitlyn Carmo, MMS ‘21.“We had such an amazing class and it was an honor to be president and reflect on how much we meant to each other over the past two years,” said Carmo after the ceremony. “Other than tomorrow (commencement), this is probably one of the biggest moments of our lives. Getting the short white coat when we first started felt great, but the long white coat feels even better. It makes it all real.”

The long white coat ceremony was one of two events the day before commencement that honored the graduates. Earlier in the day, the annual graduate luncheon, which had also been on hiatus during the pandemic, was held at Presidential Caterers in East Norriton, Pennsylvania.

And, if it sounded like Megan Rozmajzl’s, MMS ‘21, name was called several times during the awards luncheon, that’s because it was. Rozmajzl was inducted into the Pi Alpha National Honor Society for the PA Studies graduation with honors, summa cum laude with a grade point average of 3.90-4.00 and as an Alumni Association award winner from the College of Health Sciences, Education and Rehabilitation (CHER) PA Studies program.

Long White Coat attendees“It was a long two years and the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Rozmajzl. “It’s exciting and a big accomplishment to get all these awards today. I’m very thankful for everything.”

She had a lot of support from her family, including her husband and her parents, who were all in attendance.

“I watched how hard she worked and studied. This was the hardest two years of her life academically and it was very draining on her. I was glad to be able to support her through to the end,” said husband Anthony Rozmajzl, a software quality analyst who works remotely. He added that the couple now looks forward to following Megan’s job opportunity, which they hope will be somewhere in the West, such as Colorado, Idaho or Utah.

“We’re really proud of her. It feel like it’s been a long road and I’m really thankful that she was able to finish the program given all the challenges that were happening. She didn’t just finish it, she finished it very well,” said Megan’s mom, Stephanie Smith of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Long White Coat ceremony - grads walkingThe other award winners recognized during the graduate luncheon included:
  • International Studies Leadership Award: Antonio Martinez Barrera.
  • PA Studies Clinical Excellence Award: Natalie Hughes Cooper.
  • PA Studies Pi Alpha National Honor Society: Kaitlyn Carmo, Regina Day, Sara Diacik, Samantha Ganey, Caitlin Reeser, Megan Rozmajzl, Rylee Whitehouse.
  • CHER Blindness and Low Vision Studies graduation with honors: Carly Blasco.
  • CHER Biomedicine program graduation with honors: Neisha Rodriguez Ruiz.
  • PA Studies graduation with honors, cum laude (GPA 3.50 to 3.69): Janelle Fancher, Jessica Goodwin, Marc Jacobson, Melissa Loveridge, Bonnie Ma, Paige Madden, Briana Margosian, Seth Mays, Eric Nguyen, Michelle Porter, Kayli Reed, Graham Seering, Aashka Shah, Jessica Van Name.
  • PA Studies graduation with honors magna cum laude (GPA 3.70 to 3.89): Leigh Balatgek, Kaitlyn Carmo, Ian Cook, Natalie Cooper, Sara Diacik, Brittany Gasser, Camille Jenkinson, Brittani Lesher, Nikita Limaye, Samantha Myers, Kelsey Pfau, Dana Riback, Carly Sarch, Stefany Soltesz, Christina Sutherland, Cassandra Venditti, Madeleine Wetzel, Rylee Whitehouse, Megan Wong.
  • PA Studies graduation with honors summa cum laude (GPA 3.90 to 4.00): Regina Day, Samantha Ganey, Caitlin Reeser, Megan Rozmajzl.
  • Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) Doctor of Optometry Advance Placement program graduations with honors: Kim Korkis, cum laude, 3.25 to 3.49 GPA; Adel Ebraheem, magna cum laude, 3.50 to 3.74 GPA.
  • Alumni Association Award, all programs: Carly Blasco, BLVS; Neisha Rodriguez Ruiz, Biomedicine; Alex Thomas, Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) Doctor of Audiology online bridge program; Samantha Ganey and Megan Rozmajzl, PA Studies program.