PA FormalAfter having more than a year of pandemic-related issues added to their already challenging graduate school workload, students in the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program at Salus were ready to blow off some steam.

So they turned to piñatas.

When they arrived at the PA Formal July 31, 2021, at the Hafter Student Community Center, they were met with the opportunity to take a whack at various piñatas marked with things like “COVID,” “Anatomy,” “Phys,” “CPS Quizzes,” and “Clin Med.”

“It was entertaining to watch everyone take their anger out on their least favorite parts of the past year,” said Camille Drozdowski ‘22PA.

PA FormalIt was just one aspect of a festive atmosphere which included getting dressed up, dancing and socializing face-to-face for the first time in quite a while for the students, about 60 of whom attended.

In the absence of the annual Salus Soiree — a University-wide celebration that isn’t program-specific — that was canceled last fall because of the pandemic, officers for the PA Class of 2022 decided to plan a summer formal event.

“We didn’t get a white coat ceremony, so we wanted to do something for the class to celebrate,” said class president Natalie Hoffman ‘22PA, who along with vice president Lauren Bunnell, secretary Jessica Robinson, treasurer Kim Bemiller and historian Samantha Wereszczak, all ‘22PA, started planning the event in June. “And, since we didn’t have the Salus Soiree, we thought this was the next best thing.”

These PA students have a few more weeks of class to finish up their didactic year before taking their core comprehensive exams. After Labor Day, they will then embark on a full year of clinical rotations leading up to commencement in October 2022.

So the time for a party seemed perfect.

PA FormalAmong the evening’s highlight was the music, provided by Daniel Pavlik, DMS, PA-C, PA, associate professor and currently the interim director and chair of the Salus PA program. Dr. Pavlik, who loves most kinds of music — hip hop, electronic, rock, reggae, classical — started DJing at his neighborhood block party and other events. Although Dr. Pavlik didn’t yet have a DJ nickname going into the formal, he may have come out of the party with one. The students have started calling him “DJ Pavi.”

“It was a different environment to see Dr. Pavlik in, when he was DJing,” said Drozdowski. “He actually was really good. I think ‘DJ Pavi’ is a good, solid DJ nickname for him.”

It was a fun evening, with great food, music and camaraderie.

“We’ve seen each other in person on and off through the summer, like in a hybrid program, but it was nice to get out of the classroom, dress up and have fun casually, to enjoy our time with our class. It was a nice, relaxing celebration,” said Hoffman.
PA Formal