Susan Anderson, PA-S
Class of 2018
Siena Heights University
The road to PA school is very difficult. On top of all the prerequisite classes, there is the GRE, choosing which schools to apply to, interviewing, and then possibly choosing between schools to attend. I completed research on Methodist and was intrigued to apply after navigating the website, reading the encouraging testimonies, and the impressive academic stats. After applying, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of communication and obvious organization from the admissions staff. This response spoke volumes about the professionalism that is fostered. When I arrived for my interview I was blown away by the campus and the faculty! The other schools I visited did not compare to Methodist. The aspect that stood out the most was the friendliness from the faculty and current students. I could sense the strong camaraderie that exists between the student and faculty.
I decided to not relocate to Fayetteville since I live in the Raleigh/Durham area with my husband and two-year old daughter. I feared the decision to commute could add a good deal of stress to our family and to my education during PA school. After visiting with the program and meeting the faculty, I had no apprehension that the drive would be worth it and doable. To make your life less stressful and to make commuting an achievable option, one must make the commitment to always be flexible and available, and find a way from a family aspect to make it work. With the support of my family and my planning, commuting has not been an issue thus far. I was even able to bring my daughter to a pediatric lab session, which was an exciting opportunity to incorporate her into my learning, and it gave her a chance to participate.
I am now in my second semester of classes and I am thrilled to be here. My time here has confirmed that I made the right decision. My classmates and I have become family, and we encourage and complement each other tremendously. Where I am weak, others are strong and vice versa. We have formed a family and I am confident that we will stay close for years to come. The PA program is difficult and has challenged me in many new ways (including my energy levels), but the faculty is also working hard. They want to make sure we are prepared when we walk into a patient’s room. The education we receive is very important to MUPAP and is evident in the success rates and reputation in the Fayetteville community. On top of everything they do for us, the faculty always ask what more they can do to help us. Our success is important to them and it shows. I am so thankful that I was directed to Methodist and I am looking forward to being a proud alumni!
Shannon Colantuono, PA-S
Class of 2018
University of North Carolina-Pembroke
Prior to applying to PA school, I was a respiratory therapist at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. After working for six months, I felt limited within my scope of practice and wanted to do more. Working in the emergency room with the various physicians and physician assistants over the years helped make my decision to begin the journey of becoming a PA. I went back to school and completed a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, all while still working a full time and part time job. Methodist University became my top choice school rather quickly for several reasons. I am a native of Fayetteville so location was an obvious convenience. The first-time pass rate average on the PANCE is testament to the academic preparation students receive. Most importantly though, the many providers who I worked with and who were graduates of the program spoke highly of the program. I witnessed the excellent care they provided for their patients, which spoke magnitudes of the program’s dedication to producing great, compassionate, yet competent clinicians.
While working in the emergency room, I was also able to speak to current students during their clinical rotations about why they chose Methodist. They spoke highly of the program and said they enjoyed the interview process at Methodist in comparison to other universities. On the day of my interview I was extremely nervous (I’m talking can’t sleep, hands trembling, knees knocking nervous). However, the faculty and students helped ease my nerves slightly during the meet and greet breakfast. The overall interview process was smooth and was not as intimidating as I had expected. I felt as if the faculty treated you more as a future student than an interviewee. I left that day knowing that Methodist was the program for me and just hoped that I would get accepted. Once I was accepted, I declined other interviews and I have not regretted my decision one bit. The PA program at Methodist is intense and stressful at times, but that was (is) to be expected and there is no place I would be rather be.
Mackenzie Eikamp, PA-S
Class of 2019
Beuna Park, CA
Colorado Mesa University
The road to PA school is daunting, and for me all the anxiety and self-doubt really came to peak during “interview season”. I had been on several interviews before coming to Methodist, but I already felt at a loss, because I could not break out of my anxiety. Each interview day felt like “the most important day of my life”, and my personality could not shine through the pressure. That all changed when I came to Methodist.
The difference: they made it clear to me that they already see my potential, and simply wanted to get to know me. It was the most friendly, welcoming interview I have ever been in. It felt like a conversation not an interview. When I walked around the facility I saw the candor between classmates. From discussion with students, faculty, and staff, it became very clear that MUPAP is very supportive to their students. This was very important to me because I would be moving across the country, to a new place without any friends or family. By the end of my interview we had smiled, laughed, and most importantly I really felt like I was myself. They were quick to get back to me with an acceptance, which stood out from other programs that waited 8 months to tell me I was on a waitlist. I accepted without hesitation, and did not accept any other invitations to interview. I knew I had stumbled upon gold.
Now in my second semester I can not be happier. In talking to my friends who are attending other PA schools across the country, I feel very lucky to be here. Methodist really cares about the quality of life and education they provide for their students! (I don’t know if I should be telling you this secret, but before finals week staff and faculty cook you a pancake breakfast!). I feel so lucky to be learning medicine from the brightest and kindest minds. The professors at MUPAP teach more than clinical and diagnostic medicine, but ‘the art of medicine’. Never skipping an opportunity to remind us of the importance of humility and compassion. Methodist to this day continues to exceed my expectations of what a program can offer its students, and I could not be happier with my decision to become a Monarch.
Tod Frazer, PA-S
Class of 2019
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
I can remember being two years into my undergrad and researching various PA schools to attend, both in and out of North Carolina. At that time, I was finishing up some classes at Miami Dade College and being accepted to a great PA school seemed to be a true venture for my growing family and myself. The road to applying to PA school is quite an undertaking, especially with a wife and three young children. When I began looking into Methodist University’s PA Program (MUPAP), I was initially drawn to the program because of its consistent above national average PANCE pass rate, its location, and its small class size. As I began to learn more about MUPAP, I kept hearing about its family atmosphere, its renowned reputation both in North Carolina and nationally, and how its graduates “hit the ground running” upon completion of the program. At that moment some years ago, being accepted to MUPAP was a pipe dream. Fast forward to today and I cannot imagine being in a better program.
The faculty at MUPAP want you to succeed, whether it is answering your questions after lectures in the hallway, keeping an open office door, or just simply making sure you are in a good place (both in and out the program). MUPAP faculty are not only professors, but are practicing clinicians as well. This allows students to learn the most current medical treatments and to glean knowledge from their vast clinical experiences. In addition to the great faculty, MUPAP’s small class size has also been a big positive in my time as a student. The class of size of 40 is great not only because the student and professor communication is much more in-depth, but also because classmates are able to build better rapports with each other and rely on one another to learn. It seems like I’m asking my fellow classmates questions everyday about a certain topic or getting some tips/hints about studying for a subject. As President of the Class of 2019, I can attest to how the comradery of our small, but tight-knit class has been a significant benefit to our time as students. I can also say that not only are students a tight-knit group with each other, but we also share a close correspondence with our professors as well.
Preparing to apply to PA school can be challenging and making a decision to attend a particular PA program can be daunting as well. After researching and visiting many schools, I can say with absolute confidence that choosing to attend MUPAP has been a truly great decision for my family and myself. Being a PA student is a challenge in itself and while MUAP can be intense at times, I cannot picture myself going through the ups and downs at any other program. I am proud to be a MUPAP student.
Whitney Hicks, PA-S
Class of 2019
James Madison University
Coming from a large university, I knew that I wanted to attend a Physician Assistant (PA) program with a small class size. Methodist not only offered the small class size, but checked everything off my list of what I was looking for in a Physician Assistant program. I was initially drawn to the Methodist University PA program due to the extraordinarily high first time PANCE pass rates, the program's reputation for producing quality PAs, and the organization of the admission process. What solidified my interest in the program and quickly made Methodist my top choice was the interview process.
I knew Methodist was the right PA program for me on the day of the interview. I instantly felt a sense of the “family atmosphere” that I had heard about from speaking with other students who attended the program. What impressed me was the friendliness of the faculty, staff, and students. They showed interest in getting to know me as a person, and immediately made me feel comfortable and put me at ease. Equally as impressive were the facilities. The cadaver lab was the best I had seen. Methodist PA program has their own cadaver lab where PA students can actively learn and participate in their own dissections – something that cannot be overstated.
I am in the second semester of the didactic year and have already learned so much. The faculty are all highly-skilled clinicians that are truly invested in their students’ growth. My classmates have become family and we encourage and support one another. I am confident that Methodist University is not only preparing me to pass the national certification exam, PANCE, but is also preparing its students to become highly-qualified and competent health care providers. Choosing Methodist University PA Program was one of the best decisions I have made, I am ecstatic to be a part of this PA family!
Rachael Kelly, PA-S
Class of 2018
University of North Florida
Like many applicants, I had a long list of things I was looking for in a physician assistant program. As one might guess, my list was mostly focused on finding a well-established program with strong PANCE scores and excellent facilities.
The majority of schools I wanted to apply to were in my home state of Florida, but I decided to extend my search a little further. That is when I found the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program. Methodist looked great “on paper”: great PANCE pass rates, a cadaver lab dedicated to their PA students and a reputation for producing quality PAs for many years. The program had everything I was looking for and when I received an invitation to interview for a seat in the class of 2018 I was ecstatic!
Interview day arrived and from the time I walked in the door, faculty, staff, and students were extremely friendly and welcoming which immediately calmed my nerves. Not once, did I feel intimidated or pressured to be anyone but myself. Every person I interacted with seemed to have a genuine interest in just getting to know me—that was something I had not experienced at any of my other interviews. Methodist not only checked everything off my list, but they also offered a program that would allow me to grow both professionally and personally in a familial environment. I knew then that I wanted to make the move from Florida and call Methodist my new home. A couple days later, I received my acceptance letter and I literally jumped for joy (multiple times)!
I have just started my second semester and I can honestly say that choosing MUPAP was the best decision I have ever made. Every day I get to learn with passionate faculty who truly care about me, my well-being and my future.
Tatum Kram, PA-S
Class of 2019
Getting to PA school has been a long journey! Life has interrupted progress on several occasions, as well as just my plain indecisiveness. Deciding what you want to be when you grow up is hard, but it all ended up working out to my benefit because finding Methodist made the journey progress rapidly in a wonderful direction. Once I enrolled at Methodist to begin undergraduate studies, I knew this was where I wanted to stay to complete the PA program. Their accreditation, class size, PANCE pass rates, student testimonials, program goals, and general stellar reputation in the community all seemed to increase my desire to attend their PA program. I knew I had made the right decision when I began going through the program’s application and interview process. The admissions staff was incredibly helpful and always available to answer any questions that arose, with replies hitting my inbox within a day, if not almost immediately. Come interview day, I was incredibly impressed with the welcoming nature the faculty, staff, and students exuded. Once meeting everyone, my nerves subsided and I was reassured that this was exactly where I wanted to be. So, being accepted was beyond thrilling!
Despite my incredible excitement, the first semester of PA school was daunting and required a significant amount of adaptation and flexibility, not to mention extreme family planning, but the faculty and staff retained their enthusiastic welcoming nature. They also displayed an immense amount of dedication to each individual student. One of the best things I learned about the faculty and staff within a few weeks of starting is that they understand you are a human being, not some student robot, and that life happens to the best of us. The most impressive part is that this has not changed at all as I progress through the program. The faculty and staff are all very experienced and know PA school is difficult, and they go out of their way to be available, making sure we have access to the tools, knowledge, and anything else we need to succeed. Even if what we need is a small conversation about something other than school, a listening ear, or just a friendly reminder that we are doing well, they find a way to provide it to us. So as long as you maintain your end of things, and study, study, STUDY, everything will be just peachy!
Now that I am in my second semester of the PA program, I can tell you it is a marathon; however, it involves a sprinting pace. Once you hit your stride, time flies and you will be amazed with how much you have learned and accomplished! I am convinced that Methodist is the best place for running this marathon that is PA school because it fosters a wonderful, rich, and productive environment. All the while you are being cheered on by your Methodist family comprised of staff, faculty, and classmates.
Brandon Lehr, PA-S
Class of 2019
Sifting through PA school websites in order to decide which ones to apply to was exhausting and overwhelming. Methodist, however, immediately caught my eye with its vision and mission statements that were much more personal and meaningful than the usual statement of “creating competent providers.” Methodist’s vision statement focuses on improving the quality of lives we touch and helping to alleviate healthcare disparities. The mission statement addresses developing excellent providers that are culturally competent and compassionate, while pushing students toward “spiritual, academic and social growth.” These statements were a big reason why I chose Methodist, along with their outstanding PANCE pass rate and one of the best cadaver labs.
Methodist University lived up to their vision and mission statements from day one. The staff made the interview process one that was low-stress and personal; as they really want to get to know each student. The program is intense and we’ve learned so much, but the faculty does everything they can to create an easy-going environment that facilitates growth. We’ve received nothing but support and encouragement from the staff and I’ve grown close with many of my classmates. Methodist looks for any way to make the journey though PA school one that is meaningful and tailored to each student’s professional and personal goals. This is accomplished in many ways, one of which is by creating a class that is diverse. I love that Methodist values diversity, as each of us has something different to offer and much to learn. Through volunteering and discussing important social, physical, and economic disparities, Methodist has pushed us to get to know the community we will be serving. Of course, we learn how to diagnose and treat patients, but one of the things I like most about Methodist is the emphasis it places on approaching patients with compassion and understanding. We are taught how to talk about difficult topics, how to gain a patient’s trust, and the importance of performing an outstanding history and physical on each and every patient. I feel very blessed to be in a program that is known for creating very successful and competent PAs.
Chad McCready, PA-S
Class of 2018
Brigham Young University
My whole experience with Methodist University has been excellent from application to matriculation. I was first impressed by how easy the admissions and interview process was for Methodist University’s PA program. They made the application process very straight forward. Prior to interviewing they sent over a detailed list of what to expect; from dress code to the interview timeline. They even recommended different airports and hotels. After being accepted into the program, they even assigned me a “PA Buddy”, a current Methodist student in the program that could answer my questions, which was especially helpful.
I interviewed at and was accepted to a few different PA programs, but Methodist had a few things the other programs did not. Methodist has excellent facilities and equipment for its students, friendly faculty and staff, and excellent quality of instruction from experienced healthcare professionals. The curriculum is difficult (as it would be in any PA program), but the quality of instruction is very high and the faculty makes time to address student concerns and give one-on-one help to those students that need it. I would highly recommend Methodist University’s PA program to any potential PA student.
Joshua Miller, PA-S
Class of 2019
Miami University - Oxford
I am the type of person who will spend an extraordinary amount of time reading reviews before I am willing to spend my money on a product. My wife dreads when an appliance or car dies on us because it means that I will spend the next days and weeks obsessing over videos and articles about the pros and cons of every option on the market! Maybe it is my hatred of buyer’s remorse or just my pride, but I love knowing that I have made a great decision. Graduate school was no exception. However, as any applicant knows, this decision goes far deeper than money.
I first learned about PA school back in 2006 as a sophomore at Miami University. I knew then that this profession would be a great fit for me but I also knew that I wanted to build a foundation that would prime me to be an exceptional, confident medical provider. I am a firm believer that the shortest or easiest path is not always the most rewarding. The number of experience hours that PA schools require reflects the value they place on this foundation. Everyone approaches these hours differently but we all invest an incredible amount of time and energy in the process. After undergrad, I chose to attend Indiana University’s Clinical Laboratory Science program and spent two years as a generalist and toxicologist working night shift in Atlanta. I then joined the Army and trained as a special operations combat medic where I spent several years learning cutting edge emergency medicine. When my contract ended, I knew I was ready for PA school. I was anxious about making such a big decision and considered waiting another year so that my wife could finish her Army contract. This would free us up to travel back to Indiana or a big city with more options for PA schools. The last thing I wanted was to make a poor decision for convenience sake after investing so many years developing my medical foundation. Yet I decided to go ahead and explore Methodist because I had heard about the solid reputation of the Methodist PA graduates while working in the Fort Bragg medical community. Several Army medical providers encouraged me to apply to MU above the other options in the area because of their experience with graduates.
All hesitation and anxiety were put to rest when I toured the facility and met the faculty and students. I began to picture this being the place where I would grow into the medical provider that I first envisioned in 2006. I was convinced that this program would not just support my development, but would accelerate it. My hesitancy transformed to excitement. The faculty at MUPAP genuinely care about their students and are deeply invested in producing medical providers of the highest quality. The first time PANCE pass rates are just one byproduct of this dedication. But don’t be fooled, this program goes well beyond preparing students for a single test. They prepare us for the real test, the patients that will depend on us to make the right decisions. I love knowing that our faculty recognize the weight of the investment we have made to attend this program and they work hard to support our development. At MUPAP, it is truly about us. I am now in my second semester and I feel that I am growing beyond my expectations. I feel very proud to be a Methodist PA student and I am confident that I made a great choice.
Alyssa Pham, PA-S
Class of 2019
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Methodist University showed me what I wanted in a Physician Assistant program before I even knew that Methodist was the perfect school for me. My first exposure to the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program was through a friend who was accepted to the Class of 2018. She was a fellow UNC-Emergency Department scribe who was constantly praised for her professionalism, enthusiasm, and intelligence. I decided that if she was any reflection of who comprised the class of MUPAP that this school was where I wanted to be. The more that I researched Methodist University, the more I saw qualities that drew me to the program – small class size, perfect PANCE score, and a long-standing reputation of graduating quality and beyond competent Physician Assistants.
When I got the opportunity to attend a Neurology lecture with the Class of 2018 prior to my interview, I felt the camaraderie between faculty and the students. The students even made it a point to talk to me and to give me encouragement prior to my interview. While some interviews feel more like an interrogation, I felt as if the faculty spoke to me as if I had already been accepted and were just trying to get to know who I was as a person. I never felt like I was just a number or another face. I left my interview feeling that I had the opportunity to really showcase myself and that whether I was accepted or not that the faculty knew what was best for the program as they really have a great sense for what makes Methodist special.
I am so grateful to have been accepted to such a prestigious but warm and caring program. Having attended a large public university where 100-student class sizes were common, I was adamant that my graduate experience would be opposite to that. I wanted to look back on my experience and describe it as having a “family atmosphere.” During orientation, we were told that we all had made it to PA school and were no longer each other’s competition. The faculty instead emphasized that our mantra was to be “40 in. 40 out.” They stressed to lift each other up in whatever ways that our classmates would need our help whether it be with academics or in life. I have truly felt that Methodist strives to cultivate a nurturing environment in which students grow in both Physician Assistant studies as well as a person. Methodist has truly felt like my home away from home.
All PA programs are difficult and MUPAP is definitely no exception. As I continue to advance into my second semester, I continue to obtain invaluable pieces to a large puzzle that is slowly coming together. I cannot express how grateful I am to be a part of MUPAP and how humbled I am by this experience. I can’t wait for what the future brings! Thanks MUPAP for choosing me!
Johan Sanchez, PA-S
Class of 2018
When I left the U.S. Navy I knew I wanted to make being a PA my career choice. After long years of preparation, it finally came time to apply and choose a program. I was very lucky to find myself interviewing at Methodist University PA program early in the application process. I knew after I left my interview that if I were to choose this program, I would have a successful career as a PA. Immediately, Methodist became my top choice.
I would like to explain some of the reasons I chose to attend Methodist University with a short story. During my application process, I was also granted an interview at a PA program at an Ivy League school. I knew coming in to my interview at Methodist that I would really need to feel that the program was going to be a better fit for me than my top choice, and to not let the name of an institution influence my decision. When I left the interview at Methodist, I was impressed, and realized there was not anything that was offered at that Ivy League program that was not offered at Methodist. There was one big difference for me though: the family atmosphere I felt when I interviewed with Methodist. I did not get the same feel at the other interview. I had a sense that the faculty and staff at the Methodist University PA program cared for you as an individual and would do their best to make sure you succeeded.
In addition to the family atmosphere, the anatomy Lab was an incredible distinguishing factor that also helped with my decision. Methodist has the better anatomy lab facility, and the fact that PA students get to do entire dissections, rather than just observing the dissections made by medical students, was a deciding factor.
Becoming a PA is no easy task. It is important to choose a program that provides you with great support and prepares you to become a great clinician—not just to pass a certification exam. After being in my second semester, I can tell you I made the right decision. The faculty and staff are incredible. My classmates are incredible. The knowledge and skills that I am learning are amazing. Medicine is what I have always wanted to do, and being at Methodist University has increased my love for medicine so much more. I look forward to proudly calling myself a Methodist University graduate!
Victoria Sanchez, PA-S
Class of 2019
University of New Mexico
Reflecting back to the application process I ended up applying to Methodist University by pure luck, I would call it. While applying to programs in the surrounding areas to me in New Mexico I decided to research schools in North Carolina. I stumbled upon Methodist University, and of all the programs in North Carolina, luckily this is the one I chose to apply to. Their website organization, high PANCE rate, testimonials, diverse staff, facilities, and talk of a family atmosphere is what drew me to want to be given the opportunity to attend this program.
When I was invited for an interview I was both excited as well as intrigued by the organization and responsiveness of the admissions committee. After my interview and being able to experience the welcoming family atmosphere I read so much about online, I knew Methodist University was the program for me. I got my acceptance email the next day while I was waiting to board my plane to go back home. (I wanted to scream and dance from my excitement unfortunately, I couldn’t because I was in an airport). From then on, I turned down any other interview invites and acceptance offers and made the decision to relocate because of the wonderful impression this program made on me during my interview.
Since my interview to the start of my second semester I continue to be impressed by MUPAP. I am proud to be a PA student in this wonderful program and can honestly say that moving across the country to be here was more than worth it. My classmates are all wonderful and I have made many friendships that I know will be lifelong. I feel like the faculty cares about each of us, not only as students and prospective PAs but also about our well-being. Overall, I am lucky to have stumbled upon the MUPAP website just as any prospective students would be as well!
Amber Suits, PA-S
Class of 2018
I am grateful to have the insight to offer a unique experience as a transfer student, alumni and now graduate student at Methodist University. The irony of the reflection on my time as a Monarch is that I had never heard of a physician assistant (PA) until I was an undergraduate student at MU and learned about the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program (MUPAP).
I initially pursued an undergraduate degree in biology as a pre-med student at a public North Carolina university with over 20,000 students. When I was in high school, I would have laughed if someone told me I would end up at a small, private university in Fayetteville, North Carolina. After two mediocre semesters at a big school in a big city, I had become part of the culture of that school, but it wasn’t until I transferred to Methodist University that I experienced how the community of a university could become part of who I am. Being a student at Methodist afforded me the resources to understand what a PA was and if it would be a fit for me. As I dove into months of researching my future, I e-mailed the MUPAP Admissions Director, and with a prompt and friendly response, she connected me with a current PA student to answer further questions. It was long before my decision to pursue a career as a PA that I was confident that the MUPAP was both welcoming and elite. I spent the rest of my undergraduate time shadowing different types of providers in several specialties, which strengthened my appreciation and excitement towards physician assistants even more than I thought it would.
There is no doubt that North Carolina surpasses its contribution to the medical field through physician assistant programs. After the completion of a semester, I am confident in the education and guidance I am receiving at Methodist University. I share with you assurance that I have in the medical expertise and academic competence that the PA program offers, and I have also experienced the community in which it is delivered. These are critical to what I believe will make my class and I competent and genuine providers.
Terri Weber, PA-S
Class of 2018
University of North Carolina-Pembroke
At the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) I participated in a program called Health Careers Access Program (HCAP), which gave me guidance and direction to get into the medical field. Through HCAP I was introduced to the MU PA Program’s Director of Admissions, Jennifer Mish, who came to talk about the Methodist PA Program. From that moment I knew that I wanted to go to PA school. At first, I thought selecting a school would be a daunting task given the fact that websites can only give so much insight into the feel of a program. That said, from the few things I knew for sure about Methodist, strong PANCE pass rates and overwhelmingly positive feedback from Ms. Mish and graduates of the program, I was convinced that Methodist was one of the best programs in the country.
The first time I applied to the program I did not get in due to not meeting certain requirements. For two years I called and emailed Mrs. Mish and she guided and encouraged me to continue working towards completing the requirements. I applied a second time and I was granted an interview, which was initially worrisome. On the day of my interview my nerves were put to ease by the faculty and students. With each individual interview I became more at ease and confident in myself. A few days later (on my birthday) I got the email that I had been accepted. It was the best birthday present I could have ever imagined.
I began my first semester in the fall of 2016, which was the longest four months of my life. It was difficult having to be away from my son five days out of the week, but I always felt like the faculty and my classmates at Methodist were my extended family. At times I did not think I would make it, but I always had my classmates and instructors to lean on and encourage me. I am continuing the journey and look forward to the day when I am wearing my white coat with PA-C after my name