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!
Danielle Chavis, PA-S
Class of 2017
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
I truly love attending Methodist PA Program! After researching many programs, in-state and out-of- state, Methodist became one of my top schools. The factors that drew me to Methodist at first were the high first time pass rate on the PANCE, location, and it’s credibility of being a well-known, established program. During and after my interview, I realized Methodist would become my number one choice.
Prior to my interview, I was extremely nervous and envisioned myself being drilled and interrogated. As soon as I walked into the door for my interview, I was greeted with a smile and warm welcome from everyone. Throughout the interview process, the current students and faculty helped to calm my nerves by being “real” people who seemed to care about getting to know me instead of interrogating me. I could sense the family environment during my interview process, which helped solidify my choice of attending Methodist.
This program is well-known and held in high regards throughout the state. When I would tell doctors and providers about attending Methodist, they would always talk highly about the program and about the level of competency of the Methodist PA graduates. The faculty push us to succeed and expect for us to give our best. Also, the faculty members work in the clinic, as well as teach, and bring to class case studies of patients they have treated and diagnosed. This is a very effective way of teaching because it helps bring medicine to life for us and prepares us for what we will see in the clinics.
Even though this program is challenging, the faculty are more than willing to help their students succeed and become the best PAs in the field of medicine. I am an introverted, private person but with the PA program I feel free to communicate with the faculty and go to them for help. This is a very important factor in why the program is so successful. The faculty and staff truly care about their students and are easy to talk to. Also, the class as a whole, is diverse with different races, cultures, and backgrounds. Our class works well together and helps each other to succeed. If someone is struggling, other students will help that student to understand difficult concepts and be able to apply them.
I am proud to be a Methodist PA student and am thankful to be a part of this prestigious program. This program is successful because of the caring faculty, family environment, and the high level of education.
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.
Neema Dave, PA-S
Class of 2017
East Carolina University
Committing to Methodist University was a no brainer! Right from the beginning of my interview, Methodist just felt like home. Unlike the other interviews I had been to, I genuinely felt as if the faculty at Methodist wanted to make me feel right at home. Initially, I applied to Methodist simply because of the high PANCE pass rate percentages; however, after the interview was over I knew Methodist was the place for me. The interview process began with us having the opportunity to sit in on an Emergency Medicine lecture with students from the class of 2016. Getting a glimpse of what a typical lecture in the program would entail was not only unique, but it made me feel like I belonged there. Every new student starting PA school has hopes and dreams but they also have concerns about struggling. However, the environment and attitude from the faculty made me feel contrary to that. It made me feel like I had it in me to succeed. The feeling I had while listening to Dr. Greenwood I will never forget.
Throughout the rest of the interview, not only was the MU family hospitable, but communication with the admissions board was clear and concise. I would receive a reply to my numerous e-mails in no time! That is when I thought, well if they take the time to understand who I am, want to know what drives me as an individual, give me the opportunity to have a sneak peak inside their program, and are going out of their way to make me feel at home, I would be a fool to not go to school here!
I`m not going to lie, knowing that I will be starting my rotations in less than a year is a bit daunting. I have only been in the program for 7 months, but the program has sculpted our curriculum such that we learn through lectures while simultaneously applying that knowledge to solve case studies and use our cadavers to formulate connections. Slowly but surely, the puzzle pieces are coming together. This program has been successful in creating some of the best PAs I know. That did not just happen over night! Earlier I mentioned how comfortable the faculty in this program made me feel during the interview. My stance about that statement has not changed. When things are not looking so rosy, at the end of the day I know there will always be an open door, with a box of tissues, and a set of empathetic ears waiting for me. That is genuine concern my friends and I cannot ask for anything more because I have everything here.
Julia Guinyard, PA-S
Class of 2017
Stone Mountain, GA
Georgia Southern University
When looking for a PA school, of course you look for the usual. Such as whether the PANCE rates are incredible, will you have to share a cadaver lab or will you have you own or, of course, are there any perks? Well, Methodist PA program has all of that and more. But unlike others, I took a slightly different approach. For me, of course all of these things mattered, but what mattered the most was if I felt as if I was a part of their program. I found this to be true when coming to Methodist.
Methodist is the best choice that I could have made because they are sure to press the notion that you are no longer your classmates’ rivals, but instead each other’s supporters. They live by this notion and therefore as a student you begin to do the same. We’re all in this together. This is what makes Methodist so special and unique as a PA school. Because of this philosophy you know this program wants all of their students to become the Best PA’s, and therefore you know that they have your best interest at heart.
In doing this, we are destined to be the best PAs once we graduate because we are being nurtured and thoroughly prepared to be successful in any path we choose. After leaving this program I won’t doubt my skills as a PA because of this very reason. So for those of you who want to guarantee that your program will look out for you like a family, Methodist is the school for you. I am so glad that I chose Methodist PA program! After graduation, I will be proud to say that I am a product of THE Methodist University PA Program!
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.
Daniel Lane, PA-S
Class of 2017
After serving in the US Air Force I decided to come back to North Carolina and start my college career. I had a fairly good idea that I wanted to become a Physician Assistant and started taking some core classes at the local community college while I researched PA programs. After a few months of researching the many programs and talking to local physicians and PAs, a recurrent theme began to appear: How the Methodist PA Program was an amazing program that graduated some of the best PAs in the country, while being only a small private university in Fayetteville, NC.
Upon deciding that Methodist’s PA program was the one for me, I transferred to Methodist to complete my undergrad degree. While attending undergrad classes at Methodist I started inquiring about the admissions process and attended an information session and tour of the PA facilities. Immediately, I knew I had made the correct decision. The faculty was very informative and helpful, answering all the questions I had and even some I didn’t even know to ask. The facilities blew me away, from the medical lecture hall that had new technology to make learning easier, to the program’s own dedicated cadaver lab with surgical lighting and computers at each dissecting station.
After completing my undergrad degree I applied and got an interview. Being that this was my first interview I didn’t know what to expect and was extremely nervous, but right away the staff and instructors made the atmosphere comfortable and friendly. Also, the students were welcoming and really exuded a sense of family and comradely. The interview only confirmed my desire to attend the program.
Upon being accepted, I discovered that the Methodist PA program faculty and caliber of students was everything presented during the interview. The amazing efforts of the staff and instructors didn’t just stop with the interview. They really invest in each student and go above and beyond what’s expected of them in making sure we triumph. The student body coalesces well and really bands together to help everyone become successful.
PA programs are known for their difficulty and Methodist’s program is no exception. Choosing the right program is vital to success and this program has given me everything and more that I need to be successful. Methodist continually reaffirms I made the right decision and one day I will be a better Physician Assistant because of it.
Carey Lennon, PA-S
Class of 2017
North Carolina State University
As I began to research into PA schools, I was struggling to find attributes that set the programs apart from each other. Location, PANCE scores, and program reviews were boasted by each program and it all seemed pretty uniform to me. Methodist was on my radar from the beginning of my application process, simply because it was close to my hometown. As I narrowed my focus and exchanged emails with people in the various programs, Methodist began to separate itself from the others. The thoroughness with which my questions were answered and the attentiveness of the responses resonated with me. Once my interview date rolled around, I was extremely nervous. The nerves quickly and surprisingly settled as I began talking with the different professors and current students during my interview. I felt comfortable and at home. Making my selection after that experience was easy.
In addition to the interview experience and the outstanding PANCE pass rates, the reputation Methodist has with providers in the community spoke volumes. Every person I spoke to that had knowledge of the PA Program at Methodist had nothing but positive things to say about the school and the PAs it produced. We have a lot of faculty who work in the community and take time out of their day to teach. The stories they share have definitely increased not only my medical knowledge, but practical knowledge as well.
The path to becoming a PA-C is definitely not an easy one, but Methodist has to be one of the best places to take the journey. Our faculty push us as hard, while encouraging us to be the best practitioners and people we can be. I have no doubt that I will be more than prepared to have a successful career after my time at Methodist is complete.
Grayson Massey, PA-S
Class of 2017
North Carolina State University
After attending such a large university for my undergraduate career, I knew for PA school I wanted to go someplace where the professors knew who I was and didn’t see me as another number in their introductory course. All of the PA programs I applied to had class sizes in the 40s, but not all of the programs had nearly perfect PANCE scores, a cadaver lab solely dedicated to their program, or admissions counselors that went out of their way to answer all of my questions. Methodist University Physician Assistant School has all of these qualities and more.
When it came to my interview day, nervousness to the point of nausea would be the best way to describe my feelings. This was my first graduate level interview and all of the advice I was given was along the lines of “just be yourself.” Walking through the doors of the PA Academic building at 7:45 a.m. and being greeted by an admissions counselor who knew my name just by looking at my face, made the advice of just being myself seem a little more possible. The rest of the day did not seem so daunting or scary after getting to interact with the students who were already in the program and with professors that truly seemed to just want to get to know me.
After completing one semester of this program, I can attest that the saying “PA school is like trying to take a sip out of a fire hydrant” could not be more accurate, but this program has an admission counselor, program director, didactic coordinator, clinical coordinator, professors and other staff members that bend over backwards to help all of us succeed. The reputation that this program has in this community is amazing and I have no doubt that I will be more than prepared to practice after graduating from this program.
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.
Lyle Miyashiro, PA-S
Class of 2017
Queen Creek, AZ
Arizona State University
The culmination of my past has lead me to Methodist University. My story begins in Arizona. In my early 20s the ignorance of youth was at a high and I jumped into a firefighting career because I thought it was “neat.” I would eventually find a passion with the emergency medicine aspect of firefighting. I contemplated pursuing the path of medicine over the next couple years and with the encouragement of my family, I moved to Phoenix, AZ to attend college. Starting at community college I learned to love the small class sizes and campus, and then moving to Arizona State University I could appreciate the level of difficulty and challenge of upper division classes. I graduated summa cum laude from ASU with a BS in biology with a concentration in animal physiology and behavior.
When it came time to apply to PA school there were some qualities I was looking for. I knew I wanted to attend a small university where the PA program was the highlight of their school. I also wanted the university to be located just out of reach of a big city (no distractions needed, but close enough for fun activities on down time). Furthermore, and most importantly, I wanted to attend a well-established PA program with a long, positive history of producing Physician Assistants.
As I searched the country for schools, Methodist University immediately became one of my front runners because of all their qualities. With a class size of 40, it is just small enough to have a great professor to student ratio, but large enough to build many great lasting friendships. MU is located in the northeast bubble of Fayetteville, NC. The small-town feel of the area would keep me on track and focused. MUPAP has a 20 year history of refinement and has produced some of the country’s leading Physician Assistants. I applied, interviewed and was accepted shortly after.
Well into our second semester, my class and I are having a wonderful time. It is absolutely incredible the amount of information a person can learn in a short amount of time. With almost 20 years’ experience, MUPAP understands this concept, and they do it well. One thing that surprised me was the pro-active, hands-on approach the program faculty demonstrated to keeping us on track and motivated at the pinnacle of exams (and they continue to do so). The program faculty understands that each class is different and with this understanding they are very malleable to creating the very best every year. When you start this program, you will be placing yourself in a crucible, but after each semester only the best version of yourself will shine through. I am so glad to have committed to this school once I was accepted. The future of this program is only getting better. I am looking forward to a long career as a PA. Hi Mom.
Marshall Price, PA-S
Class of 2017
Buies Creek, NC
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
I grew up in Buies Creek, North Carolina, about 30 minutes north of Methodist University. My undergraduate degree is in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I suppose it seems strange that I transitioned from studying geography to attending a Physician Assistant program. I’ve always had an array of interests, generally centered on some sort of history or science. Coming from a liberal arts university, I had the privilege of majoring in a particular interest while exposing myself to and preparing myself for a variety of graduate programs that didn’t necessarily ‘align’ with my major. The brief period between UNC and Methodist, I spent my time getting married to my high-school sweet heart and deciding exactly what I wanted to do. My decision to attend PA school initially landed me in the office of Benson Area Medical Center, a rural, family medicine-based practice right outside of our community. After originally seeking the opportunity to shadow a provider, I was given the chance to jump into the fire and become a medical assistant, trained “on site.” The decision to work at this practice changed my perspective in multiple ways. Not only was I exposed to the realities of the chaotic medical management of patients, but I was also able to take a deeper look at what it took to run a practice. The constant flow of patients, the burnout of the providers, and the jaded facial expressions of medical assistants, x-ray technicians and providers alike did not deter me. Instead, it made me think “what could we do better?” I chose to let the grunt work that I did daily push me to be better and to work harder and smarter so that I might be able to help a few of the patients in our community that often got overlooked or misunderstood despite everyones best intentions.
My decision to attend Methodist was easy for me. My situation is unique in that my wife, Anne, just attended and graduated from Methodist’s PA program. We both are huge believers in community and in supporting those that have chosen to support us. I received multiple interview offers from schools across the state, but after my interview with Methodist, I respectfully declined the other offers. Methodist of course has all the bells and whistles that attract lots of respective applicants, such as the outstanding facilities and the incredible cadaver lab. Most importantly, to us, however, are the people that run this program and stand behind its students. From the program director to the academic director, the admissions director, and all the faculty and staff between, we have been treated like family. It’s an odd family dynamic - one which insists you loose sleep, think harder than you thought you were capable of, and constantly pushes you to be the best provider possible. This program is not easy. The faculty is constantly working to improve the curriculum. They are always aware of and highly involved in our demanding schedules. They watch us struggle but are always there with prospective of the bigger picture. There is a constant communication of support between us as students and all of the faculty.
I am nothing short of thankful for my seat in this class. It has been and continues to be one of my better life decisions. I continue to look forward to countless hours of missed sleep, more physically and mentally exhausting challenges, and ultimately a solid foundation in which I am able to build my career on. I am grateful to have chosen Methodist, but even more, I am grateful that they chose 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!
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