Elijah Baumgarten

Pineville, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Elijah BaumgartenMy journey to Methodist followed an unconventional path with almost a decade of working in EMS bookend by two bachelor’s degrees. So when interview day arrived, I was prepared to demonstrate why I was the right fit for the program. Instead, the observations and experiences of the day illuminated why Methodist was the right program for me. First, the faculty present were genuinely interested in having a conversation where we could get to know one another. It was comforting to share a moment with instructors who could one day become colleagues and witness how invested they were in my future. Second, the program’s current students beamed with exaltation when speaking about their clinical experiences. Each one shared numerous examples of how Methodist’s reputation granted them access to experiences that were rich with opportunities to reinforce information from their didactic year. Finally, the resources available to the students demonstrated the investment Methodist made to cultivate the best and brightest providers. A dedicated cadaver lab open to students at all hours of the day, a multitude of instructors with decades of experience as providers, and a plethora of unique clinical rotation sites underlined that mission.

I have been very pleased with my decision to attend Methodist and highly recommend the program to any prospective PA student. What I have learned and the relationships I’ve built here will last a lifetime and I will be forever grateful.

Sarah Blackwood

Raleigh, N.C.
East Carolina University

Sarah BlackwoodI began preparing for my career as an aspiring PA in high school where I earned my first patient care hours as a volunteer at REX hospital in Raleigh. From there, I attended East Carolina University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health, with a concentration in pre-health sciences and a minor in Biology. Prior to my sophomore year at ECU I earned my CNA license and worked nights at Vidant Medical Center for 2 years while in Greenville. During my senior year I moved back home to Raleigh, due to COVID related reasons, where I started my second job in primary care during the day.
The primary care office I worked at happens to be a rotation site for MUPAP students and I was fortunate enough to learn from various rotating students and preceptors who were MUPAP Alumni. The Methodist students and alum were such great role models and teachers for me that there was never a doubt in my mind where I would end up. The program is challenging, rewarding and cultivates a close “family like” environment, all within a cohort of 40 students. Along with my cohort, professors and faculty are readily accessible and make me feel comfortable throughout everything. Another benefit of being at Methodist is that I’m right between the two places I call home, Raleigh and Surf City, NC.
I look forward to my future as a MUPAP alum and am eager to serve my community as a provider with confidence. I would encourage anyone who wishes to be a great provider to consider Methodist University!

Hanna Bullard

Pembroke, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Hannah BullardI began my journey by becoming a certified nursing assistant while still in high school. From there I continued my education within the medical field by becoming a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) as well as continuing onward to Paramedic as well. During this time, I also obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis on Biomedical Sciences from UNCP. I was able to obtain a job in my hometown at our local pediatrics office as a CNA.

While working at Children’s Health Pembroke I realized that I wanted to further my education in the medical field. My original goal was medical school, however while working in the pediatric office as the Methodist University PA students as well as other schools rotated through, I realized that PA school was a better fit for me. The ability to switch specialties without having to complete another residency or fellowship was very appealing. So, I began my research on PA schools that were close to my hometown.

During my interview with the faculty of Methodist I immediately felt at home, the warmth and family environment they provided was particularly appealing. When I received my acceptance later that day after my interview, I immediately knew that this was the school for me. During my time as a PA student here at Methodist it has further reinforced that I made the right decision and I look forward to going back to my hometown to serve my community knowing that Methodist has prepared me for that.

Olivia Bullard

Pembroke, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Olivia BullardBefore PA school, I worked as an EMT-Basic with a few local companies and as a middle school science teacher. As someone who grew up in rural NC, I wanted to stay close to home, but also have access to the opportunities and resources schools in the big cities have-which Methodist University Physician Assistant Program provides. The program is known for its long history of graduating competent and caring students, diverse instructor body and drive to support every student who enters their doors. There is no doubt that the faculty and staff are here to support and guide each one of us. They embody how healthcare professionals should carry themselves-which is truly infectious. The journey to becoming a physician assistant can seem daunting, but the program does a great job at reassuring us and letting us know that this is exactly where we should be.

Christopher Cabaj

Fayetteville, N.C.
Campbell University

Christopher CabajThe first interview I attended while applying to Physician Assistant School was at Methodist. Upon my acceptance I immediately canceled all my other interviews. Being a Fayetteville native, I have worked alongside many of the graduates from Methodist’s PA program, so I directly knew the product they produced. The PA’s I have worked with and been treated by were some of the most competent and compassionate providers I have ever come across.

Typically, I am extremely nervous during interviews, but the staff and students that participated in the interview process were truly welcoming. The program has exceeded all my expectations that I have had. They are so well equipped and do an excellent job addressing any of our concerns. I am constantly reminded that I made the correct decision in picking Methodist. Besides the reputation of the school there are other qualities that drew me to the school. The 40-person class size is perfect in my opinion. Each member of the faculty and the staff have a plethora of experience and qualifications. One of the most attractive qualities of the program is the PANCE pass rate.

Mary Elizabeth Chan

Greenville, S.C.
Clemson University

Mary Elizabeth ChanI grew up in upstate South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University in 2020 with my bachelor’s in Genetics and a minor in Spanish. After graduating, I spent two years working as a certified clinical hemodialysis technician at an outpatient dialysis clinic in Hickory, North Carolina. During this time, I heard of Methodist University’s PA program and learned about their incredible PANCE pass rates and reputation in the community; I knew that it was somewhere I needed to apply. I applied to six other PA programs in the southeast and was invited to an interview at Methodist before hearing back from any other schools. On the day of my interview, I was met with enthusiastic students, kind and organized administration, and professors who were genuinely invested in their students– I knew right away that Methodist was somewhere I could receive an incredible education and call a home away from home. Upon receiving my letter of acceptance, I withdrew my application from every other program I applied to.

I am so happy that I decided to pursue my PA education at Methodist University. The environment at MUPAP is one where investment is expected, teamwork is encouraged, and diversity is celebrated. As I train to care for underserved communities in the Carolinas, I am confident that Methodist University is giving me the tools I need to serve with knowledge, confidence, and intentionality. It has been an incredible privilege to be a part of this program and I am excited to see where MUPAP takes me in the future.

Brittani Charlton

Fayetteville, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brittani CharltonWhen I heard about the PA profession, I found that it strongly resonated with what I desired my future career to be. I attended UNC-Chapel Hill for my undergraduate education and began working towards my goal of becoming a PA. After graduating, I worked as an emergency department tech for two and a half years. Throughout my experience in the emergency department, my appreciation for the PA profession grew even more as I worked alongside many dedicated, caring PAs, who all made a significant impact in the lives of their patients.

Growing up in Fayetteville, I continually heard great things about Methodist, as they hold an outstanding reputation in the community. Upon researching their PA program, I noticed the impressive PANCE pass rates, small class size, cadaver lab, and numerous positive testimonials from students about their experience. After interviewing at Methodist, I knew without a doubt that this was my first choice PA program. The faculty, staff, and students were exceptionally welcoming and made me feel comfortable. They focused on getting to know me as a person. When I received the acceptance email, I was ecstatic and decided to cancel my other interviews!

I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to be a part of Methodist’s PA program. PA school is undoubtedly challenging, but the continuous encouragement of classmates and professors helps every step of the way. The environment is very team-oriented, collaborative, and supportive, and the faculty and staff are genuinely committed to each student’s success and future as a well-rounded, competent, and compassionate PA.

Cassandra Cutbirth

Monahans, Texas
Tarleton State University

Cassandra CutbirthI am from Texas, but I have always had a strong connection with North Carolina because my grandma was originally from NC. When I first looked into Methodist it was just based on location, a place in North Carolina that was close to the family I had here. While doing my research I discovered these student testimonials. Many students stated over and over that on their clinical rotations people would be excited they were a Methodist student because they knew what type of students Methodist produced.  On my interview day everything was well organized, everyone was accommodating, and you could already tell what the atmosphere was at this special place. It was difficult to make the decision to leave my home state and come to a brand-new place, but everything felt right about Methodist. I can confidently say now that I am here, this was the best decision I could have made for my future. The staff and administration are always open to suggestions and no question you ask is insignificant. This is truly a place to learn and become an amazing PA, everyone here cares about us and understands the pressures of PA school. I’ve felt, at Methodist, that there is no competition between my fellow students, we are all here to become the best providers we can.

Gillian Elshanawany

Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina State University

Gillian ElshanawanyI was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and decided to stay close to home to attend North Carolina State University to pursue my undergraduate degree in Human Biology and masters degree in Physiology. When entering college I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, but was not set on a certain role yet. After being educated on the PA profession, I knew it sounded like the right path for me. During my senior year of my undergraduate degree I began working as a medical assistant at a local Dermatology office and spent over three years in this role building up my patient care experience in order to apply.

When choosing to apply to Methodist, I was very drawn to the class size of 40. I was hopeful this would allow a tight knit community and support system among the students. I was also extremely impressed by the schools PANCE pass rates and the opportunity to have a cadaver lab, which has proved to be an unparalleled learning opportunity. This was all confirmed from the moment I walked onto Methodist’s campus on the day of my interview. I immediately felt at home. The faculty, staff and other students were warm, welcoming and had very impressive backgrounds. Methodist is very respected in the community and has cultivated a very impressive program, providing the resources for students to prosper. I am extremely pleased with my decision to attend Methodist University and know that they are helping build me into the PA I have dreamed of becoming!

Jordan Golding

Fresno, Calif.
Fresno Pacific University

Jordan GoldingMethodist University is an exceptional place for PA education. The incredible facilities (especially the anatomy lab dedicated to the program), the impressive PANCE pass rates, the decades of continued accreditation, and the outstanding reputation in the community all serve to distinguish MUPAP as an institution of excellence.

These qualities of MUPAP made me want to apply. I had the luxury of receiving multiple interview invitations and acceptances from programs across the country. However, on interview day, another characteristic of the program shined and made me want to stay – I was made to feel at home.

Before PA school, I worked in California for an EMS agency for nearly five years. At that time, I rose through the ranks, becoming a Field Training Officer, EMT program instructor, supervisor, and administrator. Crucial to my professional success was the team I was surrounded by – I was alongside hard-working, motivated, inspiring professionals dedicated to realizing a vision by building up others around them.

When I interviewed at MUPAP, it was apparent that the program valued this same idea. From day one, the faculty has demonstrated that their goal is to bring their decades of clinical and educational experience to bear for my success. This mentality spills over into the camaraderie of the cohort – “forty in, forty out” is the mantra we share as we press on through the program. Essentially, we are a family. I am thankful for this program and will happily recommend it to aspiring students throughout my career.

Collin Hinnant

Sneads Ferry, N.C.
Methodist University

Colin HinnantMy experience with Methodist began during my junior year of high school when I spoke with a member of admissions at a college fair. After speaking with the admissions representative and learning about the early assurance program that Methodist offers for their PA program, my interest was immediately peaked. After the fair I did my own research on Methodist both at the undergraduate and graduate level and everything really just fell into place. I not only got the opportunity to chase my dreams of becoming a PA, I also got the opportunity to continue playing soccer in college while remaining close to home. I was however faced with a difficult decision on whether or not to attempt to go the medical school route or the PA school route. Obviously, I chose the PA route for a variety of reasons, but the family atmosphere and small class sizes of MU were a major part of this.

After completing my undergraduate career here at MU and now having made the transition over to the PA program, it has remained obvious to me that Methodist is a special place that really feels like a community. Especially at the graduate level our cohort of 40 students support one another and constantly share study resources. The faculty and staff genuinely care about how the students in the program are doing and often give personal stories showing their similar experiences during their journey.

Overall, I am extremely grateful for the part that MU has played in my journey and look forward to seeing where this education takes me!

Jada Jacobs

Pembroke, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Jada JacobsI am from Pembroke, N.C. and received my undergraduate degree in Biology with a Biomedical emphasis from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Prior to PA school, I worked as a certified nursing assistant at my local hospital and in home health. I knew that I always wanted to go into the healthcare field but was unsure what exactly that looked like for me. While shadowing a PA, I fell in love with everything about the profession.

Choosing where to attend PA school was challenging. I knew I wanted a small class size and to be relatively close to my home. I loved that Methodist offered a cadaver lab, which meant I would receive great hands-on learning of anatomy. The interview process was smooth, relaxing, and all the faculty members and professors were extremely friendly! Once I received my acceptance, I immediately knew that this was the school I wanted to receive my education from, and I could not have picked any better program than this one!

The program is challenging, but makes you grow in ways you never knew you could. Having my classmates and professors by my side supporting me every day to succeed is what makes it all worthwhile. I could not have imagined attending any other program. The professors are encouraging and always willing to go the extra mile to get you the help you need to succeed. I look forward to what MUPAP has in store for me and my classmates!

Savannah Jones

Pembroke, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Savannah JonesI completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and worked as a CNA/Medical Scribe during undergrad before applying to PA school. When considering where I wanted to attend PA school, Methodist had always been one of my considerations. With it being near my hometown, I knew several people who had attended the PA program. Each time I talked with one of them about their experience there, they always spoke highly of the program. On top of this, Methodist appealed to me because of their high PANCE pass rate, small class size, and student diversity. I also heard how well prepared their students were in clinical and was a huge deal for me.

During my interview experience, I was able to see firsthand a glimpse of why Methodist has such a great reputation, and this was when I knew that I wanted to call Methodist home. The welcoming and approachable nature of the faculty and students made my nervousness decrease significantly and I could tell that it was a positive, family-based atmosphere. As a student, I can attest that Methodist fosters a great learning environment and it is apparent that the faculty and staff truly want each student to be successful. I am thankful to have this great educational experience and to be a part of Methodist University’s PA Program.

Cristine Kardas

Saugus, Mass.
College of the Holy Cross

Cristine KardasPrior to matriculating in the MUPAP program, I spent over a decade in the classroom as an educator. Although it was a rewarding career, a part of me was drawn to the health care industry. Before making a career change, I spent months shadowing physicians, physician assistants, and certified nurse anesthetists. I volunteered in an oncology infusion center. I reflected on these experiences. When the end of the school year approached, I resigned from my position and returned to North Carolina State University to earn a degree in physiology and complete my physician assistant prerequisite courses. At the completion of this degree, I secured a position working in the emergency department as a scribe through the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chatham, Hillsborough, and Chapel Hill. It was through this experience my desire to pursue a career as a physician assistant was firmly solidified.

When I began the application process, I focused on PA programs in North Carolina. Methodist University became the front-runner after my interview. The professors were engaging and asked thought-provoking questions. They challenged me to think about my experiences. The student panel shared their collegial experiences and camaraderie.  I knew there was something special about the atmosphere of this program.

I am grateful to learn among some of the most empathetic, supportive peer group. We work collaboratively to study, prepare for exams together, and celebrate our successes. The professors are approachable and knowledgeable. They want us to succeed. I know I will be well-prepared for my future health care career after completing this program.

Ayesha Khadeeruddin

Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina State University

Ayesha KhadeeruddinI was always fascinated by medicine. After obtaining my undergraduate degree, I pursued Masters of Arts in Teaching and taught science for seven years in a Title I school. My experiences exposed me to the health disparities and low health literacy among my students, encouraging me to apply to PA school.

As a nontraditional student and a former teacher, I was looking for a PA program with great faculty. During my interview at Methodist University, the faculty took the time to answer my questions, get to know my interests and offer genuine advice. I felt cared for, and my prior experiences were valued.

At Methodist University, I not only found a great PA program, but the faculty is truly the best. They take the time to get to know you, support you in transitioning to rigorous learning, and provide guidance every step of the way. They are highly skilled and come from diverse backgrounds that make them subject matter experts. They scaffold the learning and provide real-life clinical examples. I also loved the small college atmosphere where the staff knows you, understands your needs and cares for you. The noncompetitive nature of the program truly enables students to help one another study and get through the challenging topics. Getting to learn from our silent teachers (cadavers) is a wonderful opportunity to learn anatomy in different forms.

I would highly recommend Methodist University to anyone who would like to get through a rigorous PA Program with good laughs, great support and staff that cares for you.

Ashley Lawson

Bunnlevel, N.C.
Campbell University

Ashley LawsonI am from Bunnlevel, N.C. and received my undergraduate degree in Biology from Campbell University. While in undergraduate school, I worked as a pharmacy technician, certified nursing assistant, and medical assistant at locally and privately owned places. Growing up as a child of a nurse, the medical field was something I also wanted to be in. As I got older, I saw two of my cousins go through MUPAP and they spoke nothing but kind words about the program. In high school I was torn between going to PA school or going to medical school, but an encounter with a PA solidified my decision to take the PA route.

When I was looking at PA schools, I knew I wanted to attend somewhere close to home so I could have family support and somewhere that was small and family oriented. MUPAP has all the qualities I wanted in school. During the interview, I immediately felt accepted. Everyone was kind and welcoming. The second-year students had nothing but positive things to say about the program. Within two hours of leaving the interview, I was informed that I was accepted.

Now since I have started school, I can 100% say that I would not want to be anywhere but MUPAP. The faculty is so supportive and genuinely cares for our well-being. Almost every class begins with “how are y’all doing?”, “anything I can do to help.” Choosing Methodist was and will be one of the best decisions I have ever made. This program has given me knowledge, compassion, and friends that will last a lifetime. I am very thankful for MUPAP.

Hannah Malcolm

White Oak, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Hannah MalcolmMy name is Hannah Malcolm; I’m from a small town called White Oak in Bladen County, N.C. I attended undergraduate at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. I spent a lot of time as a young adult learning about the passion I had for helping people. Although gaining healthcare experience is a requirement for most healthcare graduate programs like the Physician Assistant (PA) program at Methodist, I was not working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for that reason. I obtained a job as a CNA to work my way through undergraduate, and I gained a new passion for helping people as well as a passion for the PA profession. I knew I had a calling to work somewhere in healthcare, but I was never sure in what profession. When I was working as a CNA, I saw some of the PA’s and PA students from Methodist in my community. I got to see the impact they had not only on patients, but patient families, and other healthcare professionals they were working with. I knew after seeing the impact this institution had on our community here in Fayetteville and in surrounding communities as well that Methodist was somewhere I could prosper and grow into my calling.

Charles Maness

Pinehurst, N.C.
North Carolina State University

Charles ManessBeing a North Carolina native and an Army veteran, Methodist was the obvious choice. Their outstanding reputation in the medical community is second to none. I am fortunate to have several friends and family members who are PA’s. When I share my experiences with them the reaction is always the same. “Wow, your class sounds amazing! I wish we had that at my school.” The PA program at Methodist really fosters an environment for positive social growth and support. Our class has been one of the most tight knit and supportive groups I’ve ever worked in. I am always amazed at the support provided by the faculty and staff.

Ryan McAvoy

Chatham, Ill.
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Ryan McAvoyPrior to PA school, I was a scribe in the ED and a Patient Care Tech in the ICU. Upon researching schools to apply to, Methodist immediately stuck out to me. I was initially attracted to the excellent PANCE pass rates, small class size, and what previous students had to say about the program in their student testimonials. Right after my interview day, I knew that this was the program I wanted to attend. The faculty who interviewed me really made a point on getting to know me personally and made me feel right at home. Upon gaining acceptance into the program, I canceled all of my other interviews knowing that this program was where I wanted to go.

Since then, this program has exceeded my expectations. The small class size lets you truly get to know your classmates and feel as though your learning experience is personalized. This program also does a great job at promoting such a close-knit atmosphere within the cohort. You will commonly hear the phrase 40-in-40-out, which means we all have each other’s back in passing. The faculty here are exceptional as well. They make it a point to get to know each and every one of us and make sure we’re understanding the material. They also do a great job at keeping lectures interesting and making sure we understand why the material we’re learning will apply to our careers. I’m remined everyday why the decision to come to Methodist was one of the best decisions of my life and I encourage anyone interested in an exceptional PA program to consider Methodist.

Allie McKean

Newton, N.C.
Catawba College

Allie McKeanI received my undergraduate degree in Biology with a double minor in both Chemistry and Theatre Arts in 2019. Shortly after graduation I obtained my CNA I license and began working as a tech in a local birthing center. Additionally, I worked as the head dance team coach at my alma mater, Catawba College. After a few years of gaining experience in the medical field I discovered that practicing medicine was my place in the world.

My husband attended Methodist University for his undergraduate education, so I was familiar with the area and campus. After touring the PA Program facilities during my interview, I knew this was a perfect fit for my graduate education. Methodist is one of the oldest PA programs in the country and features a large medical lecture hall, a state-of-the-art cadaver lab, and a realistic medical office simulation area where we are able to prepare for clinical rotations and patient interactions.

My first semester in the program further confirmed that this was the right program for me. The faculty and staff of the MUPAP are without a doubt the best of the best. They are truly invested in our education and success – both during our studies here and after graduation as we embark on our careers. The faculty boasts a variety of clinical and educational backgrounds that allow for a diverse and well rounded education. I feel very blessed to be a part of the MUPAP family and am excited for my future as a Physician Assistant!

Daija McKenzie

Fayetteville, N.C.
Winston-Salem State University

Before attending Methodist University, I gained a bachelors in Exercise Physiology from Winston Salem State University. During this time, I had no Idea what I wanted to do but felt a close connection with healthcare. After finishing my bachelors, I gained a job as a medical assistant where I had the pleasure of working with a Physician Assistant who graduated from the Methodist Program a couple years ago. She taught me what her role was as a PA and introduced me to the field of study. I was lucky enough to work at a clinic where students from various programs were coming to shadow. Out of all the PA students I met, the best and most kindhearted ones were from Methodist University. This program not only allows you to grow and realize your potential, but also provides staff that want nothing but for you realize your own potential. The support and family orientation of this program was what pulled me into this program, and I have no doubt that Methodist was the right choice for me.

Tessa Naranjo

Albuquerque, N.M.
University of New Mexico

Tessa NaranjoI am from Albuquerque, N.M. and received my undergraduate degree in Biological Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. I attended an LPN program in high school and worked as a nurse throughout my time as an undergraduate. Working as a nurse allowed me to learn more about the different professions that make up the health care team, and I decided that I wanted to pursue PA school.

When it came time to choose where I wanted to attend school, I was drawn to Methodist’s high PANCE and graduation rates, and the fact that they have a cadaver lab, which is something I didn’t have a chance to do during undergraduate classes. When I came to campus to interview and talked to current students about their experiences, I loved that the motto is “40 in and 40 out” because it shows the sense of comradery that exists at Methodist as opposed to competition between peers at other schools. When I received my acceptance to Methodist, I cancelled my other interviews and started planning my move to North Carolina.

My experience at Methodist has reinforced that I made the right decision in choosing a PA school. The faculty and other students are amazing and I know we’ll graduate prepared to start our journey as PA’s.

Joseph Phillips

Benson, N.C.
Campbell University

Joseph PhillipsBefore starting PA school, I received a bachelors in biology and a minor in chemistry from Campbell University. I have known since early undergrad that attending PA school was the goal. After graduation I worked for 2 years as a medical assistant, 6 months in primary care and then 18 months in orthopedics. The primary care clinic I worked for was actually a preceptor location for Methodist. While working I spent a good amount of time talking with current students. They all spoke so highly about everything related to the school, so I did some research and was really impressed with what I found. The longevity, reputation, PANCE pass rate, and low attrition rate were all fantastic.

When I came for my interview that sealed the deal. The faculty was extremely welcoming and friendly. They made a great effort to make the interview process more relaxed. It felt more like a conversation vs. an interrogation. The close-knit campus, cadaver lab, and the quality of the education was all just icing on the cake. I accepted the offer very quick after it was sent.

Since I have been at Methodist, I’ve never felt anything but support and acceptance from everyone in my cohort and the faculty. While the workload has been heavy it has never been beyond manageable. Even if things do get to be too much, I know I’m able to talk to anyone in class or any of the teachers about what is going on. Overall, it’s the family atmosphere and quality of education that let me know I made the right decision to attend Methodist!

Kyler Pilewski

Rollinsford, N.H.
Husson University

Kyler PilewskiWhen I began the process of applying to PA schools, I had a few non-negotiable requirements in the back of my mind that I wanted each program to embody. These included excellent PANCE rates, a state-of-the-art cadaver lab, faculty with respected reputations, and most importantly, a tight-knit community that would help to shape my classmates and I into competent and compassionate PAs.

Born and raised in the northeast, I directed my search to other parts of the country, hoping to gain insight on how our healthcare system operated in different regions. This is when I discovered MUPAP. After reading the testimonials of the current students, I knew this was the program for me.

My wish came true when I was offered an interview. Having heard about the interview process from other students and PAs, I was extremely nervous walking in, but my expectations could not have been more wrong. I thought I would have to provide an explanation as to why I deserved a spot in the program and to be competing with other interviewees. That was not the case at all. Instead, I felt like I was already a current student, having a friendly chat with the faculty as they got to know me better, making me feel at home. Experiencing that level of respect from people I had met for the first time that same day sealed the deal. I cancelled all other interviews and was ecstatic when I received my letter of acceptance the very next day. I am truly blessed to be a part of the MUPAP family!

Juliana Porcides

Fort Myers, Fla.
Florida Gulf Coast University

Juliana PorcidesWith family, I migrated from Brazil to the USA at a young age and grew up in Southwest Florida. I received my bachelors degree in Biochemistry and minor in Psychology from Florida Gulf Coast University. During my undergraduate career, I worked as an ER scribe and in a research lab but knew that upon graduating I wanted to gain more experience prior to applying to PA schools. I was blessed with the opportunity to work alongside amazing physicians, PAs, and NPs at Orthopedic Center of Florida. My time at OCF only solidified the desire to pursue my goals of becoming a PA-C.

When choosing where to apply to, North Carolina had always been my dream as I love being near the mountains while also not too far from the coast. I had heard from PAs that a school with a smaller class size and cadaver lab should be non-negotiable. When I received a few interview invitations I took their advice into account, but the choice was clear once I visited Methodist University. The interview was not a grueling and stressful process that some have made it but rather it showed the program’s true colors of being a tight knit community that cares for both our education and well-being. The MUPAP has exceeded all my expectations as the education we receive is competent and challenging while also fun and interesting. I moved over 700 miles away from family, but the faculty and my cohort have made this an easier transition than expected. I truly enjoy all this program entails and am so blessed to be surrounded by people who have become like family.

Evan Rogers

Salisbury, N.C.
North Carolina State University

Evan RogersUpon graduation from NC State in 2018, I planned to follow a rather different career path. I initially pursued a Master’s in History at NCSU, but after a year and half I found that, while the subject was interesting, it was lacking a very human element that I desired. My goal was to become an educator to interact with and help people, but it seemed most of my time was spent stuck in books and there was a shortage of opportunities to meet my desired ends. Consequently, I decided a career change was in my best interest. That was in January of 2020.

Within the week, the first COVID case popped up in America. I saw an opportunity to make use of my skills and help those in need. In researching potential career paths, the PA profession struck me as being uniquely suited to my situation. Here, I thought, I could do the best as quickly as possible. I worked as an EMT the first year of the pandemic and applied shortly thereafter. While applying, Methodist impressed me with its facilities, and I appreciated how much they worked with me during the application process. At my interview, I was further impressed by how friendly the faculty were and how they made such a stressful process feel so enjoyable. From experience, I can say with certainty that you will hardly find another place so welcoming, nor will you find another faculty more qualified and eager to help you achieve your dreams. Our cohort is immensely supportive, and I have never felt more sure I made the right choice.

Alicia Romero

Charlotte, N.C.
East Carolina University

Alicia RomeroMy journey to PA school was not always a clear path. While working through my undergraduate degree in Biology, I had my mind set on going to medical school and becoming a physician. However, towards the end of my time at East Carolina University (ECU), I discovered the PA profession. I took the initiative to educate myself about this career path in medicine. The ability to collaborate with physicians and explore the array of specialties was intriguing to me. Through this field, you also have the opportunity to continuously learn from the advising physicians as well as learn about different areas in medicine. During my hunt for information, I joined the Pre-PA club at ECU. This organization led me to this program by organizing a tour here. During this visit, I got to meet some of the faculty and students. Everyone was welcoming, friendly, and enthusiastic about the program. Once I decided this was the route I wanted to pursue, I obtained my CNA certification and completed my clinical experience hours working on a trauma unit at the main hospital in Charlotte, NC. Once I completely the required hours, I applied to PA school. Although the application process was intimating at times, the faculty made the interview process as welcoming and pain-free as possible. Ultimately, the overwhelming feeling of support and we’re all in this together attitude sold me on this program, which made it my top choice.

Jenaro Ryan

Waco, Texas
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Jenaro RyanBefore PA school, I served in the military as a medic until I retired in 2022. Several PAs I worked with throughout my career spoke highly of the Methodist Program and their experience with students during clinical rotations at Womack Army Medical Center. While completing prerequisites at Methodist University, I experienced a close-knit campus with small class sizes and access to plenty of resources.

Methodist fosters an environment of professionalism and diversity and pushes you to challenge yourself, which was evident during the interview and discussions with the first-year students. The faculty is engaging, filled with a wide range of clinical expertise, and genuinely devoted to ensuring that you graduate with the skills required to succeed as a PA. The diversity among the cohort provides an excellent opportunity to share previous experiences, which helps us to develop personally and professionally.

What I enjoy most is interaction with classmates and our cohesiveness from day one. We constantly lean on each other to keep sane and remind each other that we’re all in it together during stressful times (Pharm).

Alondra Santiago-Mejia

Clinton, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alondra Santiago-MejiaI am a North Carolina native, and I graduated from UNC with a B.S in Biology with a minor in Spanish for the Health Professions in 2020. Before starting PA school, I worked as a research coordinator and pharmacy technician.  As a research coordinator for the Center of Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing (CEDAS) group at UNC, I managed studies ranging from biopsy collection and storage to screening devices for Barrett’s Esophagus. It took me 2 application cycles to get into PA school, and in each Methodist was my top choice due to their diverse cohorts, amenities, and statistics. My experience thus far has been amazing due the continuous support of the faculty and staff.

Whitney Sewell

Rockingham, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Whitney SewellI graduated with my bachelor’s in respiratory and practiced as an RRT for about 7 years before beginning PA school. It was always a goal of mine to become a physicians assistant and increase my scope of practice and competency for healthcare. Methodist was truly my number one choice when it came to a program. I had the privilege of working with a few PA’s that have graduated from this program and that did nothing but confirm even more I was making the right decision by placing MU as my one and only pick. Interview day was smooth and welcoming and I clearly remember looking around and telling myself “this is where you belong”. As cliché as that sounds, MU was always IT for me!

Being a current PA student at Methodist is an honor and one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do in my life. You will be pushed, challenged, and grow exponentially as a student and person. I have learned so much in the time I have been in this program and I cannot express enough gratitude for my peers and the faculty. The faculty that comes along with this program are family, your peers become your family, we have the utmost support from all of the educators and it is comforting. They mean what they say when they state all competition is left at the door. I couldn’t be happier to be completing my journey with MU. I don’t want to be anywhere else!

Madison Smith

Raleigh, N.C.
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Madison SmithPrior to PA school, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biology Sciences with a minor in Chemistry at UNC Chapel hill and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Pre-health Professions at Meredith College. I have previously worked as a medical assistant in both dermatology and podiatry. I was mentored by the PA-C I worked with in Dermatology, and he sparked my interest in becoming a PA. He taught me about teamwork in the profession as well as educated me about differential diagnosis and treatment options. To improve my application, I started a post-baccalaureate degree, which nurtured my advanced science classes and continued my love of the medical profession. My advisor recommended Methodist highly. I went to a seminar about MUPAP led by Ms. Mish, where she explained the program, the corroborative environment, and the excellent education. She was friendly and welcoming and enticed me to apply to the program.

After applying and interviewing at Methodist, my decision to attend was easy! The program has very high PANCE pass rates, a small class size, an excellent reputation within the community, and a cadaver lab exclusive to PA students. We are surrounded by constant support from the faculty, and we are never competing against one another. I am so happy I chose the Methodist PA program! Our cohort is very supportive of each other and has become a family. I feel like the team-oriented mindset of the MUPAP community helps you to get through the most demanding challenges. I enjoy working and studying with them every day and know we will all make great providers in the future!

Allyson Vermette

New Boston, N.H.
Saint Anselm College

Allyson VermetteI was born and raised in southern New Hampshire, where I also earned my bachelor’s degree. During undergrad, my weekdays were spent in the classroom, while my weekends were spent in a local LTC/SNF facility as a Licensed Nursing Assistant. I also worked per diem in outpatient hospital services. I had planned to attend Physician Assistant school and was on my way. I was then diagnosed with cancer.

My experience as a cancer patient and living with chronic disease propelled me with stronger momentum towards my career in medicine and serving others. It also offered me a different perspective on life, opening my eyes to PA programs beyond New England.

I chose to apply to the MUPAP for many reasons. I thrived in a small, religious undergrad environment with strong connections to the community. I wanted similar, supportive surroundings during graduate school where I could grow, both in knowledge and in faith. The program’s phrase “40 in, 40 out” was sincere. Methodist also shared my value of diversity and inclusion. Not to mention, I had connections in other areas of North Carolina, and knew the state offered warmer winters than those in New England!

As the first in my family to attend graduate school, navigating the process of applying and interviewing while finishing undergrad was difficult. Methodist made it as straightforward as possible. When I finally received my acceptances and needed to make a decision, I ultimately chose Methodist. That choice has afforded me not only a substantial foundation in medicine, but also blessed me with lifelong colleagues and friends.

Jonathan Wertz

Wake Forest, N.C.
Methodist University

Jonathan WertzBefore I toured Methodist University in the Spring of 2018, I had no idea about the PA profession.  I had always thought that I would go to medical school after my undergraduate degree.  When I heard about Methodist’s Early Assurance PA Program my senior year of high school, I did some research and decided to apply.  It was my acceptance, along with the small school atmosphere, that drew me to spend my undergraduate career at Methodist.

Along the way, I had my doubts about going to PA school at MU.  I was worried that a small school would not have a well-known reputation within the medical field.  However, after visiting a few classes and talking with some of the PA students my freshman year of college, I realized just how influential MU PA graduates have been in the Fayetteville area from the ERs to the urgent cares, primary care, and internal medicine.  It was also evident the instructors were extremely relatable, knowledgeable, and understanding towards the students.  I felt like I could approach them about any issues I was having.  For those reasons, I decided that I would follow through with the Methodist PA Program.

Since I started the program, I can say it has definitely been challenging, but I have found for myself that the instructors are extremely knowledgeable and that they care deeply about the health and education of their students.

Taylor Williams

Fayetteville, N.C.
Methodist University

Taylor WilliamsThe Methodist University PA Program has been a household name in my family since I was 6 years old because that was when my mom decided she wanted to go back to school and become a PA. I remember even as a small child being interested in the things my mom was studying. I feel that that was when the initial seed for my love of medicine was planted.

Fast forward to my high school years, while I was looking at MU as an undergraduate program, I also found out about its Early Assurance Program that the MUPAP offered. The Early Assurance Program would secure me a seat in the program the year following the completion of my undergraduate degree and all their EA requirements. I applied to both the MU undergrad program and the EA Program my senior year of high school and was accepted into both! Many people often ask how I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go at such a young age. MUPAP makes this such an easy question to answer. The faculty and staff at this program are the most supportive and caring individuals I have ever worked with. They have treated me that way all during undergrad as I journeyed through the Early Assurance Program, and they were the same loving way to my mother almost 15 years ago. This place truly feels like a second home, and I cannot imagine myself being anywhere else doing anything else.

John Winslow

Wilson, N.C.
Hampden-Sydney College

John WinslowTowards the end of my undergraduate career, I committed to the PA route, and shortly thereafter I began work as an EMT and high school athletic trainer to gain the experience needed for PA school. Although I was unsuccessful in my first application cycle, I was fortunate enough to land an interview with the Methodist University PA Program. My experience from that first interview stuck with me and was all the more motivation to challenge myself to get in the next time around. Everyone reads all about the success rates with the PANCE here at Methodist, but what sets them apart from the rest of the pack is that for them, PA school is more than just good grades. The faculty prioritize the individual to ensure a quality candidate and future PA. Mrs. Mish even took the time to remember my name before I step foot on campus for my second interview a year later, which was all I needed to know that I was in the right place.

I have the unique experience to have received the benefits of small, student-centered institutions, and I can say with confidence that the staff of MUPAP has been nothing short of amazing in advocating for their students. From day one, there has been no man left behind, and that commitment to being part of such a great team will stay with me forever. Student success here really is generated from an open line of communication, both from the faculty and from within the cohort. Overall, this is a supportive community and I cannot see myself with any other group of students.

Jessica Womble

Wade, N.C.
Methodist University

Jessica WombleMethodist University truly felt like my home from the moment I stepped on campus. I knew that in high school I was interested in becoming a physician assistant and when touring schools for my undergraduate degree, I heard about the MU PA Early Assurance Program. This would be an opportunity for undergraduate students to transition to the graduate program upon completing a bachelor’s degree at Methodist. This stood out to me and resulted in MU becoming my school of choice as it was close to home, had smaller class sizes, and offered everything that I wanted. I was also aware that this school had one of the best programs in the state, even my own primary care provider went to school here! I journeyed through MU undergrad and knew every step of the way, that this was the path I was meant to take.

Since transitioning over to the graduate program, the faculty, staff, and other students within my cohort have made my time so far unforgettable. Each day I am learning more and more about how to care and connect with patients. I know that by the time I graduate Methodist will have fully prepared me for my future endeavors.

Bianca Wright

Pineville, N.C.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Bianca WrightBefore PA school, I gained experience at a medical provider where I would perform ultrasounds, assist in procedures, and complete patient intake. After interviewing at PA schools, I was most excited about Methodist because of the PANCE scores, class size, and most importantly the faculty. After I left my interview, I was excited because I knew the staff were dedicated to the success of their students. Methodist gives the PA students the tools we need to succeed through advising, class schedules, and the numerous opportunities for their clinical rotations. The cadaver lab also provides hands-on learning that helps us learn the material from class in a different way. The faculty and class size provides a non-competitive environment that ensures the success of every student.