ECU PA students take the spotlight during annual conference

Several ECU physician assistant studies students attended the American Academy of Physician Assistants 41st annual national conference held in Washington, DC,  May 25-29.  The conference marks the largest annual gathering of PAs with an attendance of over 7400 PAs and PA students.

rickerMelissa Ricker was elected president of the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) board of directors for the 2013-2014 term.

Ricker concluded her 2012-2013 term as the southeast regional director for the Student Academy of the AAPA.  Ricker was the first student from ECU and North Carolina to represent the southeast region and its 38 schools.

“Serving as southeast regional director this past year has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my recent past,” says Ricker. “I want to continue to use my creativity and passion for getting students involved, and I look forward to serving the role of president of the Student Academy.” Ricker said.

boybandSean Russell and Joe Bartholomew made quite an impact at conference when they presented their “new age” approach to promoting healthy lifestyles with their music group parody, BOYBANDemia.

Created by Russell and Bartholomew, along with a third member, Adam Rhodes, BOYBANDemia began as a class project to promote smoking cessation.  Lyrics for popular 90’s songs were re-written, vocals recorded, and a music video was produced and uploaded on YouTube.  Reaching 10,000+ views in the first month, the group went on to write, record, and produce two more parodies about obesity and CPR education, which combined reached over 85,000 views.

Considerable media attention prompted the AAPA research project manager to invite the group to present their unique project at the AAPA conference. Physician assistants and PA students from all over the nation were in attendance as Russell and Bartholomew debuted their unconventional approach to educating the general public about the most common causes of mortality in the US.

“If these music videos make you laugh, then they’ve done their job, if it makes you get healthier, then we’ve done ours,” said BOYBANDemia.

Victoria Bennis01Victoria Bennis (pictured on left) was awarded the 2013 Student Paragon Award.  The award is given to a student who has demonstrating exemplary service as a PA student.

Bennis is very active in the community, organizing multiple health promotion events at a local elementary school, and raising awareness in the school systems and community through her organization, Save A Life. She said that she is honored to be one of many to proudly represent ECU.


2013 conference-medical knowledge bowl team01Amy Petticrew, Holley Spears, and Mercedes Camprubi-Soms represented ECU in the National Medical Challenge Bowl, and they made sure to display plenty of pirate pride!

Of the 68 teams competing, the ECU PA team placed in the top 36 schools in first round, advancing them to the second round to compete live on stage in a jeopardy style elimination contest. 

Although the pirate PAs did not secure the win, they had a great time competing against their peers and celebrating the PA profession.