Announcing the 
2020 Rosh Review – 
AAPA One Step Further Scholarship Winners

These students exemplify the ideals of continuous learning and self-improvement and who take it upon themselves to go “one step further” to improve a weakness or accelerate a strength.

AAPA 2020 Winners

Erica Chu

University of South Florida

My passions of dance, medicine, and serving others have aligned to impact the person I am today. The art of dance is uniquely similar to the art of medicine. Adaptability in dance is imperative: just as a dancer uses elegance to glide across the stage, the practice of medicine requires grace to tactfully switch to the needs of each patient, a tender heart to fully communicate conditions, and a clear mind to relieve suffering. To spend my life as the supporting character in the performance that helps the hero thrive in their own endeavors will be incredibly rewarding.

Jacinda Chan

Marshall B. Ketchum University

My passions lie beyond my main ambitions to serve and make an impact in my community. I am a coffee shop fanatic, nature junkie, foodie, and book lover, and I always enjoy sharing these passions with others. I aspire to take life to the fullest by appreciating every moment and living with gratitude every day. My family instilled the priceless values of perseverance and empathy in me, while my various leadership, volunteer, and work experiences helped me foster my personal growth with an open mind. I am thankful for every opportunity in life to learn and grow, especially at the AAPA conference.

Ryan Smith

Harding University

My journey to becoming a PA involved getting married and having children before school, which helped teach me how to prioritize efficiently. I am a father of three amazing children and a husband of one beautiful woman. I envision myself working as a PA in emergency medicine after I graduate. My dream job is to be a PA in a small mountain clinic where I can also practice wilderness medicine. I enjoy spending time with my family (preferably outdoors), trail running, skiing, mountain biking, climbing, intubating, suturing, and pushing myself to learn and try new things.

Evelyna Vartanians

Stony Brook University

To always take it one step further, we must be courageous enough to admit our weaknesses and seek help. I discovered this while struggling with my own mental health and the difficulty of taking the first step in seeking help. I hope to normalize the issue of mental health and show that it’s not shameful to seek care, which in turn will help my own patients feel comfortable opening up about their mental health issues.

Lauren Norheim

University of Colorado

One time I was asked how I want to be remembered in my life. The words that came to mind were passionate, generous, and inspiring. I want to advocate for causes I care about to empower communities around the world. I want to generously give my time, energy, and finances to create meaningful change. I hope to inspire those in my profession and everyone in my sphere of influence to reflect on how our decisions impact the world. By building upon my strengths and learning from those around me, I hope to become a passionate, generous, and inspiring PA.

Danielle Short

Baldwin Wallace University

Before PA school, I earned a Master of Science degree and worked as an athletic trainer in multiple states. I entered the physician assistant program to play a more substantial role in, and have a larger impact on, my patients’ health. I am passionate about achieving adequate healthcare for underserved populations while working to close healthcare disparity gaps. Within ten years, I also hope to enter the vast world of politics to influence public health policy.

Courtney Pilon

Bryant University

After volunteering in the emergency department, working as a health aide for clients living with quadriplegia, and pursuing a role as a clinical assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital, my interest in becoming a PA was evident. I saw first hand that this profession would allow me to be a lifelong learner as well as a dependable leader working on a healthcare team. At the AAPA conference, I will experience the strengths of the PA profession across the nation and learn from other colleagues and leaders.

Alexander Blank

Midwestern University

I started my professional life as a researcher and journalist. I chose to become a PA because I’ve observed a shift in medicine toward a new model of patient-centered care. I want to be part of this movement. My goals are to continue expanding my knowledge with clinical experience and to pursue degrees in public health and policy. I plan for more growth in all my realms of experience. I will treat patients as individuals, but I hope my work will also critically assess our healthcare systems to improve the well-being of our country as a whole.

Aliyah Mangrum

University of Pittsburgh

Growing up in a single-parent home, my biggest idol was my mother. I watched her go to and from her job as a nurse in a manner that radiated purpose and compassion. There was no question in my mind that I wanted my profession to be just as meaningful. As a future PA-C, I now know that it is. Being a PA encourages us to be the best students, clinicians, and patient advocates possible. It’s a dream and honor to be able to exhibit all of those features at the AAPA conference.

Rachel Dodson

Valparaiso University

Going “one step further” is something that I’ve always strived to do, whether it be in school, in my community, or in making an impact on those around me. It means pushing myself past any perceived limits and taking initiative to work harder and do extra work to better myself and others. In my future as a physician assistant, I plan to continue doing so. Learning is constant, and keeping up to date will help me provide effective patient education, improve patient outcomes, and hopefully improve public health awareness in my community.

Julia Piwowarski

University of Saint Joseph

I am deliberate. Although this is not a typical self-description, such as “kind-hearted” or “genuine,” it’s the foundation of who I am. Becoming the best version of myself requires evaluating the intentions behind my thoughts and actions to ensure they are pure, an ever-ongoing process. With this foundation, my pursuit toward ethical practices has continued to develop, as well as my ability to hold myself accountable, learn, and adapt even in adversity. Therefore, I deliberately live my life with the intention that each person I encounter and serve by any means can find empathy, strength, and healing.

Bryan Anamuro

Duke University

Working in EMS and at a level I trauma center has provided an intimate portrayal of life in an acute setting. It is here that my appreciation and passion for emergency medicine began. As I continue my journey toward working in this field, I realize that going one step further means more than being a proactive student. It encompasses the purpose for pursuing this profession: to challenge ourselves to pursue excellence in the medical care we will one day provide.

Vishal Ruparelia

Northeastern University

As a child of an immigrant and a refugee, I grew up watching my parents endeavor daily to build a better life. Retrospectively, it is hard to imagine their struggle because I witnessed them practice compassion and generosity every day. My goal is to extend their legacy to help and to heal. Previously, I chartered an organization to deliver leftover dining hall food to local nonprofit organizations while devoting my free time restoring the confidence and abilities of recovering youth athletes. As a PA, my focus will go beyond the patient’s diagnosis to become their trusted adviser on their well-being.

Pooja Kundargi

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

My path to the physician assistant field took various experiences and introspection. From working in healthcare IT to direct patient care work, I saw the difficulties clinicians have with creating smooth and efficient workflows juxtaposed with the time and empathy patients require from their providers. Through my patient experience, time as a student, and peer counseling, I strive to provide high-quality care that incorporates the emotional alongside the physical issues. I believe the strongest way to achieve this is by utilizing compassion, evidence-based medicine, and patience, and, most importantly, by empowering my patients to be responsible for their own health.

Sarah Dingman

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Leadership and community have always been very important to me. It’s why I became a resident assistant during my undergraduate education—it allowed me to guide my fellow students and foster community. The same is true during my physician assistant education. As my class’s elected AOR/Student Assembly Representative, I was the first to attend the AAPA 2019 conference in many years. In 2020, I hope to mentor the next AOR/SAR and bring my fellow classmates to the conference with me as our first Challenge Bowl team! It’s my hope that MCPHS will become more connected with PAs throughout the country.

Natalie Alanez

Miami Dade College

I’ve had a lot of challenges and setbacks, but I didn’t let this deter me from pursuing my goal of becoming a PA. One thing I truly enjoy about my PA program is all the community activities I have been involved in since I started, such as Project Seed, where we offer free health and HIV screenings for uninsured people. It is a blessing to be able to give back to the community—the love for my patients is unconditional, and their well-being means the world to me.

Daniel Donley

University of Texas Medical Branch

I have been blessed beyond belief and I want to spend as much of my life as possible pouring out what I can give to others. I am driven by compassion for the people I interact with no matter what the circumstances, and I want to make the biggest positive impact I can. Over the last 6 months, I have grown into a leader and done things that I never thought I would do. I plan to use my skills as a healthcare provider and the connections I make to change to landscape of healthcare on a global level.

Claire Kintner

Case Western Reserve University

My first glimpse into the world of medicine began with my involvement in medical mission trips during my undergraduate experience. I saw healthcare as an intricate system that stretches far beyond the walls of a clinic and into patients’ own families, neighborhoods, bills, and grocery bags. Now, in PA school, my appreciation for community health has been enhanced through my curriculum’s outreach screenings, free clinics, education efforts, and advocacy engagement. Community service is what motivates me to better perceive the components of healthcare that often go unsaid in order to provide a more comprehensive and effective source of care.

Betsy Van Haaften

Des Moines University

As an undergraduate, I attended Central College, where I studied biology. I also sang in the a cappella choir, where I cultivated my passion for peer leadership. Upon graduating, I began my professional education at Des Moines University, where I have continued serving my peers as the vice president of my class. In my free time, I continue to find rest and rejuvenation by singing in several local but notable ensembles, and I love to host my friends for a quiet night in or a lively dinner party.

Shyanna Neu

Lake Erie College

I was homeschooled when I was in elementary and middle school—an experience that made me not only love learning but also take pride in the way I use my knowledge to better the world. I hope I can use the knowledge I obtain from the AAPA conference to not only better myself, but the world and the people in it.

Samantha Tollerud

University of Findlay

Before starting PA school, I had the privilege of competing in division 1 track and field as a pole vaulter. College athletics provided me with an education and teammates that still to this day push me to accomplish more than I think is possible. At the end of my collegiate track career, I decided to continue my educational passion to become a PA. I am proud to be a future PA and I am looking forward to attending my first AAPA conference to further my professional growth. My hobbies include traveling, exercising, reading, and hiking.

Betsy Dunbar

University of Colorado

I serve as one of the Student Assembly Representatives and am student leader. Additionally, I chair the Service Committee, one of the AAPA Student Board Committees. By attending the AAPA conference, I’ll develop leadership skills and advance my clinical knowledge as well as have the opportunity to lead the Service Committee’s conference volunteer initiatives, including an offsite volunteer project, Be the Match registration, and blood drive. I’m excited to enter the PA profession for my second career, and I’m eager to care for patients and make meaningful contributions as a PA.

Aaron George

Medical University of South Carolina

I previously worked in a cardiac rehabilitation clinic as an exercise physiologist, and I would tentatively like to go into an undecided surgical subspecialty when I become a PA. In my free time, I enjoy just about any athletic activity, but especially CrossFit, golf, and skiing. I also enjoy to read and cook!

Shelby Perkins

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions

I am a first-generation college student who ventured from Kentucky to pursue physician assistant training in Utah. I describe myself as an outdoors enthusiast, athlete, earnest traveler, and volunteer. My mission is to approach life with curiosity, open-mindedness, and positivity, and to provide holistic care to the best of my ability at all times with humility, compassion, and sincerity. I aim to face failure and adversity with resilience and emotional intelligence, and to constantly grow from the experience. I cherish and embrace this adventure called life with open arms. I hope to better myself personally and professionally by attending the AAPA conference.

Andrew Kopel

Wingate University

I am currently serving as Student Government President. When I am not studying, I enjoy exercising, cooking, and being outdoors. Being involved with the community, giving back to my surrounding communities, and meeting new people are some of the priorities in my life. I have a passion for learning about medicine and helping others, and I am looking forward to my journey to become a PA. This conference will give me the opportunity to learn more from members of our community, as well as advocate for my school and the profession.

Hailey Orgass

Hofstra University

I completed my undergraduate education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My medical anthropology classes introduced me to many important ideas, like the social determinants of health. In my gap years after college, I used these tools to research the epidemiology of stroke at Yale University. I have presented this work at national conferences and was denoted a Paul Ambrose Scholar just this past month. I am constantly looking for ways to help me grow into a competent and compassionate clinician.

Hattie Scott

University of Colorado

I serve as a co-leader for the women’s health nights at our student-run clinic, and as the student-faculty liaison on our curriculum committee. Outside of school, I enjoy wandering in the Rockies, reading, running, and baking goodies for my family and friends. I have played tennis competitively and for fun since I was young, and I am excited to use my teamwork skills to excel in the best career there is: physician assistant!

Eryka Bradley

Sacred Heart University

I enjoy volunteering in my community, and I have a special interest in health disparities and women’s health. Outside of school, I love working out at Orangetheory Fitness, where I am also a studio ambassador. I try to exercise four to five times a week, which helps me maintain a healthy balance while in school. I am looking forward to attending my first AAPA conference!

Karina Arrelucea

Sacred Heart University

After four years of applying to physician assistant programs, I was humbled to have been accepted. My passion always revolved around providing medicine to people who lack access because of social isolation or lack of resources or awareness. Everyone has a right to quality healthcare, and I want to be the person who supports someone taking control of their health to experience life, rather than just living. I have now begun the journey, gaining knowledge every day, so that I can return to the Amazon, Africa, and the Caribbean, and explore new parts of the world to serve people through my passion.

Giancarlo Schillaci

Case Western Reserve University

“Wow, I’m surprised you made it this far,” a fellow student said to me on our first day of organic chemistry II. I struggled academically in organic chemistry I but ultimately overcame my challenges both inside and outside the classroom. The challenges I faced in the past have molded me to be the PA student I currently am and will make me the PA I will become. I envision being at the bedside speaking with a patient about their condition and treatment. I look forward to a career of lifelong learning and the opportunity to care for patients.

Chris Wang

Touro University California

I am incredibly excited to be pursuing a career as a PA. I have had a passion to serve the underserved communities around me since high school, and what better way to fulfill this than to become a healthcare provider that can serve underserved and uninsured communities? I am also a devout animal lover and part-time dog walker. Walking dogs helps me destress from PA school, as it helps clear my mind and gives me a nice mental break.

Madeline Anderson

Medical University of South Carolina

I graduated from Clemson University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Health Science and then moved back to my hometown of Charleston, SC, to work toward my goal of becoming a PA. I chose to pursue a career as a PA because it is a profession where my strengths and passions can collectively meet my community’s needs. It is exciting to see my educational dream becoming a reality, and I am excited to see what my future as a PA holds!

Maggie Kucera

Stanford University

In the years leading up to PA school, I held positions as a clinical research assistant in neurosurgery, research program coordinator, and emergency department technician at a level 1 trauma center. I highly value positivity and commitment to service, and I enjoy serving as the outreach chair for our program. Working with patients of diverse backgrounds while providing them with a sense of comfort and effective, informative care is what makes me excited about this profession.

Daniel Mulcahy

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Providing care for underserved communities with a specific focus on sexual and gender minorities is what I hope to do as a provider. As a Director at Large through the LBGT PA Caucus, I also advocate for the LGBTQ+ community through policy work and by developing culturally sensitive lectures that fellow students can give to their peers across the US. Education is also a passion of mine, and I hope to incorporate my future clinical work into an academic setting.

Corey Winstead

Wingate University

I am a professional outdoorsman and longtime EMT who decided to go back to school after a thrilling first career leading backcountry expeditions, teaching wilderness medicine, and guiding rock climbing across the US and South America. I came to the PA profession out of a desire to serve the largely rural and remote populations of western North Carolina, and to further hone my personal practice of medicine. When I’m not in the classroom, I hike, fish, and travel with my wife and puppy, and I serve as the assistant chief of the Appalachian Mountain Rescue Team.

Delilah Dominguez

Quinnipiac University

Prior to PA school, I worked as a licensed clinical social worker with older adults in Texas. I am passionate about serving older adults and am interested in end-of-life, hospice, and mental health. I am an advocate for social justice and am invested in helping shape policies in the profession and country that will improve our healthcare system and provide greater access to health resources. Staying involved in various leadership and professional activities (class president, two-term student HOD delegate, Urban Service Track Scholar, AAPA Task Force on Burnout, to name a few) invigorates me.

Bridget O'Hara

Pace University–Lenox Hill Hospital

I felt unfulfilled in my first job at a medical benefit management company because I did not have an outlet to make a positive impact in healthcare. When I had this realization, I quit my job and became a night shift nursing assistant and part-time student to get to my new goal as quickly as possible: to become a physician assistant. Once I decided I wanted to be a PA, I did not stop working my hardest to become the best healthcare provider I can be for my future patients.

Catalina Gutierrez

Lincoln Memorial University

Learning, teaching, and serving others are three things that I love and strive to do daily. Having the opportunity to study to become a physician assistant is a dream come true, and it is my mission to continue learning to be able to best provide care for future patients. Having been a teaching assistant allowed me to not only encourage other students but also helped push me to become involved in research. Lastly, giving back to my community has always been very important to me, and I plan to be a part of a local mission trip this year.

Thomas Havens

Sacred Heart University

My name is Tommy Havens and I’m an alcoholic. I like to start with that to bring awareness to the undue stigma attached to it. I am a PA student and the president of my class. I have been in recovery for over three years and hope to work in primary care as well as addiction medicine once I complete the program. At the AAPA conference, I hope to learn more about the PA profession and new legislature, to represent my school, and to learn about PAs in addiction medicine.

Annalise Grammerstorf

University of Colorado

I finished my MPH in 2017 and continue to link my passions for clinical medicine and public health through the PA program and the global health track at the University of Colorado. I am a Colorado Academy of PAs (CAPA) student representative for my class and a member of my program’s Point of Care Ultrasound group, through which I will compete at this year’s conference. Working in emergency medicine forced me to realize the disparities that certain populations face in receiving adequate care, and I am doing everything I can to prepare myself to be a resource to these patients.

About the scholarship

Rosh Review created a special National Medical Challenge Bowl 2018 QBank based on 200 questions accepted by the AAPA Challenge Bowl Review Committee. All profits received from the sale of this special QBank go toward funding the 2019 AAPA One Step Further scholarship awards.

If you are interested in previewing the types of questions, explanations and visual learning aids used in the Rosh Review Challenge Bowl Qbank, sign up for a free trial. You will find the AAPA Challenge Bowl Question Bank available on the first page of the free-trial dashboard.