White coat ceremony marks new beginning for Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2023

The White Coat Ceremony celebrated the Elon Master of Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2023, which will now transition to clinical training.

A white coat ceremony symbolizes a significant moment for aspiring physician assistants. A painstakingly strenuous year of memorizing every minute function of the human body is commemorated with the donning of a garment packed with meaning for any health care professional.

Hertej Sohi ’23, receives her white coat from Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Anthony Clare during the Elon University Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies White Coat Ceremony, Nov. 18, 2022, in Whitley Auditorium.

“Class of 2023, the white coat you’ll receive today is an important symbol of all of your successes, failures and life experiences to date that got you to this specific time and place,” Interim Dean of the School of Health Sciences Stephen Folger said during the Physician Assistant Studies Program’s white coat ceremony on Friday, Nov. 18, in Whitley Auditorium. “While it marks an important transition in your professional education, it also signifies a long series of new beginnings during your clinical year.”

Their journeys are far from finished, however, as they will be lifelong learners in the always-dynamic field of medicine. Folger asked students to embrace the discomfort of each challenge and say to themselves instead, “If I’m not learning, I’m not living.” Receiving their white coats should serve as a sign of confidence that they are ready to face the challenge of their clinical year and to be catalysts of change in addressing health inequities in the world.

Elon’s Physician Assistant Studies program is a 24-month, full-time program that prepares its students to think critically and act skillfully to meet expanding health care needs in local and global communities. The 39 students in the Class of 2023 received their white coats and will transition to the clinical portion of the program for the next 12 months.

During her keynote address, Monica Zimmerman, adjunct assistant professor of physical therapy education and physician assistant studies, told the students that practicing medicine is a privilege. It’s a profession that has some of the highest highs but is also one with experiences that can also crush you, if you allow them to.

Monica Zimmerman, PT, DPT, delivers the keynote address during the Elon University Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies White Coat Ceremony on Nov. 18, 2022.

“But you are not alone, it happens to all of us. The things that happen around you when you’re working, whether you realize it that day, or a month later, or a year later, they will eventually have an impact on you,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said she’s seen the Class of 2023 show unwavering resilience. They are exhausted, they have struggled with self-doubt, and for some of the students, the program has been the first time they’ve had to ask for help in their academic lives. Despite this, they have displayed constant empathy and compassion for each other and will give that to each of their future patients.

“As a cohort, you are collectively relentless, you are stronger and more knowledgable than you ever were. We have watched you stretch and grow beyond the limits you thought you had. And you are ready.”

The Class of 2023 recites the Physician Assistant Professional Oath during the Elon University Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies White Coat Ceremony, November 18, 2022, in Whitley Auditorium.

Elon Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2023

  • David Abney
  • McLean Achziger
  • Rachel Alexander
  • Emily Banks
  • Hannah Beasley
  • Dorreen Brune
  • Benjamin Carrion
  • Carolina Chong Liao
  • Nicole Cort
  • Frederick Coyer
  • Lauren Dougherty
  • Lauren Dyke
  • Cynthia Espinoza
  • Alexandra Evans
  • Alyanna Maria Gan
  • Sarah Haley
  • Sheng Haley
  • Tolar Harris
  • Hannah Houston
  • Bekah Hudson
  • Kyle Lambert
  • Ryan Lu
  • Brian Luteyn
  • Patricia Main
  • Caroline Mea
  • Olivia Mitchell
  • Dani Novak
  • Mary O’Connell
  • Tate Phillips
  • Joshua Pugliese
  • Grace Reilly
  • Christopher Russell
  • Allison Russo
  • Hertej Sohi
  • Ellie Tuck
  • Clara Van Eck
  • Mauricio Vázquez
  • Katie Zech