Elon physician assistant endowment funds inaugural Kopynec Scholarship Awards

Physician Assistant studies recently received their first endowment, the Bo William Kopynec, M.D. and Susan Kopynec '81, PA-C, PA Program Endowment, allowing several students to receive scholarships to advance their education at Elon.

The Department of Physician Assistant Studies Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural scholarships through the Bo William Kopynec, M.D. and Susan Kopynec ’81, PA-C, PA Program Endowment. These distinguished students applied for specific Kopynec Scholarships through a rigorous application process, met established criteria and had their submissions reviewed and scored by committee members based on a comprehensive rubric.

Susan “Suze” Davis Kopynec ’81 graduated from Elon University with a degree in biology and medical lab technology and attended graduate school at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she was trained as a physician assistant (PA) in the traditional medical model. After a 20 plus year career as a PA in Pinehurst, North Carolina, she now owns and practices at StoryChangers Medical/Clinical Hypnosis in Southern Pines. Her husband, Dr. Bo William Kopynec, received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1978 and practices Family Medicine with FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst.

This year, the committee awarded Kopynec Scholarships in three distinct areas in the amount of $500 each. In total, the committee evaluated 14 student applications, resulting in the selection of the outstanding recipients listed below.

Kopynec Scholarship Awards and Awardees

Kopynec Housing Allowance

This year’s recipients of the Kopynec Housing Allowance Scholarship are Natalie Gadaleta and Barbara Ramirez. The scholarship supports travel and housing expenses for “away” rotations over 60 miles from Elon University, essential for meeting graduation requirements. Two clinical-year PA students received this scholarship based on demonstrated need and optimal use of the funds. Applicants submitted essays explaining how this scholarship would enhance their learning opportunities and their commitment to the Elon mission statement.

Kopynec Global Experiences

This scholarship is supporting two clinical-year students who wish to engage in international studies. Applicants described how studying abroad would influence their future PA practice and how they planned to use the funds. Priority is given to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students wishing to participate in Study U.S.A. or those who have not traveled outside the US.

Recipients Maya Leemaster and Tyler Arenas are currently in Belize, completing a clinical rotation in that country’s most sparsely populated and least developed district, providing care in home health, outpatient, mobile clinic and community education settings.

Kopynec NCCPA Allowance

The Kopynec NCCPA Allowance Scholarship awards $500 to a clinical-year student committed to wellness, cultural humility and collaboration, aiding in covering the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) registration fee. In their essays, applicants outlined their plans to promote collaboration and include diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as licensed PAs. This year’s recipient, Sloan Horejsi, has shown dedication to personal and professional growth and DEI. She has also served as a leader in the cohort.

Recognizing Excellence

Four people stand in front of a car
Elon PA learners preparing for a day of service during their elective rotation in Belize, including Tyler Arenas (far left) and Maya Leemaster (far right)

These scholarships are more than just financial awards; they represent a commitment to learning, caring, serving and leading, embodying the core values of the Elon PA mission statement. Each recipient has demonstrated exceptional dedication to their studies and to the broader mission of the PA program.

We are grateful to the Kopynecs for recognizing the mission of the PA program at Elon and for supporting our students in their education. Please join us in congratulating these remarkable students on their achievements. Their hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence have earned them these well-deserved scholarships. We look forward to seeing how they will continue to excel and contribute to the field of healthcare.