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White Coat Ceremony

Incoming students in the Penn State College of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program start their two-year journey to become physician assistants at a white coat ceremony. The new students will receive their white coats and recite the Physician Assistant Oath, symbols of their entrance into the medical profession.

Stethoscopes lie on a table covered in a blue Penn State College of Medicine cloth

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Ceremony details

Physician Assistant Program Class of 2026

White Coat Ceremony

Entering Class of 2026
Friday, May 24, 2024, at 4 p.m.
Hershey Lodge and Convention Center
Nigerian Room

Watch online via Zoom

Download PDF version of the White Coat Ceremony program.

Thumbnail of program cover for Physician Assistant Program White Coat Ceremony - Class of 2026
Order of Ceremonies Expand answer

Welcome Remarks

David Richard, MD, FAAFP
Medical Director, Physician Assistant Program
Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Penn State College of Medicine

Introductory Remarks

Larissa Whitney, DBA, MHS, PA-C
Assistant Dean and Program Director, Physician Assistant Program
Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine
Penn State College of Medicine

Keynote Speaker

Erin Bernhard, PA-C, MPAS ’17
Patient First Primary and Urgent Care

Welcome and Introduction of Alumni

Erica Friedman, MD
Vice Dean for Educational Affairs
Penn State College of Medicine

Introduction of Students and Presentation of White Coats and Stethoscopes

David Richard, MD, FAAFP

Larissa Whitney, DBA, MHS, PA-C

Kristi Gruber, MEd, PA-C

Seth Fuhrman, PA-C, MPAS ’16

Administration of the Physician Assistant Oath

Dan Weiss, MSPAS, PA-C
Faculty, Physician Assistant Program
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Penn State College of Medicine

Closing Remarks

Riley Gerber
Physician Assistant Student

Light reception immediately following the ceremony.

Keynote Speaker Expand answer

Erin Bernhard, PA-C, MPAS ’17
Patient First Primary and Urgent Care

Erin Bernhard

Erin Bernhard

Erin Bernhard is an accomplished physician assistant who graduated from Penn State in 2010 with dual Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and International Studies. Following the completion of her undergraduate studies, Erin relocated to New Orleans where she volunteered in an AmeriCorps program with the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana. It was during this time that Erin became interested in pursuing a career as a physician assistant. She spent the next few years working as an EMT with New Orleans EMS while completing prerequisite courses for PA school.

Erin attended the Penn State College of Medicine Physician Assistant program from 2015 to 2017, during which time she served as class president. Upon graduation, Erin moved to Baltimore to start her PA career working in the MedStar Good Samaritan Emergency Department where she continues to work on a PRN basis. In 2020, Erin earned her Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Emergency Medicine. Presently, she is employed full-time at Patient First Primary and Urgent Care in Baltimore.

In addition to her clinical duties, Erin has a passion for leadership. She was selected for and participated in MedStar’s Leadership Excellence and Development program. She also served as Vice President of the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants (MdAPA) from 2020-2022. Erin has been actively involved in advocating for the PA profession and has met with state legislators in Maryland to request support for federal bills affecting PA practice. In her free time, Erin is an avid traveler and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

PA Program Class of 2026 Expand answer

Gabrielle Alandar
University of Pittsburgh – BS

Anna Albright
Ursinus College – BS

Johanna Arevalo
University of Pittsburgh – BS

Abigail Bedi
Penn State – BS

Shayar Bhattacharjee
Johns Hopkins University – MS
University of Pittsburgh – BS

Kyla Brossoit
Penn State – BS

Kevin Carballo
Quinnipiac University – BS

Camdin Carpenter
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania – BS

Thomas Eiler
Temple University – BS

Jodee Flurry
Auburn University – BS

Riley Francis
University of Michigan – BS

Quincy Garrison
University of Michigan – BS

Jordan Geis
Penn State – BS

Samantha Grimsley
Mary Baldwin College – BS

Elise Gryler
Macalester College – BA

Corinne Horne
Penn State – BS

Jake Johnson
Utah State University – BS

Tyler Koch
George Washington University – MS
University of North Florida – BA

Tamara Luechinger
University of California – BS

Joseph Martin
Albright College – BS

Dzejlana Mehmedovic
Dickinson College – BS

Allison Mikita
University of Oklahoma – BA, BS

Blake Nizinski
Penn State – BS
US Army 2020-Present

Stephen Nolan
Syracuse University – BS

Nneka Omoma
University of Georgia – MPH
University of Georgia – BS

Ethan Rogers
Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania – BS

Lauren Romanchek
Purdue University – BS

Madison Rosemeier
Kent State University – BA, BSN

Maqbul Safi
George Mason University – BS

Kostiantyn Sokyrchuk
Thomas Edison State University – BA
Yuriy Fedkovych Chenivtsi National University – BA
US Army 2018-2022

Physician Assistant Professional Oath Expand answer

I pledge to perform the following duties with honesty and dedication:

  • I will hold as my primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare and dignity of all human beings.
  • I will uphold the tenets of patient autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance and justice.
  • I will recognize and promote the value of diversity.
  • I will treat equally all persons who seek my care.
  • I will hold in confidence the information shared in the course of practicing medicine.
  • I will assess my personal capabilities and limitations, striving always to improve my medical practice.
  • I will actively seek to expand my knowledge and skills, keeping abreast of advances in medicine.
  • I will work with other members of the health care team to provide compassionate and effective care of patients.
  • I will use my knowledge and experience to contribute to an improved community.
  • I will respect my professional relationship with the physician.
  • I will share and expand knowledge within the profession.

These duties are pledged with sincerity and upon my honor.

The Physician Assistant Professional Oath is recited at white coat ceremonies, which mark physician assistant students’ transition from the classroom to clinical studies and at graduation.

By taking the oath, students pledge to put the health, safety and privacy of their patients first and adhere to a professional code of ethics.

The Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants developed the oath, which their Assembly of Representatives adopted.

Physician Assistant Program Faculty and Staff Expand answer

Heather Aouadhi, MA
Manger for Accreditation Monitoring, Database Analysis & CQI

Laura Critchfield, MSPAS, PA-C
Program Faculty

Heather Donato, MPAS, PA-C
Clinical Coordinator

Loren Evey, MA, PhD
Program Faculty

Kristi Gruber, MEd, PA-C
Program Faculty

Alexa Lantz, PA-C
Adjunct Program Faculty

Sarah Lewis, MHS, PA-C
Academic Director

David Richard, MD, FAAFP
Medical Director

Lori Schreckengast
Clinical Coordinator

Caryn Stopper, MEd
Director of Admissions and Student Engagement

Jodi Verbos
Admissions Specialist and Pre-Clinical Coordinator

Kimberly Walker, PA-C
Adjunct Program Faculty

Dan Weiss, MSPAS, PA-C
Program Faculty

Larissa Whitney, DBA, MHS, PA-C
Program Director

Acknowledgements, Scholarships and Special Thanks Expand answer


Musician: Bill Jewby

Congratulations to the Class of 2026 Scholarship Recipients

Kyla Brossoit
Kevin Carballo
Abigail Carney Bedi
Camdin Carpenter
Jake Johnson
Joseph Martin
Maqbul Safi

Special Thanks

Thanks to the generosity of alumni, friends and Highmark Blue Shield, custom Penn State stethoscopes, Tromner Reflex Hammers and pen lights are being gifted to the Physician Assistant Class of 2026. The stethoscopes are engraved with the lion shield and “We Are Penn State” as a reminder that a College of Medicine education starts with a white coat, a stethoscope and a supportive community with arms wide open.

Stethoscope, Pen Light and Reflex Hammer Donors

Dr. Lindsay A. Alaishuski
Dr. Matthew C. Banks
Dr. and Mrs. W. Stephen Barnes
Dr. and Mrs. Alan D. Bedrick
Mr. and Mrs. Gregory A. Bisko
Dr. Wendy E. Braund
Dr. William J. Curry
Dr. and Mrs. Glenn A. Davis
Dr. Gerald J. Eichner
Dr. James C. Fairfield
Dr. Natasha L. Flemens
Dr. Carol V. Freer
Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth A. Glick
Dr. Mark Glick and Dr. Margaret Grotzinger Dr. Stuart L. Goldberg
Dr. Edward M. Gotkiewicz
Dr. and Mrs. James A. Groff
Dr. and Ms. Alan W. Halliday
Dr. Jessica K. Hensel
Drs. Craig and Marianne Hillemeier
Dr. and Mrs. David S. Hulbert
Dr. Maria S. Jamiolkowski
Dr. W. Lawrence Kenney, Jr.
Dr. Marjorie Dunkle King
Mr. and Mrs. Dennis E. Lapp
Dr. To-Nhu Vu and Ambrose Liu
Dr. and Mrs. Colin MacNeill
Dr. Robert S. McGregor
Dr. Hannah Miller and Dr. David Fanelli
Dr. Michael J. Milligan
Dr. and Mrs. Paul B. Nelson
Dr. and Mrs. Barney D. Newman
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Olenginski
Ms. Phyllis M. Orlando
Dr. Sandip J. Patel
Dr. Ninad Pendharkar and Dr. Asavari Thatte Dr. and Mrs. Anastasius O. Peter
Dr. John J. Plosay III
Dr. and Mrs. Albert R. Porter
Dr. and Mrs. Gary J. Price
Dr. Bridget Rafferty
Dr. Christie G. Regula
Dr. and Mrs. Guillermo A. San Roman
Dr. Natthapol Songdej
Dr. and Mrs. Douglas A. Spotts
Dr. Anthony R. Tascone
Dr. Steven J. Triantafyllou
Dr. Larry N. Trubilla, Jr.
Dr. Alyssa A. Vigliotti
Dr. Don Vigliotti and Dr. Kathy Selvaggi
Dr. Vonn Walter
Mr. and Mrs. David L. Warner
Dr. Rosemary A. Wiegand and Mr. Brett Homan
Dr. Raymond P. Zarlengo and Dr. Elizabeth Lange Zarlengo