Franklin College Physician Assistant Studies Students Celebrate Halfway Mark of Program With White Coat Ceremony
The Franklin College Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program held its White Coat Ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. The college’s cohort of 22 PA students from the class of 2025 received their white coats and recited a medical oath before family and friends inside the Clarence E. & Inez R. Custer Theatre in Old Main on the Franklin College campus.
Jasmina Cheeseman, PA-C, MLS, program director and assistant professor of physician assistant studies, welcomed attendees and delivered the opening remarks for the ceremony. Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather addressed the guests next, congratulating the students on the significant milestone. He spoke of the data that shows the pressing demand in Indiana and throughout the entire country for skilled and compassionate health care providers, and the important role these students will one day play in their communities.
The ceremony is the halfway mark of the 25-month, full-time program. Christopher Zietlow, M.D., program medical director and adjunct assistant professor of physician assistant studies, addressed guests, explaining the symbolism of the ceremony as a rite of passage welcoming students into health care practice by providing a white coat signifying professionalism and humanistic patient care. At Franklin College, it marks the transition from the didactic year to the clinical year and the beginning of clinical rotations.
Luke Smith, PA-S, president of the class of 2025, addressed the guests next. Smith is a native of Indiana, but he represents a class that has come from all areas of the country to learn and work together.
Following Smith’s remarks, the students participated in the cloaking ceremony, led by members of the physician assistant faculty, and then recited the PA Professional Oath, pledging to perform their duties with honesty and dedication.
During the ceremony, the students and faculty honored Dr. Mary Beth Hensley, of Columbus Regional Health, with the Preceptor of the Year award. Clinical Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Jennifer Simmons, PA-C, presented the award to Hensley, citing her dedication and commitment to the students.
Hensley earned her undergraduate degree at Franklin College and completed her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. She is a family medicine specialist in Columbus, and is affiliated with Columbus Regional Hospital and Johnson Memorial Hospital.
The ceremony is the fifth for Franklin College. The program’s sixth cohort of PA students will begin their studies in January 2024.
Students receiving their white coats include:
Nathaniel Acree of Lafayette. He completed his undergraduate degree at Anderson University.
Sarah Botkin of Martinsville. She completed her undergraduate degree at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
KayLyn Brown of Indianapolis (46226). She completed her undergraduate degree at Indiana University - Bloomington.
Tyler Corless of Fort Wayne. He completed his undergraduate degree at Trine University.
Sidney Fields of Columbus. She completed her undergraduate degree at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
Nicholas Foster of Brownsburg. He completed his undergraduate degree at Grace College.
Miranda “Allyssa” Giddens of Whiteland. She completed her undergraduate degree at Franklin College.
Allison Harris of Daleville. She completed her undergraduate degree at Anderson University.
Katelyn Hummel of Greenwood. She completed her undergraduate degree at Ball State University.
Aanchal Lal of High Point, N.C. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Christine Jones LeCours of Anaheim, Cal. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Riverside.
Alyssa Mull of Spanish Springs, Nev. She completed her undergraduate degree at Utah Valley University.
Shelby Nees of Cloverdale. She completed her undergraduate degree at Grace College.
Zoey Norman of New Palestine. She completed her undergraduate degree at Ball State University.
Zachary Penley of Westfield. He completed his undergraduate degree at Hanover College.
Luke Smith of Avon. He completed his undergraduate degree at Purdue University.
Drew Tucker of Indianapolis (46219). He completed his undergraduate degree at DePauw University.
Abbey Vales of Wilber, Neb. She completed her undergraduate degree at Bryan College of Health Sciences.
Grace Vicars of Dana. She completed her undergraduate degree at Franklin College.
Kassidy Williams of Vancouver, Wash. She completed her undergraduate degree at Washington State University.
Jacob Woodard of Indianapolis (46278). He completed his undergraduate degree Olivet Nazarene University.
Ryan Youngs of Avon. He completed his undergraduate degree at Ball State University.
About the Franklin College Physician Assistant Program:
Franklin College received Accreditation-Provisional for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program in the fall of 2018 and enrolled its first cohort in January 2019. The college’s MSPAS program is a 25-month course of study. Graduates are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and become licensed as a physician assistant in any state.
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is made possible by a nearly $1 million grant awarded to the college in 2014 from the Lilly Endowment, as part of its Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations. It is the second master’s program launched by the college.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Franklin College Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Franklin College. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be 2033. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-franklin-college/.
For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.
Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, esports, Greek life, musical and theatre productions and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu. Find Franklin College on Facebook, follow @FranklinCollege on X (formerly known as Twitter) and watch FranklinCollegeGrizzlies on TikTok.