HPU Graduates Fourth Physician Assistant Class

HPU’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies welcomed students into the profession during its graduation ceremony.


HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 28, 2020 – Today, High Point University graduated its fourth physician assistant class and welcomed them into the professional field.

The ceremony, usually held in HPU’s Hayworth Fine Arts Center, was held in Congdon Hall’s Callicutt Auditorium to ensure students and faculty were physically distant due to the global pandemic. The students’ family members watched the ceremony via live stream from their homes.

“The Department of PA Studies here at High Point University celebrates the Class of 2020,” said Dr. Jim Johnson, interim chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “They have shown determination throughout their PA education and gracious flexibility as healthcare educators and providers navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic affected every aspect of PA education, but these students displayed tenacity in the face of adversity.”

“As a PA student, the pandemic resulted in a need for flexibility as our clinical rotations were affected,” said Sarah Ebersold, an HPU physician assistant graduate. “During the time that students were not allowed at clinic, the clinical team at HPU worked around the clock to continue to provide opportunities for us to learn and continue our education virtually, while also securing new placements and instilling safety measures upon our return to clinic.”

Samyra Casterlow is from Greensboro and was this year’s class president. She feels more motivated to begin her professional journey as a physician assistant in the area. 

“Due to the global pandemic, behavioral health has become an area of major need because of the increased stress, anxiety and feelings of loneliness associated with this difficult time,” said Casterlow. “I feel comfortable with addressing the mental health issues created and/or worsened by COVID-19.”

Thirty-five students, who were selected out of more than 1,300 applicants and welcomed as the fourth class in June 2018, were presented with the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree.

Ebersold recently accepted a position with Novant Health Urology in Winston-Salem.

“I will forever be grateful for having the opportunity to become a physician assistant at my alma mater,” said Ebersold. “I now have the opportunity to serve patients in the Triad which is very exciting.”

The program, housed in HPU’s Congdon School of Health Sciences, now has 112 students total. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, prestigious faculty and newly designed curriculum, the Congdon School of Health Sciences and Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy create a cornerstone for medical innovation at HPU.

“The outstanding facilities and small class sizes are what I loved about HPU,” said Ebersold. “I had a wonderful experience as an undergraduate at HPU, and I wanted to continue that experience as I transitioned into graduate school.”

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