Physician Assistant Studies Alumni Association

Student Awards

National Health Service Scholarship Program

NHSC is a federally funded program that provides a monthly stipend for eligible expenses of education: tuition, required fees and other reasonable educational costs. Loan repayments are tiered to the geographic site. All NHSC service sites have to be a FQHC (federally qualified health center), with a particular HPSA (health professional shortage area) score (the higher the score, the higher the need, and the higher the payback).

It is a great program, very competitive and not easy to win. The program accepts applications once a year from students who enroll. Demonstrate in your application an overwhelming commitment and dedication to the ideology of the program – to serve the underserved. Details of the NHSC program involve a commitment to work at least 2 years at an NHSC-approved site in a medically underserved community. Application deadlines are in the Spring.

Loan Repayment-NYS Health Professional Shortage Areas

New York’s irregularly funded Primary Care Service Corp (PCSC) provides loan repayment to qualified non-physician clinicians (like PAs) who commit to practicing in the State Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in return for a two- or four- year service obligation.

In some years, NY legislators offer generous funding; other years (mysteriously) have no details, no money and no plan to support students of medicine.

Details of the program can be difficult to confirm. Per NY state policy, extensive application documents will be required. Past years have sites posted herethere, and of course, legislators offer excuses plenty.

Student Awards & Supports

The PA Alumni Association has established five awards for PA students attending the Center for Physician Assistant Studies at Albany Medical College. Funds are generated from alumni contributions, association activities and through an endowment fund with the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation.

Master’s prepared graduating PA students are eligible for multiple honors, and especially the four awards provided by the Alumni Association:


The Ahlers Award is given in recognition of the Physician Assistant who demonstrated academic excellence throughout the years of education at the Albany Medical College Center for Physician Assistant Studies.

2016 Jillian Coffey
2015 Tara Manny, Justin Pedersen
2014 Jordan L. Roberts
2013 Christopher Tyler
2011 Laurel J. Shambo
2009 Justin Kilgore
2008 Melanie Sloan
2007 Nicole J. Caiazza, Kelly J. Volmer


The Cooper Award  is given in recognition of Stuart Cooper, MD, the first medical director of the Physician Assistant Program, which was jointly administered between Albany Medical College and the Hudson Valley Community College. His inaugural policies established one of the oldest and most respected PA programs in New York State. The Cooper Award is for academic excellence in the didactic phase of education at the Center for Physician Assistant Studies.

2016 Katelyn Cullinan
2015 Alex Vitale
2014 Matthew Thomas Bushart
2013 Meredyth Monahan
2011 Jessica Reese
2009 Jessica Bouchard
2008 Brooke Riley
2007 Denise C. Gangi


The Gold Award honors the attorney who taught many Albany PA graduates, and lectured throughout the country in health law. For our alumni association, Barry Gold offered counsel and pro-bono legal assistance to multiple regulatory agencies with complex incorporation affidavits representing the PA Alumni as a not-for-profit corporation. Beyond the firm of Thuillez, Ford, Gold, Butler & Young, and as a dynamic presence in very many professional and community organizations, Mr. Gold was a true friend of PAs in Albany. This award is given for academic excellence in the clinical phase of PA education.

2016 Michelle Ziegler
2015 Amanda Altobelli
2014 Eric Taylor Williams
2013 Alexis Liakos
2011 Lisa Tracy
2009 Tara Kristine Libruk
2008 Isabella Visagie
2007 Laney R. Winkler


The Freitag Award recognizes Physician Assistants who demonstrated exemplary professionalism displayed throughout the academic and clinical program. Dr. Freitag was instrumental in establishing Albany’s original PA Program. Dr. Julia Freitag facilitated legislation that established physician assistant education in New York State. These awards honor her memory by denoting PA excellent student development.

2016 James Dewey, Kelsey Hilley, Patrick Matolka, Katherine Parsley
2015 Bradley Rice, Laura Runyan
2014 Jordan L. Roberts
2013 Jon Ford, Sujata Kane
2011 Theresa Anne Skelly
2009 Robert R. Surprenant
2008 Richard Dalaba
2007 Alana L. Denter, Julie Ann Novellano


The Pi Alpha Award for National Physician Assistant Honor Society is given in recognition of significant academic achievement, leadership, research, community/professional service, and the encouragement of a high standard of character and conduct among physician assistant students and graduates.

2016 Andrea Aitken, Michael Figliomeni, Kelsey Hilley, Heather Kersman, Meghan LaRocca, Patrick Matolka, Michael O’Rourke, and Dr. Mark Stoddart
2015 Diana Malinowski, Jessica Patrizio, Justin Pedersen, Taylor Pettit, Meagan Potratz, Marin Riley
2014 Sarah Christine McTague, Sarah Anne Walton, Jennifer Lynn Woodard
2013 Michelle Frey, Erin Hall, Alexis Liakos, Meredyth Monahan, Erin Moore, Christopher Tyler
2011 Patricia A. Schmidt, Theresa Anne Skelly
2009 Sarah Liegl, Tara Kristine Libruk, Israel Cherish Wheeler
2008 Sarah Brennan, Richard Dalaba, Stephanie Hanzlik, Jennifer O’Brien, Melanie Sloan
2007 Denise C. Gangi, Nicoleta Negroita, Crystal Palmer, Kelly J. Volmer, Danielle Wright


The Blue Ribbon – Dean’s Award for Clinical Poster Presentations are presented each year at the Annual Graduate Student Research & Awards Day based on a review of posters and abstracts submitted by students within the Albany Medical College Programs of the Clinical Sciences.

2016 Dominic Ascioti, Ashley Clark, Jillian Coffey, Laura DeWitt, Michelle Fisher, Patrick Matolka, Michelle Ziegler
2015 Tara Manny, Marcus Mermelstein, Justin Pedersen, Meagan Potratz, Marin Riley, Laura Runyan, Alex Vitale
2014 Greta Beinlich, Marisa Dagostino, Alexa Etkin, Rebecca Grugan, Jordan Roberts, Jennifer Woodard
2013 Rebecca Dash, Laura Hickey, Sujata Kane, Cindy Masters, William Prevo, Christopher Tyler
2011 Jessica Reese, Lynn A Gorczyca, Lisa Tracy
2010 Kerry A. Mullin
2009 Tara Kristine Libruk
2007 Nathan J. Gardner


The Red Ribbon – Dean’s Award for Clinical Poster Presentations are presented each year at the Annual Graduate Student Research & Awards Day based on a review of posters and abstracts submitted by students within the Albany Medical College Programs of the Clinical Sciences.

2016 Andrea Aitken, Matthew Aoun, Amanda Burns, Kristyn Cuomo, James Dewey, Fani Gruber, Katherine Hughes, Karen Jahrling, Sarah McPartlon, Ashley Moore, Michael O’Rourke
2015 Amanda Altobelli, Corey Ennis, Sandra George, Allison MacLellan, Diana Malinowski, Taylor Pettit, Bradley Rice, Stephanie Sherman, Megan Weitzel
2014 Erin Guldenstern, Elisha Hinman, Colin Meagher, Thomas Morey, Chelsea Perry, Arianna Pham, Sarah Walton, Christopher Wasacz
2013 Amanda Benincasa, Jeffrey Foley, Michelle Frey, Erin Hall, Nicole Izzo, Alesia Khmelnytskyy, Alexis Liakos Jenna Locaputo, Erin Moore, Michael Rizzuto


The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Recognition Award is presented to outstanding graduates and residents worldwide who have shown an interest in natural medicines, with an evidence-based approach to patient care, using the same standards that apply to prescription and non-prescription drugs.

2016 Heather Kersman
2015 Margot Mosier
2014 Sarah Anne Walton
2013 Allison Rott


Alumni of Albany Medical College  present awards to graduate students of Albany Medical College who represent a new generation of outstanding doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals. The Alumni Award is given for excellence in clinical practice for physician assistant studies.

2016 Laura Dewitt
2015 Justin Pedersen
2014 Jennifer Lynn Woodard
2013 Erin Moore

Awards have been offered at completion of didactic studies, to an AMC PA student, substantially based on the content of an essay with the subject of:
“One vision of a progressive PA Alumni Association”
Candidate must be a full-time, matriculated student with a minimum 2.5 GPA, having completed fourth term requirements and will continue in good standing with the Center for Physician Assistant Studies to be eligible. Awarding will occur at the “Memorial Lecture” planned for October.

Applicants should assemble this essay, plus a brief cover letter, for the PA Alumni Association Board of Directors. Submit these two items before September 30th via electronic mail to Alumni Board or via paper to Ms. Harrington at the Center for PA Studies, where the alumni have legal offices as a not-for-profit corporation, in Albany. Deadline for the application for this award is 11:55 pm, September 30th.


Alumni Reunions have been encouraged at the national AAPA conventions via subsidies to PA students who choose to travel as well to these conventions. Criteria for supporting student travel includes an “open house,” publicized at the convention site, facilitating alumni meetings. Details are enumerated in early springtime.


Alumni gifts for the future should be considered by arranging a memorial gift for PA students deserving of financial assistance. Historically, the Albany-Hudson Valley PA Program, under the auspices of the NY State University system, had offered powerful career opportunites to clinically savvy clinicians of limited financial means.

Consistent with our PA heritage, a long-term goal of the PA Alumni Association involves supporting deserving students in PA Masters’ studies, in true scholarship arrangement. In the meantime, the student awards described above will continue.

Gifts made through a will can potentially provide tremendous assistance for students. Obviously, professional advice on the tax benefits of making such a bequest is crucial.

See Wills & Bequests for introductory information. But regardless of tax implications, this form of philanthropy lets you leave a profound and lasting legacy, offering benefits in personal satisfaction and supporting scholarship for future Physician Assistants.