Red Rocks Community College News Release
Red Rocks Community College Celebrates the Graduation of 29 Physician Assistant Students
LAKEWOOD, CO – The Red Rocks Community College Physician Assistant (PA) program honored its 13th graduating class on August 17. In a joint ceremony, the program welcomed its new class of 31 students, promoted 28 current students to their clinical year in a traditional white coat ceremony, and graduated 29 students. Debra Nickell, PA Program Director, presided over the ceremony. Dr. Sacramento Pimentel was also in attendance to present a scholarship named in his honor.
The Pimentel Rural Primary Care Scholarship was awarded to Ashton Redstone. Jason Valderrama earned the Conrad Rural Primary Care Scholarship. Two Mission Awards were awarded to students who exemplified the program’s mission of supporting underserved populations. Award recipient Madison Nott accepted a position in Holdrege, Nebraska which is located 30 miles from her hometown. She will work with a community of 5,500 people and also serve rural communities throughout southwest Nebraska and northwest Kansas. Winner of the second Mission Award, Rebecca Broda, accepted a position at the Salud Community Health Center in Fort Morgan, Colorado. Salud Health Centers offer medical care to low and no-income individuals and families. Dean Lori A. Burns, RN, MSN, presented the Award for Academic Excellence to two outstanding PA program students; Paul Meier and Sarah Brock, who both maintained high GPAs for the entirety of the program.
Students who enter the two-year program are already experienced health care providers who want to expand their skills. Participants in the RRCC PA program come from careers in nursing, physical therapy, emergency services, respiratory therapy, audiology, and several other fields. All have a bachelor’s degree and many hold a master’s or doctorate degree.
At the conclusion of an extensive two-year curriculum, graduates take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and are eligible for a PA license in any state once they have passed. RRCC graduating classes have consistently met or exceeded the national PANCE pass rates.
PA program participants may also co-register at St. Francis University and simultaneously work toward a fully accredited master’s degree. Deborah Budash, Director of the Master of Medical Sciences and Master of Health Sciences (MMS/MHS) program at St. Francis University, was in attendance to present masters degrees to graduates of the joint program. In 2010 CNN Money listed “Physician Assistant” as the second best job in America. Highly skilled PAs such as RRCC/St. Francis University program graduates are in high demand and many earn well over $100,000 a year.
About Red Rocks Community College
Established in 1969, Red Rocks Community College delivers high-quality, affordable education programs leading to two-year degrees or professional certificates. The college serves over 15,000 students per year online and at campus locations in Lakewood and Arvada. www.rrcc.edu