DALLAS — A team of Misericordia University students will test their knowledge against other schools in a national academic competition.
Students from the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program will be competing in the in the 24th annual Student Academy National Medical Challenge Bowl on Sunday at the American Academy of Physician Assistance Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. This year will mark Misericordia’s second appearance at the competition. It also will mark the first graduating class of the Misericordia’s physician assistant graduate program.
Physician assistant programs from across the country face off each year in the competition that resembles the format of television game show “Jeopardy!” The team of Misericordia University students will go up against teams from colleges and universities like Stanford and Duke University.
The winning team will receive a silver bowl, a banner and bragging rights for the year. Stanford University took the honors at last year’s competition.
Scott Massey, director of Misericordia’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program, said this year’s team will mark the tenth that he has prepared for the competition.
He was confident that the team would leave the competition as winners.
“I predict a win,” he said. “I think that they have a very good chance.”
Misericordia’s team members were selected through a screening process based on academic standing and nominations from classmates. The team consists of five students — three core members, and two substitutes. The team will be led in the competition by Darci Brown, director of clinical education and assistant professor of physician assistant studies at Misericordia University.
Core team members include Jennifer Corcoran, of Shavertown, Dayna Ruhf, of Mountain Top, and Jennifer Rizel, of Kingston. Jonathan Bastian, of Mifflinburg, and Marcus Hodge, of Mount Airy, Maryland, are the team’s substitutes.
This year will mark Rizel’s second year competing in the competition. Rizel was confident that the team would do well, but said the experience tends to be a nerve-wracking one.
Massey said training also consisted of drilling the team with about 1,000 different medical facts, along with other repetitive questions and other material to memorize.
Massey also made sure students were aware of the rules and that they knew how to respond to questions. He also cued them in on the types of questions that would be asked so students could have a jump on ringing in.
Sometimes, Rizel said it boils down to which team is quicker with the buzzer. Since Rizel’s class is the first graduating class, she said a victory would be fitting.
“I think it would be pretty cool,” she said. “For a brand new program to come to the finals, or even win, would be awesome.”