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News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Department of Physician Assistant Studies to present white coats to Physician Assistant Class of 2025

Thirty-three University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) physician assistant (PA) students are set to begin the clinical portion of their studies in early February in an effort to earn their Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree.

To this end, the Physician Assistant Class of 2025 will receive its white coats at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, in the University of North Dakota’s Chester Fritz Auditorium.

Stream the White Coat Ceremony here.

“The presentation of the white coat is symbolic of the new profession the students are entering,” said Department of Physician Assistant Studies Chair Jeanie McHugo, Ph.D., PA-C. “The coats will be worn by students through the clinical phase of their training and denote their involvement with the PA program at UND.”

Students have already completed their first two semesters of basic science instruction, and now transition into the clinical aspect of their curriculum in the didactic setting before beginning their primary care clinical experiences under the supervision of physician and PA preceptors. Over the next 18 months, they will return to UND for several weeks at different junctures for additional education and training.

Eighty seven percent of the Class of 2025 is from North Dakota and Minnesota. Students range in age from 21 to 51 years, with an average age of 27. The class includes nine males and twenty-four females.

UND Master of Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2025:

  • Jase Bakker, Center City, Minn.
  • Josie Benzie, Sturgeon Lake, Minn.
  • Dillon Boen, Fargo, N.D.
  • Kendra Bohm, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Ellie Fischer, Hamel, Minn.
  • Alayne Brekke, Warren, Minn.
  • Rachel Brothers, Saint Cloud, Minn.
  • Megan Bryn, Fargo, N.D.
  • Clara Burkman, Eagan, Minn.
  • Paige Fritz, Fargo, N.D.
  • Carly Gilbertson, Lisbon, N.D.
  • Grace Grani, Hawley, Minn.
  • Kimberly Hinkel, West Fargo, N.D.
  • Benjamin Hinkle, Bozeman, Mont.
  • Sarah Herman, Fargo, N.D.
  • Mary Janke, Perham, Minn.
  • Klay Johnson, Mapleton, N.D.
  • Madeleine Kennedy, Pipestone, Minn.
  • Alex Lange, Avon, Minn.
  • Miah Lee, Dilworth, Minn.
  • Todd Marchant, Stevensville, Mont.
  • Jackie Mattson, Verndale, Minn.
  • Shawn McClaughry, Middletown, Ind.
  • Cassidy Mindeman, Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Abi Oliver, Minot, N.D.
  • Brianna Peterson, Laurel, Mont.
  • Evie Reynolds, Minot, N.D.
  • Jordan Saxerud, Lisbon, N.D.
  • McKenna Taylor, Valley City, N.D.
  • Mackenzie Weis, South Haven, Minn.
  • Hannah Wiersma, West Fargo, N.D.
  • Nathan Young, East Grand Forks, Minn.
  • Debbie Zabel, Bismarck, N.D.


This is the fourth group to benefit from the School’s Adopt-a-PA-Program, where donors to the SMHS provide professional white coats for second-year Physician Assistant Studies students who are about to begin their clinical experiences.

“We really can’t thank our supporters enough,” added McHugo. “This program met its goal the very first year we implemented it and our alumni and friends continue to show their commitment to helping us produce fabulous physician assistants for practice primarily in rural and underserved areas of our state.”