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UPAP Students Awarded PAEA Fellowship


Each year, the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) selects fifteen physician assistant (PA) students to participate in the year-long Future Educator Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to expand on the fellows’ knowledge and skills in education, a vital part of the physician assistant profession. In 2022’s cycle of the program, two UPAP students, Emily DesMeules and Laura Zdziarski-Horodyski, were selected to this prestigious fellowship.


Along with their peer fellows, DesMueles and Zdziarski-Horodyski will participate in training and foundational learning to develop their understanding of pedagogy and expand their skills as PA educators. Beginning with a special meeting at the annual PAEA Education Forum, fellows will have regular virtual meetings as they complete modules and attend webinars centered around effective PA education. Regular evaluations and brief assignments further develop the fellows’ skills and learning in practical settings.

To be selected, DesMueles and Zdziarski-Horodyski had to demonstrate their capability for the honor as well as their commitment to honing their education skills during their time as PA students. PA training is a notably intense endeavor, with students expected to acquire a large amount of medical knowledge and master numerous clinical practices in a short amount of time. DesMueles’ and Zdziarski-Horodyski’s selection by the PAEA committee demonstrates the confidence the committee has that these Utah students will excel as they take on learning opportunities beyond the usual PA curricula.

“The FEF will provide me the opportunity to learn and develop skills to be an effective and supportive mentor for PA students and other women in health science academia,” says Zdziarski-Horodyski. There is a scarcity of women with terminal degrees in leadership and academia within the health sciences. I believe formally training women to be mentors and educators is essential to elevating the quality of education and research produced by PAs and the profession as a whole. This fellowship will assist me in developing mentorship skills that I can use to support other students in achieving what they aspire to in their careers.”