Blake Rogers '14 (left), a physician assistant (PA) student at James Madison University, receives the 2018 PA Student of the Year Award from American Association of Physician Assistants Student Academy president Trae Beasler during the organization's National Medical Challenge Bowl competition in New Orleans on May 20. (Courtesy photo)

Blake Rogers ’14 recognized with Physician Assistant Student of the Year award

Blake Rogers was honored by the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) with the PA Student of the Year Award. A 2014 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, Rogers is in the physician assistant program at James Madison University (JMU). He accepted the award May 20 at the AAPA National Medical Challenge Bowl competition in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The next day, he and fellow JMU PA student Matt Tieszen departed for a clinical experience at Shirati KTM Hospital in Tanzania. (Tieszen graduated from EMU with a degree in biology in 2010 and an MA in biomedecine in 2015.)

The PA Student of the Year award recognizes “an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to exemplary service, advocacy and leadership to the PA profession,” according to a press release issued by AAPA.

“Blake is the embodiment of service and leadership in a student,” said JMU program director Gerald Weniger. “Our program has never had a PA student with this much ambition, passion, or energy for outreach, engagement and volunteerism. He has gone above and well beyond expectations for any student, never mind a busy PA student.”

During PA Week in 2017, Rogers volunteered to lead formal presentations at four of Harrisonburg’s high schools promoting the PA profession. His presentations reached more than 100 students, most of whom had never heard of the PA career.

Rogers also encouraged his fellow PA students at JMU to attend the Virginia Academy of PAs’ (VAPA) conference. He reserved hotel rooms, coordinated a quiz-bowl team, and organized a carpool. The 2017 VAPA conference had the highest number of student attendees in recent years, due in large part to Rogers’s efforts.

Rogers served as the student representative on the VAPA Board, and organized a social media campaign that ultimately increased VAPA’s social media followers by 200 percent. Rogers chairs the social media committee, which is responsible for their Facebook page, Twitter account and quarterly newsletter. He is the only student to have been selected to chair a VAPA committee.

Rogers “not only exemplifies the core tenets of a healthcare provider, but he is an incredible citizen, leader and friend,” said VAPA President Amanda Collins, PA-C.

In addition to pursuing his PA degree, Blake is also a member of the local emergency services and has been a volunteer instructor for EMS services. His hobbies include beekeeping, hiking and growing pumpkins.

While a double-major at EMU in biology and environmental sciences, Rogers volunteered with the Clover Hill Volunteer Fire Department. He also interned with the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and accepted a job there after graduation.