Wayne State Students Receive Rutan Scholarships 2011

Left: Jennifer Cox, Brittany Immink, Sara Wilchowski, Judy Rutan, Rick Rutan, Gary Fannon, Annika Kramer


The Lara M. Rutan Endowed Scholarship awarded $10,000 in scholarships to five Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) students in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (EACPHS), Wayne State University (WSU).

Established in 2007 in memory of PAS alumna and Grosse Pointe resident Lara M. Rutan, the scholarship recognizes scholastic achievement, encourages continued progress and provides tuition assistance to students in financing their education in the PAS program.

Scholarship recipients are Jennifer Cox of Canton, MI; Gary Fannon of Brighton, MI; Brittany Immink of Plainwell, MI; Annika Kramer of Grass Lake, MI; and Sara Wilchowski of Northville. The students are entering the final year of the two-year Master of Science degree program.

Lara M. Rutan earned a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies in May 2005. She died the following September in a tragic automobile accident caused by a drunk driver. In her memory, Judy and Richard Rutan, parents of Lara, and their family established the Lara M. Rutan Scholarship Fund to assist PAS students. Since its inception, the Lara M. Rutan Endowed Scholarship has awarded a total of $22,000 to 11 PAS students.

“We are grateful for the support that we have received for Lara’s Endowed Scholarship,’ said the Rutans. ”The kindness and generosity of our community help us continue to celebrate Lara’s life and the profession that she so loved.” For further information on Lara’s Legacy,  please go to the website: www.laraslegacy.com

The WSU Physician Assistant Studies program is centered on primary care and includes educational, research and administrative activities. The program prepares students for clinical roles in primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings in rural and urban areas. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, one of the founding colleges of Wayne State University, is committed to advancing the health and well-being of society through the preparation of highly skilled health care practitioners, and through research to improve health care practices and treatment from urban to global levels.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.



Jennifer Cox

Ms. Jennifer Cox has been working to improve her life and her community through her education since youth.  During high school she was involved in Special Olympics and an early literacy program at Livonia Hayes Elementary to improve the lives of children in need.  She also worked two jobs and maintained a 3.5 GPA at Livonia Franklin High School.  Jennifer continued to pursue her education goals with vigor after completion of high school; she excelled at Eastern Michigan University, and received the EMU Regents Scholarship for 4 years and the Grace E. Wertenberger Biology Scholarship for 2 years for her academic achievements and financial need.  Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science with an accumulative GPA of 3.78.  During her college education, Jennifer also made time to work several jobs and volunteer at DMC Children’s Hospital playing with child patients and their families, as well as, scrapbooking with their parents.  She is thankful for the individuals who helped her when she was a child in need, and is happy to give back to her community and help children in need through her education, time, and future career as a PA.  Jennifer is currently starting Year II of WSU PA program, and looks forward to hopefully working in the Detroit metropolitan area, and plans to apply to DMC Children’s Hospital upon completion of WSU PA Program in 2012.

Gary Fannon

Mr. Gary Fannon received an Associate Degree in Science from Schoolcraft College in 1998, completed the N.I.T. Medical Assistant program in 2006, and obtained a Bachelors Degree in Community Health in May 2010. He is the single father of three children, Kendyl Tru age 6, Brandon age 11 and Justin age 16.  In 2005 he was a business owner, running two used car lots. He found himself unhappy with where he was at in life and took steps towards changing it by attending a medical assistant program, given his desire to help others.  Medical assisting provided the path to a future in health care.  He went back to school with the focus of becoming a nurse, but that changed when he discovered the P.A. profession.  He separated himself slowly from his business, and started working 70-80 hours a week as a medical assistant to support his family and going to school full time. He started working in urgent care, then family medicine, and finally at  U of M hospital in the level one trauma/burn center . For the first two semesters of the PA program,  he worked  two jobs, teaching medical assisting at nights as well as remaining at the trauma center every weekend for two 12 hour shifts. Starting the third semester he retained the trauma center position. Despite this schedule of full-time graduate studies and employment, became vice-president of his  class and was in charge of information nights for those that were interested in the P.A. program at WSU. He is taking an educational leave from UM  due to the clinical rotations, and looks forward to helping those in need upon graduation in May 2012.

Brittany Immink

Ms. Brittany Immink, a Year II  student in the Wayne State PAS program, received her bachelor's degree in human biology from Michigan State University. As MSU, she minored in bioethics, and was a Medical Scholar within the College of Osteopathic Medicine. During her undergraduate years, she was active in the Student Society for Bioethics, PreSoma (a student medical society), the Triathlon Club, and was a leader with Campus Crusade for Christ. While at MSU, she attended the Martin Luther King Student Leadership Conference and also studied abroad. An active volunteer for over 20 years, she has self-funded six mission trips, four of them in other countries.  While at MSU, she also participated in the Alternative Spring Break Program, including the Beach Outreach Program in Panama City and the Katrina Relief Project in New Orleans. Additional volunteer activities during the past several years include raising $2,000 to purchase a water pump and $1,100 toward a new roof for a Jamaican orphanage, volunteering for the Plainwell Christmas Project for needy families (each year since age 5), volunteering on the surgical floor at  Borgess Hospital, serving food at the community gospel mission, serving with Habitat for Humanity House, and serving as an after-school tutor for underprivileged children in Lansing.  She has received several awards for her volunteerism, including the Kalamazoo Gazette Star Award. Following college, she worked at Origami Brain Injury Center as a Rehabilitation Aide. A violinist since age 7, Brittany has played for orchestras, chamber groups, weddings, and as a soloist.  

Annika Kramer

Ms. Annika Kramer is a self described  “older student”, returning to school after a several year hiatus. She has 2 children, and is also the proud grandmother of two.  Prior to attending PA school, she worked  as a ICU technician at U of M hospitals. She also worked as a patient advocate, and in a breast cancer center assisting with surgeries. She is on her way to completing her dream of becoming a physician assistant, a journey that actually started several years ago when she first learned that Wayne State University was starting a program.

Over the past several years she has volunteered in the community primarily with children that have disabilities. She was a para-pro in the Chelsea Public School system, which included working with kids in the Special Olympics. She has also worked with Therapeutic Riding in Michigan. Over the years she has  served on several committees as a consultant for youth programs. She has been involved with re-writing national objectives for the United States Pony Club as well as initiating a program to bring the experience of riding and caring for horses to children that might otherwise be unable to experience the joys of  caring for and riding horses.  While working on policy and development, she found that she missed being hands on, and always found herself drawn to working with people rather than paper. This fact is one reason that the PA profession is such a good fit for her.

Sara Wilchowski

Ms. Sara M. Wilchowski is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology.   While at Eastern, she was a Varsity Gymnast, President of the Exercise Science Organization, Vice President of Phi Epsilon Kappa and a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board.  Sara was a part of the first ever Mid American Conference Championship team for gymnastics at EMU, she also received the MAC Commissioner’s award for academic and athletic excellence and was a Scholastic All-American and EMU Scholar Athlete.  Sara is currently involved in the Student Committee for the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants.  She has plans to share her education to help those in need while she travels with North Ridge Church’s Out Reach Ministries after graduation. 

Sara has also been actively involved with helping others.  In honor of her best friend, cousin and aunt she has completed the Breast Cancer 3 day.  She has put others before her during herself  through service to the American Red Cross as a part of the First Aid Support Team.  She reached out to educate the university during the Undergraduate Symposium of the severity of Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes as well as her published article in Journal of Clinical Kinesiology on Medications in Diabetes Management.  Her love and passion for physiology and assisting others continues to grow during her education at Wayne State University.  There are many opportunities that lay ahead and she is excited to see what life entails.




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