Wayne State Students Receive Rutan Scholarships 2014

Front row: Scholarship Recipients Leah Schew, Emily O'Rourke, Ashleigh Finazzo, and  Maureen Bodenbach Back Row: Acting Dean of the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Cathy Lysack, Ph.D, Judy and Rick Rutan, and Program Director Stephanie Gilkey, M.S., P.A.-C.

Rutan Memorial Scholarship Awards $10,000

A scholarship fund established by a Grosse Pointe family in memory of their daughter has granted a total of $10,000 to four Wayne State University (WSU) students. The Lara Rutan, MS, PA-C Endowed Scholarship Fund awarded scholarships to Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) students Maureen Bodenbach of Farmington Hills, Ashleigh Finazzo of St. Clair Shores, Emily O’Rourke of Royal Oak and Leah Schew of Ypsilanti. All students are in their final year of the two-year program.

Since 2009 when the first scholarship was awarded, 23 Physician Assistant students have benefited from the Lara Rutan memorial scholarship. "We are most appreciative to the Rutan family for creating an endowed scholarship in Lara’s name. The scholarship provides us with the opportunity to celebrate Lara’s life and her love for the program by awarding this scholarship to deserving students each year," said John McGinnity, program director.

Judy and Rick Rutan, parents of Lara, presented the scholarships to the students at the annual Donors and Scholars Awards Luncheon, WSU Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, on May 14.

The Lara Rutan memorial scholarship was established in 2007. Ms. Rutan, who was president of her class, had graduated from the PAS program in 2005. She was employed as a PA at a clinic in Roseville and engaged to be married before her life was taken tragically by a drunk driver in September 2005. More information on the memorial scholarship may be found at www.laraslegacy.com. If you would like to make a gift to the Lara Rutan Endowed Scholarship in Physician Assistant Studies, please contact Tiffany Cusmano, development director for the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, at (313) 577-0273.

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 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.


Maureen Bodenbach

Two of my main interests in life have been the practice of meditation and the field of medicine. I worked for 14 years in Hospice, having obtained a master’s degree in Hospice and Palliative Studies. Working extensively with terminally ill patients facing the end of life inspired in me a wish to make an impact long before a disease has reached the terminal stage. Now in my clinical year as a PA student, I’m drawn to the fields of both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, where I feel the most impact on a patient’s entire medical trajectory can be made.

In addition, as the Michigan Coordinator for the nonprofit Buddhist Global Relief, I’ve organized the annual Walk to Feed the Hungry in Michigan, which occurs simultaneously in multiple cities across the US as well as the UK, India, and Cambodia. BGR focuses on supporting local hunger relief programs and education initiatives for women and children in India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Haiti, Africa and the US, and has expanded its programs each year. I’m very interested in such global health initiatives, and hope that as a practicing PA I will be able to participate in medical mission work in underserved areas of the US and around the world.

Science and medicine are making amazing discoveries about the profound connections between mindfulness meditation and health, so much so that these two paths of meditation and medicine are able to merge in many ways. As a Buddhist with 20 years of meditation experience, I hope to bring to my practice of medicine as a PA practical, mindfulness-based tools that will aid patients in making healthier decisions about how to manage and, more importantly, prevent disease.

Ashleigh Finazzo

I grew up in St. Clair Shores, MI with my mother and 3 siblings. I attended Wayne State University for four years where I was a member of the Health-Pro Start honors program, and was a cheerleader. I graduated August 2012 cum laude with a B.S. in Psychology with departmental honors. While in college I worked in an internal medicine office for two years as a trained in medical assistant, became a Certified Nurse Assistant in 2010 after which I worked in an assisted living for two years. Following this, I worked as a patient care technician at St. John Providence hospital on an oncology unit for 1.5 years, resigning my position this past January 2014. During my time at Wayne State as an undergrad I volunteered in an Industrial and Organizational Psychology lab where my duties included running study sessions and interpreting and organizing data. In addition to this, with the cheerleading team I had many volunteer experiences with various cheerleading teams within the city of Detroit, most often Think Detroit PAL. This allowed me to be a positive influence and role model in the lives of many young women in the city, by teaching them about the importance of confidence, safety, and hard work. In my personal life I have been a team captain for Relay for Life St. Clair Shores for the last 4 years. Our team, “Babes for More Birthday’s” raises money in honor of family members we have lost to cancer, and to help create a world where people get to celebrate more birthdays. Relay for Life each year is one of my favorite memories, where we come together as a community to remember those we have lost, honor those who have survived, and work together to raise money for the people in our community who are being affected by cancer. I began PA school May 2013 and am very fortunate to have made a new group of friends I see as my extended family. I am the chair of the fundraising committee, as such I organize fundraisers to pay for our class graduation. These fundraisers include bowling, clothing sales, wine tasting, and pizza parties. Upon graduation I would like to work in Psychiatry, more specifically in a setting such as the VA, allowing me to provide psychiatric care to many of our veterans that need and deserve it.

Emily O’Rourke

I have always known that I wanted a career in medicine.  After shadowing and researching the Physician Assistant role I knew with its growth, flexibility, and involvement in direct patient-care that it was the perfect career path for me.  As a wife and mother, a career as a PA will also allow time for my family, while still fulfilling my passion to practice medicine. 

During undergraduate school, I worked as a personal care assistant to a young man with autism.  I received my B.S. in Anthropology-Zoology with a focus in pre-medical studies from the University of Michigan in 2009.  After graduation I worked as a CNA in Oncology-Hematology.  My most recent job was as an Emergency Room Technician. These jobs exposed me to a wide variety of medical presentations, and also taught me the necessity of individual roles in medicine as well as the importance of teamwork to accomplish the best possible care for the patient. 

Since my admission into Wayne State’s PA Program, I have worked hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA while remaining active in extracurricular activities as Co-Vice President of my class.  I took part in the CHASS Center 5k, helping to raise money for the clinic.  I attended the MAPA conference in Traverse City where I was able to attend lectures, network with fellow PAs, and was a member of the Quiz Bowl team. I also have met with the Pre-PA club at Wayne State and spoke to them about the program and preparing for the application process. Recently I volunteered at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and it was very gratifying to give back to the local Detroit community.

Leah Schew

Leah Schew grew up on her family’s farm in Pennsylvania. She credits her upbringing for her resilient (and relentless) spirit.  Leah did not have a direct path to Wane State’s PA program.  She earned an undergraduate degree in fine art and spent some time in the music business before finding her way to Wayne State University.   Her patient care experience includes work in end-of-life care and psychiatrics.  She even put her first degree to use as an illustrator for Washtenaw Community Colleges’ Online Biology program.  After PA school she plans to stay in the Metro Detroit area and grow her career and her family.   “It takes a village” to get through PA school and she is grateful to people like the Rutans that have helped her along the way.  


© copyright  2012  LoveAlwaysRememberAlways.com  All rights reserved.  Web design Powered by Lawrence Park Place.