Wayne State Students Receive Rutan Scholarships 2015

Front Row:  Scholarship Recipients Megan Bragg, Erin Weisler, and Maria Hartman. Second Row:  Program Director of PA Studies
John McGinnity, M.S., P.A.-C.; Scholarship Recipient Michael Moore, Rick and Judy Rutan, Interim Dean Howard Normile, PhD


Parents of physician assistant studies alumna celebrate daughter’s life and legacy with memorial scholarship

DETROIT — Rick and Judy Rutan recently joined Howard J. Normile, interim dean of Wayne State University’s Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and John McGinnity, director of the college’s physician assistant (PA) studies program, in presenting $9,000 in scholarships from the Lara M. Rutan Endowed Scholarship Fund to deserving Michigan students at the college’s annual Donors and Scholars Luncheon. All four recipients — Megan Bragg of Chesterfield, Maria Hartman of Grosse Pointe, Michael Moore (BA, BS ’12) of Clinton Township, and Erin Weisler of Birmingham — are in their final year of the two-year PA studies program.


“We are grateful to the Rutan family for their continued support of the PA studies program and our students,” said McGinnity. “The endowed scholarship honors Lara’s memory and helps deserving students achieve their goal of attaining an advanced degree. Rick and Judy’s participation in the college’s awards luncheon each year serves as an example to our students because we encourage them to make giving back a way of life.”


The Rutans, who live in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, established the memorial scholarship in 2007 to celebrate the life of their daughter Lara, who earned an M.S. in PA studies in May 2005. The president of her class, Lara was killed by a drunk driver four months after her graduation and wedding engagement. As the 10-year anniversary of Lara’s death approaches, the Rutans remain committed to preserving their daughter’s legacy.


“Lara left an indelible impression on us, her peers, professors, patients and countless others,” said Rick Rutan. “She wanted to make a difference, particularly as it relates to helping people improve and maintain their health. We are proud to bring her dream to fruition by making sure students in the PA studies program at Wayne State have opportunities to transform lives by providing quality care.”


“Lara was an eternal optimist. She always saw the positive in every situation and encouraged others to as well. Lara would have wanted us to do something good to honor her memory. The establishment of this endowed scholarship is our tribute to her,” said Judy Rutan. “We are thankful for the contributions our family and friends have made to the fund and for the support of faculty, staff and students in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. We are proud of the award recipients whose work as PAs will help us keep Lara’s memory alive.”


The first scholarships were awarded in 2009. Since that time, the college has awarded $63,000 in tuition assistance to 27 students aspiring to become PAs because of the Rutans’ generosity. Recipients — full-time students in the PA studies program — are selected based on academic achievement and financial need.

“Receiving the Lara M. Rutan Endowed Scholarship is such a blessing. I now have help with my tuition, while also meeting friends for life in Mr. and Mrs. Rutan,” said Megan Bragg. “I am so thankful to those who support this scholarship and that we are able to keep Lara’s memory alive through our PA program.”


“It is such an honor to receive the Lara M. Rutan Endowed Scholarship this year,” said Maria Hartman. “This award will help me achieve my goal of becoming a physician assistant. I am very thankful to the Rutan family for establishing this scholarship and for their ongoing support of the Wayne State physician assistant studies program. I am so proud to be able to continue Lara’s legacy through this scholarship and look forward to a fulfilling career as a physician assistant.”

“I am truly honored to have been one of the students selected to receive the Lara M. Rutan Endowed Scholarship this year,” said Michael Moore. “With the support of the Rutans’ generous gift, I will be able to afford to continue my education and graduate from the WSU PA studies program next year. After graduation, I will be able to give back to my local community by practicing medicine in the Metro Detroit area and helping those in need.”

“I am honored to have been selected for the Lara Rutan Endowed Scholarship,” said Erin Weisler. “The financial assistance I will receive through this scholarship will help me achieve my goal to become a physician assistant; beyond that, the scholarship continues the legacy of Lara Rutan and is symbolic of the value of the work I will be able to accomplish. I am very grateful to the Rutan family for their assistance.”

To donate to the Lara M. Rutan Endowed Scholarship Fund, please contact Tiffany Cusmano, community engagement specialist for the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, by phone at 313-577-0273, by email at tcusmano@wayne.edu or Click here

Scholars below are:

Megan C. Bragg, BS, PA-S, is vice president of the Wayne State Physician Assistant Studies Program- Class of 2016. She is a member of the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA) and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) both since 2013. Megan most recently attended MAPA’s strategic planning meeting in April as one of the representatives for WSU’s PA class of 2016.

Megan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from Oakland University in 2013, where she was an active member of the Oakland University Pre-PA society. Megan has also earned a certificate of training in phlebotomy from the Sanilac Career Center in 2012. She was employed by St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, where she worked as a phlebotomist on the afternoon and midnight shifts for nearly two years. Megan is also loves to volunteer, which includes the Cass Community Center’s Soup Kitchen in honor of PA week this past October. She recently moved to Chesterfield, Michigan with her mother, two older sisters, her dog, and her cat.

Erin Weisler graduated with honors from Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. The Lyman Briggs program focused on the sciences and provided unique opportunities that strengthened her science and health background and served to enhance her desire to continue her studies and pursue her goal of becoming a physician assistant.  While at MSU, she was selected to be a member of the Student Health Advisory Council, which gave her the opportunity to promote student health in various capacities.

She found it rewarding to be able to help her peers through this organization. As part of her preparation for a career as a PA, she obtained her Certified Nurse Assistant Certification and worked in a long-term care facility on the dementia and Alzheimer’s unit as well as at McLaren Lapeer Hospital on the telemetry floor. She believes she became a better person from these experiences as she not only gained knowledge in the medical field but she had the opportunity to develop compassionate relationships with her patients and work as a team with other medical staff.

Her work as a CNA was by far one of the most gratifying and humbling experiences of her life. As part of PA week, as well as to give a little back to her hometown school, in the fall of 2014, she and three class members shared information about the physician assistant career in an assembly of Lapeer High School students. She has also enjoyed having the opportunity to reach out to the communities in Detroit as a PA student. Erin is excited to begin her clinical rotation year and feels confident that the education and experiences she has received in the WSU PA program have provided a strong foundation that she will be able to build upon in the next year and as she begins working as a PA-C.
Maria Hartman is currently a second year Physician Assistant Studies student at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University. Maria graduated from Michigan State University in 2008 earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology.  Throughout her undergraduate studies, Ms. Hartman worked as a facilitator for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities at Rainbow Homes in Holt, MI. There she served as a caregiver and helped residents develop the life skills needed to achieve independence. From 2009-2012 Maria was appointed head committee leader for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Mid-Michigan.

After graduation, she traveled overseas to work as an Au Pair for a young boy where she served as his primary caregiver, attending to personal and medical needs. Upon her return, Maria worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Beaumont Hospital where she developed a passion for serving those in need while practicing her clinical skills. During this period Maria dedicated a significant amount of her time volunteering at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. While working in the same day surgery pre- and post-operative units she developed the personal skills needed to comfort, console and prepare children and their parents for surgery.

Throughout the first year of PA school, she has participated in many activities such as health fairs, PA week, professional conferences, and educating students from Fraser High School’s medical career class about the Physician Assistant profession. She believes that the educational and clinical experiences she has gained during her didactic year will provide a strong foundation as she continues into her second year rotations and throughout her career. She continues to actively seek out opportunities to put her knowledge and passion into action and looks forward to a rewarding career as a certified Physician Assistant. She is truly honored to receive the Lara Rutan Scholarship and is excited for the many opportunities the future will bring.

Michael T. Moore, BA, BS, PA-S, is a Year 1 student in Wayne State University’s Physician Assistant Program at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Shortly, he will be beginning the second year of his PA program and will be rotating at various hospitals and clinics within the Metro-Detroit area.

Michael is currently an active member of the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA) and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). He has served as a representative for Wayne State’s PA Program and the PA profession as a whole at various events held on campus. For example, he has sat on several Student Panels, attended a Professional Networking Dinner, and a Professional Networking Mixer for the WSU Pre-Professional Medical Society, WSU Pre-PA Club, and Lebanese Student Association.

During the EACPHS Clinical Skills Nights, Michael taught current WSU pre-med students how to perform medical skills such as neurological, pulmonary, and abdominal physical examinations. Additionally, he is a CPR Instructor for the American Safety and Health Institute. He has instructed CPR and First Aid courses for current members of the WSU Pre-Professional Medical Society and current WSU Physical Therapy students. His recent volunteer activities include participation in Detroit’s Big/Little Program, teaching preventative healthcare at a community health fair in Detroit, running a haunted house at the Macomb Family YMCA’s annual “Halloween at the Y” event, volunteering a Red Cross blood drive, and dressing as Santa Claus to deliver presents to a family adopted by the current WSU PA Class.

Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan in 2012. He is currently completing his Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies at Wayne State University. He lives in Clinton Township, Michigan with his parents and two siblings.

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Parents of physician assistant studies alumna celebrate daughter’s life and legacy with memorial scholarship


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