It was an afternoon of firsts at Ithaca College on Saturday, December 9, as an enthusiastic crowd of faculty, staff, family, friends, alumni, and fellow students celebrated the graduation of IC’s first cohort of physician assistants at the traditional Long White Coat ceremony, which signifies the transition of learner to professional in the medical community.
Backstage before the ceremony, where students lined up clutching their white coats, there was an air of excitement—and immense collegiality. The tight-knit group of learners had supported each other throughout the intense schedule of classes and rotations, and their strong bonds and mutual respect were very much in evidence.
Several were the first in their family to join the medical profession. Maritza Sierra was excited to be returning to her hometown of Stony Brook to go into neurosurgery at Stony Brook University Hospital.