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St. Bonaventure physician assistant students do well at National Medical Challenge Bowl

Jun 23, 2022

From left: Madison Mortillaro, Kathryn Eddinger and Margaret Cole.St. Bonaventure’s physician assistant program might be only a few years old, but students in the first graduate program of the university’s School of Health Professions are already making an impression.

Three second-year PA students — Madison Mortillaro, Kathryn Eddinger and Margaret Cole (from left) — held their own on stage with some of the most established physician assistant schools in the nation.

At the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) national conference in Indianapolis in late May, the Bonnies advanced to the round of 36 in the National Medical Challenge Bowl, a medical game show allowing PA students to test their clinical knowledge against students from across the country.

Sixty-six teams competed in the Challenge Bowl, including PA programs from Duke, Northwestern, George Washington and Yale universities. The Bonnies qualified for the main stage competition against Quinnipiac University, Valparaiso University, and University of Florida but lost in a close match.

James Tkacik, SBU’s Physician Assistant Student Society faculty adviser, and Kesha Steighner, SBU’s Medical Challenge Bowl Coach, accompanied the students at the conference. 

“Since this was our first year competing at this national competition, we weren’t sure what to expect,” Steighner said. “To eliminate 30 teams and advance out of the opening round was incredible. I’m extremely proud of our students. They were great representatives of St. Bonaventure.”

According to the AAPA, “The National Medical Challenge Bowl is an event that fosters fun, school pride and friendly competition that is infectious for all. Winning is not the focus of the event. Learning and fun are the goals.”


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.