AASPA Scholarships

The AASPA is proud to offer scholarships to deserving PA students who are interested in a career in surgery. It is one of just many benefits that we offer to our student members.

Susan and Tom Lusty Memorial Scholarship

AASPA awards at least one scholarship yearly to a student in either the didactic or clinical year. Winners receive the following:

  • $1,000 award
  • Scholarship certificate that is suitable for framing
  • Complimentary registration to the annual AASPA CME Meeting & Surgical Update
  • Ability to list "AASPA Student Scholarship Winner" on your resume
  • Recognition in Sutureline and on our website

To qualify, the physician assistant student must:

  • Be enrolled in an ARC-PA accredited PA program
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Be a student member of AASPA in good standing (membership application may be submitted with scholarship application)
  • Demonstrate an interest in surgical practice
  • Submit a completed AASPA Scholarship Application

To be considered, interested students should submit:

  • A letter from their PA program verifying student status, GPA and a transcript copy
  • A letter of recommendation from their PA program faculty member, surgical PA, surgeon or preceptor
  • A short (500 word) narrative explaining their desire to practice in surgery and career goals
  • List of completed/expected clinical rotations
  • If necessary, an application for AASPA student membership and appropriate dues.


APPLICATION submission:

Submit Your Student Scholar Application

For the 2024 application window (December 15, 2023 through July 15, 2024), all application information must be submitted by July 15, 2024. Recipients will be notified by August 15, 2024. 

Please Note:

  • Applications will not be considered complete until all the above information is received.

Congratulations to our 2023 Student Scholarship Winner Ifedayo Akinyemi, PA-S!

Ifedayo's Narrative . . .
"From a young age, the human body fascinated me, its intricate complexities a testament to the beauty of creation . As I delved deeper into the realms of science and biology, my fascination evolved into a profound appreciation for the artistry of surgery. The ability to wield a scalpel with precision and compassion, mending broken bodies and bringing forth transformative change, spoke to the very core of my being. It was in this revelation that my desire to become a PA in surgery was kindled.Throughout my academic journey, I immersed myself in the study of the biological sciences, anatomy, and physiology, each lesson fueling my passion for surgical care. However, it was my own  experience having surgery that solidified my resolve. Witnessing skilled surgeons and compassionate PAs working in harmony to restore my health and alleviate suffering, I realized the immense impact I could have in this field. It was then that I understood the profound responsibility and privilege of being aPA in surgery.

As I embark on this path, I am acutely aware of the continuous growth and learning required to excel in this demanding field. The pursuit of excellence in surgical practice is not merely a goal but a lifelong commitment. I am determined to stay at the forefront of surgical advancements, embracing emerging technologies and innovative techniques. Engaging in research, attending conferences, and seeking mentorship are integral components of my growth strategy as a surgical PA. My PA program utilizes a team based approach which has really taught me the values of teamwork which I would need as a PA practicing in surgery.

Moreover, I recognize the invaluable role of empathy and compassionate patient care in surgery. Each patient is a unique individual with fears, hopes, and dreams. I aim to be a source of comfort, reassurance, and support, understanding the emotional toll that surgery can take on patients and their families. Establishing trusting relationships, fostering effective communication, and advocating for their needs are paramount to my patient-centered approach.

Looking toward the future, my career goals encompass both personal and professional aspirations. I envision myself working in a Cardiothoracic surgery setting, collaborating with a diverse team of healthcare professionals. This collaborative environment will not only enhance my growth as a PA but also facilitate the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and innovation. Specializing in a surgical subspecialty would allow me to develop expertise while providing comprehensive care to patients. As I reflect on my journey through PA school, the significance of a scholarship in realizing my dreams cannot be overstated. This scholarship would serve as a beacon of support, alleviating the financial burden of pursuing my education and enabling me to focus wholeheartedly on my studies and clinical experiences. It would provide me with the resources necessary to attend conferences, engage in research, and gain additional certifications, ultimately strengthening my skills as a surgical PA. Furthermore, this scholarship would reinforce my commitment to excellence, validating the path I have chosen and instilling in me a profound sense of gratitude and responsibility. It would serve as a reminder of the faith and belief others have in my abilities, driving me to work tirelessly to achieve my goals and make a meaningful impact in the lives of patients.

In conclusion, my desire to practice surgery as a PA is fueled by a deep passion for healing, an unwavering commitment to patient care, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. With the assistance of this scholarship, I would be able to embark on this transformative journey with greater focus, dedication, and determination. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to pursue my dreams, and I am confident that, with the support of this scholarship, I will be able to make a lasting impact in the field of surgical care, bringing hope, healing, and renewed vitality to those entrusted to my care.


The John W. Kirklin, MD Award for Professional Excellence

The John W. Kirklin, MD Award is jointly awarded by the AASPA and the Association of PAs in Cardiac Surgery. It is the premier award for our profession, being awarded about 15 times in 20 years. Our selection board consists of Gerald Simons, PA-C and Robert Sammartano, PA-C.


Nominations should be made to the Kirklin Award Committee through either the AASPA or APACVS national office.

Nominations must include:

  • Full name of nominee, address, CV, and practice setting
  • Nominators contact information
  • Detailed letter of nomination (stating the candidate’s qualifications) from a Fellow of the AASPA or APACVS

Nominees do not need to be members of either the AASPA or APACVS. They must be noted for their contributions to the PA profession, be of irreproachable character and exhibit the highest standards of excellence in professional clinical practice. Nomination is a very significant honor from one’s peers.

Effective in 1998, at the invitation to the AASPA Board of Directors, the Kirklin Award Committee is comprised of joint members from the AASPA and APACVS.

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