A team of students from the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC beat out 95 other teams from around the country to earn the title of National Student Challenge Bowl winners at the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) forum in New Orleans this May.

Physician assistant (PA) program students Matthew Tan, ’18, Allison Smith, ’19, and Ryan Hom, ’19, were quick on the buzzer and exact in their answers, helping redeem themselves as the wild card pick for the final round. In the end, they defeated student teams from Pennsylvania State University, Nova Southeastern University and Butler University, winning the Challenge Bowl trophy.

Jennifer Ramos, MPAP, PA-C, clinical instructor of family medicine (clinician educator), coached the team to victory. The group trained for months and spent hours practicing. The team from USC was up 20 points in the end and answered some tough questions that helped them take the lead. The cheering section of alumni, fellow students and faculty was a small group, but they rushed the stage to congratulate the winning team.

“Despite being the underdogs, I was amazed to see our team recall obscure facts with perfect timing. They worked hard in a short time to get to this point and it really paid off,” Ramos said. “The spirit and humility of our champs inspires me.”

This is the first time that USC has won the national challenge bowl.

— Claire Norman