elilah Dominguez, MHS ’20, was selected as the national Student of the Year by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, a professional organization that represents nearly 140,000 members.
The award recognizes her academic achievement, her professional development as a two-term member of the AAPA’s House of Delegates and a deep commitment to helping others.
“This award is humbling. It represents the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance despite many hardships,” said Dominguez, who grew up in Bastrop, Texas, a small town about 30 miles southeast of Austin. “I consider it an honor and privilege to have been selected among such a strong field of PA student leaders.”
In addition to recognizing the national Student of the Year, the AAPA honors physician assistants who have distinguished themselves in service to their patients and their communities, and who have been dedicated advocates for the PA profession.
“This year’s award recipients are wonderful representatives of the PA profession, and we are incredibly proud of their accomplishments,” said David E. Mittman, PA, DFAAPA, president and chair of the AAPA Board of Directors. “At a time like this, we all need good news — and the selection of these amazing PAs is something we should all be proud of. Congratulations to all of our deserving award recipients.”
For Dominquez, the recognition is shared with her family.
Despite losing her mother and grandmother in 2011 — “my two dearest matriarchs,” as she calls them — Dominguez will finish her PA studies later this year and earn her third graduate degree.
Since becoming a PA student, Dominguez has been committed to advocacy and social justice, and has dedicated more than 240 hours of her time to volunteer work.
“The most rewarding aspect of being a part of the PA profession is having the privilege to serve a diverse range of individuals who entrust you with some of their most vulnerable concerns,” Dominguez said. “Every interaction with people is an opportunity to truly make a difference in their lives.”
Dominguez credits Quinnipiac’s nationally ranked physician assistant program for helping her develop the skills and voice to address the AAPA’s House of Delegates.
“I was invigorated by it. Now, I have a much better sense of what’s going on in the profession,” she said. “I spoke on the House floor about increasing diversity in the profession. To be heard on a national stage like that, I had a moment there thinking about my mom and grandmother. They would’ve told everyone about it. They would’ve been so proud.”