Congratulations to Alexandra Locke and Heather Youngberg, APAO 2018 Student Scholarship Winners!

Alexandra Locke

Heather Youngberg

Alexandra has known she was interested in medicine since beginning her chemistry degree as an undergrad, but followed a winding road to bring her to the realm of oncology. After graduating, she did heavy metal catalysis research in Houston, which she holds authorship on several patents for. Following her time in Texas, she transitioned to biology, receiving a master's degree in Oncological Sciences for her bench work on cell extrusion as a mode of metastasis, and thesis proposal studying BRCA implications on miRNA processing in ovarian cancer. From there, she joined the melanoma clinical trials team at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, working on the TVEC trials prior to FDA approval. She was also involved in the gynecologic cancers team, assisting with PARP inhibitor trials and several novel oral treatments. It was here that she was inspired to pursue a clinical degree.

While in PA school at the University of Utah, Alex has found a thread of oncology throughout her rotations. She finds cancer as a connection point with many patients, whether in their personal history, family ​​history, or as an item on the differential. During her Internal Medicine rotation at the VAMC, Alex was involved in the diagnosis of a rare testicular myxoid spindle cell sarcoma. She was invited by the patient to follow through his treatment and this case is currently being drafted for publication.

Alexandra is currently in her clinical year, preparing for her final rotation in Oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Alex has a unique tool-set at her disposal and is looking forward to joining a patient centered oncology team to continually learn the art and science that is cancer care.

Heather is a recent graduate of the George Washington University PA program where she also earned an MPH in epidemiology.  Prior to PA school she worked as a medical laboratory scientist where various positions sparked her interest in oncology.  While working in the cell therapy lab of a cancer center, she decided to pursue PA school in order to play a more active role in patient care, particularly in oncology. After completing both outpatient and inpatient rotations in hematology/oncology during her clinical year, she knew she would be pursuing a career in the field that would allow her to utilize her skills both in public health and as a PA to provide the best care to patients.

She is looking forward to beginning her career as a PA with the University of Virginia Physicians Group in hematology/oncology.  With opportunities to establish long-term patient relationships and pursue research through clinical trials, she believes that oncology offers the ideal combination of practicing clinical medicine and contributing to scientific advancement in order to provide exceptional care.



APAO Student Scholarship

Scholarship Information

  • A $2,500 scholarship will be awarded at the APAO Annual Conference August 29-September 1, 2019 in Boston, MA.
  • $500 of the total scholarship is allotted for the recipient’s travel expense to the APAO Annual Conference in Boston; the other $2,000 is unrestricted.
  • The winner is strongly encouraged to receive the scholarship in person at the conference. If this is not possible, the total amount awarded to the winner is $2,000 (travel expenses deducted from the initial $2,500)

Eligibility Criteria

  • AAPA member (or applicant)
  • PA student enrolled in a ARC‐PA‐accredited program
  • Clinical phase (completed basic science courses or near completion). Applicant should graduate before June 2020
  • Applicant has not previously received a PA foundation or other specialty organization scholarship
  • Applicant has a strong interest in pursuing a career in the oncology field
  • A clinical rotation in an oncology specialty is strongly encouraged but not required
  • Applicant must not graduate before May, 2019
  • Applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. If your program does not provide a numerical GPA (i.e. PASS/FAIL), the program director/designee must provide an explanation of the grading system.

Instructions‐ Please Read Carefully

  • Electronic Application is preferred
  • All Information should be typed
  • Brevity is encouraged, but additional sheets may be included if needed to fully respond to questions.
  • Additional unsolicited information that does not pertain directly to the questions in the application will not be forwarded to the selection committee.
  • The application package must include
    • One copy of the application form
    • Two personal statements (500 words or less)
    • One copy of an official or signed unofficial transcript from the PA Program
    • One copy of the Program Director/Designee Reference Form
    • One Letter of Reference from a Healthcare Professional who can attest to the applicant’s interest in oncology

Methods for Submission

  • Apply Online
  • Email application to: [email protected]
  • *** Note that the Program Director/Designee Form is submitted separately from the student application. Please follow up with your Director/Designee to ensure that your scholarship application is complete. Program directors must complete the following component of the applications: PA Director Reference Form
  • For questions/additional information, please contact Maria Gargano, PA-C at [email protected] 

The APAO offers free membership to all students.  Scholarship applicants will automatically be registered as an APAO Student Member at no charge.