Alumni Spotlight: Clay Walker, MSPAS-PA-C
If you were on the Wabash Valley College campus any time from 2009-2011, you would have seen and heard the name of Clay Walker! As a student at WVC, Clay excelled in the classroom and demonstrated his leadership talents as a most involved student.
In commenting on his Wabash Valley College experience, Clay Walker, Physician’s Assistant-Wabash General Hospital (Primary Care), is quick to say that he was very blessed to have spent his first two years of college at a wonderful college that was close to home. And now, Wabash County residents and Wabash Valley College are quick to say that they are blessed to have Clay Walker back in Mt. Carmel and are blessed to sing the praises of another “Successful WVC Graduate!”
Clay noted that what he was most impressed with prior to starting at WVC were the biological/chemistry departments… “I was able to be involved and work with Don Leynaud and Dr. Gary Adams and be a member of the cadaver dissection team which provided an in-depth experience of human anatomical sciences that most students at universities wouldn’t experience until their senior year.” He goes on to say, “I had always known that I wanted to go into the field of medicine, but the experiences at WVC that I had, along with the guidance and knowledge garnered from Mr. Leynaud, were a strong platform for my future education.”
This outstanding young man’s academic career began with earning an Associate of Science Degree –Biological Sciences, 2011, Summa Cum Laude, President’s Honors List all 4 semesters (Wabash Valley College); Bachelor of Science – Biomedical Science, 2013, Magna Cum Laude, Dean’s List all 4 semesters (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale); Master of Science-Physician Assistant Studies-2016 (Southern Illinois University School of Medicine-Carbondale).
Leading up to his present position as a Physician Assistant at Wabash General Hospital (Family Medicine Physician Assistant and Urgent Care Physician Assistant), Clay was a Histology Technician at Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion, IL 2013-14; a Standardized Patient at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine-Carbondale, IL 2012-2014 (Worked with first-year medical and physician assistant students as an individual the students test and apply their clinical examination skills on during professional school exams); an Undergraduate Researcher-Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Carbondale, IL 2011-2013 (Laboratory research to elucidate mechanisms underlying the rapid resolution of diabetes following obesity surgery; Skilled in glucose titer testing, RNA isolation, cDNA synthesis, polymerase chain reaction, and ileal interposition surgery on rodent surgical models) and, from 2009-2012, he was a Biological Sciences Laboratory Assistant at Wabash Valley College, (Laboratory techniques of making agar plates, tubes, slants, and various broth cultures, Laboratory techniques of creating various bacterial cultures aseptically, Responsibilities of preparing and setting up all of the Microbiology Department’s laboratory experiments, Performed full human cadaver dissection and the set-up of practicum for human anatomy students).
Clay has earned Certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, CPR, and ACLS Certifications, and his professional memberships include American Academy of Physician Assistants, Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants, and American Academy of Family Physicians. His hobbies include biking and swimming, watching and participating in sporting events, promoting Type I Diabetes Awareness, traveling, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Adding Publications to his career credits, Clay has the following Publications: Ryznyk, L. DiCocco, M., A Case of an Abnormal Headache, Poster and Oral Presentation at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine at Master’s Case Symposium, February 2016, Carbondale, IL; and at The Academy of Physician Assistants National Conference, May 2016, San Antonio, TX.
The lengthy list of Honors, Awards, and Activities of Clay Walker reads like a “Who’s Who” and includes a variety of experiences. He was selected as 1 of 3 students to represent Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and compete at National Conference in San Antonio, Texas, as an American Academy of Physician Assistants Challenge Bowl Participant in 2016, as well as selected as 1 of 3 students to represent Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and compete at State Conference in Chicago, IL. as Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants Challenge Bowl Champion in 2015-16.
During 2015-2016, Clay served as a Healthcare Volunteer-performed free sports physicals for high school and grade school students in Springfield, IL; Peer Mentoring-Actively served as mentor to first-year Physician Assistant students and mentored/instructed future health professionals in the Health Professions Class at Carbondale High School; College Committee on Admissions Student Representative; Hosted a Food and Supply Drive for the Cobden Migrant Camp; Hosted Food and Supply Drive and performed blood pressure exams for Residents at Good Samaritan Hospital of Carbondale, IL; Hosted the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine American Red Cross Blood Drive; Hosted Doll Clinic for children with local Head Start Programs in Carbondale, IL; Held fundraiser and supply drive for the creation of the Pediatric Department of Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.
Having been the recipient of a multitude of scholarships and awards at Wabash Valley College, it was no surprise to those at WVC that Clay would continue to achieve awards at the university level. Among his accolades at WVC are: Wabash County Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, WVC Presidential Scholarship, CEO Academic Honor Roll, President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Peer Counselor, Commencement Honor Marshal, Student Senate President, Outstanding Transfer Student Scholarship, B.W. and Bertha Carrell Scholarship, Wabash Career Women’s Scholarship, Who’s Who Among American College & University Students, J. Roy Dee Scholarship, Health Professionals Club (Founder/President), Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, WVC Commencement Student Speaker, President’s Award, James T. Watson Memorial Scholarship, Volunteer at Wabash General Hospital (Clinical & surgical observation), Work-Study for Bioscience Dept., WVC Cadaver Dissection Team, President’s Award for excellence in academic & extra-curricular achievements.
Some of his Southern Illinois University-Carbondale awards include: Joan F. Knowles Memorial Scholarship, Robert W. Davis Memorial Scholarship, Rebecca and Jerry Kill Alumni Association Scholarship, Greater Evansville Susan G. Komen for the Cure Scholarship, Southern Illinois University Dean’s List, John W. Voigt Scholarship in Biological Sciences, Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Society, Saluki Community Scholarship, Undergraduate Researcher, Pre-Health Professionals Association, St. Jude’s Research Hospital Registered Student Organization, Intramural League Athletics, SIU Alumni Association Externship Program, Saluki Community Scholarship, International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on Medicine, National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, and others.
Wabash Valley College administration, faculty, and staff take much pride in having played a role in the academic career of Mt. Carmel High School /Wabash Valley College graduate Clay Walker and helping to “pave the way” for him to earn his Master of Science-Physician Assistant Studies degree which has led him back to Mt. Carmel to Wabash General Hospital as a Physician Assistant!