By

Colorado Mountain College Edwards campus graduates’ stories. By Carrie Click.

They’ve shared time on the slopes and in the classroom. And this month, two snowboarding friends, Sara Blodgett and Elizabeth Wierman, graduated with Associate of Science degrees in biology – with honors – taking the next step toward becoming physician assistants.

Blodgett, 25, is a former physical therapy assistant who moved to Colorado several years ago from California. After going to school and then working as a PT assistant, she decided to change direction and chose Colorado Mountain College to launch her new career.

“I realized that I’m better-suited to a career as a physician’s assistant,” said Blodgett. “It fits my personality more.” After hearing how much her boyfriend enjoyed his classes at CMC, the Avon resident started her PA prerequisites at the college’s Edwards campus.

“I’ve never been to such a friendly campus before,” she said. “The professors want you to do well at CMC.”

The Phi Theta Kappa (honors) graduate is looking forward to her next move: In the fall she’ll be attending Colorado State University’s health sciences program to earn her bachelor’s degree, putting her one step closer to a job as a PA.

Former pro hits the books – and the slopes

Wierman’s story is just a bit different from Blodgett’s, though her career aspirations are the same. The 31-year-old is a former professional snowboarder who already had a bachelor’s degree in business, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

But she wanted to eventually become a physician’s assistant, and started taking prerequisite courses at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, scheduling afternoon and evening classes around snowboarding. (The Breckenridge slopes are where the two women met – and still snowboard.)

When an injury sidelined the Vail resident’s pro career, she poured her energy into her classes and becoming a PA, and finished her degree at CMC’s Edwards campus.

“I’ve always had a passion for medicine,” Wierman said. “My father and sister are doctors and my grandfather is a doctor.” She worked closely with a doctor in Frisco and saw that being a physician’s assistant fit her personality. She has applied to PA school and is currently waiting to hear which program she’ll attend in the fall.

“I’ve taken a nontraditional route and been to several schools, and CMC has been the best education I’ve gotten,” she said. “I had one-on-one attention, small class sizes and incredibly qualified professors.”

In addition to granting associate degrees, certificates of occupational proficiency and general equivalency diplomas, the 2015 exercises also celebrated the third year of students receiving bachelor’s degrees from the college.

This year’s commencement speaker was Dr. Kathryn Regjo, who was recently appointed vice president at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. Regjo has a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.B.A. from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in international business and German from Adrian College.