About Our Pre Physician Assistant Programs

“I remember how difficult it was to find shadowing opportunities when I was a pre-PA student, and I wanted to make this experience available to future PA students. Many students have shadowing experience by the time they interview for PA school – but what makes EXCELL students stand out is real personal patient contact and care experience.” -Founder J. P. Festa, PA-C

The EXCELL Education Mission

We aim to provide mentorship in a healthcare setting in order to give students the practical experience and skills they will need to have a successful Physician Assistant program admission interview and create a stellar personal statement. We provide our students with opportunities to make their Physician Assistant school application stand out from the rest:

  • Earn shadow hours with a PA, assisting real patients in a healthcare setting
  • Be part of a healthcare quality assurance team as a Patient Liaison
  • Benefit from Physician Assistant mentoring and academic planning
  • Gain practical patient contact experience

About Our Founder

John Philip Festa, PA

When the opportunity presented itself, John Philip Festa, PA-C ​began teaching History Taking and Physical Examination to second year PA students at Rutgers University SHRP (formerly UMDNJ). He was soon asked to become a preceptor for the Long Term Care rotation, as well as create a sub-specialty rotation in Geriatric Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine.

It wasn’t until Phil was asked to serve on the Admissions Committee for the Rutgers University SHRP that he realized that students applying to PA school were pretty much on par with each other academically. The area they differed in was patient contact, leadership and practical experience – and that’s when EXCELL was born.

Festa earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers and Post-Graduate from St. John’s University. He completed the CMC Physician Assistant Program and in addition to working as a practicing PA, he remains active academically:

  • Member of the New Jersey State Society of Physician Assistants (NJSSPA)
  • Member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
  • Member of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
  • Clinical Instructor, Rutgers University
  • Clinical Instructor, Kean University
  • Admissions Committee Member & Academic Interviewer, Kean University
  • Former Admissions Committee Member, Rutgers University

In 2016, Phil was honored by the New Jersey State Society of Physician Assistants with an Outstanding Public Education Physician Assistant of the Year award “for enhancing the image of the PA profession through active engagement in the early training and education of potential future PA students.” Read more about his award