Student Spotlight: Jonathan Rifici, Class of 2019

Two male certified anesthesiologist assistants in front of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine sign

My name in Jonathan Rifici and I’m a second-year student as the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio. My path to this career wasn’t expected. I completed my undergraduate education at West Virginia University, where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering. I worked in my field for three years, spending time in a chemical plant in West Virginia and a turbine plant in Mentor, Ohio. Following some road bumps in my life I began looking for a new career path. I have a family member who practices as a certified anesthesiologist assistant, and I had heard about the MSA Program growing up. After shadowing a few CAAs, I realized that I loved every minute of being in the operating room and the challenges of the career.

What I love most about the program is the hands-on learning style that the program favors. After only three short weeks in the beginning of the first year, you are thrown into the world of anesthesia and get to see, experience, and try so many new incredible things. The MSA Program is definitely challenging, but the rewards are beyond description. I have gained an entire new outlook on life and an appreciation for the medical profession. While a lot of the time spent in the MSA Program was all work and no play, the friends I have found in the program I know will last a lifetime.

I’m a Cleveland native, and I love my city. Cleveland has so much to offer. There are a variety of museums, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, a sports team for every major professional sport, and a variety of trendy neighborhoods. Some of my favorite spots include: Ohio City, Lakewood, and Westlake. There is never a weekday or weekend where you can’t find something to do.

I would tell anyone looking into the program or just starting to explore their options that this program isn’t easy. You’re handling patients’ lives, and that means you have to know what you’re doing. With that being said, the types of relationships and interactions you have with patients and the direct effects of your actions on their lives is truly fulfilling.

About this post: The Student Spotlight series highlights MSA students in Cleveland, Houston, and Washington. The series is a student-led initiative, and is designed to share current student experiences with prospective students. Jon recently graduated as a member of the Class of 2019.