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School of Medicine graduating students commended for resilience in year-end ceremony

By Susan E.W. Spencer

UMass Medical School Communications

junio 04, 2021

The 169 students of the School of Medicine Class of 2021, including 11 MD/PhD students and the Medical School’s first MD/MBA student, were recognized by institutional and alumni leaders for their resilience and commitment as they completed their studies during the worst global pandemic in a century. Their achievements were lauded June 4 at the annual UMass Medical School Alumni Association breakfast, held in the Albert Sherman Center.


Kristen M. Ettensohn Memorial Award recipient Maria Navarro flanked by Terence R. Flotte, MD, and Michele P. Pugnaire, MD

“You faced a deadly virus in a time of great uncertainty and were on the front lines of the worst pandemic in over a century,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine in his address to the class.

“In fact, you are all veterans of a once-in-a-generation experience, unmatched in my own experience as a caregiver,” he continued. “I believe that in years to come, the classes of 2020 and 2021 will be famous and will be appreciated and respected as veterans of this struggle in a way that our generation cannot match.”

Dean Flotte concluded by praising as “an inspiration” the graduating class’s courage, caring, enthusiasm, ingenuity and resilience. “I will say to each and every one of you in the class of 2021 that you are all my heroes.”

The Chancellor’s Award, the highest recognition given to a graduating student, was presented to Nicholas Leonard by Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

Chancellor Collins highlighted not only Leonard’s academic achievement, but also his commitment to serving the most vulnerable. Collins said, “As an active, engaged and committed member of the student body, you have contributed to the UMass Medical School learning environment by participating on and leading multiple student interest groups, tutoring students studying for board examinations, and mentoring underclassmen while serving as a clinic coordinator for the Worcester Free Clinic program and team leader for the Flu Clinics held in partnership with Worcester Public Schools.

“Your ardent advocacy for vulnerable populations is best highlighted through your volunteerism efforts focused on individuals struggling with mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic, and your impressive work to push for drug price transparency at the state and national levels.”

The following awards and recognitions were also presented:

Certificate of Appreciation for Leadership in the Learning Environment Award
Abraham Lin, Katherine Sadaniantz and Amanda Whitehouse 

Outstanding Accomplishment in the Longitudinal Capstone Scholarship and Discovery Course
Andrew Baccari
Jugert Bango
Elizabeth Chan
Caroline Corban
Tess Curran
Wendy Ma
Asia Matthew-Onabanjo
Elisabeth McGovern
Richard Moschella
Joseph O’Keefe 
Julia Oppenheimer
Tatiana Petrovick
Victoria Prete and Kyle Thistle 
Rose Schutzberg 
Alay Shah
Cameron Thomson and Alex Schmidt 

Senior Scholars Award for Achievement in Research
Shushmita Hoque and Helen Tian

Mick Godkin Scholarship
Divya Bhatia, Avina Joshi and Apurv Soni

Mick Huppert Community Health Scholar Award
Divya Bhatia and Vanessa Villamarin

EPC Student Star Award
John-Marc Austin, Abraham Lin, Asia Matthew-Onabanjo and Laura Schwartz

Massachusetts Medical Society Scholars Award
Scholars: Colleen Gabel, Madeline Fryer, Asia Matthew-Onabanjo and Michele Shabo
Finalists: Anna Gubala, Elke Schipani, Jennifer Selland and Amanda Whitehouse 

American Women’s Medical Association Award, Glasgow-Rubin Citations for Academic Achievement
Kara Kennedy (Glasgow-Rubin certificate of commendation)
AMWA citations: Lindsey Crowley, Colleen Gabel, Molly Griffin, Ailish Hanly, Olivia Karcis, Maria Eugenia Navarro, Kathryn Norman, Hannah Seay, Alyssa Stetson and Laura Thurber

Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Award
Divya Bhatia and Pooja Gupta (2021)
Lucinda Chiu (2020)
Jugert Bango, Brittany Dacier, Nadia Eshraghi, Pooja Gupta, Christine Hebert, Jonathan Kassira, Elisabeth McGovern and Katherine Sadaniantz (2019)
Colleen Gabel (2017)
Aurian Garcia Gonzalez (2013)

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Marya Pulaski (2021)
Jesse Feierabend-Peters (2020)

Ann Nemitz Memorial Award
Divya Bhatia and Jesse Feierabend-Peters

Jacob Brem Pediatric Award
Martha Gowaski

New England Pediatric Society Award
Tess Curran

Marianne Felice Adolescent Health Award
Cole Martens

Excellence in Obstetrics & Gynecology Award
Vanessa Villamarin

Department of Neurology Medical Student Prize for Distinguished Neuroscience Research
Ryan Barrette

American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Prize for Excellence in Neurology
Elke Schipani

Department of Medicine Award for Outstanding Performance in Medicine
Samuel Fountain

Department of Medicine Award for Outstanding Clinical Performance in Medicine
Philip McNamara

UMass Surgical Society Award for Excellence in Student Clinical Performance
Kara Kennedy

UMass Surgical Society Award for Excellence in Surgical Education
Brittany Dacier

Association of Academic Surgery Student Research Award
Kurt Schultz

SAEM Excellence in Emergency Medicine Award
Sardis Harward

Massachusetts ACEP Medical Student of the Year Award
Eric Borges

Aaron Lazare Award for Psychiatry
Christina Diep

John Efstathiou Memorial Award
Olivia Karcis, Kara Kennedy, Garen Kroshian, Kathryn Norman, Timothy O’Malley, Kevin O’Sullivan, Elke Schipani, Laura Schwartz, Benjamin Tanenbaum and Laura Thurber

United States Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Award
Vanessa Villamarin

Catherine Zurier Memorial Award
Aurian Garcia-Gonzalez (MD/PhD), Molly Griffin (CTRP), Ailish Hanly (CTRP), Barry Kriegsman (MD/PhD) and Kurt Schultz (CTRP)

Sarah Stone Memorial Award
Andrew Boylan and Brielle Tishler

Gary Winzelberg, MD’74 Memorial Award
Molly Griffin

Kristen M. Ettensohn Memorial Award for Medical Excellence Through Advocacy, Art & Athletics
Presented by Terence Flotte, MD, Linda Hassan Ettensohn, MD and David Ettensohn, MD
Maria Navarro

Massachusetts Department of Education 29 Who Shine Award
Apurv Soni

Outstanding Faculty & House Officer Awards
Jennifer Lee Carey, MD; James E. Carroll Jr., MD; Isabel C Castro-Munoz, DO; Kate Morrison Daniello, MD; Beth R DeGrush, DO; Fei Jamie Dy, MD; Luu Doan Ireland, MD, MPH; Mark Damone Johnson, MD, PhD; Ziad Kutayli, MD (Baystate); Maria I. Hincapie Marquez, MD; Errol Mortimer, MD; Claudeleedy Pierre, MD; Giles Whalen, MD; and Jennifer K. Yates, MD

Laurel Banach, MD; Smita Carroll, MD, MBA; Patrick Craft, DO (Berkshire); Jose Marino Granados, MD; Kara Kimball, MD, MPH; Joshua Kriegel, MD; Steven Krueger, MD; Renee Robilliard, DO (Baystate); Ryan Schiedo, MD; Xin Wang, MD; and Michael J. Weiner, MD