College of Medicine Holds Remote Awards Ceremony

It is probably safe to say that 2020 marked the first time that a guitar rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance” opened the College of Medicine Awards Ceremony. But then, everything was a little different this year, and the performance by Nicholas D’Amico – who became Nicholas D’Amico, M.D. (’20), at Commencement later that week – was another reminder that this group of students has kept its collective spirit.

A performance by Maddie Goosmann (Madeline Goosmann, M.D. (’20), as of May 2), singing and accompanying herself on ukulele, was another creative contribution on Wednesday, April 29, when faculty and staff joined with students for a remote celebration of accomplishments.

“I’m inspired by all of you,” President Langell told the class, and Dean Young thanked him for being a faculty member this semester (leading “Intensive Care Medicine and ICU Resources in Pandemics,” )

There were some happy tears, and not only from students. Julie Aultman, Ph.D., professor of family and community medicine, was visibly moved to be selected as a hooder. Her voice broke as she said, “From Day One I have been proud of you. I love you guys!”

Student leaders Rob Link and Adnan Raslan (who became Dr. Link and Dr. Raslan on May 2), recognized faculty members who had gone above and beyond to assist students. Accepting her award, Anita Pokorny, assistant dean of Student Affairs and assistant professor of family and community medicine, praised the students for their grace and resiliency over the past few months.

Jeff Wenstrup, Ph.D., professor and chair of anatomy and neurobiology, presented one of the two William H. Falor Research Awards to Krish Dewan (Dr. Dewan, as of May 2), noting that this student had stood out throughout his NEOMED career for his exceptional productivity and leadership in research, including his founding of the Committee for Student Clinical Research.  

Sergul Erzurum, M.D., professor of surgery, presented the second William H. Falor Research Award to Natasha Kesav (Dr. Kesav, as of May 2), congratulating her for accomplishments including being selected for a one-year Medical Research Scholars Program fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Several outstanding students were honored multiple times.

Laura Yeater, who became Dr. Yeater on May 2, was presented the Excellence in Family Medicine Award; the Matthew Allen Lewis Award for Outstanding Patient Care and Mastery of the Science of Medicine; and the Ideal Physician Award. Upon receiving the Lewis Award from Rich Lewis, who retired in 2018 from his leadership role at NEOMED, Dr. Yeater thanked her parents, “for supporting me and loving me endlessly.”

Kammeron Brissett (who became Dr. Brissett May 2), honored as the 2020 class speaker, was also presented the national Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. Presenting that award, Anita Pokorny noted Dr. Brissett’s kindness and empathy.

Another national award, the United States Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Award, was presented to Austin Hilt, who earned an M.A. in Medical Ethics and Humanities as well as an M.D. this year. Dr. Hilt was also presented a Service to Community Award.

College of Medicine Class of 2020 Awards Presented Wednesday, April 29

Student Awards

  • Class of 2020 Class Speaker - Kammeron Brissett, M.D. (’20)
  • Class of 2020 Gonfalonian - Courtney Kromer, M.D. (’20)
  • Diversity Leader Award - Christina Palomo, M.D. (’20)
  • Excellence in Family Medicine Award - Laura Yeater, M.D. (’20)
  • Excellence in Internal Medicine Award - Helena Holmgren, M.D. (’20)
  • Excellence in Obstetrics/Gynecology Award - Savannah Bowman, M.D. (’20)
  • Excellence in Pediatrics Award - Sara Post, M.D. (’20)
  • Excellence in Psychiatry Award - Erica Matthews, M.D. (’20)
  • Excellence in Surgery Award - Sebastian Boland, M.D. (’20)


Ideal Physician Award

Bradley Eckert, M.D. (’20); Andrew Ford, M.D. (’20); Lauren Misik, M.D. (’20); Eve Tranchito, M.D. (’20); and Laura Yeater, M.D., (’20)

Awarded to five students whom peers would most like to have as their own physician, as exemplified through their excellent intellectual and clinical skills, empathy and patient rapport, as well as their diligence and support of fellow classmates.

Matthew Allen Lewis Award for Outstanding Patient Care and Mastery of the Science of Medicine 

Laura Yeater, M.D. (’20)  

Awarded to a senior possessing outstanding communication skills, empathy and compassion with patients and families, plus a high level of technical expertise and skills in the science of medicine.

Outstanding Achievement Award

Abhijit Das, M.D. (’20)  

Awarded to a senior based on exemplary academic accomplishments, class rank, and contributions to the College and community.

Service to College of Medicine Award

Robert Link, M.D. (’20)  

Awarded to a senior who has significantly contributed time, energies, ideas and support to College of Medicine functions and activities, committees, faculty and staff.

Service to Community Award

Austin Hilt, M.D. (’20)  

Awarded to a senior who has graciously provided time and support to community service programs, has displayed a caring attitude and is committed to bettering the community.     

William H. Falor, M.D. Research Award

Krish Dewan, M.D. (’20), and Natasha Kesav, M.D. (’20)  

Awarded to a senior who has demonstrated pursuit of research projects, presentations and publication of research results.

National Student Awards

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Kammeron Brissett, M.D. (’20)  

Presented to a graduating student who is a member of the NEOMED Virtuous Healer Honor Society and best demonstrates the Foundation's ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families and health care colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence.

United States Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Award

Austin Hilt, M.D. (’20)    

The Physicians Professional Advisory Committee (PPAC) of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) awards medicine students with the Excellence in Public Health Award each year.

Both PPAC and USPHS recognizes medicine students who are involved in public health issues in their community as well as increase awareness of the Public Health Service and its mission to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation.

Class of 2020, Class Gift

The Dinah Fedyna Family Medicine Award

The Class of 2020 made a generous donation to this scholarship which honors Dinah Fedyna, M.D., a family physician and NEOMED professor diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in July 2018. The scholarship is available to NEOMED students from the Mahoning Valley who are planning careers in family medicine, pediatrics or internal medicine.

Faculty Awards and Recognition

Commencement Hooders

  • Julie Aultman, Ph.D., Professor of Family and Community Medicine
  • Austin Fredrickson, M.D. (’14), Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Course Director of Prerequisite to the Clinical Curriculum
  • Carmen Julius, M.D. (’87), Associate Professor of Pathology
  • Susan Nofziger, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of M3 Clinical Experiences
  • Dana Peterson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology
  • David Sperling, M.D. (’85), Senior Director of Clinical Experiences and Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine
  • Daniel Wasdahl, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology
  • Joseph Zarconi, M.D. (’81), Senior Associate Dean for Health Affairs, Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine and Clinical Director for Health Humanities Education

Faculty members chosen by the Class of 2020 to bestow the doctoral hood over the shoulders of the graduates to signify the professional stature attained by terminal degree during the commencement ceremony.

Outstanding Service to the Class Award

Awarded by the senior graduating class to a faculty member and a staff member who provided outstanding service to the student body.

Paul Lecat, M.D.

Professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Family and Community Medicine

Anita Pokorny, M.Ed.

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine

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