Faculty of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences led the graduation celebration for the class of 2022 Saturday afternoon.
Professors from SMHS distributed four awards to graduate and undergraduate students in the class at the ceremony. Officials offered advice and wisdom to the departing class and expressed their pride for the students’ hard work despite enduring challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barbara Bass, the dean of SMHS, said the school acknowledges the hard work of the class, especially during the past two years of the pandemic when students played key roles in administering vaccines and tests or performing laboratory research.
She said the knowledge the class gained at GW will lead the class to serve people in a “beautifully personal” way to restore health and prevent illness.
“We will take great pride in your achievements and contributions to the communities you will serve that will utilize those knowledge and skills that you gain here at GW,” Bass said.
Interim University President Mark Wrighton said despite only being at GW for four months he’s “delighted” about the impact the faculty made on the class that is the first to graduate in GW’s third century as a University.
He said he encourages each student to be a “lifelong learner” to keep up with changing times and how important the students’ work is to supporting their faculty and colleagues.
“As you know, well, the world is changing rapidly and the demands of today’s economy reflect that breakneck speed,” Wrighton said. “In turn, our graduates must be skilled in new ways.”
Karen Schlumpf, a professor of clinical research and leadership, said honoring the two recipients of the Ozgur Ekmekci Interprofessional Leadership Award, Yvonne Rodriguez and Edith Teng, was a “pleasure” as they both have shown their commitment to promoting collaboration and scholarship in the health sciences world.
“These recipients emulate qualities that Ozgur lived and that we admire in his work with students and colleagues,” Schlumpf said.
Alexandra Davis, the recipient of the outstanding undergraduate student award and graduating with a bachelors of science, said her time in the U.S. Navy showed her the challenges that come along with a career in health care but working in a lab drove her purpose in the field.
“Whether or not you stay in health sciences, your passion will continue to drive your decisions down new paths,” Davis said.
Clifford Cymrot, an assistant professor of biomedical laboratory sciences, said Davis’ dedication and persistence over the course of completing her degree and has a “heart” for her peers, profession and community.
“One of the missions of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences is to develop tomorrow’s leaders,” Cymrot said.
Wencesley Paez, the recipient of the outstanding graduate student award and a masters of science in health sciences in clinical and translational research graduate, said the challenges he encountered in his studies has taught him how to adapt to changing circumstances.
“Productivity in everything you do, make it count be productive citizens in this society, whether it be at home or at work,” Paez said.
Samar Nasser, an associate professor of clinical research and leadership, said Paez’s clinical background and years of clinical research experience were an “asset” to the clinical research and leadership program that aided in challenging and bettering his classmates through class discussions.
“I’m truly blessed, honored and humbled to be here today to provide this Outstanding Graduate Student Award to Dr. Paez in front of his friends and families and our colleagues,” Nasser said.
Reamer Bushardt, the senior associate dean for health and sciences and professor of physician assistant studies, said treating teamwork as a healthcare superpower and facing setbacks as opportunities allows for progress and prepares the students for obstacles in the future.
“I challenge you to lead through your character and with integrity.” Bushardt said, “You will make the world a better place, a juster place as if you take your next steps.”