WVSOM graduates given $60,700 at awards ceremony

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) students in the Class of 2021 were recognized for their achievements in medical school during a virtual Graduation Awards Ceremony on May 26. Graduation awards totaled $60,700.

This year’s class consisted of 179 graduates, with 116 graduates entering primary care residency programs and a 97 percent residency match rate for the class.

The event recognized 18 students who graduated with honors. In addition, 26 students were recognized as members of Psi Sigma Alpha, a national osteopathic scholastic honor society. Nine students were recognized with the American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Certificates of Commendation for Academic Achievement. Thirty-eight students received cords reflecting their membership in Sigma Sigma Phi - Nu Chapter, a national osteopathic medicine fraternity that supports medical scholastic excellence. Seven graduates were recognized with special coins for their military service.

The WVSOM Alumni Association Roland P. Sharp Graduate Award was created to honor the values of WVSOM’s first president. The award honors a graduating student who exemplifies Dr. Sharp’s vision of holistic care and service. The WVSOM Alumni Association selected John Janousek as this year’s winner.

The Olen E. Jones Jr. and WVSOM Foundation Academic Achievement Award is presented to a student graduating in the top 10 percent of the class. The WVSOM Foundation Board of Directors selected John Janousek as this year’s winner.

The Opal Price Sharp Memorial Fund was created in memory of WVSOM’s first president, Dr. Roland P. Sharp’s, wife. Opal Price Sharp worked alongside Dr. Sharp in the early years of the school, using her journalistic skills to promote WVSOM’s mission throughout West Virginia. Jordan Ormsby received the award for dedication to osteopathic medicine.

The Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia Farson-Smith-Earley Award is presented to a fourth-year student who has matched to a West Virginia primary care residency with the intent to practice in a rural area. This year’s recipient was Kayla Odle.

The Donald Newell Sr. Memorial Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior is presented to a student who, in the opinion of his or her classmates, best exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, osteopathic professional interest, leadership and citizenship. This year’s recipient was Benjamin Keaton.

The Gwen Clingman Memorial Scholarship is presented to a graduating student who has demonstrated a commitment to community service throughout his or her time in medical school. Anna White was recognized with the scholarship.

The Drs. John and Nancy Chambers Memorial Scholarship Fund is given to a student who intends to practice medicine in an underserved community and who had a strong academic performance. The scholarship honors two former WVSOM professors. This year’s recipient was Kayla Odle.

The Olivia Claire Obrokta Pediatric Award recognizes a student who is committed to serving in a pediatric specialty. Deena Obrokta, D.O., Class of 1994, established the award after losing her granddaughter a couple of months after her birth. This year’s recipient was Kayla Schlosser.

The Dr. Catherine A. Bishop Scholarship Fund recognizes a fourth-year student committed to a residency program in West Virginia. This year’s recipient was Christopher Brown.

The David Hinchman, D.O., Emergency Medicine Award was created by Brant Hinchman, D.O., Class of 2012, to honor his retired father, from WVSOM’s Class of 1982, and others who have helped medical students become emergency medicine physicians. The award is given to a graduating student who intends to enter an emergency medicine residency. This year’s recipient was Heather Farr.

The Stephanie Dawn Barragy Memorial Scholarship was established to honor Charles and Jean Cornell’s daughter, who was a victim of suicide. The scholarship recognizes a student committed to working on behalf of mental health issues, with a focus on patient care and intervention. Kate Warren was this year’s scholarship recipient.

The Dr. William R. Holmes Scholarship is awarded to a student who has shown determination, persistence and commitment in pursuing a medical education. This year’s scholarship was presented to MacKenzie Sloas.

This was the inaugural year for the Eugene McClung, M.D., Family Scholarship. The scholarship was created by McClung’s family to honor his service to the medical profession. McClung was a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine and was a U.S. Army Purple Heart recipient. He practiced internal medicine in Lewisburg from 1957 until his death in 1988. The scholarship recognizes a first-generation college graduate who exhibits a strong interest in community involvement. This year’s recipient was Kaley Kuntz.

The Antolini Family Scholarship, created by Michael Antolini, D.O., Class of 2012, was presented for the first time this year through the WVSOM Foundation. The scholarship was created to recognize a graduating student who demonstrates leadership and who has positively impacted the campus or community. This year’s inaugural recipient was Benjamin Keaton.

The Legacy Scholarship Endowment was created by the WVSOM Foundation in an effort to help offset the cost of medical school for WVSOM students. It is given to a West Virginia resident who intends to stay in the state to practice medicine after completing a residency. This year’s winner was Natan Harel.

The MSOPTI Rural Scholar program aims to increase the likelihood that students from West Virginia medical schools will self-select residency programs located in the state, establish a relationship in the community and commit to practice medicine in that area. MSOPTI, in partnership with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, provided awards to graduating students who have been accepted into MSOPTI residency training programs in the state. This year’s scholarship recipients were Michaella Gaite, Lucas Goodwin, Kassie Johnson, Vincent Morra, Kerry Woods and Whitney Workman.

The West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Award was presented to Micaela Ramsey. Each year the organization recognizes one student from each of the three medical schools in West Virginia whose performance in clinical rotations reflects an understanding of and commitment to the delivery of emergency care.

WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI) recognized 14 graduates who participated in the program. The RHI program is designed to enhance the rural primary care curriculum at WVSOM and produce graduates uniquely qualified to practice medicine in underserved communities in rural West Virginia. Those recognized were Salima Conteh, Leslie Elmore, Lori Fedorczyk, Chris Gauthier, Caroline Gormley, John Janousek, Thomas Knowles, Stacy Lane, Hannah Lugg, Sara Maguina, Kayla Odle, Maria Rana, Emily Rider and Jennifer Voorhees.

Two students from each of the seven Statewide Campus regions received Statewide Campus Outstanding Student Awards for their third- and fourth-year clinical rotations. Benjamin Kastenbauer and Chloe Saba received recognition for the Northern region; Christopher Brown and Kristy Farmer received recognition for the Eastern region; Katelyn Bennett Levi and Heather Farr received recognition for the Central East region; Aisha Imam and Brandon Smyth received recognition for the Central West region; Hannah Lugg and Kyle Varon received recognition for the South East region; Stephanie Haddad and Steven Veselsky received recognition for the South Central region; and Melinda Kizziah and Emmanuella Oyogoa received recognition for the South West region.

The Order of Vesalius Award is presented to a student who has served as a graduate teaching assistant in the biomedical sciences department. Kyle Varon was presented with this year’s award.

Vincent Morra and Micheala Taylor were honored with the RAMS Head Award. The award is given to students who served as graduate teaching assistants in the osteopathic medical education department.

The Clinical Sciences Award, which recognizes students who served as graduate teaching assistants in a clinical sciences or family medicine capacity, was awarded to Ashley Gebo and Brandy Sweeney.

The Merck Manual Award for Academic Excellence is presented to the top two female and top two male students based on grade point average in their class. The awards went to Chelsea Bunce, Hannah Lugg, Christopher Brown and Kyle Varon.

The Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award recognizes an osteopathic medical student’s spouse or partner. The recipient exemplifies the role of a professional’s partner in providing support to their family and the osteopathic profession. This year’s recipient was Emily Varon, spouse of Kyle Varon.