WVSOM students and a faculty member receive awards

Graduates receive $69,100 at awards ceremony

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) students in the Class of 2024 were recognized for their achievements in medical school during a Graduation Awards Ceremony on May 2. Graduation awards totaled $69,100 with students being recognized in 33 categories including awards, scholarships and membership in national organizations. 

This year’s class consisted of 190 graduates, with 104 graduates entering primary care residency programs and a 100% residency placement rate for the class.

The event recognized 19 students who graduated with honors. In addition, 28 students were recognized as members of Psi Sigma Alpha, a national osteopathic scholastic honor society. Eleven students were recognized with American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Certificates of Commendation for Academic Achievement. Forty-one students received cords reflecting their membership in Sigma Sigma Phi - Nu Chapter, a national osteopathic medicine fraternity that supports medical scholastic excellence. Thirty students from the Class of 2024 became the first WVSOM cohort to be inducted by the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a national honor society comprising medical students, physicians and leaders who have been recognized for compassionate care. Six graduates were recognized with special coins for their military service.

This was the inaugural year for the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to recognize one graduating medical student and one faculty member who exemplify humanism in patient care. These individuals are recognized by their peers for consistently demonstrating exceptional dedication in providing care to those in need. This year’s recipients were Skarleth Moran and Chelsea Feger, D.O.

Each year one student from each osteopathic medical school that is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine can be selected as Student Researcher of the Year. The award recognizes students for their research accomplishments throughout medical school. This year’s recipient was Mark Haft.

The Student D.O. of the Year award acknowledges a student’s commitment to his or her school and community and to the osteopathic profession. This year’s recipient was Devin Towne.   

The WVSOM Alumni Association Roland P. Sharp Graduate Award was created to honor the values of WVSOM’s first president. The award honors graduating students who exemplify Dr. Sharp’s vision of holistic care and service. The WVSOM Alumni Association selected Jona Del Rio and Stephen Sutphin as this year’s winners. 

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 Camille Panas as this year’s winner. 

The Opal Price Sharp Memorial Fund Award was created in memory of the wife of WVSOM’s first president, Dr. Roland P. Sharp. 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. This year’s recipient was Trevor Lovell for his dedication to osteopathic medicine. 

WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI) recognized 16 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 Jessica Brumbaugh, Jona Del Rio, Cheyenne Earle, Emily Harris, Abundance Hunt, Connor McKay, Samuel Plaska, Katherine Roach, Joshua Rosenberger, Keirston Sampson, Hunter Sheard, Travis Steerman, Stephen Sutphin, Aarron Ward, Nicholas Wilson and Skylar Woolman. 

The MSOPTI West Virginia Primary Care Scholars Award 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. This year’s scholarship recipients were Elizabeth Coyle, Christian Kaftanic and Trevor Pritchett. 

The West Virginia Emulation Endowment Trust/Dr. Olen E. Jones Jr. Scholarship was established in 2016 and named after Olen E. Jones Jr., Ph.D., who served as president of WVSOM from 1987 to 2009. The scholarship is awarded to West Virginia students based on literary and scholastic attainments, morality, leadership and physical vigor. This year’s scholarship recipient was Abundance Hunt. 

WVSOM Foundation Scholars awards are given to West Virginia residents with satisfactory academic performance who plan to stay in West Virginia after residency to practice. Preference is given to students from Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Nicholas, Roane, Summers, Wayne, Webster or Wyoming counties. This year’s award recipients were Abundance Hunt, Trevor Pritchett and Kayla Vaughan.

The Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia Farson-Smith-Earley Award is presented to a graduating 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 Cheyenne Earle.

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 Kayla Vaughan. 

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. Kaylee Kriner was recognized with the scholarship. 

The Drs. John and Nancy Chambers Memorial Scholarship Fund Award 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 Elizabeth Coyle.  

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. Brooke Mendelson was this year’s scholarship recipient. 

The Libby Kokott, D.O., Memorial Grant was established by Kokott’s four children in 2020 to honor a woman who became a physician at the age of 50 (from WVSOM’s Class of 1993). Kokott helped hundreds of patients in her 20 years as an internist, and her hope was that others could do the same. This year’s winner was Vennela Pulikanti. 

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 shortly after her birth. This year’s recipient was Jona Del Rio. 

The Dr. Catherine A. Bishop Scholarship Fund Award recognizes a graduating student committed to a residency program in West Virginia. This year’s recipient was Travis Steerman.

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 Jessica Aboloff.  

The Dr. William R. Holmes Jr. Scholarship Award is given to a student who has shown determination, persistence and commitment in pursuing a medical education. This year’s scholarship was presented to Nicole Newman.    

The Eugene McClung, M.D., Family 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 Brooke Mendelson. 

The West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Award was presented to Jessica Brumbaugh. 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. 

The Order of Vesalius Award is presented to students who have served as graduate teaching assistants in the biomedical sciences department. Kylee Karczewski and John Michael Pirtle were presented with this year’s award.

Ryan Russell and Maria Sena were honored with the RAMS Head Award. The award is given to students who served as graduate teaching assistants in the osteopathic principles and practice department. 

The Clinical Sciences Award, which recognizes a student who served as a graduate teaching assistant in a clinical sciences or family medicine capacity, was awarded to Patrick Quigley.

Students from each of WVSOM’s seven Statewide Campus regions received Statewide Campus Outstanding Student Awards for their third- and fourth-year clinical rotations. Stephanie Giorno and Mark Haft received recognition for the Central East region; Hunter Neely and Raya Saba received recognition for the Central West region; Devin Towne and Carleigh Ward received recognition for the Eastern region; James Easler and Rafael Hamawi received recognition for the Northern region; Kaleb Bohrnstedt, Zubaira Khan, Marc Anthony Pajarillo and Nicole Santos received recognition for the South Central region; Matthew Dyer and Julia Moore received recognition for the South East region; and Taylor Route and Ryan Russell received recognition for the South West region. 

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 Courtney Sutphin, spouse of Stephen Sutphin.