Graduation Week begins with Class of 2022 Awards Banquet

The Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine Spring Commencement festivities opened Monday at the Oscar N. Harris Student Union with the Class of 2022 Awards Banquet.  Students, faculty, staff and guests repeatedly stated how good it was to gather together in person to celebrate.

“You left for Spring Break in 2020 as MS-II’s, and never came back,” Jennifer O’Dell, executive director of student affairs, reminded the class.  The Class of 2022 began their third year clinical rotations July 2020 in a hybrid format and endured the gradual transition to in-person as the pandemic progressed.

Christopher Svendsen, class president, reflected on how the shared experience of medical school, especially through a pandemic, created an unprecedented bond among classmates as well as confidence in facing the challenges of residency.

“We saw a global pandemic strike, strike the world, strike our country, and oftentimes strike our family…We attended far too many Zoom calls. We got acne from wearing N-95 masks, and for far too long, we didn’t see a human face…Many of us got engaged, got married (often to each other) adopted COVID puppies, and had COVID babies!  So, we’ve been through alot together.”

Christopher Svendsen, DO Class President 2022

“All of this was happening as we strived to enter a profession where our first stated goal is to serve our communities. So, as we look forward to our intern year coming ahead, I think we can be confident – looking back and seeing all the challenges that we faced – and know that the same grit and determination that brought us to where we are today will carry us forward and will help us to meet those challenges that are still coming ahead.” 

“I think our time together at CUSOM – the friendships we built here, all that’s been taught to us both about medicine and about life by the excellent faculty and staff – I think will allow us to go forward and be more empathetic, more thoughtful, more caring people, and allow us to care for our patients well in the future.” 

“So, as we sit here tonight between the challenges of the past and the future, I think we’ve earned a celebration, and I am so happy to be here today with all of you.  Congratulations on crossing this initial finish line of our medical training.”

Student Awards Presented:

Distinguished Pre-Clinical Scholar – Kristen Mylcraine

Overall Distinguished Clinical Scholars:

Emergency Medicine Kelsie Rhyne
Family Medicine Courtney Testani
Geriatrics Andrew Chambers
Internal Medicine Anjali Agrawal
Obstetrics and Gynecology Sharvari Adams
Pediatrics Brittany Bare
Psychiatry Tyler Krug
Surgery Adam Matynowski

Distinguished Student of the Region

Lumberton Mahalia Robinson
Fayetteville Savannah Waldrop
Raleigh Cole Sloboda
Harnett Adam Matynowski
Salisbury Christi Eudy
Goldsboro Monyetta Bizzell Hanson
Morehead City Brittany Bare
Smithfield Jordan Rawlings
Conway Sarah Van Antwerp
Sanford Benjamin Robinson

Global Health Award – Ruth Gakpo

Dr. Jerry M. Wallace Award – Christi Eudy

Student Research Award – Brandon Block

Dr. William F. Morris Award – Thomas Davis

Dean’s Award – Sarah Lassiter

Graduation week will continue for the Class of 2022 with the Military Promotion Ceremony on Wednesday, May 11 honoring military Health Professions Scholars Program graduates and Commencement Exercises on Thursday, May 12 at Barker-Lane Stadium.