West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) students in the Class of 2022 were recognized for their achievements in medical school during a Graduation Awards Ceremony on May 27. Graduation awards totaled $50,350.
This year’s class consisted of 197 graduates, with 103 graduates entering primary care residency programs and a 99 percent residency match rate for the class.
The event recognized 20 students who graduated with honors. In addition, 31 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. Forty-two students received cords reflecting their membership in Sigma Sigma Phi - Nu Chapter, a national osteopathic medicine fraternity that supports medical scholastic excellence. Twelve 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 graduating students who exemplify Dr. Sharp’s vision of holistic care and service. The WVSOM Alumni Association selected Alfredo Wong Jr., Michael Yost and Nathaniel Jordan 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 Emily Van Antwerp as this year’s winner.
The Opal Price Sharp Memorial Fund 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 recipients were Erin Harvath for first place and Michael Brown for second place for their dedication to osteopathic medicine.
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 Michael Yost.
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 recipients were Matthew Santer for first place and Madeleine Gwinn and Michael Yost for second place.
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 Rhet Happel.
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. Jared Zopp was recognized with the scholarship.
The Drs. John and Nancy Chambers Memorial Scholarship Fund is given to students who intend to practice medicine in an underserved community and who had a strong academic performance. The scholarship honors two former WVSOM professors. This year’s recipients were Alexis Cash and Matthew Tilley.
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 Rashelle Vincent.
The Dr. Catherine A. Bishop Scholarship Fund recognizes a graduating student committed to a residency program in West Virginia. This year’s recipient was Jared Zopp.
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 Abigail Cerroni.
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. Cade Walker was this year’s scholarship recipient.
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 Gerald “Trey” Furby III.
The Libby Kokott, D.O., Memorial Grant was established by Kokott’s four children in 2020 to honor a woman who, against all odds, 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 Oladoyin Jolaoye.
The U.S. Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Award recognizes medical students who have positively impacted public health in their communities. It is given to a student who has developed and implemented a program advancing the overarching goals and achieving the objectives of Healthy People 2023. Consideration is also given to students who have developed and implemented a program that addresses the priorities of the National Prevention Strategy; made a significant benefit to a medically underserved community; completed research that advances the goals of Healthy People 2023 and the National Prevention Strategy; or conducted health activities in collaboration with public health agencies. This year’s recipient was Garrett Parsons.
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. This year’s scholarship recipients were Brittani Jones and Matthew Santer.
The West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Award was presented to Austin Bennett. 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 Jaime Basham, Austin Bennett, Adam Cook, Gerald Furby III, Kacy Harmon, Sarah Jones, Brooke Laudenslager, Christopher Musil, Molly O’Neil, Jacob Redden, Patrick Sawyers, Samantha Westbrook, Alfredo Wong Jr. and Michael Yost.
Students from each of WVSOM’s seven Statewide Campus regions received Statewide Campus Outstanding Student Awards for their third- and fourth-year clinical rotations. Austin Bennett and Diana Duong received recognition for the Central East region; Anam Alam and James Ferrick received recognition for the Central West region; Michael Brown and David Nye received recognition for the Eastern region; Phillip Croce and Rhet Happel received recognition for the Northern region; Denis Ruzdija, Genevieve Sell, Trevor Toussieng and Samantha Westbrook received recognition for the South Central region; Sarah Jones and Jared Zopp received recognition for the South East region; and Brendan Camp and Chia-Chen Chuang received recognition for the South West region.
The Order of Vesalius Award is presented to students who have served as graduate teaching assistants in the biomedical sciences department. Ryan Jensen and Abdul Mannan were presented with this year’s award.
Amanda Buzzetta and Jared Zopp 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 a student who served as a graduate teaching assistant in a clinical sciences or family medicine capacity, was awarded to Brooke Yasgur.
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 Alexandria Foster, Elaine Koberlein, Nathan Forren and Trevor Toussieng.
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 Samantha Federico, spouse of Graham Federico.