Medical Students Honored at Celebration of Academic Excellence
On the eve of Community Action Day, more than 100 students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance and extracurricular achievement at AUC.
These honors were bestowed during the university’s Celebration of Academic Excellence, a once-a-semester award ceremony that celebrates scholarship recipients, Dean’s List awardees, and Alpha Omega Phi Honor & Service Society inductees. The event has also recently grown to include awards from departments to students who excelled in a particular course.
The guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Steven Ash, Associate Clinical Dean for the United Kingdom. Never one to pass up a good laugh, Dr. Ash infused humor into the event, opening with an admission that he thought this was the Celebration of Academic Egg Sellers.
“Imagine you’re an egg inside a wonderful, comfortable nest called AUC. The shell that protects you in that nest are the faculty and staff of AUC who are there to nurture you and encourage you to develop. Obviously they are doing a good job with you because you’ve gotten this eggceptional start.”
Faculty Appreciation Award
Kicking off the awards ceremony was the presentation of the AUC Faculty Appreciate Award. Students have the opportunity each semester to vote for a faculty member who they feel has made a significant and positive impact on the educational experience at AUC. This semester, the award went to Dr. Gautam Ullal, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and the 4th Semester Lead.
“Dr. Ullal often stays late during office hours to review class material and even comes in to campus over the weekend to help students,” said Rico Barranon and Alicia Heidenreich, co-presidents of the Alpha Omega Phi Honor and Service Society. “He is the epitome of humility and teaches us all by example what it means to be a true professional in the medical field.”
Moe Ameri, who is a 4th-semester student and Student Government President, joined the stage to read the names of last semester’s Dean’s List recipients. The honor went to 90 students in semesters 2 through 5 who carried a course load of at least 15 credits with a semester cumulative average of at least 87. After reading the list, Moe led the auditorium in a standing ovation for a small group of students who made Dean’s List all 5 semesters of medical school.
Honor & Service Society
AUC’s Alpha Omega Phi Honor & Service Society is an invite-only organization that promotes community awareness and support. Students are inducted during their fifth semester provided they have a cumulative GPA of 85 or higher and exhibit the qualities of leadership and excellence in both academics and service to the community.
This semester, AUC inducted 25 new students into Alpha Omega Phi. As is tradition, each new member was asked to provide a quote that exemplifies his or her journey through medical school.
In addition to honoring Dean’s List and Honor and Service Society inductees, the Celebration of Academic Excellence acknowledged six students for their outstanding performance within a specific department. This semester’s recipients included:
- Gene Colborn Award in Anatomy, Embryology & Histology – Jenna C. Jarrell
- Microbiology & Immunology Award – Rory A. Eschete II
- Physiology and Neuroscience Award – Graham Dersnah
- Dale van Wormer Award for Pathology – Shuo Li
- Pharmacology Award – Kameron Perkins
- Molecular & Cellular Biology Award – Morgan Sly
During the evening event, three students were surprised with AUC scholarships and accolades.
Fourth semester student Jean-Dominique “JD” Foureau received the Social Accountability Scholarship, valued at $5,000, for his community engagement at AUC. Prior to starting medical school, JD began a scholarship program to support young men in his hometown in Pompano Beach, Florida. His Young Legends Scholarship Foundation is built on the idea that mentorship can change lives and open up doors of opportunity. Now in St. Maarten, JD has grown the program to provide scholarship funds to local, aspiring physicians on the island. He is also working with the Black Medical Students Association to lead an outreach program that brings local youth to AUC in the hopes of inspiring them to pursue medicine.
Moe Ameri returned to the stage to receive the Student Engagement Scholarship—also valued at $5,000—for his contributions to help enhance and foster AUC’s culture of collaboration. Moe emerged as a student leader when Hurricane Irma struck St. Maarten just a few weeks into his first semester. He was part of the medical triage team and the first search and rescue squad. In addition to his current position as Student Government President, Moe has served on numerous AUC committees, including the relocation task force, curriculum committee, student life committee, and orientation committee.
Fourth semester student Jordan Coyner received the Student Judiciary Committee’s Dr. Karl Stockhausen Student of the Semester Award. The award is given to one student each semester who has a proven record of community service and who embodies the traits of the late AUC graduate, Dr. Karl Stockhausen. As a part of her award, Jordan will receive a $5,000 grant to spend on a community initiative of her choice. She plans to use those funds to refurbish and anchor storage containers that are used as learning spaces for children in Player Development Little League SXM.