Meet the Student Speakers for AUC’s 2021 Commencement Ceremony
In a reflection of the collaborative spirit and focus on community among the Class of 2021, we are pleased to announce that this year’s student address will be given by five members of the graduating class.
The Student Speaker address for the Class of 2021 Virtual Commencement Ceremony will be given jointly by Drs. Moe Ameri, Chelsea Azevedo, Rico Barranon, Madhura Mahapatra, and Rohan Patel. Each of these graduates has demonstrated remarkable leadership during their medical school journey, which has held strong through a historic hurricane, temporary transatlantic relocation, and a global pandemic.
Please join us for their address during the ceremony, which will be broadcast on AUC’s Facebook and YouTube channels beginning at 5:00 pm ET on Saturday, May 22, and learn more about each speaker below.
Dr. Moe Ameri
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Dr. Ameri’s passion for medicine began as he spent three years living inside in a hospital during the Iraqi civil war. He moved to the United States in 2007, where he learned English and spent much of his time in constant movement. He considers Houston, Texas to be his hometown, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Houston. He later obtained a master’s degree in biomedical sciences at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Ameri started at AUC in fall 2017 and took an active role during the Hurricane Irma aftermath, including search and rescue efforts and serving on the university’s medical triage team. He continued his activism by becoming a first-semester representative when AUC temporarily relocated to Preston, UK, and was elected President of the Student Government Association (SGA) upon return to Sint Maarten, where he led a significant effort to help rebuild the student experience on the island. He is a recipient of the Dr. Karl Stockhausen Memorial Award, Student Engagement Award, and SGA Service Award. Dr. Ameri also served as a co-Director of the Clinical SGA and navigated a rapidly changing environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Ameri is passionate about leadership and mentoring, and enjoys team sports, hiking, and cars in his spare time. This summer, Dr. Ameri will begin his internal medicine residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.
Dr. Chelsea Azevedo
Since Dr. Azevedo’s first day in Sint Maarten, she has felt a drive to serve her community. She feels lucky to have been given the chance to become the first doctor in her family, and giving back was a small way to show her gratitude.
After experiencing the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma with her classmates, Dr. Azevedo stepped up to provide leadership and representation for the student body. She acted as the SGA Preston Chairwoman, serving as a voice for her peers when discussing the student experience and academics, and maintaining regular communication with her classmates. When COVID-19 emerged, Dr. Azevedo took an active role in helping her classmates navigate clinical sciences. As a clinical site representative, her goal was to not only represent the students at her own clinical site, but also go above and beyond to provide information to students at all clinical sites.
Dr. Azevedo earned Dean’s List recognition during all five semesters of medical sciences and is a recipient of the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) Advancer Scholarship, Student Engagement Award, and Academic Excellence Awards in Pathology, Physiology, and Neuroscience. Dr. Azevedo also served as Secretary of Alpha Omega Phi Honors & Service Society, President of AUC’s chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), and co-founder of the Baton Rouge chapter of #HappyPeriod. She has tutored for every medical sciences course at AUC, served as Head Teaching Assistant (TA) for Anatomy and Harvey TA, and published and presented research in multiple journals and conferences. This summer, Dr. Azevedo will begin her internal medicine residency at Creighton University in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dr. Rico Barranon
Dr. Barranon was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Tampa, Florida. He studied biology at Florida State University and earned his master’s degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Barranon is married to his wife Belinda and has a one-year-old son and 11-year-old Yorkie poodle (who still has very mixed feelings on the baby situation).
While at AUC, Dr. Barranon served as President of the SGA and worked with students and deans who went above and beyond to manage the response to Hurricane Irma, the evacuation from Sint Maarten, and relocation to Preston, UK and back to island. He is incredibly proud of his fellow students for what they have achieved together in the face of adversity and is eternally grateful to his close friends, family, and especially his wife, without whom he could never have accomplished his dream of becoming a doctor. This summer, Dr. Barranon will begin his family medicine residency at Florida State University College of Medicine at BayCare in Winter Haven, Florida.
Dr. Madhura Mahapatra
A Chicago native, Dr. Mahapatra earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Loyola University of Chicago, and enjoyed the culinary melting pot of that city during her spare time. While at AUC, Dr. Mahapatra served in multiple leadership positions in student-run organizations, including roles with the Student Government Association (SGA), Phi Chi Omega Medical Service Fraternity, and her local #HappyPeriod chapter.
Having experienced Hurricane Irma, the transition to Preston, UK and return to Sint Maarten, and the COVID-19 pandemic with her classmates, Dr. Mahapatra is proud of her class for having not only persevered, but also thrived amidst so many unpredictable situations. She believes that AUC produces physicians who are globally minded, empathetic, and extraordinary, and that the Class of 2021’s success is a testament to their resilience, as they continue to evolve their training and goals as physicians. Dr. Mahapatra will begin her obstetrics and gynecology residency at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan this summer.
Dr. Rohan Patel
During his time at AUC, Dr. Patel was involved in several initiatives focusing on public health, global health, and health disparities. He served as a breast abnormalities researcher, co-President of the Global Health Interest Group, and an HIV Screening Coordinator, and was a recipient of the Social Accountability Scholarship. Dr. Patel’s proudest contribution to the AUC community has been his research on developing an innovative flipped classroom approach for the Introduction to Clinical Medicine I (ICM) lecture on cultural competency, drawing on his own experiences as a student of color navigating health disparities.
As a clinical student, Dr. Patel was on the national executive board for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and Asian-Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), working on advancing medical students’ exposure to public health and hosting outreach events. Dr. Patel has always strived to be someone that empowers those around him—by information sharing, amplifying, and uplifting—and looks forward to continuing to do so in his career. Dr. Patel matched into a radiation oncology residency at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals in Cleveland, and will be completing his internal medicine internship at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate in Brooklyn this summer.
Commencement Ceremony Details
For more information about the ceremony, please visit the Commencement webpage.