133 medical students in the Class of 2020 will earn their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees on Friday, May 8. The virtual celebration honors the college’s first class of graduating physicians.

Class of 2020 group shot

The Class of 2020

Las Cruces, NM More than 130 students in the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine will officially become doctors on Friday, May 8. The virtual commencement ceremony, where students will receive their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees, will take place at 2 p.m. It will be live streamed on the college’s Facebook page.

John Hummer, co-founder and president of the college, will deliver the ceremony’s welcome remarks.

“When we broke ground on the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine five years ago, this virtual ceremony is not any of us had in mind for our first graduating class of medical students,” Hummer said. “Despite all of the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud of our inaugural class and their accomplishments. I hope everyone tunes in on May 8 and enjoys the ceremony.”

Don Peska, DO, dean of the college, will present the Class of 2020 for the conferral of the degrees. He will also lead the graduating students in reciting the Osteopathic Oath, where students pledge to provide compassionate, quality care to all of their patients.

This year’s keynote speaker is Ogechika Alozie, MD, chief medical officer of Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where he oversees all medical staff and innovation and technology. Dr. Alozie is specializes in infectious diseases and is the largest single provider of HIV clinical services in El Paso.

Additional remarks will be delivered by New Mexico state Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The Class of 2020 is made up of 64 women and 69 men who average 29 years old. Twenty-two will be staying in the region to complete their residencies. More than 25 of the graduates identify with a racial or ethnic group that is underrepresented in medicine.

The following are a few of the graduates who make up the Class of 2020:

Adam Arturo Moreno, Class of 2020Originally from El Paso, Texas, Adam Moreno holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Moreno matched to his preferred specialty, neurology, and will go on to complete his residency training at Advocate Health Care in Chicago.

“Neurology combines the best of what I consider to be the most cerebral specialties: internal medicine, psychiatry, and radiology,” Moreno says. “Seeing how pathology localized on a scan correlates to a physical symptom, and then being able to treat the pathology is incredibly rewarding.”

Moreno says that medical school was a long and arduous process—but he is proud that he was able to adapt and learn with help from support staff at Burrell College.

Joya Singh, Class of 2020Joya Singh was born in Nepal and raised in Dallas, Texas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington and master’s degree in medical science from the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

On Match Day, Singh matched to her first choice: emergency medicine at UT Southwestern in Dallas. Singh says she enjoys working in the emergency department and taking care of a variety of patients.

“A physician trained in emergency medicine is equipped to take care of patients of all ages and is an expert in recognizing life-threatening conditions and providing resuscitation,” she says. “Additionally, the ED is a safety net for some of the most vulnerable patients within our community and it’s a privilege to have the ability to care for them.”

While in medical school, Singh founded Burrell College’s American Medical Women’s Association and served in multiple other organizations.

Carlos Yeelot, Class of 2020Carlos Yeelot was born in El Paso, Texas and raised in both El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Yeelot will receive his residency training in emergency medicine at McLaren Health Care Corp in Mount Clemens, Michigan.

“I chose emergency medicine because of the breadth of opportunities this specialty offers,” Yeelot says. “Acute care is extremely valuable and offers amazing hands-on experiences, procedures, critical patients, and incredible pathology. Being able to multitask, be a leader, and be part of a team sport attracts me since it opens your scope of practice to expect the unexpected while working in a fast-paced environment ready for anything that comes in the door.”

Yeelot says the last four years of medical school have taught him lifelong lessons about character, sacrifice, resiliency and perseverance.

He says, “For me, the accomplishment I’m most proud of is the man I have become during my time at Burrell College, the friendships I have fostered, and the impact people/patients have made in my life. Every experience whether good or bad has given me life lessons about who I am, who I aspire to become, and how I look forward to living my life and career.”

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Watch the ceremony LIVE at 2 p.m. Friday, May 8 on Facebook.com/bcomNM.