The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine is announcing its first annual student and faculty awards in honor of the graduation of its inaugural class. This year’s ten recipients include seven members of the Class of 2020; two faculty members; and one spouse of a graduating student. Read on to learn who the awardees are and why they were selected for recognition.

The Class of 2020 awardees are:

Robyn MarksDistinguished Student in Anatomy and Cell Biology: Robyn Marks

This award is presented by the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

Robyn was chosen to receive this award out of appreciation and respect for her consistent dedication towards excellence in her work and in her own understanding. Robyn has an exceptional level of curiosity and commitment to medicine, research and science. She is being honored for her hard work and mastery of the material

Mikhail de JesusDistinguished Student in Biomedical Sciences: Mikhail de Jesus

This award is presented by the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

Mikhail engaged in research with biomedical science faculty during the first two years of medical school. He presented his research findings at the inaugural student research symposium and a regional meeting at The University of Texas El Paso. Despite conducting research, Mikhail maintained excellence in the basic science courses and had outstanding performance on the COMLEX1, which is primarily basic science knowledge.Mikhail also exhibited remarkable professionalism, supporting Burrell faculty in our efforts to build the school, and setting standards for himself and his fellow students.

Roxanne WaggonerDistinguished Student in Clinical Medicine: Roxanne Waggoner

This award is presented by the Department of Clinical Medicine.

Roxanne has excelled academically during her doctoral studies and has served as an academic tutor for the under-classmates in neurology.  She volunteered her time as a member of many campus organizations and was committed to the improvement of the community, schools and other students. Roxanne is ranked in the top quartile of her class and because of her leadership skills, was named the first annual Student Doctor of the Year. Roxanne is also the founder of the college’s pediatric student club, which was named the national ACOP Student Club of the Year in 2017 while she was serving as president.

Jessica JacobDistinguished Student in Physiology and Pathology: Jessica Jacob

This award is presented by the Department of Physiology and Pathology.

Jessica stood out for embracing her fears regarding the discipline from day one. Rather than avoid the faculty, she engaged the department, seeking clarity any chance she got. She also acted as a beacon of support for other peers and worked tirelessly as a representative on the Curriculum Committee. Best of all, her focus was on improvements for future classes. 

Stephanie AyalaLeonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award: Stephanie Ayala

Presented by the Gold Humanism Foundation, this award recognizes graduating medical students who demonstrate both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of care and who show respect for patients, their families and health care colleagues.

Stephanie has a strong work ethic, a commitment to cultural diversity and an all-around warm personality. She consistently showed herself to be a sharp observer with an empathetic and compassionate approach to patients and the ability to enlist and empower patients in their own health care.

Mitch WeaverPresident’s Award: Mitch Weaver

This award is presented by John Hummer, president of the Burrell College, to the student with the highest GPA in the pre-clinical years of medical school (first and second year).

Congratulations to Mitchell on receiving this award! His drive, commitment and hard work is to be commended. We wish him the very best in his upcoming residency and future career as an orthopedic surgeon. -John L. Hummer

Guy CharestDean’s Award: Guy Charest

This award is presented by Don Peska, DO, dean of the Burrell College, to the student who had the highest number of honors in clinical rotations.

Congratulations to Guy Charest on receiving this award for its focus on learning the art of clinical medicine. We wish him all the best in his residency and future career in dermatology. -Don Peska, DO

 The 2020 faculty awardees are:

Best Clinical Science Teacher: Richard Darrow, DO

Best Basic Science Teacher: Cindy Funk, PhD

These awards are presented by the Class of 2020 and are based on a majority vote.

Both of these individuals are engaging and humorous while presenting board-relevant and often difficult information within a strong framework. These individuals both have open door policies and were not only educators but mentors, striving to go above and beyond for students, checking in when students needed it most. They always treated us and our time with respect. They were approachable, succinct and knowledgeable. It is all of these characteristics and more that truly made them in our education memorable and loved as faculty members.

 The following award was given to a strong supporter of students at the Burrell College.

Craig HicksDonna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award: Craig Hicks

This award is presented by the American Osteopathic Foundation and the Advocates for the American Osteopathic Association. The award honors the life partners of graduating osteopathic medical students who best exemplify the type of immeasurable support and personal sacrifice that is crucial to their partner’s success, leading to the betterment of their future and of society.

I will always remember Craig [spouse of fourth-year Cory Albrechtsen] as one of the most impactful and supportive individuals I have ever met. Craig goes above and beyond for his family and friends. He would cook dinners and bake desserts for me and my study partners the night before exams. He would always be there to listen to any struggles and be a shoulder to lean on. Craig never complains and does everything he does out of pure generosity and thoughtfulness. There is no one more deserving of this award.