Commencement 2018

Top 2018 MD Candidates Honored at Convocation

Published May 14, 2018

Leading members of the Class of 2018 received special recognition during the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Honors Convocation, held May 4.

These award-winning MD candidates also were recognized during the school’s 172nd commencement ceremony.

Medical Honor Societies

Richard Sarkin/Emeritus Faculty Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society

  • Kristina Margaret Lindefjeld Bianco 
  • Diva Viteare Bomgaars 
  • Sarah-Grace Anna Carbrey 
  • Caressa Chen 
  • Rachel Engelberg 
  • Sara Beth Goff 
  • Brian Michael Killeen 
  • Megan Lorraine Lesperance 
  • Claire Maggiotto 
  • Heather Ross 
  • Nora Serghany 
  • Daryl J. Spak 
  • Rebeccah Stevens 
  • Karina Engels Vattana 
  • Matthias Williams

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

  • Julian Patrick Buchinger 
  • Bryan Egan Bunnell 
  • Athena Chrysoula Castro 
  • Christina Elise Douglas 
  • Laura Easton 
  • Erin Lynn Frost 
  • James Richard Harb 
  • Rogerio Huang 
  • Scott Ketcham 
  • Joseph Kuhn 
  • Kristine Peregrino Lacuna 
  • Juliann E. Lajoie 
  • Megan Lorraine Lesperance 
  • Chong Linus Li 
  • Thomas Andrew Makin 
  • Sean Robert Mendez 
  • James Miller 
  • Alexandra Jamie Morell 
  • Nicholas Anthony Pantano 
  • Mary Pilarz 
  • William Stephen Polachek 
  • Michael J. Sayegh 
  • Mark Shehata 
  • Warren Chih-Kong Tai 
  • Erika Lynn Valentine 
  • Travis Edward Wright 
  • Alison M. Zeccola

Departmental Awards

Department of Anesthesiology

Lieberman Award
Interest in and aptitude for the study of anesthesiology
Anthony J. Catalano
Sherine Hajmohamed
Christine Y. Lam

Department of Dermatology

The Narins Award
Outstanding scholarly achievement
Daniel Bax

Department of Emergency Medicine

Department of Emergency Medicine Scholastic Award
Outstanding academic record in emergency medicine
Michael Mezzadri

Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Excellence in emergency medicine
Nicholas Seara

Department of Family Medicine

American Academy of Family Physicians President’s Award
Outstanding academic record and a commitment to practice family medicine
Megan Lorraine Lesperance
Daryl J. Spak

Charles Bauda Award
Academic excellence during third year

Diva Viteare Bomgaars
Sarah-Grace Anna Carbrey

The Erie County Chapter of the New York State Academy of Family Physicians Family Medicine Interest Group Leadership Award
Demonstrates leadership in the family medicine
Karina Engels Vattana

G. Norris Miner Memorial Award
Demonstration of outstanding clinical competence in family medicine
Nina Paroff
Benjamin Zwierzchowski

Mark A. Petrino Award
Demonstrated interest and aptitude for the general practice of medicine
Nicholas Anthony Pantano

Department of Medicine

Patrick Costello Award
Achieved highest grade on the written exam for internal medicine
Sean Robert Mendez

David K. Miller Prize in Medicine
Competence, humility and humanity in caring for the sick
Matthias Williams

Stephen J. Paolini Award
Dedication and compassion in patient care 
Jacquelyn Jordan

Emilie Davis Rodenberg Memorial Award
Unusual interest in the study of diabetes
Zachary Leon Brumberger
Natalie Marie Czuczman

Division of Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

Dr. Beth J. Wutz Memorial Award
Demonstrating a dedication to both intelligent and empathic care of both children and young adults
Meghan Smith

Department of Neurology

American Academy of Neurology Student Prize for Excellence
Sustained interest and excellence in neurology
Jonathan Peters

Bernard H. Smith Memorial Award in Clinical Neurology
Most outstanding performance in the neurology clerkship
Aaron Taylor

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Hans J. Lowenstein Award in Obstetrics
Most outstanding clinical work
Daniel Kuhr
Alexandra Jamie Morell
Hillary Pearson

Clyde L. Randall Society Award in Gynecology-Obstetrics
Diligence, integrity, scholarship and leadership
Alison M. Zeccola

Department of Ophthalmology

Dr. Thomas J. Guttuso Award
Academic excellence in ophthalmology
Zhuangjun Si

Harry E. and Loretta A. Jordan Award
Proficiency in ophthalmology
Juliann E. Lajoie

E. J. Weisenheimer Award
Excellence in scholarship and patient care in ophthalmology
Christina Elise Douglas

Department of Orthopaedics

Dr. Benjamin and Lila Obletz Prize
Academic achievement and interest in orthopaedic surgery
Travis Edward Wright

Department of Otolaryngology

Chair’s Award
Demonstrated outstanding achievement in otolaryngology
Samantha Elizabeth Frank

Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

Association of Pathology Chairs Award
Scholarship in pathology
Jose Alberto Baez
Scott Heller
Juliann E. Lajoie
Piotr Wolczynski

Morris and Sadie Stein Award
Excellence in neuroscience
Alison M. Zeccola

Department of Pediatrics

Children’s Hospital Prize
Excellence in understanding childhood diseases
Erin Lynn Frost

Richard T. Sarkin, MD Award/Buffalo Pediatric Society Award
Outstanding clinical skills and commitment to primary care pediatrics
Mary Pilarz

Frederick B. Wilkes Pediatric Award
Dedication to patients and the field of pediatrics
Kristina Margaret Lindefjeld Bianco

Department of Psychiatry

Gilbert M. Beck Memorial Prize in Psychiatry
Academic excellence in psychiatry
Colleen Curtin

S. Mouchly Small, MD Award
Ability to relate well to patients, faculty and staff
Alyssa Mae Norman

Farney R. Wurlitzer Prize
Outstanding work in psychiatry
Matthew Bond

Department of Radiology

Dr. George Alker Award
Excellence in radiology
Athena Chrysoula Castro

Department of Surgery

Buffalo Surgical Society Prize in Surgery
Academic excellence in the clinical years
Kaci L. Schiavone

Department of Surgery Chair’s Award
Superior clinical performance and the highest score on the surgery exam
James Miller

Dr. Heinrich Leonhardt Prize in Surgery
Academic excellence and potential interest in colorectal surgery
William Cameron Maclellan

Research Awards

Bacelli Award
Most outstanding research by a medical student
Caressa Chen

Robin M. Bannerman Memorial Research Award
Most meritorious research in biomedical science initiated in the Summer Fellowship Program
Vincenzo Biagio Polsinelli

Harry E. and Loretta A. Jordan Award
Noteworthy investigation in cancer and neoplastic disease
Gregory Roloff

Research Honors Awards
A commitment to excellence in research during medical school
Kristina Margaret Lindefjeld Bianco
Diva Viteare Bomgaars
Zachary Leon Brumberger
Caressa Chen
Rachel Engelberg
Camille A. Gutierrez
Zishan Hashmi
Gaurang Joshi
Kristine Peregrino Lacuna
Sung Jun Ma
James Miller
Alexandr M. Pinkhasov
Vincenzo Biagio Polsinelli
Alexandra Elizabeth Reis
Gregory Roloff
Michael J. Sayegh
Gina Marie Sparacino

Thesis Honors Awards
Outstanding research supported by a written thesis satisfying the school’s highest standards
Daniel Kuhr

Association Awards and Memorials

Dr. Avery Ellis Memorial Award
For work advancing the curriculum or implementing a new and lasting school initiative
Daniel Kuhr
Nina Paroff

Dr. James Goldinger Curriculum Leadership Award
Leadership, enthusiasm and a dedication to teaching
Scott Ketcham

Ester Ponce Grimaldi, MD Memorial Award
Demonstrated compassion for patients in primary care
Brigid DeWitt O’Gorman

Maimonides Medical Society Award
Scholarship, ability to teach and efforts to make the world a better place
Daniel Kuhr

National Medical Association Award
Excellence in scholarship, leadership and commitment to community service
Shanté Lacole White

John Paroski, MD Memorial Award
Compassion and excellence in patient care
Sean Robert Mendez

Philip P. Sang Memorial Award
Ability to relate well to patients, faculty and staff
Scott Ketcham

Medical School Awards and Dean’s Awards

Evan Calkins, MD, and Virginia Calkins, MD, Primary Care Achievement Award
Exceptional performance in primary care and demonstrated compassion, integrity, judgment and leadership
Meghan Smith

Elizabeth Award
Unusual compassion and a noteworthy personal and professional sense of integrity and ethics
Sarah-Grace Anna Carbrey

Bernhardt and Sophie Gottlieb Award
Expertise in areas outside medicine
Mary Pilarz

Colonel and Mrs. Robert C. M. Liu Award
Demonstrated commitment to the U.S. military through family or personal service
Matthias Williams

Medical Alumni Association Award
Outstanding community service and commitment
Sarah-Grace Anna Carbrey

Medical Alumni Association Dean’s Award
Participation in extracurricular activities in the medical school while maintaining a high standard of academic excellence
Megan Lorraine Lesperance

Merck Academic Excellence Award
Outstanding academics coupled with noteworthy humanism and leadership
Rachel Engelberg
Sara Gonzalez
Claire Maggiotto

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Exemplary compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care
Joseph Emanuel Pittari III 

James Platt White Society Award
Intellectual vigor and moral courage
Jeffrey Bulger

Recipients of Honor Awards in Years 1, 2, 3

Edward L. Curvish
Biochemistry — year 1
Erin Lynn Frost

Ernest Witebsky Award
Proficiency in microbiology — year 2
Alexandra Jamie Morell

Marek Zaleski Award
Academic achievement with outstanding community service — year 2
Sarah-Grace Anna Carbrey

John B. Sheffer Award
Highest performance in pathology laboratory — year 2
Julian Patrick Buchinger
Daniel Kuhr

Kornel Terplan Award
Most outstanding performance in pathology — year 2
Joseph Kuhn

Douglass S. Riggs/Edward A. Carr Jr. Award
Most outstanding performance in pharmacology — year 2
Alison M. Zeccola

The Donald W. Rennie Physiology Award
Physiology
Anthony J. Catalano
Erin Lynn Frost

McGraw-Hill Book Awards
Most outstanding overall performance — year 1
Erin Lynn Frost

Medical Student Research Forum Honors
First Honors
Gregory Roloff (2018)
Second Honors
Victor Janmey (2016)
Kristine Peregrino Lacuna (2017)
Third Honors
Jeffrey Bulger (2016)

Latin Honors

  • Aryn Andrzejewski 
  • Julian Patrick Buchinger 
  • Bryan Egan Bunnell 
  • Athena Chrysoula Castro 
  • Anthony J. Catalano 
  • Christina Elise Douglas 
  • Laura Easton 
  • Rachel Engelberg 
  • Samantha Elizabeth Frank 
  • Erin Lynn Frost 
  • Sara Gonzalez 
  • James Richard Harb 
  • Rogerio Huang 
  • Scott Ketcham 
  • Nina V. Kouprina 
  • Joseph Kuhn 
  • Kristine Peregrino Lacuna
  • Juliann E. Lajoie 
  • Megan Lorraine Lesperance 
  • Nicholas Michael Lewandowski 
  • Chong Linus Li 
  • Matthew Loecher 
  • Claire Maggiotto 
  • Thomas Andrew Makin 
  • Sean Robert Mendez 
  • James Miller 
  • Khulkar Mirzozoda 
  • Alexandra Jamie Morell 
  • Nicholas Anthony Pantano 
  • Mary Pilarz 
  • William Stephen Polachek 
  • Alexandra Elizabeth Reis 
  • Douglas M. Sawch 
  • Michael J. Sayegh 
  • Mark Shehata 
  • Zhuangjun Si
  • Warren Chih-Kong Tai 
  • Erika Lynn Valentine 
  • Matthias Williams 
  • Samantha Catherine Williams 
  • Travis Edward Wright 
  • Alison M. Zeccola