Nicholas J. Silvestri, MD.

Nicholas J. Silvestri, MD, president of the UB chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha, speaks during the 2021 induction ceremony.

UB Chapter Inducts 39 Into AOA Honor Medical Society

Published March 30, 2021

story by bill bruton

Thirty-three medical students and six residents are inductees to the University at Buffalo’s chapter of the national honor medical society Alpha Omega Alpha.


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 ceremony took place March 18 via videoconference.

Fifteen of the medical students and three of the residents were inducted last year, but because there was no ceremony, they were included in this year’s event.

Inductees Have Demonstrated Excellence

Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Nicholas J. Silvestri, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology and president of the local AOA chapter, congratulated the new inductees and lauded them on their strength and resilience in meeting and surpassing expectations while dealing with a pandemic that disrupted two academic years.

“We are here this evening because a select group of medical students have performed at a truly superior level,” Cain said. “Your example has allowed all of us to continue our educational, research and clinical missions.”

Cain stressed the importance of the honor and the responsibility it entails.

“Membership in AOA serves as a lifetime testament to your intellect, morality, work ethic and character. Election into Alpha Omega Alpha is the highest honor a medical student may attain. I am also a member of AOA, and Alpha Omega Alpha is all about excellence,” Cain said. “Your demonstrated excellence has a price going forward, and the burden you carry is the responsibility of leadership. You are already fulfilling this responsibility.”

“The turmoil you’ve all gone through during your training — while still managing to be successful — is commendable,” said Silvestri, who was master of ceremonies for the event. “I’m truly honored and humbled to call you all colleagues. You are all truly deserving of this honor. I wish you all the best of luck in your medical careers.”

The inductees are:

Medical students

  • Robert Benjamin
  • Casey Cabrinha
  • Christian Cavalieri
  • Esha Chebolu
  • Chelsea Cleveland
  • Michael Cobler-Lichter
  • Andrew Fink
  • Thomas William Fiorica
  • Andrew Gong
  • Angela Grassi
  • Bradley Hawayek
  • Jenna Herskind
  • Eric Irons
  • Elizabeth Kaufman
  • Andrew Kelly
  • David Kerling
  • Austin Kloc
  • Mark Lawler
  • Katherine Lee
  • Jacob Light
  • Alexandra Marrone
  • Anthony Mitchell
  • Alexander Neary
  • Sarah Quinn
  • Kyungduk Rho
  • James Rutkowski
  • Ashley Sarquiz
  • Lucas Serra
  • Nico Shary
  • Anne Stoklosa
  • Christine Toufexis
  • Nadav Weinstock
  • Zachary Zimmer


Medical Students, Residents All Get to Speak

Silvestri gave a brief history on AOA. He then introduced each of the inductees from the Class of 2021, who told where they’re from, the specialty they are going into, and what they are most proud of from their time as a medical student or resident.

They revealed some expected — and unexpected — responses. Among them are:

  • teaching opportunities and tutoring first- and second-year medical students
  • maintaining a good balance between medical school and personal life
  • friendships and relationships they have made
  • volunteer opportunities, with several mentioning their experiences with UB Heals and Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic
  • mentoring students at local schools
  • research opportunities
  • being on the curriculum design team
  • getting married and starting a family
  • working as the emergency backup goalie for the Buffalo Sabres

Advisory Committee Helps With Ceremony

In addition to Silvestri, others on the chapter’s advisory committee are: