Commencement 2015

Suzanne G. Laychock, PhD (right), congratulates Sophia Felisha Francis, who is embarking on an internal medicine residency at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.

2015 MD Candidates Honored for Excellence at Convocation Event

Published May 6, 2015

Top members of the Class of 2015 received special recognition during the medical school’s Honors Convocation, held May 1.

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These award-winning MD candidates also were recognized during the school’s 169th commencement ceremony, held the same day.

Medical Honor Societies

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

  • Erin Armenia
  • Sarah Edythe Dimiduk
  • Jesse J. Goitia, Jr.
  • Thomas Andrew Haroldson
  • Elizabeth R. Heller
  • Erin Elizabeth Horstman
  • Mary Kathleen Howard
  • Milind Dilip Kachare
  • Madeline Rose Kaye
  • Jennifer Robyn Milillo
  • Anupama Parameswaran
  • Dylan Ruebeck
  • Sakina H. Sojar
  • Joseph Sunny Thomas
  • Kellie A. Toporczyk
  • Michael M. Wach
  • Andrew Weber
  • Rachel Turey Wiedermann
  • Margaret F. Zupa

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

  • Desirée Carolyn Albert
  • Erin Armenia
  • Kyle Couperus-Mashewske
  • Gretchen Lynn DeLuke
  • Brendan Filardo
  • Jesse J. Goitia, Jr.
  • Elizabeth R. Heller
  • Michelle Lee Kuznicki
  • Joseph Lang
  • Thomas Malikowski
  • Jennifer Robyn Milillo
  • Megan Elizabeth Murray
  • Sahar Yousaf Naseer
  • Adrian A. Ong
  • Lindsey Picard
  • Jennifer Christine Pier
  • Ryan Andrew Rimmer
  • Christopher Thomas Sciria
  • Zachary Sendar
  • Peter Johnston Shaughnessy
  • Nikhil Singh
  • Zachary J. Sletten
  • Sakina H. Sojar
  • Timothy E. Thayer
  • Michael M. Wach
  • Sharon Zhuo
  • Margaret F. Zupa

Departmental Awards

Department of Anesthesiology

Lieberman Award
Interest in and aptitude for the study of anesthesiology
Artem Gindin

Department of Dermatology

Excellence in Research Award
Outstanding achievement in dermatologic research
Sahar Yousaf Naseer
Anupama Parameswaran

Department of Emergency Medicine

Department of Emergency Medicine Scholastic Award
Outstanding academic record in emergency medicine
Jorden Tyler Komm

Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Excellence in emergency medicine
Peter William Ackerman

Department of Family Medicine

American Academy of Family Physicians President’s Award
Outstanding academic record and a commitment to practice family medicine
Brett Edward Kemp

Dr. Charles A. Bauda Award
Academic excellence during third year

Jessica Ono

Erie County Chapter of the New York State Academy of Family Physicians
Excellence in Patient Care Award

Demonstrated understanding and appreciation for the role of the family physician in the health care system

Kristina Myra Foster

Dr. G. Norris Miner Memorial Award
Outstanding clinical competence in family medicine
Elizabeth Kardas

Mark A. Petrino Award
Interest in and aptitude for the general practice of medicine
Thomas Andrew Haroldson

Department of Medicine

Patrick Costello Award
Highest grade on the written exam for internal medicine
Brendan Filardo
Joseph Lang
Anupama Parameswaran
Robert Semidey

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

Stephen J. Paolini Award
Dedication and compassion in patient care 
Andrew Weber

Emilie Davis Rodenberg Memorial Award
Unusual interest in the study of diabetes
Margaret F. Zupa

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
Kelly Marie Kaempf

Department of Neurology

American Academy of Neurology Student Prize for Excellence
Sustained interest and excellence in neurology
Stephen William English

Bernard H. Smith Memorial Award in Clinical Neurology
Most outstanding performance in the neurology clerkship
Joseph Lang

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Hans J. Lowenstein Award in Obstetrics
Most outstanding clinical work
Kelly Noble
Jenna Walters

Clyde L. Randall Society Award in Gynecology-Obstetrics
Diligence, integrity, scholarship and leadership
Nikole Lee Stevens

Department of Ophthalmology

Dr. Thomas J. Guttuso Award
Academic excellence in ophthalmology
Henry Lin

Harry E. and Loretta A. Jordan Award
Proficiency in ophthalmology
Mary Kathleen Howard

E. J. Weisenheimer Award
Excellence in scholarship and patient care in ophthalmology
Desirée Carolyn Albert

Department of Orthopaedics

Dr. Benjamin and Lila Obletz Prize
Academic achievement and interest in orthopaedic surgery
Peter Johnston Shaughnessy

Department of Otolaryngology

Chair’s Award
Outstanding achievement and interest in otolaryngology
Ryan Andrew Rimmer

Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

Association of Pathology Chair’s Award
Scholarship in pathology
Gaggan Brar
Brendan Filardo
Brittany Catherine Montross
Zachary Sendar

Morris and Sadie Stein Award
Excellence in neuroscience
Kyle Couperus-Mashewske
Sahar Yousaf Naseer

Department of Pediatrics

Children’s Hospital Prize
Excellence in understanding childhood diseases
Janaki Vakharia

Richard T. Sarkin, MD Award/Buffalo Pediatric Society Award
Outstanding clinical skills and commitment to pediatrics
Iris Kaushik

Frederick B. Wilkes Pediatric Award
Dedication to patients and the field of pediatrics
Jennifer Christine Pier

Department of Psychiatry

Gilbert M. Beck Memorial Prize in Psychiatry
Academic excellence in psychiatry
Abigail Sandra Besch

S. Mouchly Small, MD Award
Ability to relate well to patients, faculty and staff
Zachary Puca

Farney R. Wurlitzer Prize
Outstanding work in psychiatry
Natalie J. Gugino

Department of Radiology

Dr. George Alker Award
Excellence in radiology
Joseph Lang
Xi Yang

Department of Surgery

Buffalo Surgical Society Prize in Surgery
Academic excellence in the clinical years
Lauren Schmidt

Chair's Award
Superior clinical performance and the highest score on the surgery exam
Michael M. Wach

Dr. Heinrich Leonhardt Prize in Surgery
Academic excellence and potential interest in colorectal surgery
Steven David Gurien

Research Awards

Bacelli Award
Most outstanding research by a medical student
Jun Ho Lee

Robin M. Bannerman Memorial Research Award
Most meritorious research in biomedical science initiated in the summer fellowship program
Michael M. Wach

Harry E. and Loretta A. Jordan Award
Noteworthy investigation in cancer and neoplastic disease
Elizabeth R. Heller 

The Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Award for Overall Excellence in Cancer Research
Outstanding academics, publication record and dissertation abstract 
Megan Elizabeth Murray

Research Honors Awards
Commitment to excellence in research during medical school
Margarita Borovka
Joan Mihyun Chi
Elizabeth R. Heller
Thomas Michael Malikowski
Sahar Yousaf Naseer
Ryan Andrew Rimmer
Nikhil Singh
Sakina H. Sojar
Janaki Vakharia
Michael M. Wach

Thesis Honors Awards
Outstanding research supported by a written thesis satisfying the school’s highest standards
Jun Ho Lee
Margaret F. Zupa

Association Awards and Memorials

Dr. Avery Ellis Memorial Award
Work advancing the curriculum or implementing a new and lasting school initiative
Andrew Weber

Dr. James Goldinger Curriculum Leadership Award
Leadership, enthusiasm and dedication to teaching
Erin Armenia

Ester Ponce Grimaldi, MD Memorial Award
Compassion for patients in primary care
Kelly Marie Kaempf

American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Certificates of Commendation for Academic Achievement
Women graduating in top 10 percent of class
Erin Armenia
Jennifer Robyn Milillo
Megan Elizabeth Murray
Sahar Yousaf Naseer
Jennifer Christine Pier
Sharon Zhuo

Medical Society of the State of New York Community Service Award
For time and effort given selflessly
Erin Elizabeth Horstman

Merck Academic Excellence Awards
Outstanding academics coupled with noteworthy humanism and leadership
Elizabeth R. Heller
Michael Vito Mungillo
Janaki Vakharia

National Medical Association Award
Excellence in scholarship, leadership and commitment to community service
Chan Li-A-Ping

John Paroski, MD Memorial Award
Compassion and excellence in patient care
Anupama Parameswaran
Sharon Zhuo

Philip P. Sang Memorial Award
Ability to relate well to patients, faculty and staff
Erin Armenia

Medical School 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
Kathleen Skye Whitbread

Elizabeth Award
Unusual compassion and a noteworthy personal and professional sense of integrity and ethics
Margaret F. Zupa

Bernhardt and Sophie Gottlieb Award
Expertise in areas outside medicine
Madeline Rose Kaye
Joseph Sunny Thomas

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Exemplary compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care
Margaret F. Zupa

Colonel and Mrs. Robert C. M. Liu Award
Commitment to the U.S. military through family or personal service
Zachary J. Sletten

Maimonides Medical Society Award
Scholarship, ability to teach and efforts to make the world a better place
Madeline Rose Kaye
Rachel Turey Wiedermann

Medical Alumni Association Award
Outstanding community service and commitment
Melissa Brooke Hoffman

Medical Alumni Association Dean’s Award
Participation in extracurricular activities in the medical school while maintaining a high standard of academic excellence
Michael M. Wach

James Platt White Society Award
Foresight, intellectual vigor and moral courage
Natalie J. Gugino

Latin Honors

Peter Johnston Shaughnessy graduated first in the class.

Summa Cum Laude

  • Erin Armenia
  • Kyle Couperus-Mashewske
  • Gretchen Lynn DeLuke
  • Brendan Filardo
  • Joseph Lang
  • Thomas Michael Malikowski
  • Jennifer Robyn Milillo
  • Megan Elizabeth Murray
  • Sahar Yousaf Naseer
  • Ryan Andrew Rimmer
  • Christopher Thomas Sciria
  • Zachary Sendar
  • Sharon Zhuo

Magna Cum Laude

  • Desirée Carolyn Albert
  • Chirag Prakash Doshi
  • Jesse J. Goitia, Jr.
  • Elizabeth R. Heller
  • Emily Kahn
  • Michelle Lee Kuznicki
  • Jonathan Pang
  • Anupama Parameswaran
  • Lindsey Picard
  • Jennifer Christine Pier
  • Nikhil Singh
  • Margaret F. Zupa

Cum Laude

  • Bilal Ahmed
  • Abigail Sandra Besch
  • Steven David Gurien
  • Melissa Brooke Hoffman
  • Patrick Jowdy
  • Madeline Rose Kaye
  • Iris Kaushik
  • Jun Ho Lee
  • Matthew Levitus
  • Jaehyung Lim
  • Zachary J. Sletten
  • Sakina H. Sojar
  • Peter Qiu Tang
  • Timothy E. Thayer
  • Gina Tundo
  • Janaki Vakharia
  • Michael M. Wach
  • Xi (Jeff) Yang
  • Eunice Yuet-Man Yuen