University of Vermont

Class of 2016 Receives Medical Degrees at Commencement

A past UVM College of Medicine Commencement Ceremony. (Photo: COM Design & Photography)

Like its state, Vermont’s only medical school tends to attract a unique, determined and community service-oriented set of individuals who want to make a positive change. Some have overcome significant struggles, enjoyed notable achievements, explored new therapeutics, and cared for people across the globe, and all are ready to move on to residencies with their newly-minted medical degrees in tow.

The 105 graduates in the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Class of 2016 received their medical degrees at the College's Commencement Cermony held Sunday, May 22 in Ira Allen Chapel. View a video of the entire ceremony here.

UVM College of Medicine Class of 1995 alumna Rochelle Dicker, M.D., a trauma surgeon who founded and directs the Wraparound Project at the University of California San Francisco, delivered the keynote address. UVM Class of 2016 student Megan Wetzel, a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, delivered the student address. Read her remarks on the UVM Medicine student blog.

Among the students who received their medical degrees at the College of Medicine’s Commencement ceremony on May 22 are:

  • Priyanka Chilakamarri, who, in addition to matching to a neurology residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, served as an associate author of “the Bible” for students preparing for the first part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam – First Aid for USMLE Step 1 2016 Edition. Read more about Chilakamarri here.
  • Mutlay Sayan, who believed he would grow up to be a farmer in his remote village in Turkey. But his father’s lung cancer diagnosis led his family – and him – on a different path that landed him in Vermont, where he learned English, earned a bachelor’s degree, worked as a lab technician, and then enrolled in medical school. A prolific researcher throughout his medical school career, he will train as a radiation oncologist. Read more of his story here.
  • Vermonter Anja Jokela, a graduate of Champlain Valley Union High School, who received a degree in music from UVM in 2006 and was a varsity Nordic skier named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women’s At-Large Third Team and the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I Women’s At-Large First Team. A violinist with the Burlington Chamber Orchestra, she’s interested in integrative medicine and recently studied acupuncture's effects on chronic pain. Read more about Jokela here.
  • Charlie Huang, who was inspired by his father, a top gamma knife surgeon in Taiwan, to study the procedure’s effectiveness for a rare, but debilitating condition called trigeminal neuralgia, which causes searing bouts of facial pain that can be brought on by simple, everyday actions like brushing the teeth. He reviewed the literature from 130 cases to determine which patients would do best with gamma knife surgery. Learn more about his work here.

UVM College of Medicine Dean Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., and John R. Brumsted, M.D., president and chief executive officer of the UVM Health Network and UVM professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, will provide welcomes. In addition, UVM President Tom Sullivan, J.D., will provide remarks followed by the keynote address. Additional presenters include Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for research, who will recognize graduate degree recipients, Associate Dean for Students Christa Zehle, M.D., and the student address.

The College held a Superseding Ceremony for medical students in the military following Commencement in the Fireplace Lounge in UVM's Davis Center. Joseph Pierson, M.D., UVM associate professor of medicine and an Army officer, conducted the ceremony and delivered the oath.

In addition to the medical degrees that were conferred at the ceremony, 22 students who earned a Ph.D., eight students who earned a Master of Public Health degree, and eight students who earned an M.S. degree from the College of Medicine were hooded at the Graduate College’s ceremony on Saturday, May 21.

View the full list of residency appointments for the Class of 2016 medical degree graduates.

See a collection of moments from the Class of 2016 Commencement in a Storify slideshow: