Celebrating Collective Achievements

GW SMHS Physical Therapy Class of 2024 Recognizes Their Own at Doctor of Physical Therapy Awards Ceremony
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Illustration for DTP awards

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Physical Therapy (PT) Class of 2024 graduates gathered on the afternoon of May 17 to celebrate their many accomplishments and to reflect on the achievements of the collective GW PT students and faculty during the Doctor of Physical Therapy Awards Ceremony. 

Marisa Birkmeier, DPT, DHSc, director of the GW Physical Therapy Program, welcomed the graduates and reflected on meeting the class of 2024’s family and friends during the reception that was held just prior to the ceremony. “It was clear to me that many of you feel the same way as I do, that the Class of 2024 are amazing, bright, kind, empathetic, fun, and they are ready to be leaders in the physical therapy profession in their communities” stated Birkmeier.  

Barbara Lee Bass, MD, RESD ’86, FACS, professor of surgery, Walter A. Bloedorn Chair of Administrative Medicine, vice president for health affairs, and dean of GW SMHS, spoke to the graduates about their remarkable accomplishments throughout their time with GW PT, emphasizing the extraordinary circumstance of their graduation coinciding with the GW SMHS Bicentennial year. Bass continued by acknowledging the faculty that have “raised you from pups, but also those clinicians in our community who have embraced you so warmly and so effectively and the clinical and experiential learning that is at the heart of all of our health professional training.”

The GW PT Class of 2024 embraced tradition by joining together and gifting the next class of GW PT students with their first white coats. After watching a heartfelt class video, lass president, Bashir Lamptey, delivered the student charge, reflecting on their time together and recognizing all of the hard work that has gotten them to GW commencement weekend. Lamptey shared a verse from the Quran that reminded him of his classmates: “for every atom of good you do; you will see it again.” He shared that it encouraged him to keep moving forward, no matter how long these three years have felt. 

This year’s award winners included:

•    Outstanding Alumni Award: Brittne Jackson, DPT ’15, MPH 
•    Outstanding Clinical Educator Award: Ujjwal Shakya, DPT, DMT, SCS, FNCP (MMA and Sports Rehab)
•    Outstanding Clinical Site:  University of Utah Healthcare, Inpatient and Outpatient
•    Academic Excellence Award: Samantha Mattern
•    Clinical Leadership Award: Matthew Owyang and Josh Stallings 
•    Service Excellence Award: Elizabeth Breslin, Rebecca Rosenblum and, Lauren Summerville 
•    Peer Recognition Award: Bashir Lamptey
•    Special Recognition Award for Advocacy, Jean Johnson Award for Leadership, Excellence, and Quality: Angela Cunningham
•    Outstanding Faculty Award: Holly Jonely, MPT, ScD, AT-Ret

The awards ceremony also recognized the class leadership and groups of outstanding students who volunteered at the pro bono clinic as well as worked as a research assistant during their time in the GW SMHS PT program.

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