News » GW Biomedical Laboratory Sciences Department Celebrates Graduates

GW Biomedical Laboratory Sciences Department Celebrates Graduates

Friends and family gathered, albeit virtually, to cheer on their loved ones graduating from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Biomedical Laboratory Sciences (BLS) Department. 

The department streamed the ceremony live via the Blackboard Collaborate platform, and attendees were also able to call into the event, allowing them to cheer on and congratulate the graduates as their names were called.

The ceremony started with Marcia Firmani, PhD, MSPH, MT(ASCP), MB, director of the clinical microbiology and molecular diagnostic sciences MSHS programs and chair of the SMHS Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, remarking on the achievements and talent of the Class of 2020.

“The mission of our department is to prepare high-quality and diverse biomedical science professionals to meet the challenges in today’s global market,” she said, “and I can say from our graduates who are here with us today, and those who could not attend, we have very much succeeded with that mission because all of our graduates are incredibly talented and well-prepared to meet the needs in health care today.”

She also noted the importance of the role of medical laboratory professionals in the health care professions, adding that 70% of decisions made in a clinical setting are based on the results generated by medical lab professionals.

Graduates from the BLS Department earned degrees from programs including the Bachelor of Science in health sciences in medical laboratory sciences; six different Master of Science in health sciences programs, including: clinical microbiology, molecular diagnostic sciences, medical laboratory sciences, immunohematology and biotechnology, translational microbiology, and a military program in immunohematology; as well as in a variety of post-baccalaureate certificate programs.

Following Firmani’s remarks, many faculty and staff members from the department introduced themselves and offered heartfelt congratulations and words of encouragement to all the graduates.

Names of all the graduates were then announced, with family and friends cheering and celebrating each graduate over the phone, filling the virtual ceremony with joyful noise.

Awards also were announced during the ceremony, including Highest Overall GPA, Highest MLS GPA, Community Service Awards, Resilience Awards, and Involvement in Professional Organizations Awards, among many others.

In addition, the 2020 Health Sciences Outstanding Student Award was presented to Lisa Frisch, who graduated with a MSHS in molecular diagnostic sciences.

Award Winners include:

Highest Overall GPA: Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences Programs

BSHS in MLS Blended 

Samantha Dean - Summer 2019 
Yolymar Salvador – Fall 2019
Dorinda O’Garro – Spring 2020

BSHS in MLS Fully Online 

Jospeh King – Summer 2019
David Taranto – Fall 2019
Jessie Kendall – Spring 2020

Highest MLS GPA: Bachelors in Health Sciences Programs

BSHS in MLS Blended 

Samantha Dean – Summer 2019
Yolymar Salvador – Fall 2019
Dorinda O’Garro – Spring 2020

BSHS in MLS Fully Online

Jospeh King – Summer 2019
David Taranto – Fall 2019
Ramanvir Sidhu

Highest Overall GPA: Certificate Programs

MLS Certificate 

Guojin Li – Summer 2019
Daniel Meyer – Fall 2019
Kendall Pleva – Spring 2020

Categorical Certs Combo

Debra Oliver – Summer 2019
Wiam Makki – Fall 2019
Catherine Gaitlin – Spring 2020

Highest Overall GPA: Master of Science in Health Sciences Programs

Medical Laboratory Sciences 

Karla Ortiz – Summer 2019
David Couto – Fall 2019
Shana Maciel – Spring 2020

Translational Microbiology

Effie Faghih – Fall 2019

Clinical Microbiology

Bernard Landry – Summer 2019
Kelly Unekis – Fall 2019
Selma Omer – Spring 2020

Molecular Diagnostic Sciences

Bruno Castillo and Laura Coons – Summer 2019
Shruthi Dhanasiri – Fall 2019
Lisa Frisch – Spring 2020

Immunohematology and Biotechnology

Hind Kurbaj – Summer 2019
Gina Folk – Fall 2019

COVID-19 Service Awards

Seerat Mavi
Catherine Gatlin
Yolymar Salvador

Community Service Awards

Duyania Cephas
Rebecca Jennings
Betselot Zelalem
Joshua Martinez

Resilience Awards 

BSHS

Philip Dugan 
Kyle Hudson

Certificates 

Wiam Makki
Ashni Patel

MSHS 

Gina Folk 
Zulekha Sayyed

Health Sciences Outstanding Student Award

2020 Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate Nominees

Samantha Dean 
Gina Folk
Lisa Frisch

2020 Health Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student Award Winner

Lisa Frisch