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The Next Generation of Leaders in Health Sciences

“You are all a part of a community working together to improve health care,” said Margaret Plack, P.T., Ed.D., interim senior associate dean for Health Sciences, as she welcomed graduates, faculty, family and friends to the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University on May 14 for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Health Science Programs celebration. 

The celebration, which included speeches, awards, the presentation of diplomas, and the recitation of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences pledge, honored the school’s 254 graduates of health sciences programs who will now join the ranks of health care professionals dedicated to providing quality care. 

“Whether you focused your studies on ensuring that clinical studies are administered correctly, diagnostic studies are preformed efficiently, or medical and rehabilitation services are provided with care, the knowledge you gained here at GW is only the beginning,” Dr. Plack reminded the graduates.

Several students were specifically recognized for their achievements throughout their time at GW. The outstanding student awards were presented to Delisa N. Abednego, BSHS Clinical Laboratory Science, and Katherine M. Capozzi, MSHS Physician Assistant.

The alumni association prize, given to a student who exhibits exceptional commitment to the university and community, was awarded Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate, Elizabeth A. Ciurylo.

Ciurylo, the youngest in her Doctor of Physical Therapy program, told her fellow graduates to embody passion and listen to others. She also encouraged the graduates to find a reason to smile every day and appreciate the small moments in their careers, such as dancing with a rehabilitation patient.

Dr. Plack delivered the charge to graduates, admitting that she never thought she would become an educator because she thought of herself as a shy and reserved person. Speaking of the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone, Dr. Plack implored the graduates to “never say no when an opportunity knocks.”

The ceremony concluded with a quiz from Dr. Plack to the graduates and their family and friends. First, she asked who could name the last five Super Bowl MVPs or Oscar winners. Then she asked who could name five influential teachers who had helped them or five friends who had been there for them in a time of need. “The people who help us along the way are the most important,” she explained. She concluded by telling the graduates “you now have the responsibility to do all that you can to help and heal.”