News » Samuel Yeroushalmi Receives Marilyn Koering Award

Samuel Yeroushalmi Receives Marilyn Koering Award

When Samuel Yeroushalmi, a first-year medical student at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), walked into a lecture on April 12, he didn’t expect to receive the 10th Annual Marilyn Koering Award for Excellence in Anatomy.

The award is presented each year to a first-year medical student for their outstanding work in the combined anatomical classes. It is named for Marilyn Koering, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology, who taught at GW for 34 years, from 1969 to 2003, said Kenna Peusner, PhD, professor of anatomy and cell biology at SMHS, to the students gathered in Ross Hall 201.

“Besides being a dedicated research scientist, Dr. Koering was a devoted teacher,” Peusner said. “In total, she taught around 5,000 GW first-year medical students and graduate students. She delivered stimulating histology lectures, beautifully illustrated by her own electron micrographs and scanned images.”

Koering was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 1986, which had spread to her lymph nodes. Following her diagnosis, she joined an experimental treatment group as a patient volunteer at Mayo Clinic and was the last surviving member of the group before she passed on May 29, 2008.

“While Marilyn was an outstanding professor and a scientist, she was also outstanding in her way of confronting illness,” said Peusner.

Koering continued to teach after her diagnosis and shared her experience with cancer through essays, television appearances, and corresponding with pharmaceutical companies and the federal government to ensure companies followed their commitment to patient volunteers in experimental treatments.

The award was presented by Koering’s sister, Susan Koering, who makes the journey each year from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C.

“Marilyn has been an inspiration to many students, including myself,” she said. “When I was going through her files in the last few weeks, I came across items from her retirement party. The students had asked her what had been the most fulfilling part of her job. She said that she loved what she had done through the years and she loved her students.”

“It is an honor to have been presented this award in Dr. Koering’s memory,” said Yeroushalmi. “I am extremely grateful to the Koering family and the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology for the opportunity to receive it.”

The award serves as an incentive for students to continue working hard, Susan Koering said. “Students do not get much recognition in their first year. I support the acknowledgement of students.”