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Students Celebrate Follies with Skits and Laughs, Award Faculty with Golden Apples

Students from the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) had the audience in stitches at Follies, an annual event that features dances and skits performed by students.

The event was one of stress release, both for the students and their fourth-year colleagues who will soon head off to residency, and a celebration for the faculty recipients of the Golden Apple Awards. The awards are part of the nominating process for the American Medical Student Association’s National Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence.

Students selected the faculty recipients based on their contributions to and impact on the SMHS education. First-year students chose Nicholas Shworak, MD, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and physiology, while the second years’ pick was Kirsten Brown, PhD, assistant professor of anatomy and regenerative biology.

Charles Samenow, MD, MPH, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, was the third-year students’ selection, and fourth years presented the award to Jim Scott, MD, professor of emergency medicine. The physician assistant students presented an award to Sean Robinson, DHSci, assistant professor of physician assistant studies. The physical therapy (PT) class of 2020 chose Joseph Signorino, DPT, clinical assistant professor of health, human function, and rehabilitation sciences, and the PT class of 2019 picked Susan Leach, PhD, assistant professor of health, human function, and rehabilitation sciences, as the recipient.

First-year MD student Brooke Rice, BA ’17, directed the show, overseeing the content of the skits and rehearsals. For Rice, who graduated from GW with a theater degree, making sure everything ran smoothly was second nature, and made easier by her classmates.

“Everyone was collaborative and had their stuff together; they knew what they were doing,” she said. “And despite how stressful it was to do everything in such a short period of time, it was totally worth it and it went off without a hitch.”

Some skits that had the audience cracking up included the master of ceremony opening, featuring fourth-year students Alexandra Corriea and Omid Manoochehri. One part of the performance included their experiences getting interested in emergency medicine, as well as Corriea’s tendencies to get allergic reactions due to anxiety before interviews.

Follies also featured a dance number to a melody of popular songs, and a parody video from the physical therapy students about the PT Olympics.

“It was a great time. People were having so much fun backstage and in the audience,” Rice said. “On the day of, after everything, I wasn’t stressed out. I had faith in everyone, and we all had fun. It went off without a hitch.”