ST. CROIX, VIRGIN ISLANDS – Dr. Doreen Parkhurst, program director and associate dean of the Barry University Physician Assistant Program welcomed the seventy-five PA graduates from Miami Shores and St. Petersburg via interactive video from the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital in St. Croix at the Barry University U.S. Virgin Islands Campus.
“On this day, you become a Physician Assistant for all eternity,” Dr. Parkhurst emphasized. “We believe that you will live up to the ethical obligations expressed for over 2,000 years as you become welcomed into a profession held in the highest esteem,” she added.
The commencement event held on December 17, 2011 celebrated the 13th graduating class for the Barry University PA Program, which has now graduated over 500 PA students.
Dr. Eduardo A. Otero, MD, medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the Chris Evert Children’s Hospital at Broward General Medical Center and Vice-Chair of the Barry University Committee on Trustees offered greetings to the graduates from the Board of Trustees of Barry University and advised them to, “give back to society as your degree enables you to make a difference in the world.”
The ceremony honored outstanding students including: Nicole Marie McCann in St. Petersburg who was presented with the Dean’s Award as the class valedictorian and was recognized for outstanding scholastic achievement. Brittany Lee Whiting in Miami Shores received the Program Director’s Award as the class salutatorian in recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement.
The President’s Award was presented to John Salo for demonstrating overall excellence which epitomizes the values of the PA profession. Salo was one of the first students to volunteer to rotate in the US Virgin Islands. He completed 2 clinical rotations, a supplemental clinical activity, and his advanced didactic semester in St. Croix. He has been invaluable in assisting the first year students in the anatomy labs and in tutoring students in St. Croix.
The Marc and Mildred Rice Memorial Award for Excellence in Pediatrics was presented to Rebecca Hope Magwood in Miami Shores based on her essay “What a Child Taught Me.” Leah Svetz Slaughter in St. Petersburg and Kolette Rutledge in Miami Shores were presented with the Vernon A. and Virginia M. Culver Memorial Scholarship for excellence in research analysis through the Literature Review Paper and performance in clinical epidemiology.
The Dr. Jules Ross Award, a memorial to one of the PA Program’s first and finest faculty members, was awarded to Amanda Francesca Di Piazza in Miami Shores and Jaunice Scopelliti in St. Petersburg for demonstration of enthusiasm and excellence in community service.
Debbie Hanson, associate director of didactic education for the St. Petersburg campus and the Pi Alpha Advisor announced the Pi Alpha Honor society members, Jennifer Michelle Boyd, Christina Janelle Campo-Ford, Jaclyn P. Galinaitis, Adam Thomas Richins, John Salo, Jaunice Scopelliti, Jessica Marie Serini, Adrianne Kay Smith, Jennifer E. Stagis, and Daniel John Volpe.
The ceremonious commencement procession was led in Miami by bagpiper, Dr. Charles Southerland, professor of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at the Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine. Terry Helopoulos, operations director in St. Petersburg served as narrator in St. Petersburg while Dr. Samuel Cleveland, medical director of the Barry PA program hooded the graduates in St. Petersburg. Dr. Carmen Queral, director of Site Development for the Barry PA Program served as narrator in Miami Shores while Dr. Richard Fien, director of Didactic Education hooded the graduates in Miami Shores. Evan J. Leonard from the PA Class of 2011 in Miami Shores completed the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Anatomy and was hooded by Dr. Allen Smith, professor of anatomy for the Barry School of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Jeffrey Jensen, dean for the School of Podiatric Medicine conferred the Master of Clinical Medical Science degrees on behalf of University President Sister Linda Bevilacqua and the Board of Trustees of Barry University.
The Barry University PA program has grown tremendously since its inception in 1997. The first class had 28 students and the Program now has 80 students total in each class, divided between the three campuses.
Through the use of interactive videoconferencing, the Program has successfully undertaken the training of PA students in Miami Shores, St. Petersburg, and the U.S. Virgin Island in St. Croix with the August 2011 seating of the first USVI class.