Seventeen medical students from the E16 class of the Wyoming WWAMI Medical Education Program took part in a major milestone on their journey to becoming physicians with a virtual graduation ceremony recently.
Two of those graduates were from Green River, JayCee Mikesell, who obtained a degree in obstetrics/gynecology; and Janelle Strampe-Fried, who received a degree in internal medicine/pediatrics.
Members of this year’s WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) graduating class of medical students did not let the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic stop them from celebrating their graduation from the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM) with their classmates. Wyoming WWAMI is Wyoming’s medical school, based at the University of Wyoming.
The ceremony took place May 23, when medical degrees were conferred via Zoom. Graduates sang songs, used bath towels and other regalia for the hooding ceremony, and celebrated with friends and family.
After welcoming Wyoming WWAMI administration, faculty and guests, graduating class member and event organizer Megan Olson, from Cheyenne, opened the virtual graduation by introducing the first presenter, Marivern Easton, the WWAMI assistant director.
“Today is a celebration,” Easton said. “We celebrate who our graduates are as people and what you have accomplished.”
Easton served as WWAMI acting director during the E16 class’s time on the UW campus.
“I would like to say how lucky we are, all of us in the state of Wyoming, to know that these talented men and women, in the not-too-distant future, are going to come back and serve the people of Wyoming,” Easton added.
Easton also praised those who had supported the graduates throughout their time in the WWAMI Medical Education Program, including mentors, family members and friends.
Laramie’s Dr. Yvette Haeberle, WWAMI clinical curriculum director, along with husband, Dr. John Haeberle, a physician mentor with the WWAMI program, introduced each graduate, allowing time for “Zoom hooding” by a friend or family member. Those included using traditional regalia, as well as makeshift items, including bath towels, a tribal headband, a spouse’s scarf, blankets, jackets and even a Harry Potter-themed “Gryffindor” scarf.
Following their graduation from the UWSOM, the students will begin their residencies at university teaching hospitals throughout the country.
“Hard to believe 26 years ago, we were at the place you are right now,” said Yvette Haeberle, recalling her and her husband’s graduation from medical school. “Now, you transition to the next part of your training, that which promises to be the most rewarding and fun.”
The Hippocratic Oath, which is part of the traditional medical school graduation, was broken into individual parts, so that each graduate recited his or her assigned portion.
Easton then announced the top Wyoming WWAMI graduates: Teal Jenkins, of Laramie, and Caleb Rivera, from Cody. Both received a $1,000 Centennial Scholarship from the Wyoming Medical Society.