Resilient and Compassionate Define Medical Imaging Program class of 2021
By Sam Marie Engle
Bagpipes are classic Emory: every year they bray welcome to Convocation in August and Commencement in May.
No surprise, then, that a small herd of pipers laid a sonorous runner for the Medical Imaging Program Class of 2021 to tread into a cavernous hall of the Georgia World Congress Center on Friday, May 14.
As Ajeenah Bullock, MSRS RT(R), radiography instructor, offered the invocation, each masked graduate, faculty member, and guest perching on a chair seemed like well-spaced buoys bobbing in a sea of carpet, heads bowing and rising with the waves of her prayerful words. No one swatted gnats. No one worried about the effectiveness of their deodorant because chilly, filtered air briskly moved around and above the crowd. This was graduation pandemic-style.
Despite the impersonal setting, Emory President Gregory Fenves spoke with warm familiarity. “Congratulations to the 2021 graduates of the School of Medicine Medical Imaging Program,” he said with a Texas-sized smile. “With all the challenges you faced during an unprecedented moment in our history, you achieved your dreams and goals. You earned your Emory degree and I couldn’t be prouder.”
President Fenves also lauded the graduates for “tremendous resilience, dedication, empathy, and creativity throughout your time at Emory and especially during this last year.” Acknowledging his arrival as president less than a year ago, he noted the unique character of this graduating class. “Graduates, you have shown what Emory students are capable of, and you’ve given me an education of my own, in heart, in courage, and in commitment.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Dawn Couch Moore, MMSc, RT(R), assistant professor and former program director who is retiring at the end of August. She acknowledged the painful disruption in clinical training and practice, the compression of the timeline for meeting all qualifications for graduation. She then lauded the class for meeting these challenges with determination and focused resilience. Even better, “As I was assisting Kim (Cross) with clinical grades this semester and reviewing clinical evaluations,” she said, “I was so proud to see the large number of positive comments regarding your clinical knowledge, your clinical expertise, and most importantly, your compassionate care for your patients.”
As Program Director Ted Brzinski, MES, RT(R)(ARRT), explained, the Class of 2021 was hard-hit due to the pandemic – didactic courses went online in March 2020, and remain so until this spring. Summer 2020 courses were compressed from 12 weeks to six weeks. Students also missed nearly three months of clinical rotations before they safely returned to the floors with strict safety protocols in place in July 2020. While making up the missed clinical time, students experienced ripple effects in their schedules all the way through the final week this spring.
“They remained flexible and patient and they persevered. I am so very proud of them," he said. "I am also in awe of and deeply grateful for my faculty colleagues who went beyond the extra mile to insure our students’ health, safety and success this past year. They adapted to working remotely, continued to make site visits to check on students, and attended an explosion of meetings to stay informed and participate in planning and decision-making. I work with amazing people!”
Before bestowing class awards, Kimberly Cross, MSRS, RT(R), clinical coordinator and assistant program director, announced the graduating class had selected Eric Edmonson, RT(R), radiologic technologist clinician at Winship Cancer Institute at Emory, to receive the Patricia Aycock Kimbell Technologist Educator of the Year Award. The award honors the clinical instructor who had the greatest impact on the class of 2021’s clinical education.
With limited in-person attendance for all Commencement proceedings, Emory leveraged technology so all family and friends could watch the proceedings live or recorded. To see the ceremony and to learn more about the graduates, visit the Medical Imaging Program page https://vgrad2.z19.web.core.windows.net/emory/285/v/index.html.
Congratulations to the Class of 2021!
Ivelina V. Angelova
Krishna A. Chhayani
Chadwick Benjamin Dauphinais - Most Outstanding Student Award
Shemarva Beth Fluellyn-Davis
Kiara Simone Holsey - Most Improved Student Award
Rachel Brooke Jacques - Valedictorian
Tesha Kumar - Colleague Award
Christian Price Lundberg
Robert L. Meredith, Jr.
Haylee Morgan Prince
Joshua Lee Stephenson - JRCERT Certificate of Excellence
Rosemary Lan Kim Tran