Dean's Awards

Harold Chotiner, M.D. Acceptance Message

"Thank you for this award presented today. I am truly honored, especially because it is for something I have loved to do and therefore wasn't a burden. To the graduating class of 2021, I want to remind you that learning is not over for you. In fact, it might be just beginning. As a doctor, you will continue to learn throughout your careers as a necessity to your continued knowledge base and development. I congratulate you on your achievement.

For those classes following behind, I hope you choose your medical discipline correctly as I have. I am blessed that my choice of Women's Health Care is what I truly loved and enabled me to practice for so long. It also contributed to my love to teach and pass on to future physicians, nurses and PA's my knowledge. My only regret at this time is that I don't have the venue to continue that which I love.

Good luck in your future and for those who enjoy teaching, please pass your knowledge to the future generations who follow."

Caroline Cobine, Ph.D. Acceptance Message

"I am very honored to receive the E.W. Richardson Award this year.  I am humbled to have been nominated and I would like to thank my incredible teaching colleagues for all of their support.  I would also like to thank our UNR Med students; without you I would not have won this award.  While you will likely not remember everything that I taught you in Anatomy and Physiology, I hope that it has made an impact however small.  Thank you for allowing me to get to know you and in taking the time to get to know me.  Teaching brings me tremendous joy and it has been a pleasure to play a part in your education and in your journey to becoming physicians."

Cheryl Hug-English, M.D Acceptance Message

"I am humbled and honored to receive the 2021 Dean’s Distinguished Service Award.  I am so very proud to be an alum of our University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and to call this school my professional home.  After 33 years, I still feel fortunate to come to work every day; to a place filled with creativity, innovation, inclusion, and excellence in teaching, research, and clinical care.

It is I who have been served and nurtured by UNR Med and by the many people who work tirelessly for the success of our school. I have been fortunate to know and experience our medical school as a student, as a faculty member, and as a leader. This school has had a tremendous influence on me both personally and professionally.

To Dean Schwenk, incredible gratitude for your trust and belief in me and for allowing me to continue to serve. To all of you who surround this school and help shape, build and mold our future, thank you!

While there are many far more deserving of this award, I will treasure it always as a reminder of just how lucky I am to be part of a culture of shared vision, teamwork, and collaboration." 

Brady Janes, Ph.D Acceptance Message

"Class of 2021, thank you so much for this recognition and award.

Watching you all go from the classroom, to serious study-mode, to conquering Step 1, to showing up for patients on your clinical rotations, to crushing Step 2CK, to navigating and dealing with the consequences of a world-wide pandemic – you have persevered through it all! You worked so hard, put in the time and energy and now you’re off to change the world of medicine. You make me proud to be part of UNR Med and you give me hope for my future healthcare needs. 

I’m so incredibly honored to have had a role throughout your journey, as some have said “Med School Mom”.  I will always cherish this role and the time spoiling you all with snacks, interrupting your studying to check in with you, learning the content along with you, and listening to your challenges and successes. Wherever you go and whatever you do, know you’ll always have my support!  Go forth and be the best doctor for your patients!"


Medical Student Curricular Awards

Austin Shinagawa

Dean’s Scholar Award and Merck Manual Award for Outstanding Student in Medical Studies

Austin Shinagawa

Austin is the recipient of the Dean’s Scholar award for his outstanding professional and academic performances. This award also recognizes his special accomplishments beyond the already demanding curriculum of medical school.


Outstanding Performance in Year Three

John Rolshoven

John was selected to receive this award for his commitment to excellence in patient care, exemplary professionalism, and strong interpersonal and communication skills.

alexa allen

Outstanding Performance in Year Two

Alexa Allen

Alexa was selected to receive this award for her commitment and work with the Student Outreach Clinic and her strong achievement and engagement with UNR Med.

andrew kim

Outstanding Performance in Year One

Andrew Kim

Andrew was selected to receive this award for his dedication to personal growth, engagement in his learning, and commitment to improving the medical education of his peers.


Medical Student Clinical Awards

william miller

Outstanding Student in Family and Community Medicine

William Miller

William has excelled in his clinical rotations in Family Medicine, earning honors both in his 3rd year clerkship and 4th year sub-internship elective. He was a co-leader of the Family Medicine Student Interest Group and Medical Education Interest Group. He has mentored numerous students through the Supplemental Instruction program as a peer educator. And he has shown his commitment to volunteerism and underserved populations through work with the Student Outreach Clinic, performing sports physicals for the Special Olympics, and expanding educational opportunities for at risk youth in rural Nevada. William has excelled throughout medical school in academics, leadership, and altruism. He shows passion for full scope and rural Family Practice and will undoubtedly become a bright and compassionate future Primary Care Physician.

kiran mathew

Outstanding Student in Internal Medicine

Kiran Mathew

Kiran Matthew possesses the qualities desired  in a resident, a coworker, or a physician caring for a member of one’s own family. Throughout her clerkship and electives, she demonstrated an exemplary work ethic and excellent clinical judgment. She is always there for her team and her patients. She possesses a dedication to patient care that cannot be taught.

Sarah Gebrezghi

Outstanding Student in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Sarah Gebrezghi

Sarah's passion for providing advocacy and excellent care to women was evident in very early discussions with her. This passion combined with her empathy, knowledge, humility, and desire to address disparities and bias in healthcare will make her an outstanding OB/GYN and future colleague. Throughout her four years in medical school, Sarah's academic excellence, scholarly work, volunteerism, ability to lead and teach, have made her stand out and it has been a pleasure watching her many successes and professional development. Congratulations Sarah!

Alyssa Eckert

Outstanding Student in Pediatrics

Alyssa Eckert

Alyssa is compassionate and understanding of her patients' illnesses and consistently recognizes the non-medical facets that affect the well-being of her patients. With her optimal communication skills, she can convey information to patients and their families in a manner that is well received and understood. Alyssa has a superb knowledge base in all arenas and can seamlessly incorporate this into developing appropriate diagnosis and treatment plans at the level of a resident. Her thirst for knowledge and interest in medical education creates an opportunity for her to share her enthusiasm and love of medicine with others. She has also balanced these characteristics with community outreach, research, and helping other medical students throughout her medical school career.

Irvin Ma

Outstanding Student in Psychiatry

Irvin Ma

In addition to superior performance in the Psychiatry Clerkship, Mr. Ma consistently demonstrates a commitment to the art of medicine as well as professionalism. His empathic approach to patient care, humility, and emotionally engaging interview style will provide his future patients with an extra level of assurance that they have been heard and that he views them as a whole person and not just a disease process. Mr. Ma fully embodies the spirit of the field of psychiatry.

Marisa Sewell

Outstanding Student in Surgery

Marisa Sewell

Marisa has a strong background in basic science and clinical research experience as evident by her publications and presentation history. During her surgery clerkship, she displayed exceptional knowledge of pathophysiology and solid clinical decision-making. In addition, her past experience in mentorship and outreach made her an excellent surgical team member, peer advisor and patient advocate. Marisa exemplified the essential characteristics of knowledge, professionalism and determination necessary for becoming a successful surgeon.


Doctor of Philosophy and Graduate Program Awards

Silvana Cooper

George G. Bierkamper Graduate Student Research Award

Silvana Cooper

The Awards Committee has selected Silvana Cooper (CMPP) for the George G. Bierkamper Outstanding Graduate Student Award for her achievements on research with the role of (pro)renin receptor in hypertensive humans and the epigenetic mechanism of hypertension.

Sarah Koerber

Outstanding Student in Speech Pathology and Audiology

Sarah Koerber

Academically, Sarah is always attentive, engaged and prepared for graduate learning. She is professional in all her interactions with her cohort, staff, and faculty. Sarah is respected by all members of the department. Clinically, Sarah truly excels. She is a clinician who goes above and beyond. She is calm, collected, truly present, and creative. Clinical supervisors reported she has exceptional communication skills, knowledge, and awareness of the needs of the children she works with. She is quick to adapt to the changing therapeutic environment. The faculty are honored to have Sarah Koerber join the discipline of speech language pathology.

Mary Longero

Physician Assistant Studies Student Achievement Award

Mary Longero

Mary understands the importance of taking advantage of each situation to maximize her educational experience. She is self-motivated, seeks guidance when needed, and is a pleasure to have in the classroom and lab. Mary’s passion for rural medicine is demonstrated through her position as Rural Outreach Chair. Her professionalism is an outstanding example for her classmates. Mary is an excellent candidate for the PA Student Achievement Award. She exceeds all program expectations and is a valued ambassador for the program. Mary is a consummate professional and will continue to achieve accolades and conquer new challenges.


Character and Educator Awards

william miller

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, Student

Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

William Miller

Will was an exceptional classmate of mine throughout medical school. His class participation demonstrated his ethical approach towards the curriculum as he always kept the humane and compassionate side of medicine in mind. He also was able to lighten up the class's mood with his humor and honesty about all of our struggles, obstacles, and worries. That's what humanism in medicine is all about, and maintaining that integrity is so important for us as physicians. Congratulations Will!

kiran mathew

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, Faculty

Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

Lisa Calvo, M.D

Dr. Calvo has put in so much time and attention for the benefit of the class of 2021. From POM in first year walking us through the nerves of talking to our first “patients” and learning how to use our stethoscopes, to rounding on the wards as third years, Dr. Calvo has always given us the support and the opportunity to grow. Her lessons both in the classroom and in the hospital and her quiet support have shaped us into the confident physicians we have become. She acts as a mentor to many and an inspiration to all.

Christian Jara

Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Student Award

On behalf of the Student Outreach Clinic

Christian Jara

The Learner Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award goes to the team at the Student Outreach Clinic (SOC) for their work, such as providing culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate care to underserved populations as well as diversifying the healthcare workforce through offering opportunities for premedical students to gain clinical experience at the SOC.

Alyssa Eckert

Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Faculty Award

Christy Jerz

The Faculty Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award goes to Christy Jerz for her work in Advancement and Engagement, such as timely messaging about our commitment to DEI, helping to build a climate of equity and inclusion through work on the Anti-Racism Communication Sub-Committee and the Council on Diversity Initiatives, sharing stories that elevate the voices of minoritized groups at UNR Med, promoting all of our DEI events with passion, not to mention her personal and community commitment to advancing equity.

Tim Grunert

Outstanding Resident Educator

Tim Grunert, M.D. ’19

Dr. Grunert is an exemplary model of  the transition from medical student to resident. He always makes students feel comfortable and is invested in their learning. He has so much humility and is very down to earth and approachable. He is kind and always celebrating the successes of others. Dr. Gurnert is a great role model and someone who students look up to.

Arshad Khanani

Outstanding Clinical Community Faculty

Arshad Khanani, M.D.

Dr. Khanani is a wonderful physician loved by all patients and is well known in their field of research. He is an outstanding mentor for medical students interested in ophthalmology. He stood out for the Outstanding Community Faculty Award as he has been an integral part of the medical school education for the Class of 2021. He has acted as an incredible mentor and invaluable resource for all UNR Med students who express interest in Ophthalmology. Whether it be involving them in a clinical rotation, or teaching the fundamentals of research, he was always willing to help. Dr. Khanani’s commitment to helping students pursue successful careers in ophthalmology is inspiring and the Class of 2021 cannot thank him enough for his time and efforts.

Microbiology and Immunology logo

Outstanding Basic Science Department

Microbiology and Immunology

This department has an understanding on what students need to learn as future physicians. Their lectures are detailed for the student level of understanding. They have tailored their lecture material and questions to best help students in the future, and it is tremendously helpful. The professors make learning fun. The microbiology bowl is an amazing event (a student favorite) and every student is excited to show off what they have learned.

Kennith Hunter

Outstanding Basic Science Faculty

Kenneth Hunter, Sc.D.

Dr. Hunter infuses his lectures with humor, passion, and a wealth of real-world experience. He is determined to help students not only learn microbiology and immunology, but to share in that passion. He is a great professor and makes learning more exciting and memorable for students. He is a gifted communicator and takes great pride in educating students in the fundamentals of medicine. 

Familyh Med group shot

Outstanding Clinical Department

Family and Community Medicine

The Family Medicine department is composed of faculty and residents who are extremely dedicated to excellent medical education. Faculty and residents spend the extra time teaching on morning rounds or going over an interesting case in clinic. They are consistently giving constructive feedback that will help students in their future careers regardless of which field they choose to pursue. The residents and attendings act in a way that inspires medical students to be the best possible physicians in the future.

Familyh Med group shot

Outstanding Clinical Faculty

Aaron Dieringer, M.D., ’15, ‘19R

Dr. Aaron Dieringer is outstanding for his passion and commitment to educating students and residents alike throughout their medical training. This commitment is partially shown by his ubiquitous presence in medical education, whether as an instructor in formative clinical experiences, an attending in clinical clerkships, or even a preceptor at volunteer clinics. His teaching style is known by his students for its warmth and patience while still inspiring the pursuit of ideal clinical performance. He demonstrates the utmost respect to those he teaches and is a vocal advocate on their behalf. UNR Med students are fortunate and grateful for his guidance.


Special Recognition


Jerry & Janet Zebrack Family Scholarships for Humanism

Christian Jara

Altruism: Christian Jara

As executive director of the Student Outreach Clinic, one of the most labor-intensive volunteer roles available to the student body of UNR Med, Christian has never been desirous of acclaim or reward for the immense amount of extracurricular work that he performed. He has stapled himself since the very beginning of school as someone you can trust and talk to when you're going through difficulties in life. When the Student Outreach Clinic was shut down during the pandemic, Christian came up with a way to continue giving our class clinical experience. He gives back a lot to our class. Whether it's free resources, advice, or memes, he is always putting others in front of himself.

Josef Heller

Duty: Josef Heller

Josef Heller is the secretary for our class but he has exceeded all expectations for his position. He is often the "go-to" guy that has not let our class down. Even with COVID and all the constant changes he has stayed on top of everything and constantly makes sure everyone in our class is up to date and knows what is happening. There is a feeling among our class that Josef Heller has maintained community and compassion throughout the ongoing stressors of second year and the pandemic. Whenever there is an emotionally charged discussion or difficult talking points among our class or small group, he never fails to help alleviate anxieties, disappointment, and sometimes even anger. Josef has a way with people that promotes trust and teamwork, and that extends to his patient care. Somehow patients simply open up to him, and he handles their concerns with such care and dignity.

Henry Rice

Humility: Henry Rice

Hank carries himself with a maturity that far exceeds his age. He is respected by all because of his kindness, gentle nature, and self-confidence that is never condescending but reassuring. He works well with all different types of personalities. The best way to describe him is wholesome. He is always kind to everyone in our class and is willing to help everyone at any time even with no benefit for himself.

Danielle Green

Integrity: Danielle Green

Shortly after matriculating, Dani was elected to the role of a Curriculum Committee Student representative. Since then, Dani has kept her integrity intact, despite rapidly changing, stressful situations. Multiple times, after others have confided in her, she has communicated their concerns to the faculty (even when those concerns were at odds with her viewpoint), all the while keeping their identities anonymous. She has done an amazing job at juggling the needs of her peers with her own responsibilities, while simultaneously remaining professional.

Riyadh Atah

Respect: Riyadh Atrah

Riyadh is highly respected by his friends and peers alike. The way he can keep calm in any situation and how careful he is with his words makes him a reliable character to reach out to. He works really hard for long hours, juggles his extracurriculars and family well, finds balance between school and fun, and excels in every subject. But most importantly, he finds time to be available to both his friends and his classmate with an open smile. When people come to Riyadh, sometimes it's for validation or maybe for consoling. Regardless, Riyadh is a great reader of people who really tailors himself to their needs. As a future medical professional, he exemplifies a leader who elevates his peers to become better and this skill alone warrants him a lot of respect.