2021 Hooding Transcript

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Class of 2021 Academic Doctor of Medicine Hooding Ceremony Transcript

Instrumental background music playing as countdown to program slides rotate.


Welcome to all as we come together virtually to celebrate the accomplishments of you, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Class of 2021. Many of you may be watching this with your classmates as part of an in-person viewing event organized by our Advancement and Engagement team.  We should all be particularly appreciative of the complexities the staff faced in managing this important celebration as pandemic regulations constantly changed. I know it has been stressful for all of you, but I think barely more so than it was for us.

I have participated in over 40 Doctor of Medicine graduation ceremonies. Each one has been special in its own way for graduates and their friends and family members, but the significance and importance are the same. Today we honor you, the Class of 2021, in a way for which there is only a single precedent, last May’s Hooding ceremony for the Class of 2020. We are excited to both make and repeat history as the first UNR Med graduating class to have a hybrid in-person and virtual Doctor of Medicine Academic Hooding Ceremony. The global pandemic will not stop us from recognizing your accomplishments and sending you on your way to a successful career of service and commitment.

On behalf of the entire University of Nevada, Reno community—our faculty and staff members, community partners, friends and supporters, all of whom have contributed to your education—I offer my congratulations! Each of you is about to become an alumnus of our School of Medicine.

Today marks the end of a long phase of formal education and the beginning of a lifetime of informal, but even more critical, learning and professional growth.

Your medical school career consists of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small moments, the cumulative impact of which has brought you to this significant transition from student to physician. Your student career began during orientation week, the bonding that started with your classmates, Family Day and pancakes, and the pride and nervousness you felt at the White Coat Ceremony.

Now you are about to be launched into a lifetime of service, contributing to your community and experiencing the great intensity of emotion that comes with medical practice at the highest level. Contributing to the process that has caused this transformation is one of my greatest joys—a joy shared by the rest of the faculty and staff members who have supported you along the way.

From this point forward in your career, there are patients who will benefit from your compassion and humanism. There are students, residents and colleagues who will need your mentorship. There are communities, hospitals and clinics hoping for your leadership. And there is a School of Medicine that is proud of your service as ambassadors, to show the world how our values and our 52-year tradition of medical education excellence have influenced your professional and personal lives.

As we have emphasized throughout your education, everything in medicine is built on the physician-patient relationship—no matter your specialty. Whether you end up in a clinic, an operating room, or a laboratory—everything you do eventually finds its way to a patient. The energy created by that relationship finds its way back to you and sustains you during the demands of medical practice.

The many dilemmas you will face in your professional life are really quite easily solved—do what is right for the patient. You can never go wrong if you do, and you will be rewarded handsomely with reciprocal, satisfying, energizing relationships beyond your imagination.

I hope you graduate with pride in your training and experiences at UNR Med. I hope you take your skills, knowledge and expertise out into a world that needs you so much. The world needs you now even more than ever before.  The pandemic has exposed huge disparities and needs in the health care system.  You will contribute to solving those deficiencies.

Graduation is a time of great celebration, with just a touch of bittersweet. We are happy for you and your success, and for the excitement and satisfaction you will experience in your professional life to come. We are sad that you are leaving but so proud to welcome you as alumni and colleagues.

Above all, we are committed to continuing our tradition of outstanding medical education, so you are always proud to say that you graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.


And now, I am honored to introduce a very special keynote speaker for the Class of 2021 commencement ceremony. Doctor David J. Skorton, a cardiologist, is president and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a not-for-profit institution that represents the nation’s medical schools, teaching hospitals and health systems, and academic societies. Previously, he was the 13th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, president of Cornell University and president of the University of Iowa. He has published hundreds of original research papers, opinion pieces, blogs, public policy reports, and book chapters, and edited two major text books in cardiology. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his medical degree also from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He completed his medical residency and fellowship in cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Please welcome Dr. Skorton.



Congratulations! Your path to this moment has been full of surprises, challenges, and joys – just like the practice of medicine itself.

The day I received my MD degree over 4 decades ago, I knew I was embarking on a career I was deeply passionate about. I still tear up thinking about that day. As I received my degree, I felt the support of my friends and family. I would not have made it without all they did for me. Your own friends and loved ones deserve a special round of applause today too. Yet I also recall feeling terrified. Moving from being a medical student to mentoring the next class seemed daunting – especially when I learned I would be on call the very first night I reported for my residency. I encourage you to acknowledge any fears you may be feeling too. But also know you will encounter people wherever you look who can help you and teach you – not just physicians, but nurses and other health professionals, most important, listen to and learn from patients and their families. Be open-minded about where to seek wisdom.

Your experiences in medical school were so very different from mine. I give great credit to this class of graduates, and to your faculty, staff, and administrators, for adapting so quickly and successfully to the pandemic. I understand you are a mighty class of “Super Heroes,” which was your theme for Match Day. That’s because you made the best of a challenging, unexpected situation. You adapted to virtual learning and changes to your rotations. You conducted nasal swab testing in parking lots, initiated post-discharge follow-up calls to check on patients’ symptoms, and answered calls from concerned community members. And so much more. Thank you for your courage and your passion – we are all so proud of you.

In the process of responding to the challenges brought on by COVID-19, you honed three skills that will serve you well throughout your career. One, you focused on your community and on patients’ human concerns, not just on science and disease. In our increasingly diverse world, I ask that you always prioritize listening to and learning from the authentic, lived experiences of your patients and their families. Two, as you dealt with uncertainties, you learned to recognize, accept, and learn from your own emotions. Medicine is a demanding career, and if the day comes in the future when you need extra help and support, please ask for it. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, but in fact a sign of great wisdom and strength. I gained enormously by asking for help myself. Lastly, when COVID changed everything, you explored new solutions. There’s a concept from Zen Buddhism called the Beginner’s Mind. As the monk Shunryu Suzuki said, “In the Beginner’s Mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.”  I hope you never lose your Beginner’s Mind. Always consider the broader possibilities when faced with a challenge, just as you did during this pandemic.

It could not be more urgent for you to apply those skills now. Too many people in America are not as healthy as they could be because the system isn’t working for them. Something must change, now. We need a more equitable system urgently and I charge you today to enact that change, piece by piece. May the Class of 2021 now become the “Class of Great Change Agents!”

Thank you for taking on this charge. I also want to offer the Association of American Medical Colleges as another resource for you throughout your medical career. We’re here to help.  I hope each of you believes, as I do, that medicine is one of the most rewarding careers there is. People will come to you during their most vulnerable moments, and you will bear witness to their pain, their sorrow, and their joy. In a way I envy you, because you have many years of rewarding work ahead of you.

Congratulations again on all you have accomplished. You’ve earned this celebration today. Be proud! And congratulations to your support networks, too. It took everyone to get here. I’m in awe of this class of graduates.

Congratulations, Class of 2021 Superheroes. Now go forth and be Great Change Agents! Thank you.

Class of 2021:

Instrumental music playing during hooding moments


I’m Doctor Jonathan McCaleb, your president of the UNR Med Alumni Chapter. I’d like to start by congratulating our graduates. This is a momentous day in your life as a physician. Next, I’d like to read you the first line of the UNR Med’s Physicians Oath.

I solemnly pledge.

Class of 2021 (repeating lines of the Physicians Oath):

I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;

I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;

I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;

The health of my patient will be my first consideration;

I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;

I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honor and the noble traditions of the medical profession;

My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;

I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I will maintain the utmost respect for human life;

I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;

I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honor.


For more than 50 years now, our school of medicine has produced incredibly well-trained individuals. These are people who have made it their life’s calling to treat and to heal, to discover and to educate, and to demonstrate care and concern for the people of Nevada.

The practice of medicine is profoundly different in 2021 than it was even a couple of years ago. You are entering a world where medicine and science are at their greatest premium. In times of challenge, like what we face today, it is those who know how to heal who can lead the way. The reasoned words that you will speak, and the resolute science and fact based actions that you will take, will provide us all with the truest path forward in beating the pandemic and returning our world to normalcy. You are our leaders. You are our voices of reason. You are the people who will kindly, compassionately and empathetically remind us all that we can always find a sense of peace, wonder and well-being in our world.

So now, by virtue of the laws of the State of Nevada, and the power invested in me by the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, I confer upon you the medical degrees that you have earned, with all of the rights, privileges and obligations belonging thereto.

On behalf of the entire University, congratulations on this wonderful moment and Go Pack.

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Neha Agrawal

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Anne Marie Aiyuk

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Tyler Allen

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Alexandra Marie Arguello

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Henrik Babajanyan

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Natalie Nicole Bain

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Colin Baldwin

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Cameron Berg

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Nicco Buffolino

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Jaclyn Riana Cerceo

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Jonathan Dang

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Morgan Derby

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Alyssa Eckert

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Nathan Matthew Escorial

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Katelyn Fellows

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Fernando Flores-Mendez

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Jim Fowler

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Sarah Gebrezghi

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Micaela Gomez

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Justin Hacnik

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Cody Harry

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Haviva Kobany

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Micaela Marie Koci

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Michael Lee

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Sally Leong

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Therlinder Lo

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Kelly Nicole Lujan

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Irvin Ma

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Andres Madrid

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Matthew Malone

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Nicholas Tetsuya Manasewitsch

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Kiran Rebecca Mathew

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Eliza Matley

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Jessi McMinn

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Kaitlyn Nicole McOsker

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor William Jennings Miller III

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Neigena Mobaligh

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Laura Hemker Moles

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Munachi Ndukwu

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Kyle Norton

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Shefali Shailesh Patel

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Lazaro Peraza

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Anshula Prasad

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Claire Quang

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Rachel Renee Rauber

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Casey James Reid

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor John Gabriel Rolshoven

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Darius Roohani

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Anita Savell

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Marisa Ann Sewell

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Austin Noriuke Shinagawa

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Shanna Strauss

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Molly Kaylyn Svendsen

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Connor Talbott

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Michael Kenneth Taylor

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Jithil Luckose Tharayil

Schwenk: Congratulations Doctor Joseph Thomas

Piasecki: Congratulations Doctor Mariah Cheyenne Turcotte

Baker: Congratulations Doctor Durin Uddin

Singer: Congratulations Doctor Cindy Yvette Valverde

Calvo: Congratulations Doctor Kyle William Von Schimmelmann


Hello everyone, thank you so much for allowing me to speak on what is one of the most momentous days of our lives: our graduation from medical school. I wanted to take the time to thank everyone involved in coordinating this event during such a tumultuous year; striking the balance between providing a memorable experience while adhering to the guidelines is a challenge that was handled expertly. I would also like to take the time to thank all of the friends and family who have supported us during this long journey; while your jobs are far from over, I know I speak for everyone when I say that none of us would be here without the love, support, and guidance you have provided as we reached for our goals.

It is strange to note how quickly medical school has gone by, while at the same time it feels like we have been laboring at this forever. On one hand it seems like it was only yesterday that we were all getting acquainted with each other during our orientation weeks, throwing the football and Frisbee around on the grass outside of PHS. But on the flip side, the nightmare that was our Block 5 wet brain practical feels like an eternity ago that still haunts me to this day.

Our class has formed many strong relationships that will last a lifetime, which have been strengthened by the many trials we have faced together. After spending our first year learning how to survive medical school, we immediately needed to adapt to curriculum changes in second year. We leaned on each other and helped each other to navigate these adaptations, and together we were successful.

After conquering Step 1, we entered our third year of medical school to really learn the tools of the trade. More obstacles awaited us as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced us to stay home instead of learning in hospitals. We banded together to offer support to our community. We weren’t on the sidelines of the pandemic; we volunteered at community hotlines to triage people seeking testing for their symptoms, we also offered support to healthcare workers on the front line. Together we rose to the challenges and again strengthened our bonds.

When we finally returned to clinical duties, we found a very different world of medicine that established new guidelines and methods of teaching that deviated from the previous methods. Our pivots continued into our fourth year, where our interviews were conducted virtually rather than in person; this led us to make decisions about where we would spend the next 3 or more years without ever setting foot in certain cities. Again, through collaboration and the support group we established amongst ourselves, we did the best with the situation at hand. This history of rising to challenges culminated today upon our successful graduation from medical school. It showcases what type of class the Class of 2021 is: a strong and resilient group that is highly adaptive to the unknown with the keen ability to form long-lasting friendships during unforeseen circumstances.

As we leave here today and begin the next stage of our journey, I hope we reflect on those sun-soaked days on the PHS lawn during our orientation week. At the time we were nervous about the trials that lay ahead, but we found comfort in the group because we knew that we would all face them together. We formed these bonds that carried us through to this day of celebration and I know that we will all do the same during our orientation week for our residency programs: forming bonds with strangers as we prepare for the challenges ahead that we can only imagine in the moment. I know that this graduating class will continue the strong and resilient mentality that has been so successful for all of us. Undoubtedly there will be more unforeseen hardship that we will face in the coming years, but we overcame all of the previous hardships and I know that we will meet the same success in the future.

I am not only incredibly fortunate to have been the president of this class for the last four years, but I am much more fortunate to have met each and every one of my classmates and grown alongside them. Wherever our journeys take us, I know everyone will continue to develop into extremely respectable physicians, but more importantly, they will continue to be extremely genuine people that I am grateful to have known. Congratulations class of 2021, we did it!


Instrumental background music plays as the Class of 2021 throws their caps and concluding slides play.


End Program.