Posts tagged ‘graduation’

A hospital bed won’t keep these local high school grads from their diplomas

By Jennifer Vogelsong

Kyle Vosburg didn’t expect he would spend the last three weeks of high school at Penn State Children’s Hospital. But the 18-year-old Mercersburg resident was diagnosed with leukemia in February and came down with a nasty cold after his third round of chemotherapy. Friends and family had hoped Kyle would be well enough to go home in time for this weekend’s graduation ceremonies on the football field at James Buchanan High School.

Instead, staff at Penn State Health helped bring graduation to him.

Kyle-Patient_HS_Graduations_06-02-2017_42

At noon Friday (June 2), the familiar bars of “Pomp and Circumstance” played from a cell phone as a procession walked through the door of his hospital room. Kyle sat in his green cap and gown, smiled, and accepted his diploma from his high school social worker.

Then came toasts and cake, the balloons and gifts – all the trappings of graduation, pulled together in record time by members of the Department of Patient and Guest Experience and their connections across campus.

“Patients are individuals, not just cases to move along,” said Peggy Creany, administrative director of Patient and Guest Experience. “This is something personal we can do to help while they are here.”

(more…)

June 2, 2017 at 5:55 pm 2 comments

Graduation begins a new chapter apart from each other for twins

Nakhla_Twins_05-10-2017_02

Mark and Mike Nakhla are members of the College of Medicine Class of 2017.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Mike and Mark Nakhla are used to receiving one invitation, not two, to friend gatherings, being mistaken for each other and called each other’s name by professors and even occasionally their mom, but most of all they are used to being by each other’s side.

Commencement marks a milestone in these identical twins’ lives not only because they both will receive hard-earned diplomas from Penn State College of Medicine but also because it marks a fork in the road where Mark will head one way and Mike the other.

Ever since they came to America from their home in Alexandria, Egypt when they were just 2 years old – they marked their birthday on the airplane – the boys have lived life together. They went through primary and secondary school together, chose the same college where they both studied neuroscience and came to Penn State College of Medicine, where – wait for it – they both decided to specialize in psychiatry. (more…)

May 17, 2017 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

From the military to becoming a physician assistant

Editor’s Note: The Commencement Ceremony for the graduating Class of 2016 will take place on Sunday, May 15, 2016. For more information on Commencement, visit this site. 

A little more than two years ago, Myra Galusha was looking for a physician assistant program that would be tough enough to balance out her lack of medical background.

At Penn State College of Medicine, the 32-year-old Michigan native found that and more: “That part was not a let-down,” she laughed.

Galusha is one of 144 medical students, 81 graduate students, and 30 physician assistants who will receive degrees this Sunday.

Myra Galusha

Myra Galusha

Galusha completed the military academy at West Point, majored in law, and then spent more than five years in the Army. After multiple deployments and time overseas, she eventually left the military. She and her husband, Colt – who is from the Gettysburg area – decided to move back to Pennsylvania when he got a job at Fort Indiantown Gap as an instructor pilot.

After leaving her work in military intelligence, Galusha’s sports background – and history of multiple sports injuries – drew her to the medical field. Being a new mother, she didn’t want to attempt medical school, so a physician assistant program seemed like a better fit. (more…)

May 12, 2016 at 10:30 am 1 comment

45th Commencement photos

Photos are now available on the Penn State Hershey flickr feed of the 45th Commencement of Penn State College of Medicine.

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May 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Penn State College of Medicine 45th Commencement held today

Penn State College of Medicine held its 45th commencement ceremony today at Founders Hall on the Milton Hershey School campus. This year, 129 medical students and 76 graduate students received degrees.

Remarks were delivered by Elizabeth Atnip, medical student class representative and daughter of Dr. Robert Atnip, a Penn State Hershey physician and faculty member; and  Shane A.J. Lloyd, graduate student representative.

Dr. Bradford C. Berk, senior vice president for Health Sciences at the University of Rochester and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), was the guest speaker. Berk was recruited to URMC in 1998 as chief of the Cardiology Division. He founded URMC’s Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. Berk then served as chairman of medicine until 2006, when he became CEO.

Penn State Medicine will post photos from commencement next week.

The program book is available here: Commencement 2015

May 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

From Africa to Hershey: Lionel Kankeu Fonkoua’s journey has relied on the support of people around him

UPDATE (5/18/2015): Lionel Kankeu Fonkoua at graduation with his mentor, Dr. Jill Smith.

Commencement_Candids-2015_300

Original story: 

Editor’s Note: Penn State College of Medicine will hold its 45th commencement ceremony this Sunday, May 17 at Founders Hall on the Milton Hershey School campus. This year, 129 medical students and 76 graduate students will receive degrees.

The commencement address will be delivered by Elizabeth Atnip, medical student class representative and daughter of Dr. Robert Atnip, a Penn State Hershey physician and faculty member, and  Shane A.J. Lloyd, graduate student representative.

Dr. Bradford C. Berk, senior vice president for Health Sciences at the University of Rochester and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), will be the guest speaker. Berk was recruited to URMC in 1998 as chief of the Cardiology Division. He founded URMC’s Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. Berk then served as chairman of medicine until 2006, when he became CEO.

Penn State Medicine will post photos from commencement next week.

Medical school is tough. It’s even tougher when English is your second language and the support of your family is an ocean way in the capital city of Yaoundé in Cameroon, Africa.

Lionel Kankeu

Lionel Kankeu Fonkoua

For Lionel Kankeu Fonkoua, his success is found in the support he’s received from the people around him since stepping off an airplane in Miami 10 years ago when he was 17. That support has helped shape his journey through his schooling, and now the beginning of his career.

Kankeu Fonkoua is a member of Penn State College of Medicine’s Class of 2015, which graduates this Sunday.

“My story starts with my paternal grandmother passing away from stomach cancer,” Kankeu Fonkoua said. “That’s when I started to learn a little about cancer. I was very intrigued. It’s been a driving force since then.”

After considering attending college in France (Cameroon is a former French colony), he decided to come to the United States.

“When I was leaving, my maternal grandmother gave me about $2,000 — which here may not be a lot, but back home is years of savings — just because she believed in me. That was all she had and she gave it to me.” (more…)

May 15, 2015 at 9:10 am 4 comments

Profile: College of Medicine graduate overcomes barriers

Elom Amoussou-Kpeto

Elom Amoussou-Kpeto

Growing up in Togo, West Africa, Elom Amoussou-Kpeto was acutely aware of the barriers that kept people from accessing quality health care. Not only was there a lack of highly skilled providers, but transportation was a challenge.

He spent a lot of time with his grandfather, a nurse, who cared for the whole community “doing almost what a doctor would do,” he said.

Amoussou-Kpeto realized that by becoming a doctor, he could give so much back to the community: “That is my ultimate objective.”

So, upon graduating high school with good grades, he applied to Camden Community College near Philadelphia, where an uncle lived. Once accepted, he began the process of obtaining a Visa to come study in the United States, where he felt like he would get a better education.

After two years studying biology there, he transferred to Temple University to finish a degree in biochemistry. It was a rocky road though.

Language was a huge barrier. Amoussou-Kpeto grew up speaking Ewe and French. In school, he learned to read and write some English, but had difficulty expressing himself in the new language. “I felt like time was constantly working against me–especially with standardized tests,” he said. “I felt like I was fighting a combat on two fronts–between who I am and who I want to be.” (more…)

May 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment


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