MOULTRIE, Ga. — On Monday, July 25, eight students earned their Masters of Science in Biomedical Sciences from PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie, making them the campus’s first graduating class.
At the Southern Regional Technical College in Moultrie, friends, relatives and leaders from PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia gathered to celebrate the momentous occasion, according to a press release from the medical college.
Fiance Williams, MS/Biomed ’22, Krupesh Patel, MS/Biomed ’22, Anthony Pelache, MS/Biomed ’22, Elohise St. Forte, MS/Biomed ’22, Teiglor Livingston, MS/Biomed ’22, Yatri Thaker, MS/Biomed ’22, Kylie Parrish, MS/Biomed ’22 and Janai Grooves, MS/Biomed ’22 were awarded diplomas and caps.
At a pre-dinner dance on Sunday, July 24, students, faculty and staff celebrated the students and honored Pelache, Groves and Livingston who received awards for their hard work and dedication to their studies and classmates.
Pelache has won the Biomedical Sciences Leadership Award Recognizedsaid a student who showed exceptional leadership, the press release said. The Florida native was nominated by his peers for overall leadership traits, high academic achievement, and ability to effectively represent the classroom in college and community affairs.
Groves, a native of nearby Albany, Georgia, received the Diversity Award, an award that recognized a member of the graduating class who made a unique contribution and created an environment of shared responsibility and ownership for diversity and inclusion at PCOM.
Livingston, a native of Lakeland, Georgia, served as class president and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Her outstanding academic performance earned her the Dean Award for the highest school average in the class.
For many students, the beginning was the conclusion of one chapter and the beginning of another. St. Forte completed graduate program with a concentration in public health and public health leadership
“I enjoyed sharing a learning space with my classmates and professors and will miss the camaraderie, but I am excited to use my skills and expand in my career path,” she said. “Public health fits all my passions for healthcare in one. It combines my love for science and critical thinking with my desire to connect with people. It also gives me the opportunity to make changes in health policy and start the necessary programs.”
Now that she has a few new letters to her name, St. Forte plans to work in public health in a position where she can impact health literacy and justice among underserved and minority communities.
Four graduates of the biomedical sciences program plan to continue learning and pursue careers in life sciences and health care. The other four graduates will be part of the PCOM South Georgia Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2026 beginning August 2022.
Words of encouragement and pride
Kevin Karem, PhD, director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Southeast Food and Feed Laboratory, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
Addressing graduates who share the same passions and dreams, he said: “You are on a journey that has just begun. We all have a responsibility to remain objective to seek and spread the truth – not ideology – and to to help others instead of tearing them down, to explore problems instead of expressing opinions.”
He advised the students: “You are graduating in a chaotic world. Don’t get lost in that chaos. Maintain civility in an increasingly hostile society, tolerance and empathy towards bigotry and truth towards ignorance. We ask all of you to keep moving forward and not lose sight of what is possible. Others are counting on you.”
Jay S. Feldstein, DO `81, PCOM President and CEO, congratulated the students on his comments, saying, “As scientists, researchers, and future healthcare leaders, focus — and refocus — on the whole person. Respect diversity and promote inclusion. Stand with dignity and purpose. Be guided by kindness, compassion and empathy.”
Edward Shaw, PhD, director of the biomedical sciences program, spent the past two years with the graduates as a teacher and administrator. He spoke enthusiastically and encouragingly to the students.
“I have been privileged to see you all guided by discovery and leading by example,” he said. “You took on the challenge of courses delivered at a medical school pace and depth. You took on the challenge of professionalism and scientific thinking-oriented graduate courses, and you took on the challenge of the sometimes awkward situation of making public presentations. Through these challenges, the faculty and I have testified to your humility, professionalism and growth as future health science professionals.”