Skip to main content
This blog post highlights some of the incredible student leaders and organizations at IU School of Medicine that have made an impact on their peers and surrounding communities. <br class="t-last-br" />

2023 IU School of Medicine Excellence in Leadership Awards

2023 IU School of Medicine Excellence in Leadership Awards

It’s time to present the fourth annual Excellence in Leadership Awards!

We would like to highlight some of the incredible student leaders and organizations here at IU School of Medicine that have made an impact on their peers and surrounding communities. This past year, we saw great opportunities for students to connect with each other and their community members, as well as ways for students to address issues of diversity, equity, wellness, education, and more.

While we can only present a few organizations, events, and individuals, we received a high number of peer nominations and are proud to acknowledge all the outstanding work that has been done across the state with regard to advocacy and student and community engagement.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Excellence in Leadership Awards!




Valedictorian & Marcus Ravdin Award David Oleh Sohutskay Salutatorian Award
Kayla Lynn Gates

Dean’s Award
Trilliah Fazle
Daniel Romary

Lorraine E. And Raymond A. Gaffney Scholarship Award
Madeline Evans
Alexus Misiel Gonzalez

Mary Jean Yoder Memorial Award
Trilliah Elaine Fazle

Patricia A. Keener Service-Learning Award
Jessica Tedrow

Excellence In Public Health Award
Mahmud Sam

Indiana State Medical Association Future Physician Leader Award
Abigail J. Deal

William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion
Alejandra Mendez
Jake Whiteside

The Office Of Diversity Affairs George H. Rawls Exemplary Scholar Award
Marcy Simpson

The IUSM Office Of Diversity Affairs Excellence In Service Award
Trilliah Fazle

The IUSM Office Of Diversity Affairs Excellence In Research Award
Jorge FIgueras

Julius M. Goodman Scholarship
Alexei Christodoulides
Timothy McViegh
Samantha Palma

Lynda Means Award
Rebecca Ann Nunge

Janice M. Pascuzzi Awards
Jennifer Garcia
Faith Roberts
Mahmud Sam
Jordan Davis Saunders

Class of 1985 and Todd B. Taylor Leadership Award
Trilliah Elaine Fazle

Gerald Bepko Award for Excellence in Professionalism
Bilal Muhammad Syed Jawed

Gerald Bepko Award for Excellence in Community Service
Alejandra Mendez

Charles R. Bantz Award for Excellence
Punit Vyas

IUPUI Elite 50
Christopher Blanco
Jourdan Carroll
Alexei Christodoulides
Mahera Husain
Alejandra Mendez
Rebecca Nunge
Melanie Scheive
Paul Sohn
Ashton Spencer
Julie Vaughan
Punit Vyas

American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow Rubin Award
Catherine Burns
Kayla Gates
Madeline Evans
Sydney DiGregory
Abigail Chmiel
Lillian Longawa
Eda Shi
Lucy Brown

Department Of Anatomy John Barnhill Human Structure Award

Claire Marks Schopper

Department Of Anatomy John Barnhill Neuroscience And Behaviour Award
Catherine Burns

Student Excellence in Anesthesiology
Frank Rigueiro

Department of Dermatology Annual Medical Student Award
Megana Rao

Society For Academic Emergency Medicine Excellence In Emergency Medicine
Sarah Hopfer

Medical Student Professionalism And Service Award In Emergency Medicine
Eric Chen

Spirit Of Excellence Award For Community Service And Leadership In Family Medicine

Trilliah Fazle
Julie Vaughan

Department Of Family Medicine Global Citizen Award
Leah Amstutz

Department of Family Medicine Senior of the Year
Colin Kemker

Department Of Medicine Outstanding Performance on the Sub-Internship Award
Sarah Hoseus

Department Of Medicine John B. Hickam Award
Tara Seibert

Department Of Neurology Alexander Treloar Ross Award
Aislinn Betts

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Roy N. Rheinhardt Memorial Award
Meredith Campbell

Richard S Hansell, MD Award for Outstanding Senior Student Teaching in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Trilliah Fazle

The Dr. William Capello Outstanding 4th Year Orthopaedic Medical Student Award
Kayla Gates

Department Of Otolaryngology Edward C. Weisberger, Md Award
Steven X. Chen

Department Of Pathology Carleton D. Nordschow Award
Patrick Azar

Department Of Pediatrics Tina Kwan Award
Liza Marie Burns-Orrego

Department Of Pediatrics Lyman T. Meiks Clinical Award
Alexus Gonzalez

Department Of Pediatrics Lyman T. Meiks Research Award
Kiet Tat

John E. Heubi Award In Ambulatory Pediatrics
Maria Fiallo

Department Of Pharmacology K.K. Chen Award
Sarah Komanapalli

Department Of Psychiatry Patricia Sharpley Award
Audrey Todd

Student Excellence in Radiology
Madeline Hoover

Department Of Surgery American College Of Surgeons Award
Abigail Chmiel

Department Of Surgery Dr. And Mrs. John N. Pittman Surgery Awards
Neel Bhagat
Abigail Chmiel
Arthur Cross-Najafi
Nathan Risk
Punit Vyas

Dolores Cikrit Memorial Scholarship
Matthew Anderson
Joseph Chitwood


Organization Based Awards:

Community Outreach Award: This award recognizes an organization that has made a significant impact on their community through advocacy and/or outreach.

• AMWA South Bend Chapter: This organization has created some strong ties with St. Margaret’s House, the local women and children’s shelter. They have raised hundreds of dollars, hosted educational talks about lead exposure, and initiated A Common Thread event where guests of St. Margaret’s can share their story with students. These true communities have truly come together to learn from each other and share with each other.

Student Engagement Award

This award recognizes an organization that has made notable efforts to engage IUSM students through various means (e.g., leadership, events).
  • Oncology SIG: This student interest group has really expanded this year, adding a wide array of events such as fundraising for Alex’s Lemonade stand, revitalizing the journal club, supporting students in finding research roles, and in-person service activities at Riley. Onc SIG has expanded to other regional campuses as well as involves PhD students, PA students, and numerous faculty and staff.


Statewide Engagement Award

This award recognizes an organization that has shown a passion for equity across multiple IUSM campuses (e.g., zoom access, executive board representation, hosting events).

  • Wellness Coalition: By holding meetings over zoom and ensuring to highlight liaisons and events from campuses across the state, Wellness Coalition ensures that each participant—whether in Indy or not—feels like “an involved and cared about member.”

New Organization Award

This award recognizes a student organization formed or reactivated within the last two years that has shown exceptional promise and contributions through programming and/or service that reflects the emerging needs and interests of IUSM students.

  • Food as Medicine Student Interest Group (FAM SIG): New to the IUSM SIG lineup this year, FAM SIG has quickly made an impact. They have advocated for better nutritional education for students during MS1, helped create a recipe book with quick, easy, balanced meals perfect for busy students, worked with organizations combatting food insecurities, and have held many educational and social events. They help students learn nutrition not only for the betterment of their future patients, but for their own personal wellness as well.

Inclusivity Award

This award recognizes an organization that has made notable efforts to engage students with a wide variety of backgrounds (e.g., identity, campuses, year in school).

• DEI Coalition: With collaboration of AMWA, Alliance, SNMA, APRAMSA, and LMSA, the DEI Coalition has been “instrumental” in ensuring all students have a voice within the IUSM community.

Event Based Awards


Outstanding Campus Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has been widely attended by IUSM members and had a profound impact on the IUSM community.

• Wits and Wagers Trivia Night (by AMWA SB): As another shout out to AMWA South Bend, their Wits and Wagers fundraising event featured dinner provided by local businesses and trivia games. Proceeds from the ticket sales were given to St. Margaret House. With over 60 faculty and students in attendance, this event was a favorite among the South Bend community.

Best Social Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has brought together IUSM members to network with or meet other members.
Vitus: Regional students especially appreciate this night to dress up, hit the dance floor, and come together with members from all campuses. It provided a “relaxing and fun” environment for each class to learn more about each other.

Best Collaboration of the Year

This award recognizes a creative collaboration between two or more organizations within the IUSM community to host a successful event through fostering excellent communication, mutual support, and sharing resources between student organizations.

Black History Month Speaker Series (by SNMA and SNaHP): SNMA and SNaHP were able to recruit top speakers from across the US to speak on topics of mental health, disparities in rehab medicine, and patient advocacy. This provides IUSM to reflect on the trials and triumphs of the black members of our community.

Outstanding Educational Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has provided excellent education to its attendees (e.g., colleagues, families, communities).

• IUD Insertion Workshop (by OB/GYN SIG): Praised for its organization and preparedness, this event allowed students to practice with guidance by health professionals.

Outstanding Philanthropic Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has allowed students to actively engage with and learn more about community partners and their initiatives, while also helping students learn about how to impact patient healthcare outside of the clinic.

QPR training event (Mental Health America-Wabash Valley Region): Students at West Lafayette as well as dozens of others via zoom were able to learn about how to help someone during a suicide crisis using the QPR method. They were also exposed to other suicide prevention trainings and organizations in their area so they can get further involved in this mental health crisis.

Outstanding Multicultural Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has recognized or encouraged diversity as a core aspect of the event.

Nigerian Culture Presentation (by IU Student Outreach Clinic): The leader of this project, Emily Merritt, coordinated with IU Bloomington’s African Studies program to create a panel for the variety of SOC volunteers—MD, PT, OT, nursing, law, social work, etc.—to learn about the Nigerian culture present in their community. What started out as just the Nigerian presentation is now turning into a series of presentations involving even more African cultures.

Outstanding Wellness Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has focused on promoting medical student well-being (e.g., physical wellness, financial wellness, mental wellness, spiritual wellness).

Finding Inspiration and Resilience in Medicine Conference (by Finding Inspiration and Resilience in Medicine (FIRM): Every year, this conference hosts a variety of speakers and medical staff to mentor students in the healthcare field on means to prevent and overcome burn out. More than 150 students attended, helping “foster a sense of community and support among peers” and promoting both physical and mental health.

Outstanding Intercampus Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has positively impacted the IUSM community by forging outstanding and meaningful connections across two or more campuses to maximize opportunities.

• Wellness Read-a-thon (By Wellness Coalition): This friendly competition was a favorite by many students, mainly because it got them back into reading something other than Up-to-Date! Students bonded over books they were reading and shared their favorites with others statewide!

Innovative Event of the Year

This award recognizes an event that has uniquely addressed a topic of interest OR has required overcoming barriers for organizers to host it.

Research Meet and Greet (by Student Research Committee): This event provided a relaxing and sociable atmosphere for students to meet and learn more about research opportunities at IUSM. The event included zoom and Kaltura sessions to ensure regional students and students who could not attend would still benefit from the information. Faculty and students were “enthusiastic about its helpfulness in making connections” and are excited for next year.


Individual Awards:

Distinguished Student Leader (MS1, MS2, MS3, MS4 (up to 2 each))

-This award recognizes a student who has demonstrated excellence in leadership including professionalism, compassion, organization, and empathy and continually facilitates and advocates for change.


Andrew Adeola: As the Class of 2025 president, he has negotiated free resources on finance and investments in medical school, organized a statewide toy drive for Wheeler Mission, and consistently acts as “an advocate” and “friend” to all in the Class of 2025.

Maddie Gaines: In her leadership roles in AMWA, The Wellness Coalition, and the First Year Experience, Maddie is constantly organizing events and getting feedback on how she can better serve her South Bend campus. She is an “unstoppable force of advocacy, leadership and energy.”


Tanvi Asthana: As the leader of over 60 student volunteers to run the Women’s Health clinic at the IUSOC, Tanvi is known for her “endurance, compassion, and grace” by her fellow students. She oversees dozens of volunteers and schedules appointments, follows up on lab, and organizes referrals for patients.

Kristen Lentsch: She utilizes her position as the MSC VP of Committee Affairs to be an advocate for student interests since her days as an MS1. Kristen runs MSC Interview Day. Leadership orientation day, and the election process for all nine campuses, ensuring others can step into leadership roles themselves. She is the “very definition of a compassionate and effective leader of IUSM.”


Aubrey Kenefick: As she serves the Student Outreach Clinic as the Chair of Operations, Aubrey ensured a smooth transition into the new building. She works tirelessly to guarantee each clinic day is running efficiently and is described as “the heart and soul of IUSOC.”

Danny Armounfelder: He is known for his positive impact in the IU South Bend campus and the South Bend community. Danny is dedicated to helping at the Navari Outreach Clinic as well as ensuring the younger students on campus feel welcomed. “Everyone gets excited when they hear that Danny is around!”

Unsung Hero

(MS1, MS2, MS3, MS4 (up to 2 each))-This award recognizes a student who has been integral to the inside workings of an organization but may not hold a leadership role or has worked diligently outside the boundaries of their role.


Mitchell Grecu: He has shown tremendous dedication to the Women’s Health Coalition as he continues to engage students and health professionals in the clinic as volunteers.

Noah Burket: He has been “going above and beyond” in his roles on the Oncology SIG and Surgery SIG, planning fundraising events and meet and greets between students and surgical faculty. Noah is also known for keeping the Daly kitchen space in tiptop shape.


Amrit Parihar: His devotion to the Crispus Attucks SIG is worthy of recognition. Amrit organizes educational presentations for the high school students and has “solidified a true connection” with the school.

Molly Frank: She devotes countless hours helping coordinate clinical partners in a variety of specialties--psychiatry, neurology, dermatology, EM, IUOT, IUPT, ophthalmology, law, social work, and nursing—at the Student Outreach Clinic.


Claire Marks: She took on the responsibility of the prenatal clinic at the Student Outreach Clinic and is ensuring the community is justly served.

Chevy Singh: He revitalized our campus branch of 7elements, making it “so much more than a trip to the Dominican Republic.”

MS1 Emerging Leaders (x2)

This award recognizes a first-year student who has shown exceptional promise in leadership in aspects of professionalism, compassion, organization, and empathy. They may not necessarily hold a leadership position, but their participation and presence in activities have proved them to be a valuable future leader.

Sabin Karki: As ISMA campus rep, research chair of the Global Surgery Student Association, and founder of the Aerospace Medicine SIG, he has shown “exceptional promise” in his MS1 year. He relentlessly pursues his interests and shares his knowledge with his peers.

Janak Mukherji: He goes beyond his role as Bloomington campus rep, not only keeping students up to date on assignments and vouching for his peers but helping others land research opportunities or even personally calling a classmate in a time of need. He is known as a “leader, advocate, and friend” to all he encounters.

Visionary Leadership

This award recognizes a leader or group or leaders who have demonstrated trailblazing efforts in their organization. They have recognized the need for change and created paths to facilitate change.

Gloria Xue: Graciously utilizing her role as AAMC OSR Delegate, Gloria assists her peers by obtaining better access to study resources, especially for those on regional campuses. She wants to ensure just access for students across the state.

Outstanding Advisor

This award recognizes a staff or faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding contributions to students or a student organization. This person is one who has had a profound impact on students by providing a welcoming, inclusive, and enthusiastic environment, and was chosen on the basis of their involvement and knowledge of the organization, ability to challenge leaders, and guidance and support when needed. Nominee can be a lead advisor or an advisor of a student organization/activity.

Dr. Maryann Chimhanda, OBGYN: Even as a busy clinician, Dr. Chimhanda stays involved with the women’s health coalition. She attends student meetings, volunteers at the clinic almost weekly, and encourages students to make their ideas a reality. Students hope to embody her passion and thoughtfulness” in their future practice.

Outstanding Faculty or Staff Advocate (x2)

This award recognizes a staff or faculty member who acted as an outstanding advocate for students. They have played a key part in student organizations by providing openness to change, constructive feedback, and a commitment to excellence in our student organizations among other qualities.

Dr. Emily Walvoord: Known by students as being the “go-to” when there is a problem, Dr. Walvord’s uncanny ability to connect with students and advocate for them explains why she has been nominated for awards like this many times before. This past year, she has attended student rallies over the new abortion laws, given career advice, and is always there to provide an open and nonjudgmental ear.

Joe Kotva: Described as being “more like a mentor and a friend than someone who gives you a grade,” Joe has created a safe space for South Bend students to learn and express their troubles. He is well-known for his open-door policy and for his genuine interest in his students.

Distinguished Patient Advocate (x2)

This award recognizes students that advocate for their patients on and off the wards. They exemplify humanistic medicine and empathy for their patient regardless of background.  

Joey Ballard: He worked arduously to devise resolutions regarding Medicaid eligibility, GME resident funding, and affordable healthcare that have been adopted by the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA). What’s more, he educates his peers on resources to give to their patients so they can be better patient advocates as well.

Mary O’Connor: As the patient communication chair at the South Bend Navari Clinic, she constantly fights for her patients, ensuring those uninsured get seen by specialists and even accompanying patients to their appointments to translate. She continues to “go above and beyond” for her patients now and will certainly “continue to be a great advocate to her future patients.”

Distinguished Peer Advocate (MS1, MS2, MS3, MS4)

This award recognizes student(s) that advocate for their colleagues' needs. This can be through advocacy to school administrators and faculty or at a broader level. 


Jared Canary: He is a key advocate for his class on countless occasions, from starting classes later to bringing concerns about lecture/small group structure to those in change. Students agree that their “medical education experience has been better than it would have been without his advocacy.”


Andrew Adeola: As president of the class of 2025, he has ensured better housing for students on away rotations, keeping his peers informed on updates between the MSC and the deans, and for ensuring equal experiences for students in their Foundations of Clinical Practice Course at all campuses.

Chevy Singh: Described as a “key part in my career development,” Chevy is known for constantly checking in on his peers, whether it be with study tips, help in the research lab, or being just an ear to listen.


Allison Young: As president of the Class of 2023 for all four years, she is beloved by many for “simply caring.” She advocates for her peers at the MSC meetings and is always asking for feedback, ensuring that she not only fulfilling her role but excelling in it.

Distinguished Community Engagement (MS1, MS2, MS3, MS4 (up to 2 each))

This award recognizes a leader who has demonstrated distinguished commitment to their local community. This can be through consistent volunteering, dedicated involvement with community organizations, or advocacy for their neighbors’ needs. 


Bri Raymon: Her continued commitment to engaging IUSM in the West Lafeyette community is truly remarkable. Bri has organized dozens of events involving health education with hundreds of community members. She demonstrates “selflessness, dedication, and tireless efforts to improve the lives of those around her.”


Abigail Miller: As the Evansville campus volunteer chair, a previous AmeriCorps participant, and Evansville local, Abigail manages to balance her schoolwork while engaging her peers in the local community. She “works tirelessly” to give students a variety of opportunities to experience what Evansville has to offer.

Christopher Schorr: His diverse interests and variety of community engagement activities show service does not have to be all about free health clinics. As founder of the Cancer Prevention Initiative and as a volunteer for Indy Parks, he is constantly searching for means to create a safer community.

Ally Pauly: Her unwavering support to the community at St. Margaret’s House is a true testament to “distinguished community engagement.” She organizes events involving physicians, students, and SMH residents, allowing them to share their knowledge and stories, fortifying their sense of community.


Jasmin Gavilan: As a volunteer at the Navari Clinic, La Casa Amistad, and the local schools, she engages with the Latino community in multiple capacities, helping to “empower and promote cultural identity” for the Latino community of South Bend.

Neal Patel: for his dedication to patients of the east side community of Indianapolis, even going as far as to “travel 2 hours to deliver a car seat to a mother” to ensure she could make it to her Riley appointments safely. He has even worked to build connections with the IUSOC and Eskenazi health to ensure patients get the level of care they deserve.


Pruva Patel: As a Student Outreach Clinic manager, member of the admissions committee, AHEC scholar, and EM SIG exec member, she uses her many roles to immerse herself into her community. One of her main passions includes mentoring local high schoolers, helping advise them towards becoming health care professionals.

Distinguished Curricular Advocacy

This award recognizes a leader who has demonstrated commitment to advocacy in curriculum. They exemplify the ability to represent student needs and negotiate for student interests, translate curricular and assessment changes, and innovate in the realm of curricular engagement.

Sean Brockman: Even before entering med school, Sean has always had a “strong passion for teaching, mentoring, and leadership.” This is exemplified through the creation of a lecture for students during their radiology clerkship and a radiology curriculum for MS3 students, giving students better exposure to radiographic imaging before entering the wards.

Distinguished Wellness Champion

This award recognizes a student who promotes and advocates for the health, wellness, and self-care of their peers. This student has shown dedication to the improvement of the dimensions of wellness for the entire school, among their campus, or individually within their class.

Olivia Abraham: After recognizing the difficulties of “social isolation” associated with medical school, Olivia implemented the role of the “social chair” at the Evansville campus. Students praise her for organizing art classes, bowling events, and dinners amongst the MS1s and MS2. She has established a space of “belonging, friendship, support, and community” for all students at Evansville.

Distinguished Diversity/Inclusion Champion (MS1, MS2, MS3, MS4 (up to 2 each)

This award recognizes a student who promotes and advocates for the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) of their peers. This student has shown dedication to the improvement of inclusivity and awareness for the entire school, among their campus, or individually within their class. They exemplify the ability to represent student needs and negotiate for student interest and to innovate in the realm of DEI.


Jennifer Watters: Thanks to her research on how dermatologic findings appear on darker skin tones, Jennifer’s work has led to the creation of a resource that is “engaging, informing, and practice-changing.”

Khang Phan: He is appreciated for his leadership within the DEI coalition and Asian American Pacific Medical Student Association in bringing awareness of injustices surrounding various minority groups and educating students and faculty of the Vietnamese American culture.


Tari Kuman: Her unwavering dedication to the LGBTQ+ community is inspiring. She is the pioneer of a training course on LGBTQ+ Health Competency with the Kinsey Institute and the Gender Diverse and Queer Clinic, ensuring this community has its medical needs served.


Faisal Shariff: He constantly is going above and beyond to introduce students to the inequalities in healthcare experienced by racial minorities. He went as far as to arrange a Q&A session with Dr. Damon Tweedy, the author of Black Man in a White Coat, so students could be exposed to a personal experience.


Outstanding Teaching of Basic Science Awards from the Class of 2023
R. Daniel Lodge-Rigal, MD – Bloomington
Gattadahalli S. Seetharam, PhD – Evansville
Leslie A. Hoffman, PhD - Fort Wayne
Jennelle D. Richardson, MD – Indianapolis
Derron L. Bishop, PhD – Muncie
Brian G. Kennedy, PhD – Northwest
David L. Boone, PhD - South Bend
Taihung (Peter) Duong, PhD - Terre Haute
James D. Forney, PhD - West Lafayette

Outstanding Teaching of Clinical Science - Name of Specialty

Tanna J. Boyer, MD – Anesthesia
Michael Traum, MD - Emergency Medicine
Javier F. Sevilla-Martir, MD - Family Medicine
Joanne M. Wojcieszek, MD – Neurology
Caitlin Bernard, MD - OB/GYN
Rachel J. Peterson, MD - Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Hillary L. Davis, MD – Psychiatry
Michael S. Metrick, MD - Psych tie
Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD – Radiology
Katie Stanton, MD - General Surgery
Brian W. Gray, MD - Sub-specialty Surgery

Name of Awards from the Class of 2023

Outstanding Interdisciplinary Team Member
Lindsay A. Haskett, MSN

Outstanding Advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Maryann Chimhanda, MD

Outstanding Clerkship

Outstanding Clerkship Coordinator
James A. Graber, EM

Outstanding Support Staff
Jose Espada, Financial Aid Services

Outstanding Regional Campus Support Staff
Heather LeBrun, Terre Haute

Outstanding Resident
Anna M. Gillio, MD, General Surgery, PGY5

Outstanding Fellow
Neal K. Ramchandani, MD, Vascular Surgery PGY7

Golden Apple Award
W. Graham Carlos III, MD

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Default Author Avatar IUSM Logo

Megan Stephens

Megan is a communications specialist in Medical Student Education. She calls herself a storyteller, having worked with many publications and companies to write engaging, creative, and compelling content. Before joining IU School of Medicine in March 2022, she worked as assistant editor of communications at IU School of Dentistry, content manager at an Indianapolis-based content marketing company, and a freelance writer.