White Coat September 2010

Last Friday, the largest class in AUC history, the Entering Class of September 2010, held its White Coat Ceremony. Having attended the last three, I have to say that I enjoyed this semester’s White Coat Ceremony the most.

Welcome September 2010 Class! Photo Courtesy of RF.
Welcome new inductees into the world of medicine! Photo courtesy of RF.

Every semester, it’s always a privilege seeing the new faces on campus being donned the white coat, into the world of medicine, and into the AUC family. But this semester, I was especially moved seeing many of the fifth semester being inducted into the honor society. These are students who are only one semester ahead of my class, and many of them helped our class a lot, as former TAs, tutors, former student leaders, and friends. It was touching to see that these people who we have loved and looked up to have become successful students, and will now be leaving the island soon, and my class will be taking their place. Congratulations to those of you who have stayed strong and made it into the honor society, and especially to Alan for receiving the Van Wormer Award for Pathology. You all are an inspiration for us all.

Congratulations to the newly inducted members of the Honor Society. Photo Courtesy of RF.
Dr. Gomez presents to Alan the Van Wormer Award in Pathology. Congratulations! Photo Courtesy of RF.

Also, I was quite impressed and proud of our student body and our school when Dean Testa announced during the ceremony that with the improved performance of recent semesters, our USMLE first-time pass rate is now 95% with a third of the students scoring 99, which is absolutely amazing, especially considering that we are an international medical school in the Caribbean with the student body coming from so many diverse and non-traditional backgrounds. But no matter where we are from and how we ended up here, our roads meet here for one mission, to become physicians. And as long as we keep our goals in sight, I believe that 95% can go even higher in the future.

New medical students recite the AUC Honor Code. Photo Courtesy of RF.
Dean Testa's familiar and warm mannerism at the White Coat Ceremony. Photo Courtesty of RF.

I was quite happy to see Dr. Nwosu being awarded the Faculty Appreciation Award. He is an associate professor of anatomy, and we all had him during our first semester at AUC. Although most of us probably had trouble understanding him during his first lecture, in the end, we got to love him, his charming mannerisms, and his memorable lectures (especially the one with his peanut dance). He is often called the “walking encyclopedia” and I admit that as a first semester student, I too, like many of my classmates, followed him religiously in the lab. Congratulations Dr. Nwosu!

Dr. Nwosu receives the Faculty Appreciation Award from the students. Photo Courtesy of RF.

At this semester’s White Coat, I also felt deeply honored to accept the Dr. Karl Stockhausen Student of the Semester award. After receiving the award, I gave a short speech about the value of getting involved in the community. Thank you for that again!

The SJC presents me with the Dr. Karl Stockhausen Award. Photo Courtesy of RF.

This semester’s White Coat Ceremony is the first event organized by the new SGA executive board, and they have brought about several great changes in the organization of event. As the ceremony is usually held in Lecture Hall 1, which has three white boards and a projector screen on the stage, at every White Coat Ceremony, we usually hang blue and white curtains from the ceiling to cover up the white boards. This year, the curtain setup looks much nicer, due to the SGA putting much more thought and time into setting it up.

The new Student Government Executive Board and me. Photo Courtesy of RF.
This semester's White Coat Keynote Speaker is Dr. DeMesquita. Photo Courtesy of RF.

In this semester’s White Coat, I am also happy to see that we now have the St. Maarten Anthem back in the repertoire, being sung alongside the American National Anthem. Once again, we had the ever-impressive The to sing it, and he did a fine job! Singing the St. Maarten Anthem was something that the school did in the past, but for the past three semesters, had not done. I’m happy that we are doing it again as it is a respectful acknowledgment to the country that is hosting our school.

The sings at the White Coat Ceremony. Photo Courtesy of RF.

This semester, the White Coat Reception following the ceremony has finally been moved out of the clubs! In the past, it had always been held either at Bliss or Tantra Nightclub. And although the SGA of the past did the most they can to make the occasion nice and family-friendly, the fact that it was held at night clubs still raised eyebrows. For my White Coat Ceremony 3 semesters back, we had our reception under tents set outdoors, right outside Tantra. There was only one line of food and not enough space for my class of nearly 200 new students. Then for the next two semesters after mine, the White Coat reception was moved to Bliss, which is an outdoor nightclub further away on the far-side of Maho. Both times, the reception was met with light rain, which although was pretty dramatic on the dance floor during the after-party, was not the most pleasing experience during the reception. This semester, the new executive board of the Student Government Association have moved the reception to the much larger and much grander Sonesta Maho Ballroom, the same venue as the Commencement Ceremony. As I walked in, I was quite impressed. The venue was large, with more than enough tables for everyone, and much more food than the previous receptions I’ve been to. There were also many more desserts to choose (my favorite activity to do at a reception), and I absolutely loved the Tiramisu. All the napkins, silverware, plates, and goblets were laid out on the table in a banquet-like fashion, and there were waiters servicing the tables, a huge improvement from the get-it-yourself style of reception in the past semesters. I hope future White Coat receptions will continue to be held at the Sonesta, as it is a great gesture by AUC to welcome new students to their new lives in medicine.

White Coat Reception at the Sonesta Maho. Photo courtesy of RF.

I have to commend the new executive board of SGA. A big kudos to them. They have done a magnificent job with this semester’s White Coat, and I am quite impressed. I am looking forward to see where they carry the AUC student body the next two semesters.

These wonderful pictures were taken by AUC’s very own student photographer Ryan Fisher. For more pictures, please see here.