Celebration and Recognition for the Class of 2020

Nearly 18 months after they completed their studies, members of BUSM’s MD, PhD and Master’s programs from the Class of 2020 were invited back to the Medical Campus to celebrate their accomplishments at a recognition event on Saturday, Oct. 2. The event coincides with BUSM Alumni Weekend and an All-University Commencement which was held Sunday, Oct. 3.

“You graduated at what was, and still is, the most challenging time in the medical sciences in the last century. You did not get to hear the cheers of your family and friends as we celebrated your achievements,” said Karen Antman, MD, BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean. “The faculty have great confidence in your creativity, intellect and innovation, as evidenced by your perseverance, your resilience. We again congratulate you on reaching this major milestone in your professional life.”

The event, which was held under a tent on Talbot Green, was smaller than the usual spring convocation ceremonies and allowed the graduates to experience a hooding ceremony that would have taken place had it not been for the pandemic.

Erica Camacho and Laila Khatib in front of Instructional building.
Erica Camacho and Laila Khatib MAMS graduates.


While the BUSM MD class had 190 members and the GMS doctoral and master’s classes had 44 and 362 respectively, only a portion of the graduates were able to return to campus to celebrate.

“Our class of 2020 MDs graduated in April of last year, a month earlier than expected, so that they could join the frontlines of fighting the pandemic. We recognize that it’s hard for our MD graduates to get back to the Medical Campus. They are in residency programs all over the United States and Canada and don’t have a lot of flexibility in their work schedules as first-year residents, but we wanted to invite them back to celebrate their graduation, and to thank them for their service over the last 18 months,” said Pedro Falci, MEd, Director of Student Affairs.

“It is a little strange since we have been residents for the past year and a half, but I thought it would be nice to attend for our families and to have the photos,” said Monica Chowdary, MD, now a first-year resident in emergency medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

“It’s great to be back in Boston. It’s nice to see your classmates and catch up since we have been so busy,” added TJ Williams, MD, now a first-year neurology resident at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Twenty-three of the PhD recipients were able to attend Saturday’s ceremony. “We acknowledge the hard work and significant successes of our doctoral and master’s students. We are delighted to have so many of them able to join us today,” said Kimberly Arena, Director of Graduate Affairs.

Jordan Chambers in front of Instructional building.
Jordan Chambers who graduated with a PhD in molecular and translational medicine.


“I really wanted to come back to see my professors and classmates, and share the milestone together,” said Eleni Stampouloglou, who received her PhD in biochemistry and now is a senior scientist at Intellia Therapeutics.

Of the 362 Master’s degrees awarded in 2020, 18 returned to campus for the recognition event, including those from the MS in Medical Sciences (MAMS), Anatomy & Neurobiology, Biomedical Forensic Sciences, Biomedical Research Technologies, and Clinical Investigation and Clinical Research.

“With all of the hard work I’ve put in, and the life I’ve built, I felt like it’s finally come full circle,” said Kristen Wright, a MAMS program graduate who now is a second-year medical student at the University of Vermont.

Sema Quadir gets hooded.
Sema Quadir, who graduated with a PhD in pharmacology.


“Our graduates represent a breadth of scientific expertise that is greatly needed in today’s world, from basic research to counseling and patient care,” said Deborah Stearns-Kurosawa, PhD, ad interim Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Medical Sciences. “Even in the middle of a pandemic, the students overcame the challenges, earning their degree and many competitive institutional and national awards. They take this extraordinary fortitude with them in their professions and we wish them every future success.”

Barbara Schreiber, PhD, assistant dean, alumni affairs, associate professor of biochemistry introduced each member of the class for hooding, Antman presented the students with their diplomas and Stearns-Kurosawa gave each student a long-stem red rose. After the ceremony everyone was invited to an adjacent tent for brunch where they could safely socialize and take additional photos.

In case you missed the MD, PhD virtual convocation, you can read the story and see the video here. The GMS virtual convocation story and video can be found here.

See more photos from the day on Facebook.