We celebrate the class of 2022 and the impact they have had on each other, our campus community, and beyond – and how that will grow and evolve as they pursue their careers
Read what our health profession candidates shared were some of the most meaningful parts of their time at UW, what they hope to accomplish in the future, and in some cases, what messages they would give to their younger selves looking back on all they have accomplished.
Wendy Sun in the MD Program learned in March that she will complete her residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. She hopes to use her position as a pediatrician to advance the culture and system of healthcare to prioritize equity, prevention, and community engagement. That work began at UW where, drawing on her own experiences, Wendy co-founded a disability advocacy coalition with other medical students, with a mission to address ableism in medicine not just for patients but for healthcare professionals with disabilities as well.
On Tuesday, May 10, just days from graduating, she met with campus leadership to advance the vision of a disability cultural center that could serve as a space to foster community between peers and mentors. She hopes that even after she leaves campus, other students and learners will continue to move forward the dialogue so medicine becomes more welcoming to people of all abilities, but she acknowledges there is more work to be done.
Doctor of Medicine, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
BS, Neurobiology and Global Health, UW-Madison
Doctor of Medicine, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
PhD, Cellular and Molecular Biology, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
BS, Evolutionary Biology & Anthropology, UW–Madison
When Katarina Braun looks back on her time at UW earning her MD/PhD in the school’s Medical Scientist Training Program, she has a great sense of pride in the impact her research has made. Katarina sequenced and analyzed the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 in Wisconsin on January 30, 2020, which was also the twelfth confirmed case in the United States.
That year she worked many long hours alongside then-UW graduate student Gage Moreno, performing the majority of the viral sequencing and analysis for the state of Wisconsin. By working closely with public health officials, they were able to interpret the findings to inform ongoing public health recommendations.
Katarina shares she was “unexpectedly” well-positioned to respond to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 given her previous graduate work focused on avian influenza, another respiratory virus.
She was also then well-positioned to lead presentations on other aspects of her research when hosting Senator Tammy Baldwin, UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank, and Dean Robert N. Golden at a lab site visit in April of 2021.
Katarina’s future takes her to Yale New Haven Hospital for a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. She has observed a decline in the number of healthcare providers for women and is drawn to the field because of its clinical need, as well as the many vital unanswered basic and translational research questions. As a physician-scientist, she looks forward to building a career in which she can lead biomedical research and practice evidence-based medicine to improve care and outcomes for people seeking obstetric and gynecological care.
BS, Kinesiology, UW-Madison
Maurice “Moe” Lucré always had the bigger picture in view while in the school’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. In addition to his coursework and clinical experiences, Moe served as co-president of the program’s ADEPT group (Advancing Diversity and Excellence in Physical Therapy), which notably focused on increasing cultural competence and cultural humility of students, faculty, and staff. He facilitated presentations on physical therapy to more than 150 middle school students from underrepresented populations in the Madison and Milwaukee areas.
Moe shared that serving as a national representative of the program was one of the most meaningful parts of his experience at UW. He did so as an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and presented at their national conference alongside program faculty. This spring, he won the Student Award for Diversity at the APTA Wisconsin Spring Conference
Finally, Moe was selected as an APTA Centennial Scholar this past year, where his capstone project was the provision of resources, vision, and direction for a longitudinal mentorship/pathway program for high school and college students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in the physical therapy profession and/or secondary education.
Moe is currently looking for a job in the greater-Chicago area and hopes to keep making an impact by challenging the health professions to create and implement policies that create more equitable access and quality of care. He is excited to remain involved in research and speaking at conferences focused on the interplay of diversity, equity, inclusion, and health care.
Congratulations to Moe and all of our new doctorates.
When we asked BSN/MPH graduate Olivia Gonzalez what advice she would give her younger self, she said, “slow down: things worth having take time and dedication.” The impact Olivia has made during her time at UW clearly took time and dedication. But going slow? You decide.
Prior to graduating with her bachelor’s of nursing in 2020, Olivia studied abroad in Ghana, Africa and later completed an internship in Kenya where she helped empower and educate Kenyan women across thirteen rural villages about menstrual health and women’s health. After graduation, she began her Master of Public Health coursework while working full-time as a trauma nurse at Froedert Hospital in Milwaukee. On her first day on the job, she cared for a gunshot victim, and again, on her second day as well. That frequency led her to question and investigate gun violence from a public health perspective and what resources are available to mitigate the disproportionate rates of gun violence among communities of color. She discovered the interdisciplinary violence prevention team called 414Life Milwaukee and worked with them, linking her professional and academic applied practice experience through the MPH program.
While she may slow down when it comes to thinking deeply about her work and next step, she is anything but slow in the half Ironman triathlons she competes in.
Olivia will be moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, and aims to continue supporting gun violence prevention efforts through a multidisciplinary public health approach. Program Manager Mindy Schreiner said she has no doubt Olivia will make a significant impact with her clinical and community work because of her kindness, intelligence and dedication.
MPH, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
BS, Nursing, UW-Madison
MS, Genetic Counseling, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
BS, Public Health Sciences, University of Michigan
Sheridan Tobin is one of 7 Master of Genetic Counseling Studies (MCGS) graduates this May. Originally from San Jose, CA, Sheridan contributed greatly to the program during her time here, serving as a teaching assistant and engaging in the recruitment of new students to the program. She found the fieldwork opportunities a valuable part of her training, saying that being at a wide range of clinics allowed her to tailor her experience to align with her interests.
Those interests will take her back to California where she will work as a prenatal genetic counselor at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco. On a personal level, Sheridan says she wants to work at the intersection of public health and genetic counseling, particularly ensuring equitable access to genetic health care services.
Sheridan felt her positive student experience was shaped by the MGCS leadership, instructors, and supervisors, and she feels lucky to have learned from so many wonderful people. We asked Sheridan what advice she would give her younger self, and she shared: “Don’t be afraid of choosing a different path. Trust your gut, say yes, and continue to explore.”
Kelty Norton was already working in healthcare when he entered the Physician Assistant program. He drew from his background in respiratory therapy throughout the PA coursework, labs, and 2,000+ hours of clinical practice, however, it was during his rotations in psychiatry that he discovered his future passion. He credits opportunities within the UW Adult Psychiatry Clinical Liaison team for supporting his interests. Kelty witnessed burnout as a respiratory therapist and during his time as a PA student which galvanized his focus on addressing mental health within the graduate medical education programs.
In the future, he hopes to focus both on patients and providers, providing trauma-informed care for clinician burnout and mood disorder management at his new job in Mason City, Iowa. He’ll be working at Prairie Ridge Integrated Behavioral Health Clinic serving rural and underserved populations with a wide range of services from primary care to community-focused efforts.
We asked Kelty what advice he would give after so many years of education and career shifts. He shared: Give yourself the grace and patience to succeed where you can and where you might fall.
Congratulations Kelty, and all of the new Physician Assistant graduates