April 28, 2021

Graduation Awards recipient never forgot ‘how to have fun, enjoy the journey, pay it forward’

During a virtual ceremony, Neil Jairath will receive the Paul DeWolf Award, Patrick John Niland Award, Academic Recognition Award, and Academic Achievement Award from the Michigan Medicine Alumni Society

2021 Medical School graduate Neil Jairath

Throughout his journey from the small town of Newburgh, Ind. (pop. 3,200), to his upcoming move to the biggest city of them all, New York City, for his residency in dermatology at NYU, Neil Jairath has embraced all that medical school has to offer.

“No matter where I turned, opportunities were open to me, from researching the cutting edge of AI in medicine, to spearheading new initiatives through the M-Home, or continuing to teach and mentor as part of eMpower or Doctors of Tomorrow,” says Jairath, one of 169 medical students who will become doctors during a virtual Commencement ceremony on May 14.

Prior to his graduation from medical school as a member of the Class of 2021, Jairath and several of his classmates will be honored at a virtual Graduation Awards ceremony. He will receive the Paul DeWolf Award, Patrick John Niland Award, Academic Recognition Award, and Academic Achievement Award from the Michigan Medicine Alumni Society.

After studying computer science at the University of Notre Dame, Jairath packed up the lessons taught to him by his dad, a physician, and mom, a teacher — including hard work, compassion, and a passion for helping others achieve their goals — and moved to Ann Arbor to pursue a career in medicine. Here, he found friends with similar values that became his family.

“We put our heads down to grind out the rigors of medical school when needed, but never forgot how to have fun, enjoy the journey, and pay it forward,” Jairath says. “My incredible Michigan mentors tirelessly supported me through the rollercoaster of my medical school ride, helping me grow in both personal and professional realms.”

In addition to Jairath, these students and faculty will be honored:


Dean’s Award for Research Excellence
Tiffany Bellomo
Anjan Saha

Puneet “Ashu” Ailawadi Memorial Award
Jessica Santos-Parker

Paul DeWolf Award
Neil Jarath 

Ralph M. Gibson Award
Arrice Bryant

Patrick John Niland Award
Neil Jairath

Sujal Parikh Award
Maria Santos 

Dr. Jane Skillen Award
Gnendy Indig

Andrew J. Zweifler Award for Excellence in Clinical Skills
Ali Assi


Glasgow-Rubin Citations for Academic Achievement
Alison S. Baskin
Bryana Bayly
Evelyn Coves-Datson
Yilin Feng
Armani Hawes
Emily Johnson
Jacquelyn Kercheval
Hannah Lamberg
Annie Minns
Taylor Standiford 

Academic Recognition Awards
Neil Jairath
Emily Johnson
Jacquelyn Kercheval
Annie Minns
Taylor Standiford


Scholarship Service Awards
Donovan Innis, M2
Vy Tran, M3 

Academic Achievement Award
Neil Jairath


Senior Award
Gifty Kwakye, M.D.

The American Medical Women’s Association Gender Equity Award
Versha Pleasant, M.D., Ph.D.

Elizabeth Crosby Award
Madelyn Lew, M.D.

Kaiser-Permanente Awards for Excellence in Teaching
Pre-Clinical: Andrew Tai, M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical: Gifty Kwakye, M.D.

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation)
Faculty: Renuka Tipirneni, M.D., M.Sc., FACP
Student: Katherine Feder

Thomas G. Varbedian Award for Excellence in Service to Students
Karri Grob, Ed.S., director of student services, Office of Medical Student Education

2021 Bronze Beeper Awards

Juan Andino, M.D.
Luke Burns, M.D.
John Coda, M.D.
Shukri Dualeh, M.D.
Rafey Feroze, M.D.
Erika Kokkinos, M.D.
Adam Leavitt, M.D.
Charlie Mouch, M.D.
Sarah Palmer, M.D.
Virginia Sheffield, M.D.

2021 Gold Beeper Awards

Nicholas Raja, M.D.
Mary Shen, M.D.