March 17, 2022

Warrior M.D.s honor October-December course block’s Difference Makers

Difference Makers award winners for October through December 2021 are, from top left, Arya Gaddam, Patrick Mueller, Ph.D., and Tia Finney, Ph.D.; from bottom left, Jordan Molina, Marijo Wohlfert, Eva Waineo, M.D., and Carolyn Cooper.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine Office of Undergraduate Medical Education’s Difference Makers award program recognizes students, faculty and staff who go above and beyond to make a positive impact on the learning experience for Warrior M.D. students. The nominees are chosen by students following each 11- and 12-week course block.

For October through December 2021, the top individuals nominated by the Class of 2025 were student and Class of 2025 President Arya Gaddam; Associate Professor of Physiology Patrick Mueller, Ph.D., who teaches Human Body/Disease Foundations II in the first-year curriculum; and staff member Tia Finney, Ph.D, medical testing supervisor.

“Arya works tirelessly to make sure all students have a voice. He is also very proactive and helps share resources with all students without hesitation, always going out of his way to help others.  Arya is a great student role model and will make a phenomenal doctor one day,” a nominator said.

Dr. Mueller was unanimously recognized for going above and beyond in and out of the classroom.

“Dr. Mueller is the best professor I have ever had in my life. He is able to explain complex concepts extremely well, teach students what is physiologically relevant and also is always going above and beyond to help students,” a student said. “I was sitting in the cafeteria once and he came up to me to say hi and asked if there was anything he could help with. It was a Saturday and this was well after his course material had been presented. This shows me that he is extremely passionate when it comes to teaching and he is kind enough to take time out of his own day to help the learning of students.”

Being named a Difference Maker is “absolutely humbling and quite awesome,” Finney said.

“I appreciate their understanding of what we do in medical testing to ensure they are given their exams without incidence,” she added.

Additional nominees included faculty members Noreen Rossi, M.D., and Robert Lasley, Ph.D.; and students Koushik Tuppil, Lyndsay Archer and Rama Khamis.

For October through December 2021, the top individuals nominated by the Class of 2024 were students Jordan Molina and Marijo Wohlfert; Assistant Professor and Psychiatry Clerkship Director Eva Waineo, M.D.; and Wayne State University custodian Carolyn Cooper.

“I am so humbled and appreciative to hear that my classmates nominated me as a Difference Maker,” Molina said. “Above all, I’m grateful that they’ve trusted me to represent them through this extraordinary experience of pandemic-era medical school. It’s an exceptional time that we’re sharing, and I hope I can continue to make a positive difference in it.”

Wohlfert won accolades from her peers for creating and sharing Anki decks, an online flash card program, specific to each lecture.

Dr. Waineo, who is also director of Health and Wellness, received several nominations from students, who called out her comforting presence, organization and instruction style.

“Dr. Waineo has a beautiful aura. I can tell that she really cares about the wellbeing of us medical students. She is very positive, and it makes me motivated to learn more. Her soothing voice is a bonus! It has been wonderful interacting with her,” a student said.

The students also appreciate fellow Difference Maker Carolyn Cooper, who keeps the Mazurek Medical Education Commons clean and tidy, and often helps them find open rooms in which to study.

“I would like to say thank you for the wonderful nomination. I never expected anything like this. I am so thankful for this blessing and grateful to God. I love working with the students, staff and faculty. I love my job,” Cooper said.

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