By | May 7, 2010 12:00 am

Burnett Graduates, Families, Faculty Celebrate Commencement

ORLANDO, May 7, 2010 — New graduates of the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences celebrated their college degrees and their scientific accomplishments Friday during a Spring Commencement Reception at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

During Friday morning’s commencement, 200 Burnett school students received undergraduate degrees. The school’s growth was not lost on Dr. Roseann White, the Burnett School’s associate director of academic affairs, who noted that she joined UCF when enrollment in the entire university was just 1,500 students. This year, Dr. White was proud to announce that six graduates of the Burnett school had perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point averages and that most of the graduates are going on to graduate and professional schools. “This is the first step in their careers,” she said.

Burnett graduate Andrea Womack has actually already started her career. Three days ago, Andrea, a Medical Laboratory Science major, was hired by Florida Hospital to work in its hematology lab. Andrea credited the “hands-on” lab experience she received at the Burnett school with providing her the training she needs to work in a major hospital lab. Burnett school graduate Joshua MacDonald said he hopes to work at a lab at Beth Israel Hospital in his native Boston. “Burnett gave us every tool we needed to succeed,” he said of his undergraduate experience. “These are the smartest people I’ve ever worked with in my life.”

The reception included a speech from Dr. Carmelo Licitra, M.D., a 1977 graduate of the Burnett School, who is an infectious disease specialist and a volunteer faculty member at the UCF College of Medicine. Dr. Licitra also teaches at the colleges of medicine at the University of Florida and Florida State University.

One of Friday’s Burnett school graduates may have Dr. Licitra as a teacher. Chris Reilly, who graduated summa cum laude from the Burnett school, plans to attend the UCF College of Medicine in August as a member of the second class. Chris said science was always his passion but an internship with the VA Hospital helped him understand the importance and rewards of interacting with patients. He said being accepted into the college is “amazing,” adding that he has already met some members of the 2013 charter class and toured the College of Medicine building at the Lake Nona Health Sciences Campus. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the UCF College of Medicine,” he said.

Dr. Pappachan Kolattukudy, director of the Burnett school, left the graduates with inspirational words about the exciting scientific world they are entering. “You have a lot to do,” he said. “If you can dream it, you can do it. So keep dreaming big.”

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