On May 18, DMU recognized 154 students with its Service Award for another record-breaking year of service to the community. That number tops last year’s 152 award recipients, which also set a record.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Kevin Smith, D.P.M.’95, Ph.D., M.S., FACFAS, dean of the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, noted the many benefits of service, including for those who provide it. “It can give you a sense of purpose. Helping others can help one feel rewarded, fulfilled and empowered,” he said. “Service is contagious, and it can ripple throughout a community and inspire others to get involved.”
An addition to the service awards, DMU’s American Medical Student Association was named the Student Organization of the Year; Diwali was named the Student Program/Event of the Year; and two students were honored for their leadership. Maria Ji, a second-year osteopathic medicine student, was named Student Leader of the Year as a Student Government Association, club or organization leader. She has served as secretary of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the American Medical Student Association; treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association; and vice president of the DMU Health Leaders.
Lucy Xu, a third-year podiatric medicine student, was named Most Active/Engaged Student of the Year. Former president of the Student National Podiatric Medical Association, she is a member of several other student organizations, team captain of an intramural volleyball team, peer tutor in five subjects, teaching assistant in three courses, a former admissions office ambassador and an inductee in the Pi Delta National Honor Society for her high grade-point average and class rank.
The Des Moines University Student Service Award, in its sixth year, recognizes students from all programs who demonstrate efforts to improve lives in our global community through volunteerism. By enrolling in this recognition program, students commit to representing DMU with integrity and upholding its institutional values (accountability, collaboration, honesty, inclusiveness and wellness) while volunteering, reporting and reflecting on their experiences.
Once the students complete 50 hours of service, they complete a final reflection on their most meaningful volunteer experiences, activities and observations, resulting changes in their understanding of the community or themselves, possible ways they can continue their involvement with the group or social issue, any frustrations or challenges, and ways to enhance their experiences.
Students also were asked to draw from their volunteer experiences to write a letter to their future patients to explain how their service outside the classroom shaped them into the care provider and professional they hope to be. A student from each of DMU’s three colleges shared their letter at the awards ceremony. In her letter, podiatric medicine and surgery student Marlena Moore, D.P.M.’24, reflected on a past encounter with an uninsured patient and pledged she would do her best for future patients, regardless of insurance coverage. Jordan Samuel, who will graduate with a master of science degree in anatomy from DMU in June and, this fall, will begin the osteopathic medicine program, described the compassionate care his father received as a hospice patient and his intent to “treat patients with the same level of empathy and care.”
In her letter, physical therapy student Haley Delpesce expressed gratitude toward her future patients for shaping her as an aspiring physical therapist. “You don’t know me yet, but I’ll be your physical therapist someday,” she said. “I want you to know that I’m advocating for you, even though I haven’t met you. I’m putting my all into my classwork and lab activities, but I’m also spending immense amounts of time in the community, trying to build relationships with you…You don’t know me yet, but you’ve taught me things that I could never have learned in a classroom.”
View photos from the event here. Listed below, along with their DMU program and graduation year, are the students who received the Student Service Awards:
Posted in College of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Events at DMU, Students