Black Student Association Celebrates Student Accomplishments at Awards Ceremony

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The Black Student Association celebrated and honored the achievements of several students during their annual Awards Ceremony held last Friday. Pictured from left to right are Zachary K. Mgbemere, Ariel Idiare, Anjelica Saulsberry, Elizabeth Sueing, Rashedah Young, and Dr. Michael Anthony James. (Photo courtesy of Dustin Fulton/BSA)

The Black Student Association (BSA) held their annual Awards Ceremony and Presentation Friday, February 28th at the Student-Alumni Center.

The event celebrates and honors the accomplishments of African American students at UTHSC. The awards ceremony which debuted in 1992, is an important tradition for the campus and reflects on the diversity and inclusion mission of the university and its students.

This year’s keynote speaker was Reginald W. Coopwood, MD, president and CEO of Regional One Health. Arianna Poindexter, reporter and news anchor for WMC Action News 5, served as master of ceremonies.

Six students representing each college were recognized at this year’s awards ceremony.

The College of Dentistry
Ariel Idiare

Ariel Idiare has been a leader since arriving on campus. She calls Goodlettsville, Tennessee home. Idiare graduated from Beech High School in Hendersonville, Tennessee. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude) in psychology from Middle Tennessee State University.

After being accepted to dental school at UTHSC, Idiare has continued to excel academically. She has participated in dental outreach programs, such as Hope Smiles in Memphis, and the Interfaith Dental Clinic in Nashville. Idiare serves as a student representative on the University of Tennessee Dental Alumni Board of Trustees.

She is a dedicated student doctor with advanced clinical reasoning, an excellent team player, and displays care and compassion toward those with whom she comes in contact. Idiare is considering a variety of practice locations upon graduation.

The College of Graduate Health Sciences
Dr. Michael Anthony James

Dr. Michael Anthony James is from Mount Vernon, New York, and was the first college graduate in his family. After graduating from Morehouse College in Atlanta, he pursued a career in health care management and began working with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in Manhattan. While at Empire, he obtained a master’s degree in public health from Hunter College in New York City, where his research focused on health care disparities between white-collar and blue-collar workers.

After the World Trade Center tragedy, Dr. James and his family moved to the Mid-South, where he focused his attention on becoming a dentist. He was accepted into the UTHSC College of Dentistry in 2009 and completed his studies in 2013.

Dr. James returned to New York after graduation and completed a general practice dental residency at Montefiore Hospital/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He served as chief resident in the endodontic fellowship at Montefiore Hospital. After completing his residency, he practiced general dentistry in New Paltz, New York, for two years before enrolling in the graduate endodontic program at UTHSC, which he completed in 2018.

Dr. James’ clinical and research interests include endodontic diagnosis, regenerative endodontics, and nanoparticle irrigation technology.

College of Health Professions
Elizabeth Sueing

A native Memphian, Elizabeth Sueing moved back to Memphis shortly after earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to work at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. It was there she discovered that a career in physical therapy would combine her love for serving others and her desire to improve the quality of life for patients.

As a physical therapy student, Sueing balances her coursework with being involved and giving back to the UTHSC campus community. She serves as the president of the Black Student Association. She is grateful to be in a position to help ensure that all students on the UTHSC campus have a voice that is heard and respected, and that there is a safe space for everyone to gather, learn about one another, and grow personally and professionally.

She has been a part of numerous committees and extracurricular activities including serving as the DPT White Coat Ceremony Committee co-chair from 2017 to 2018, Physical Therapy Day Committee chair from 2017 to 2018, BSA College of Health Professions representative from 2018 to 2019, UTHSC Student Government Association Executive Council member from 2019 to 2020, and the Student Parking Appeals Committee chair from 2019 to 2020.

Sueing is also involved in the Memphis community. She is a faithful and devoted member of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, where she serves in the Sanctuary Chorus, the Praise Team, the Church Council, and the Dance Ministry.

Her accomplishments and continued involvement stem from her love for Memphis and the desire to see it continue to flourish and grow. She lives by the words: “If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he is traveling wrong, then my living shall not be in vain.”

Sueing looks forward to graduating and entering a career in pediatric physical therapy.

The College of Medicine
Anjelica Saulsberry

Angelica Saulsberry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in neuroscience from Vanderbilt  University and enrolled as a medical student at UTHSC in 2015, receiving a four-year Sam Houston Sanders Scholarship.

She is distinguished by superlative academic performance and impressive achievements in research, clinical care, and outreach. In 2016, she was one of six medical students selected from across the country to conduct summer research at Harvard Medical School.

As she completed her third year at UTHSC, she was selected one of three inaugural recipients of the 2018 American Society of Hematology Minority Medical Student Award allowing her to conduct one year of full-time research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Saulsberry has published 10 journal articles as a medical student, and is the first author on seven of those articles. Additionally, she received the American Society of Hematology Achievement Award in 2017 and 2019, as well as the 2018 Dr. Robert J. Smith Scholarship Award recognizing the outstanding third-year medical student. She served as co-president of the American Medical Student Association from 2017-2019.

She has a warm personality and a zest for life that lifts the spirits of those around her. It is clear she has a very bright future career as a radiologist.

The College of Nursing
Rashedah Young

Rashedah Young began her graduate nursing coursework in the College of Nursing’s CRNA program in 2017.

She has demonstrated a great sense of responsibility and initiative by assuming the role of the College of Nursing’s representative to the Black Student Association. This role has allowed her to engage in interdisciplinary service events at the university level.

She is always willing to lend a helping hand. It is evident that she is committed to the educational and interpersonal processes essential to becoming an outstanding advanced practice nurse.

Young’s relationships with peers, faculty, and patients are marked by compassion and integrity. Throughout her time at UTHSC, she has served as a mentor to many undergraduate students and has set an outstanding example by consistently dedicating her time, despite completing a rigorous course of study.  She has both formally and informally volunteered to provide career advice and leadership development for other students.

The College of Pharmacy
Zachary K. Mgbemere

Zachary Mgbemere is a fourth-year Doctor of Pharmacy student, who demonstrates academic excellence, professionalism, and a commitment to community service. He will graduate with his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in May, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Memphis.

During his time at UTHSC, Mgbemere has been an effective leader, serving as the executive chairman for the College of Pharmacy’s Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA, 2019-2020), SNPhA chapter president (2018-2019), and Class of 2020 Honor Council representative (2016-2017). In addition to SNPhA, he is also a member of Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS), the Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), Phi Delta Chi (PDC), and the Black Student Association (BSA).

In 2018, Mgbemere was inducted into the IMHOTEP Society in recognition of his various leadership roles in the college and in student organizations. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Diversity Scholarship and the Tennessee Diversity Scholarship, as well as the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 Charles R. and Henry C Shapard Scholarship.

Mgbemere is dedicated to community service, as evidenced by his participation in various service events throughout the Memphis area including Mustard Seed Tutoring, flu shot clinics, and screenings at numerous health fairs.

After graduation, he plans to work full time as a retail pharmacist.