SMHS recognizes more than 240 graduating health sciences students

In addition to the 69 new medical doctors graduating from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS), the School is recognizing more than 240 students from its health sciences programs who are graduating on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

One of those 240-plus students is Jacob Tupa, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS).

“My experience in the Medical Laboratory Science program at the SMHS has been wonderful,” beamed the Larimore, N.D., native, who begins the SMHS medical doctor program later this summer. “Surrounded by professors who care about student success and top-notch facilities—I was set up to succeed in my educational experience every step of the way. I am thankful for the opportunities UND provided me to grow as a leader in healthcare and as an individual.”

Tupa is one of 90 MLS students graduating on May 14.

Laboratory science notwithstanding, health sciences departments represented at UND’s spring Commencement also include not only three doctoral graduate of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, but students from programs in occupational therapy (49), physical therapy (51), physician assistant studies (33), public health (10), and athletic training (7).

Some of these programs will graduate students this summer as well. The SMHS public health program, for example, will see 10 August graduates.

“I really enjoyed my time at SMHS, even though some of it was cut short or modified by the pandemic,” added graduating Bismarck, N.D., native and new pediatric occupational therapist Ben Germolus. “School was challenging, but I was able to make some lifelong friends who also happen to be my new colleagues. I am still unsure of how I feel coming into this new title of ‘occupational therapist.’ It all feels fast and like my OT training happened in a flash.”

Despite the pandemic presenting a variety of challenges, the vast majority of students remained on track and are excited to be starting their health professions.

“We want to extend congratulations to all of the graduates of our many health sciences programs,” added David Relling, P.T., Ph.D., associate dean for health sciences at the School. “They have completed rigorous educational programs during the adversity of the pandemic. Most of all, we want to recognize the substantial impact that health sciences graduates will have on the thousands of patients they will work with throughout their careers.”

Over the past 50 years, the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences has graduated nearly 12,000 professionals working in the health sciences in North Dakota and around the country.