This year’s Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award was presented to Rose Nolen-Walston. This is the most prestigious teaching award in veterinary medicine. It is presented annually to a faculty member at each college of veterinary medicine in the United States. Its purpose is “to improve veterinary medicine education by recognizing outstanding instructors who, through their ability, dedication, character and leadership, contribute significantly to the advancement of the profession.” The entire Penn Vet student body votes on the recipient.
Dr. Nolen-Walston was a professional dressage rider and riding teacher before she graduated with her DVM from the University of Georgia in 2001. She did an internship and residency in large animal internal medicine at Tufts University. She spent a subsequent year there doing research in adult stem cell biology in mice, then joined the faculty at Penn Vet, where she has been teaching and practicing internal medicine for the last 11 years.
A student said, “Dr. Nolen-Walston keeps the class consistently engaged by creating relevant scenarios and case studies about the information, calling on students in the class to participate and, for the less intriguing lectures, including videos every few slides. Her humor as well as her clear organization helps elucidate and drive home main concepts. She has also helped judge student club bake-offs, emceed our auction fundraiser and helped the SCAVMA (student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association) board as an advisor.”
V’20 Lecture Teaching Award
Dr. Nolen-Walston is also the recipient of this award. A student said, “Thrilling, riveting, mind-blowing, action-packed and on-the-edge-of-your-seat comedy, Dr. Nolen-Walston’s lectures are like the most exciting movie release of the year, and you just happen to have a ticket. She fills the room and brings to life the mechanics of pulmonary disease. With crackle and wheezing impersonations to the in-class activities there is never a dull moment.”
The William B. Boucher Award
The Boucher Award honors a house officer for excellent teaching at New Bolton Center. The award is made in honor of Dr. William Boucher, a distinguished educator at Penn Vet for over four decades.
This year’s winner is Michael Pesato. Dr. Pesato graduated from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. He is currently a food animal resident in field service.
A student said, “Dr. Pesato loves teaching students in field service. He goes out of his way to make sure every student riding in his truck learns something that will make them a better veterinarian, regardless of whether they are a small- or large-animal student.”
V’17 Philadelphia Campus Teaching Award
Michael Mison is a clinical associate professor of surgery, as well as director and chief medical officer of Ryan Hospital. Prior to joining Penn Vet in 2015, Dr. Mison founded Seattle Veterinary Specialists as a managing partner in 2007. Earlier in his career, he served on the faculty of Washington State University, where he received the Carl Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award as a second-year assistant professor in 2004. Dr. Mison received his veterinary degree from the University of Florida in 1998 and completed a rotating internship and surgical residency at Michigan State University. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS).
A student said, “Dr. Mison challenges students in and out of the operating room to actively participate in the care, procedures and treatments of our patients. He guides us through hands-on surgical experience from placing a screw to closing incisions. He values our input just as he would any doctor’s. Despite his busy schedule, he always makes it a point to know all of his students on his rotation. It is an honor to call Dr. Mison a mentor and friend.”
V’17 New Bolton Center Teaching Award
Kyla Ortved is an assistant professor of large animal surgery. Prior to starting at New Bolton Center, Dr. Ortved was a clinical assistant professor at Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists. She completed her PhD at Cornell University in comparative biomedical science in 2014. She was board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) in 2011, after completing her residency in large animal surgery at Cornell, from 2007 to 2010. Dr. Ortved was also recently board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR). Her internship in large animal medicine and surgery was at the University of Georgia. She received her veterinary degree from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada in 2006 and her undergraduate degree in animal biology from the University of British Columbia in 2001.
A student said, “It is incredibly impressive for Dr. Ortved to win this award as she is a new faculty member and a clinician on the service most students consider the most challenging rotation of vet school. She takes the time to thoroughly discuss cases with students and makes barn-side rounds a highlight of the day. When a student does not understand a concept or procedure, Dr. Ortved never asks them why they don’t know it, but rather what can she do to help teach you better.”
V’18 Lecture Teaching Award
Mark Oyama graduated in 1994 from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. After an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York and a residency at UC Davis, he entered private specialty practice for two years. He then served for five years on the faculty of the University of Illinois before coming to Penn Vet in 2005. He is currently a professor in cardiology. He earned his master of science in clinical epidemiology from Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine in 2015.
A student said, “Dr. Oyama has been a constant favorite of V’18. He seamlessly translates complex processes and material into lecture so that each student is able to comprehend exactly what is happening. He understands how students learn and his enthusiasm for teaching is evident each time he lectures. Congratulations to Dr. Oyama and we are so excited to work closer with you in clinics!”
V’18 Lab Teaching Award and
V’19 Lecture Teaching Award
Jeffrey J. Runge graduated from Dickinson College and then received his DVM from Ross University. Following his internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York, Dr. Runge went on to do his surgical training at Penn Vet, which included a one-year fellowship and a three-year small animal surgical residency. Dr. Runge is currently assistant professor of minimally invasive surgery at Penn Vet. He focuses primarily on laparoscopic and thoracoscopic minimally invasive surgery, and has lectured on single port and multiport laparoscopic surgery alike. Through ongoing collaboration with leading human laparoscopic surgeons, Dr. Runge and Penn Vet have become leaders in veterinary reduced port surgery.
A student said, “Dr. Runge is an absolutely amazing clinician to work with. My classmates rave about how he makes them feel less like students and more like colleagues whenever he works with them one-on-one, further enhancing his already thorough and educational surgery course. Congratulations to Dr. Runge for winning the lab teaching award and on behalf of V’18 we would like to thank him for his time and efforts he puts into organizing such a wonderful surgical course.”
“Dr. Runge has won the hearts of many V’19 students with his engaging teaching style, using not only demonstrations, but also asking for volunteers to help illustrate important concepts. He is passionate in lectures and his high energy is contagious, keeping us on the edge of our seats to the point we don’t realize when lecture goes overtime.”
V’19 Lab Teaching Award
A national of Trinidad and Tobago, Falon Gray earned her undergraduate degree from Howard University in 2008, followed by a DVM from Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. She entered residency training at Penn Vet in anatomic pathology, and is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. As a research fellow, Dr. Gray currently shares responsibilities on the anatomic pathology service, and comparative pathology core, and is involved in collaborative research at the Perelman School of Medicine, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies. Here, she and others are interested in methods that harness the immune system to fight canine and human cancers, specifically through the genetic modification of T-cells.
Following completion of her fellowship in June 2017, Dr. Gray will be relocating to Boston, where she will pursue a career in cancer research and drug development.
A student said, “On the first day of class Dr. Gray humbly told us about how nervous she was right before her boards, and as second year vet students we knew exactly how it felt to be nervous for an exam so we immediately related to her. She is one of the most consistently enthusiastic instructors we had and she’s always incredibly excited to see us during labs and lecture. It’s clear she is passionate about what she does, passing on her knowledge to us and inspiring us to push ourselves. She challenges us with her questions and encourages us to not just memorize facts and pathways, but instead to truly understand the processes we are learning. Even after she finished her board exams, she immediately came back and responded to all of our questions about conjugated vs unconjugated bilirubin.”
V’20 Lab Teaching Award
Peter Hand received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, then graduated from Penn Vet in 1961. He earned his PhD from Penn in 1964. Dr. Hand is currently emeritus professor of anatomy after a 35-year career at Penn Vet and continues to help out during anatomy labs.
A student said, “Dr. Hand is a rare commodity, giving lectures in anatomy and neuroscience, helping in histology, anatomy and neuroscience laboratories and taking the time to make special appearances in students’ skits. He helped students realize the importance of the Linea alba. Whenever I encounter Arrector pili, he is the teacher that comes to mind. Dr. Hand is a quintessential part of the Penn Vet community.”