Recognition Ceremony Honors VCS Residents, Graduate Students, and VTH Interns

Friday, June 28, 2019

Make Your Mark
Support the College

Leigh accepts her completion certificate from Dr. Johnson
Dr. Paula Johnson, internship advisor, recognizes graduating small animal medicine and surgery intern Dr. Leigh Ann Howard. (Photos by Lucas and Abby Bowman)

Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and Veterinary Teaching Hospital hosted the 2019 Recognition Ceremony for graduating residents, graduate students, and interns last Thursday, June 20, at the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center. The event celebrates the accomplishments of the residents and interns, as well as traditional graduate students earning master’s degrees.

Residency programs typically are three years long and provide residents with clinical proficiency in a chosen specialty, as well as research and teaching opportunities. Internships are 12-month programs that provide advanced training in medicine and surgery. The recognition program began with Dr. Jean Stiles, chair of the residency committee and professor of ophthalmology, introducing the outgoing residents.

As part of the ceremony, each resident was presented with a certificate of completion and, in some cases, a parting gift, by their mentor. The mentors also supplied some insight into each resident’s personality and the relationships they formed with their mentors. While introducing Drs. Blake Marcum and Breann Sommer, residents in Medical Oncology, their mentor, Dr. Michael Childress, associate professor of comparative oncology, said, “We’ve been pretty lucky in Oncology. Most of the time we get someone who’s really good, and every now and again we get someone who’s great, but three years ago we caught lightning in a bottle because we got two amazing residents.”

Ilektra shakes Dr. Stiles hand as she accepts her certificate
Dr. Jean Stiles, Residency Committee Chairperson, presents Dr. Ilektra Athanasiadi, graduating resident in Radiation Oncology with her residency completion certificate. (Photos by Lucas and Abby Bowman)

Additionally, two of the honorees will be staying on at Purdue. Dr. Masahiro Murakami, who completed a residency in Diagnostic Imaging, will assume the role of assistant professor of diagnostic imaging in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Melinda (Mindy) Anderson, PharmD, who completed the one-year Wasson Veterinary Pharmacy Resident program, will begin teaching pharmacology to DVM and veterinary nursing students in her new position as visiting assistant professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences.

Mindy is a familiar face in the College. She earned her Associate of Science degree in veterinary technology at Purdue in 2003, and then worked as chief instructional technologist in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital teaching veterinary nursing and veterinary medicine students, before going back to school in Purdue’s College of Pharmacy, where she earned her PharmD degree last year.

The VCS/VTH recognition program continued with the introduction of members of the new class of interns.  Then Dr. Paula Johnson, internship advisor and clinical assistant professor in small animal emergency and critical care, recognized the graduating intern class, which she described as “strong, cohesive, and incredibly supportive of each other.”

Before the program concluded, Dr. Ann Weil, clinical professor of anesthesiology, recognized Drs. Ellan Hung and Avril Lin, two graduate students who just completed their master’s degrees in the Veterinary Clinical Sciences department. Before coming to Purdue, Dr. Hung earned her DVM degree at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan in 2014 and Dr. Lin earned her DVM degree in 2015 at the National Chiayi University of Veterinary Medicine in Chiayi, Taiwan.

Graduating residents hop aboard a replica of the Boilermaker Special in DAUCH
Graduating VCS Residents (left-right): Drs. Breann Sommer, Blake Marcum, Masahiro Murakami, Kelly Cummings, Anastasia Olsen, Marcelle Hon, Caroline Aldridge, Ilektra Athanasiadi, Lauren Mundy, and Gillian Haanen. (Photos by Lucas and Abby Bowman)

Outgoing residents listed with their specialty and where they are headed next:

  • Dr. Caroline Aldridge (Small Animal Internal Medicine), private practice in Dallas, Texas
  • Dr. Ilektra Athanasiadi (Radiation Oncology), Virginia Tech Animal Hospital
  • Dr. Kelly Cummings (Neurology), MedVet Commerce in Michigan
  • Dr. Gillian Haanen (Large Animal Internal Medicine), Moore Equine in Calgary, Canada
  • Dr. Marcelle Hon (Emergency and Critical Care), private practice in Hawaii
  • Dr. Blake Marcum (Medical Oncology), private practice in the Chicago area
  • Dr. Lauren Mundy (Large Animal Surgery), Tennessee Equine Hospital
  • Masahiro Murakami (Diagnostic Imaging), PVM Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
  • Dr. Anastasia Olsen (Small Animal Surgery), private practice in Olympia, Wash.
  • Dr. Breann Sommer (Medical Oncology), private practice in Wisconsin
  • Melinda Anderson, PharmD (Pharmacy), PVM Department of Basic Medical Sciences
Outgoing interns stand together for a group photo aboard a replica of the Boilermaker Special train in DAUCH
Gradating VTH Interns: (first row, left-right) Michael Pabon, Lydia Hoeksema, Colleen Embersics, Marianthi Gelatos, and Leigh Ann Howard, with Wasson Veterinary Pharmacy Resident Melinda Anderson; (second row, left-right) Sara Ostenkamp, Ahmed Khairoun, and Tanner Slead. (Photos by Lucas and Abby Bowman)

Outgoing interns listed below and their areas of focus:

  • Dr. Colleen Embersics, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Dr. Marianthi Gelatos, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Dr. Lydia Hoeksema, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Dr. Leigh Ann Howard, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Dr. Michael Pabon, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Dr. Tanner Slead, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • Dr. Sarah Ostenkamp, Cardiology Specialty
  • Dr. Ahmed Khairoun, Large Animal Surgery

Congratulations to all of the 2019 graduating residents, interns, and graduate students!

Writer(s): Maya Sanaba, PVM Communications Intern |

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

© 2022 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by PVM Web Communications

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact PVM Web Communications at