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Medically minded youths get virtual ceremony

by Special to The Commercial | May 18, 2021 at 4:41 a.m.
James Ento

The Ivy Center for Education celebrated its fifth White Coat Ceremony virtually on Zoom and the Ivy Center Facebook page April 22, according to a news release.

A mission of the Ivy Center is to "Grow Our Own Medical Professionals for Jefferson County," according to a spokesman. Despite covid-19 restrictions, the Ivy Center and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences South Central instructors wanted to make sure the recipients were still recognized.

The speaker at the ceremony was Pine Bluff native Dr. Marquita Norman, assistant dean of student inclusion and diversity and assistant professor of the department of emergency medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

A graduate of Dollarway High School, Norman earned an undergraduate degree at Hendrix College at Conway and attended the University of Kansas school of medicine. She completed her internship at Howard University and did her residency training at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The mistress of ceremony was Renisha Ward, the historically black colleges and universities education coordinator for UAMS Regional Programs for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College.

Danielle Harris, UAMS South Central recruiter, welcomed guests and well-wishers. Ward and Harris encouraged students to always do their best work, which includes making high grades and good ACT scores.

Students' parents presented them with their white coats, stethoscopes, goggles, medals, certificates and a book, "Pulse of Perseverance," to keep them focused on their futures in medicine.

Meditation was presented by Patricia Berry, executive director of the Ivy Center. Mattie Collins, president of the Ivy Center, was the program narrator. Chloe Harris, a seventh grader at Watson Chapel Junior High School, gave Club Scrub Reflections.

The Ivy Center and UAMS South Central thanks its partners, including Pine Bluff Area Community Foundation/Jefferson Regional Medical Center Community Health Endowment; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc./Delta Omega Omega Chapter; First Sisters Outreach; HBCU Med Track; and the virtual team and other board members: Jeff Pulliam, vice president; Patricia Richard, secretary; Marguerite Flannigan, technology/program evaluator, and Sederick Rice, Ph.D, advisory board member and future engineers instructor.


The Ivy Center White Coat 2021 recipients include:

• James Ento, the son of LaToya Harding, who plans to become a biomedical engineer.

• Michael Moka, the son of Mario and Teresa Moka, who plans to become a physical therapist.

• Lexye Blair, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Antoni Lasker Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Blair, who plans to become a postpartum nurse.

• Alala Bugg, the daughter of Vanessa Wiseman, who plans to become a cardiovascular surgeon.

• Viona Burch, the daughter of Joana Taylor, who plans to become a nurse.

• Jamauria Byrd, the daughter of Commeka Goodloe, who plans to become a nurse.

• Suriyah Gilbert, the daughter of Sharonda Gilbert and Antonio Scott, who plans to become a pediatrician.

• Madison Green, the daughter of Treasurer Huggins, who plans to become a traveling nurse.

• Chole Harris, the daughter of De'Onta Bowens, who plans to become a bacteriologist.

• Sinez Herring, the son of Sterling and Chatora Herring, who plans to become a biomedical engineer.

• E'layah Jones, the daughter of Commeka Goodloe, who plans to become a veterinarian.

• Jillian Kearney, the niece of Ms. Santrice Kearney, who plans to become a medical scientist.

• Leandria Lambert, the daughter of Stacy Robinson and Jared Lambert, who plans to become a radiation therapist.

• Alexandria Mays, the daughter of Mrs. Marcia Mays, who plans to become a dermatologist.

• Matthew Moka, the son Mario and Teresa Moka, who plans to become a biomedical engineer.

• Addisyn Richard, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cephus Richard, who plans to become a biomedical illustrator.

• John Richardson, the son of Richard and Linda Richardson, who plans to become a sports medicine physician.

• Layla Ridout, the daughter of Jason and Corla Ridout, who plans to become a respiratory therapist.

• Tyra Walker, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Roy Burrell, who plans to become a veterinarian.

• Makiyah Williams, the daughter of Barry and Marinda Williams, who plans to become a veterinarian.

The Ivy Center, founded in 2004, is a college readiness/youth mentoring program created to promote higher education for student's 7th-12th grades. The virtual program has been viewed more than 2,000 times.

Details: Mattie Collins, president, at [email protected], or Patricia Berry, executive director, at [email protected]

Michael Moka
Michael Moka

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