Student Success


Six OUWB medical students recognized for ‘demonstration of excellence’ during 2021-22

An image of students named outstanding

(Top row): Jessica Cummings, Mackenzie Schmidt, and Tiffany Loh. (Bottom row): Leah Rotenbakh, Erin Mueller, and Amanda Bachand.

Student Success

icon of a calendarOct. 7, 2022

icon of a pencilBy Andrew Dietderich

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A group of six medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine recently were named “outstanding” for the 2021-22 school year.

The distinction is awarded annually to three rising M2 and three rising M3 students.

The students who are now M2s to receive the recognition were Amanda Bachand, Jessica Cummings, and Erin Mueller.

Students who are now M3s and named “outstanding” were Tiffany Loh, Leah Rotenbakh, and Mackenzie Schmidt.


“The outstanding student award winners are devoted to learning for their patients,” said Sarah Lerchenfeldt, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies, and chair for the Student Awards Committee.

“They have not only excelled academically but also exhibit many of the attributes expressed in OUWB’s mission, vision and values, including a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive environment, advancing research, and dedication to community engagement,” she added.

The Outstanding Student Awards began in 2012 as course awards. Analogous to the current clerkship awards, an award was granted to a student in each M1 and M2 course.

In 2014, it was decided to collapse the M1 and M2 course awards into the Outstanding Student Awards for the M1 and M2 classes. It was determined three students in each class would be selected by the 15-member committee.

Lerchenfeldt said outstanding students must excel academically and exhibit the attributes expressed in OUWB’s mission, vision, and values, including compassion, collaboration, teamwork, professionalism, and a quest for excellence.

Students are nominated by course directors using the above criteria.

Cummings said the recognition “prompted me to reflect on how thankful I am to be a part of the OUWB community.”

“This school's leadership, faculty and supporting staff are absolutely incredible, and along with the extensive opportunities and resources provided, the educational experience at OUWB is truly exceptional,” she said.

“I have no doubt that OUWB is setting every single medical student up for success, and it is such a privilege to be a part of this program.”

Bachand said she “was incredibly surprised and honored to receive this recognition.”

“My peers are so successful and everyone is working so hard, so it was an honor to have even been considered for this award alongside them,” she said.

Schmidt she felt “very humbled and honored to receive this recognition.”

“I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life for encouraging and inspiring me to be better every day,” she said. “Being a part of the OUWB community is an honor and I am so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing people.”

Opportunities aplenty at OUWB

Like most OUWB medical students, preparing to be a doctor is a process that extends beyond the classroom for those recognized for being “outstanding.”

Mueller, for example, tutors a third grader in English, has tutored undergrads for MCAT, and volunteered at, among other places, Meals on Wheels, Michigan Humane, and Hope Warming Center. She said she is “very passionate” about community engagement and service — and that OUWB delivers plenty of opportunity for both.

“All of the student organizations I am a part of, the service opportunities I have participated in, and the research I am doing, have all been projects that I am personally interested in,” said Mueller. “I am so grateful to be able to pursue my own interests while helping our community.”

Mueller also has volunteered at the student-run gynecology and family medicine clinics held at the Gary Burnstein Community Clinic in Pontiac.

As co-director of the clinics during her M1 and M2 years, Loh, too, has spent a lot of time at Burnstein. During her time there, she helped develop a new dermatology clinic, gynecology clinic, community garden, and clinic partnership with Trinity Community Care.

She plans to continue serving as an advisor.

“I love being involved in the clinic because we are involved at every step of a patient’s care from the moment they walk in,” she said.

Loh also has served as the advocacy chair for OUWB’s AMA chapter, developed a transgender health education week with Q&A and AMWA, and spearheaded several letter-writing campaigns for students to advocate for expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage and medication-assisted treatment programs. Loh’s also been involved with the Family Medicine Interest Group.

Cummings engages with several organizations: the Bike and Run Collective, Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group, Wilderness Medical Society; and the Oncology Interest Group.

Further, she serves as a clinic coordinator for an OUWB student-run free clinic in Shelby Township that holds monthly gynecological clinics for uninsured/underinsured patients in the community. Cummings also serves on the Class of 2025 Oath Committee, as well as the Anatomy Memorial Ceremony Planning Committee. She has also volunteered at a local free prenatal clinic.

Schmidt served as vice president for OUWB’s Medical Student Government (MSG); the national delegate for the American Medical Association OUWB chapter, president of the Family Medicine Interest Group and the community service chair for the Neurology Interest Group. She also served at a mentor in the Hispanic Newcomer Outreach program, as a tutor and admissions ambassador, and helped start a community garden at the Gary Burnstein Clinic in Pontiac.

Likewise, Bachand has volunteered throughout the community. Some of the places are Baldwin Center, Gleaners Community Food Bank, and is a participant in the Care for the Elderly program in which she serves as a “phone-pal” to a local senior citizen.

Further, Bachand has been involved with the ENT Interest Group, Internal Medicine Interest Group, as well as served as representative on the M1/M2 Curriculum Subcommittee and as an anatomy peer tutor.

“OUWB provides an environment for students to be successful in any avenue that they are passionate about,” she says. “Whether through countless volunteer opportunities, resources for getting involved in research, or faculty who are eager to mentor students, OUWB does everything it can to make sure each one of its students is best prepared for success.”

Rotenbakh shared similar feelings.

As president of OUWB’s AMA and director of Community Service for the MSMS Medical Student Section, Rotenbakh organized a four-part series to educate medical students in Michigan about racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality and then provided opportunities for students to engage in advocacy and community service opportunities to make an impact.

She also served as co-president of the Jewish Medical Student Association, and has been involved with other organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, Asylum Initiative, the EviDance-based Medicine student org, and as a member of the national Trainees for Child Injury Prevention Program in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“OUWB has been very supportive of my endeavors,” she said. “The faculty advisors for all the student organizations I have been a part of have been supportive, resourceful, and committed to the success of our organizations and student endeavors. They always offered helpful advice and expertise.”

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