Robert Larner, M.D. '42 Student Award
This award is presented annually to a current student(s) for their outstanding leadership and loyalty to the College and one who embodies Dr. Larner’s dedication to not only supporting his medical alma mater but to inspiring others to do
so as well.
2021 Robert Larner, M.D. '42 Award Recipient
Luke Higgins, Class of 2022
Luke Higgins is a member of the Larner College
of Medicine (LCOM) Class of 2022. During his time at the College, Luke has been engaged as a student leader across campus, representing the student voice while recognizing the mission of the College and vision of our medical education program.
Luke received a Bachelor of Science degree with highest distinction in Biomolecular Science with a minor in the History of Law and Policy from University of Michigan in 2018. While an undergraduate student, Luke engaged in several clinical
research opportunities as a Detroit Community-Based Research Program Fellow with the American Indian Health and Family Services and as a Clinical Lab Research Assistant in the Departments of Transplant Surgery and Pediatrics.
At the Larner
College of Medicine, Luke is an elected student member of the LCOM Medical Curriculum Committee, which is the institutional body that oversees our medical education program. In addition, he serves as an organizer on the Social Justice Coalition
Student Leadership Group and worked on a student-led personal pronoun inclusivity initiative. He is also a student member of the Jumpstart VIC Curriculum Committee, the LCME Independent Student Analysis Task Force, and multiple search committees for
leadership positions in the College.
2020 Robert Larner, M.D. '42 Award Recipient
Sidney Hilker, Class of 2021
Sidney Hilker, Class of 2021, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy from Harvard University in 2014. While an undergraduate student, Sidney conducted research related to global health
and health policy and was awarded a Cordeiro Fellowship for Global Health and Health Policy to support her research in Rwanda and Tanzania on the effectiveness of NGO Government partnerships in healthcare systems to the Harvard Interfaculty Initiative
on Global Health and Health Policy. After working for Bain & Company in Boston, Sidney matriculated into the College of Medicine in 2017.
During the preclinical curriculum, Sidney was selected to serve as one of two student members on the University of Vermont Board of Trustees and recently completed her two-year team. This provided Sidney the opportunity to engage with University leadership
and participate in important university decisions. Sidney also served on the University President Search Committee. She currently is enrolled in the clinical clerkship level of our curriculum and has honored in her family medicine, pediatrics
and ob/gyn clerkships so far.
Sidney continues to provide an important student perspective on curriculum related areas via her leadership roles. She serves as a student representative on the Student Education Group (SEG) and was recently elected as chair-elect and will serve as
chair of SEG in the 2020/2021 academic year. Sidney was also appointed by the dean and the LCME faulty accreditation liaison to serve as co-chair of the LCME Independent Student Analysis. In addition to her leadership positions within medical
education, Sidney serves as a Larner College of Medicine Student Ambassador and is actively involved with recruitment of future LCOM students.
2019 Robert Larner, M.D.' 42 Award Recipient
Chad Serels, Class of 2020
Chad Serels, Class of 2020 graduated with a degree in biology from McGill University in 2015, before enrolling at the Larner College of Medicine the following year. He is actively involved in medical education and program development at the College
as a member of both the Student Education Group and the Medical Curriculum Committee, which is the highest committee involved with curricular oversight at LCOM. Mr. Serels successfully co-led an initiative to change the Foundation curriculum to
Pass/Fail. During his longitudinal integrated clerkship in New York state, he received exceptional accolades and evaluations from faculty. Back in Burlington, he strives to represent student voices while supporting the College’s academic
vision for innovative and outstanding teaching that prepares graduates for excellence in compassion and commitment to patients, profession, and community. Not only is he an excellent student and a natural leader, but he is also eager to learn
and addresses his clinical rotations with the utmost compassion for the patients involved.
2018 Robert Larner, M.D.' 42 Award Recipient
DiBella, Class of 2019
Desiree received a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, summa cum laude, with a concentration in cultural anthropology, in May of 2013. She subsequently was employed by Teach For America and taught
elementary education in Nashville, Tenn., for two years before entering the Larner College of Medicine’s Class of 2019.
She has been actively involved in many of the College’s initiatives, the local community, and national health concerns. She is a Student Ambassador and serves on the Student Admissions Leadership Team. She was also appointed as a student representative
of the Larner College of Medicine Admissions Committee. In addition, Desiree has organized community-wide events such as “White Coats for Black Lives” and has served as a MedQuest Assistant Director for Vermont AHEC. She also volunteers
her time as a member of multiple other student organizations, including the NICU Cuddling Program, Students of Medicine Involved in Local Education (SMILE Docs), Student National Medical Association, Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students
(MAPS), Special Olympics, and MedQuest Anatomy Outreach Day. She is a member of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society.
2017 Robert Larner, M.D.' 42 Award Recipient
T. Schmidt, Class of 2018
Mr. Schmidt is a
third year medical student in
academic standing at the University
Vermont College of Medicine, thus far receiving
honors in four out of
of his clinical rotations. He is from California, where he attended
UC Davis, graduating with highest honors and receiving the Citation for Outstanding Achievement in Exercise Biology. Before enrolling at the Larner College of Medicine, Mr. Schmidt worked as an emergency room scribe and volunteered at Safe Harbor
Crisis House. At UVM, he has been a Running Team captain, a member of the Admissions Committee, an MMI interviewer, and an LCOM Student Ambassador. He is the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2018 historian, and, of course, he excels in his
2016 Robert Larner, M.D.' 42 Award Recipient
R. Pichiotino, M.P.H., Class of 2017
A Burlington, Vt., native, Erin Pichiotino received her undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont before graduating from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice with a Master of Public Health degree. During her time
as a graduate student she held research positions with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Outcomes Group and the Hood Center for Children and Families. She has excelled in clinical rotations as a medical student. Comments include: “Erin
was noted to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Several patients commented that she put them at ease, was very thorough, and caring.” Another evaluator wrote: “Erin is able to understand individual patient needs
and obstacles in the context of larger system needs and obstacles.” As a 2014-15 Albert Schweitzer Fellow, she developed a program in collaboration with Support and Services at Home and Cathedral Square to empower seniors to take control
of their health and wellbeing. Erin was selected as an American Medical Student Association Health Equity Scholar, and served as a student representative on the UVM College of Medicine Medical Curriculum Committee.
2015 Robert Larner, M.D.' 42 Award Recipient
K. Thakrar, Class of 2016
A Westford, Massachusetts native, Raj Thakrar received a B.A. in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and an M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. He is the first in his family to attend medical school. Before coming
to UVM, he spent a year in the laboratory of noted Massachusetts Institute of Technology biomedical scientist Robert S. Langer, Sc.D., where he investigated a novel therapy for Type 1 Diabetes using islet isolation and transplant surgery. Though
passionate about research, Thakrar has also excelled in his clinical performance during hospital rotations, earning praise from his clinical evaluators that includes: “He was a great team player with a great rapport with his patients. Raj
is a combination of brilliance, professionalism, pure hard work and genuine personality”. One of his attending’s described him as “someone special” and undoubtedly one of the best students that has rotated on the service.
Thakrar was elected to the UVM Board of Trustee – the highest leadership position offered to a student at UVM – in 2013. He has played a role in approving the construction of a new undergraduate STEM center, the new Larner Team-Based
Learning Classroom for health professions students, and the rebranding of affiliated medical sites to the University of Vermont Medical Center and UVM Health Network.
2014 Robert Larner, M.D.' 42 Award Recipients
A. Schloff '15
Emily is currently a third-year medical student in strong academic standing at the College of Medicine and is a Larner Loan recipient. She is one of many in her family to attend the University of Vermont and has a strong sense of loyalty to the university.
She received her undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Food Science from UVM, graduating cum laude in 2010. Emily’s clinical evaluators consistently comment on her excellent interpersonal and communication skills and her ability to always
put her patients at ease. She is one of four in her class who serve on the Student Education group, a liaison between the administration and the student body on matters regarding the curriculum. Emily was also selected to serve
on the Medical Student Executive Board, the highest student leadership committee that meets with the Dean of the College and other administrators. She is a leader of UVM’s Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association.
Emily is expected to graduate with her class, with a Doctor of Medicine degree in May 2015.
S. Hackett '15
Charles S. Hackett is currently a third-year medical student in excellent standing at the College of Medicine. Excerpts from his clinical evaluations describe him as "an excellent advocate for his patients and has an outstanding bedside manner." He
received his undergraduate degree in Biology from UVM in 2011, was a Vermont Scholar, a Pizzagalli Vermont Scholar, and graduated summa cum laude as an Honors College Scholar. He also received the George Perkins Marsh Award in Biology. In addition
to his academic accomplishments, he served the College of Medicine as a Peer Tutor, providing one-on-one tutoring to other medical students experiencing academic difficulty. He has also been a mentor in the UVM Premedical Enhancement Program,
a formalized mentoring program for UVM undergraduate students co-sponsored by the UVM Honors College and College of Medicine Office of Primary Care. Charles Hackett is also the recipient of the William Street, MD ’59 scholarship. He
is expected to graduate with his class with a Doctor of Medicine degree in May 2015.