----- About -----


MCW’s 104th annual commencement exercises were held Friday, May 19, at the Miller High Life Theatre (former Milwaukee Theatre), in downtown Milwaukee.

MCW's Medical School and its Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences awarded the following degrees:

  • 192 MD
  • 29 PhD
  • 21 MS
  • 3 MA
  • 14 MMP
  • 17 MPH

View a recording of the commencement ceremony. 

2017 Photo gallery

Lifetouch Photography captured photos of the MD and PhD Hooding Ceremonies, Medical School Senior Dinner, Graduate School Luncheon, and the Commencement Ceremony.

To access the photographs, please visit www.events.lifetouch.com.

2017 Commencement photos




Commencement is a major moment in the academic careers of Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) graduates. We celebrate by highlighting their journeys and stories, taking a look into their #myMCWmoment. 


  • Dominique Carter
  • Jay Luthar
  • Theresa Piquette
  • Joseph Byonanebye
  • Maxwell Roy
  • Phoebe Jensen
  • Douglas Bierer
  • Anupriya Dayal

Dominique Carter


"My most memorable MCW moment is the morning of my dissertation defense. If you know me, you know that I have a very large immediate family. My family was late for my dissertation and filed into the department conference room after I started my talk. Faculty of my department, the department of microbiology and immunology, were very welcoming and accommodating to my family, many of them gave up their seats so that my mom and aunts could sit. Every time I think of the kindness and generosity that was shown to my family and me that day, I smile!"

Dominique will receive her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). She and her husband and will be relocating to Washington, D.C. where she will begin the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship.



Jay Luthar


"When MCW adopted the mindfulness course, that I spearheaded, as an official elective, it was definitely a high point for me. But looking back I'll never forget the exhilaration of performing with my band at the 2015 Variety Fest."

Jay will receive his Doctor of Medicine (MD) and begin his family medicine residency at University of Wisconsin - Madison. 





Theresa Piquette


"It is difficult to pinpoint just one moment at MCW that has been most significant, but in careful reflection my favorite moment has come in my fourth and final year as a medical student. I had the opportunity to assist with teaching some of the early clinical skills courses for the first and second year medical students, and in teaching a session with the M2 students I realized how far I have come as a person, as a student, and as a soon-to-be physician, while I guided them through their very first pelvic exams. In this session, I realized the enormity of knowledge and skills I have developed at MCW, and the wonderful experiences with patients and peers that I have collected along the way. I am so thankful to MCW for providing me with wonderful learning opportunities, tremendous role models, and truly amazing peers to work with over these past four years."

Theresa will receive her Doctor of Medicine (MD) and begin her obstetrics and gynecology residency at MCW.  


Joseph Byonanebye

Joseph Byonanebye grew up in Kabale, Uganda, which is a short distance from Rwanda, a country that experienced genocide in 1994. His home town was close to where many international organizations such as UNICEF stationed themselves when coming to offer relief efforts, and they had a profound impact on his choice of public health career.

“Seeing these people come from other parts of the world to help out my fellow East Africans made me realize my calling was to provide and improve health beyond where I lived or came from,” said Joseph, who recently completed his PhD in public and community health at MCW.

Joseph studied environmental health science at Makerere University School of Public Health in Uganda and received his MPH at St. Georges University in Grenada before returning to Uganda for four years. During his return, he served as a member of the National Diseases Outbreaks Task Force, where he helped address challenges like the Ebola and anthrax outbreaks, and got great experience advancing all aspects of community health. Then in August 2013, he started in MCW’s doctoral program in public and community health.

Joseph chose MCW because he was “impressed with the strength of the community engagement efforts.”

“It has been an amazing experience to work with community organizations in the Milwaukee area and show them how they can impact health,” Joseph said. “I consider the community organizations as equal partners in our research and our efforts to prolong and preserve life.”

Joseph, who graduates in May and has received a clinical assistant professor appointment at Marquette University, is thankful for the investment his mentors made in him.

“One thing that really stands out from my time at MCW is how Dr. Laura Cassidy, my advisor, worked with me from day one as an international student and continued advising and helping me all the way through my dissertation defense.”

Joseph’s dissertation is on the characteristics, regional trends and determinants of  teenage pregnancy in Uganda, an idea he got from seeing how Milwaukee has worked to drop its teen pregnancy rate. It is this cross-continental, cross-cultural view he plans to take with him as he pursues future steps in his career.

“I want to be remembered for contributing to the health of societies regardless of where they are, or what their weaknesses may be,” Joseph said. “I want to promote health beyond borders.”

Maxwell Roy


"My most memorable experience hands-down has been the past 9 months working with the Washington Ozaukee Health Department. I had the opportunity to assist in the development of a community-focused model to make local municipalities “mental health friendly”. Other than that, submitting the final paper for the Capstone was a surreal experience for me and my family."

Maxwell (Max) will receive his Master of Public Health (MPH). His professional interests include lifestyle-related diseases and mental health. He is interested in opportunities to create systemic change that will enhance the health and well-being of those in our communities.

Pictured: Max and his wife Cetonia and son Xavier


Phoebe Jensen


"I am grateful to have chosen MCW for my medical education because among faculty there is an unmatched culture of support for students. There are too many memorable moments. MCW and Wisconsin will always hold a special place in my heart."

Phoebe will receive her Doctor of Medicine (MD) and begin her internal medicine residency at Tulane University. 





Douglas Bierer


"I really can’t pick a single best MCW moment. The first moment was presenting the culmination of my research done over an academic year and in the SPUR program in Dr. Blake Hill’s lab at the SPUR student presentations. Being able to tell the story of my difficult but rewarding experience in undergraduate research offered at MCW was empowering and endowed me with an interest and passion for mitochondria that I still carry with me.

The second moment would be my feeling sitting in my first class as a Master of Medical Physiology (MMP) student. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to participate in the medical school curriculum and prove myself among the medical students. It was a moment where I wasn’t loathing the too early 8 am lecture, but I was waking up excited to learn and work towards my future goals and passions every day."

Douglas will receive his Master in Medical Physiology (MMP) and will be working at MCW as a Clinical Research Coordinator in addition to applying to medical school this summer. 


Anupriya Dayal


Fourth-year medical student Anupriya Dayal’s upbringing and a horrific accident could easily have dampened her spirits and sent her life in a different direction. Instead, they provided focus and helped define the medical career she has chosen to pursue.

Anupriya was born in New Delhi, India, but immigrated with her family to the Bay area of California when she was seven. Her early years were spent with family members and friends who responded to adversity by pursuing drugs, running away, and joining gangs – decisions that had negative legal and financial consequences.

“I remember in sixth grade, how my friends would discuss which street gangs to join based off of experiences of friends, family and acquaintances,” Anupriya said. “Growing up around this, and around family members who made some troubling decisions, was difficult, but I discovered a coping mechanism is to look for the forest in the trees. I used the opportunity to learn about the system, dissect the intricacies, look for improvement options and assess the feasibility of the solutions.”

From this, Anupriya found her inspiration for health policy making, which she hoped would allow her to “impact thought processes and policy that govern everyday lives of people from all walks of life.”

Then, six and a half years ago, Anupriya was in a major accident that required 18 months of full-time rehabilitation to regain function of her upper body and caused her to struggle with memory loss, vivid dreams/flashbacks and intense pain.

“I realized why some nerve disorders are dubbed ‘suicide diseases,’ Anupriya said. “The pain can be unremitting.”

The experience of this accident, and the care experience that followed, was difficult but also eye-opening to Anupriya.

“I learned what it means to be a patient every day of your life and how healthcare bureaucracies and social epidemics can affect every day living,” Anupriya said. “As a young 20-something showing up in the ER for pain crises, I was always questioned about my pain-seeking behavior before the appropriate care would be given to me in a timely fashion. I was upset that I was constantly questioned about the sincerity of my condition resulting in a delay of care administration.”

It was at this point that Anupriya more clearly defined the direction of her medical career and decided to pursue pain management health advocacy.

“I started my pain management advocacy by wanting to deconstruct the thought process surrounding pain seekers because of how some studies show that the majority of pain complaints are real; however, it was not until medical school I realized the facts of the extent of the opioid epidemic such as deaths exceeding those of car accidents.”

Anupriya’s first foray into pain management health policy was as a member of the Wisconsin Medical Society Opioid Task Force, which she joined her second year of medical school. In this role, she was in the unique position to provide a voice for both trainees and patients and contributed to efforts at the state and federal level.   

Anupriya applied to MCW for her MD because of a recommendation of a friend who attended, but also because she still had limited mobility while applying, and MCW was the only school that offered her the chance to enter full time rehab and come back to continue school at her own pace.

“Attending MCW was a wise decision,” Anupriya said. “The administrators know every student by name. The technology use cannot get any better. Also, I am grateful for instances such as accommodation to take my Pharmacology exam, which was hand written instead of multiple choice. Because I had not regained dexterity of my dominant hand, I needed to write those tests with my left hand. I also benefited from very understanding administration when it came to dexterity-intense rotations such as surgery and OBGYN.”

The next step in her maturation as a physician is her residency. Anupriya is matched in radiation oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. She is excited that she will be given a year off at the end of her residency to pursue her passion of pain management health advocacy such as at a government agency in Washington, D.C. She also plans to pursue her MBA.

“If you look at me now, you would never be able to tell that I was in an accident, so I am grateful for recovering in the best way possible from the worst case scenario of an accident, especially considering how many people die or become paraplegic, hemiplegic or quadriplegic,” Anupriya said. “I hope to continue advocating for those who have been in accidents and are not as fortunate as I have been, and for those with unremitting pain."