Published: May 24, 2013

Navy medic among 142 new MSU M.D.s

Contact(s): Geri Kelley College of Human Medicine office: (616) 233-1678 cell: (616) 350-7976

For Ashley Mae Walker, May 11 was the final stretch of a very busy and exciting 21 days that began April 20, when she became the wife of Jonathon Walker and stepmother to four-year-old Maddisen. Then on May 11, she became Dr. Walker the pediatrician, graduating from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

But the honors continued. Following the college’s M.D. conferral ceremony, Walker came back on stage, this time as Ensign Walker dressed in her crisp, U.S. Navy summer white uniform. There, she stood at attention while Chief Hospital Corpsman Andre Dalton read her promotion to Lt. Walker in the U.S. Navy. Surrounded by her family, Walker was given her oath of office by Army Maj. Gen. Dean Sienko, College of Human Medicine associate dean for prevention and public health.

Walker’s story was a glimpse of the remarkable experiences and personal stories behind every one of the 142 MSU College of Human Medicine graduates whose medical doctor degrees were conferred by Dean Marsha D. Rappley.

The commencement ceremony included remarks from keynote speaker Claire Pomeroy, dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis, and CEO of UC Davis Health System.

Harvey Sparks, University Distinguished Professor of physiology, received the Lifetime Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. The 2013 Humanism in Medicine Award was presented to Carlos Petrozzi, professor in the Department of Medicine.

Following the ceremony, tears of joy and hugs were shared as the new M.D.s said goodbye to one another as they looked ahead to the next phase of their medical training. Some will stay nearby and others will scatter across the U.S. to begin their residency programs in just weeks.

For Walker and her new family, the next adventure begins in the coming weeks when she begins her pediatric residency at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va.

“I feel blessed to have the incredible opportunity to do what I love in a setting where I can care for our military men and women, and their kids,” she said. "It's been a crazy couple of months, beginning with marrying my best friend. I am so thankful to my friends and family for supporting me through this ride we call med school.”