Devora Sara Gelbfish Named Valedictorian of Lander College of Arts & Sciences
New York, N.Y. – Devora Sara Gelbfish of Brooklyn, N.Y. was named the 2013 valedictorian of the women’s division of the Lander College of Arts & Sciences in Flatbush (LAS) and was the student speaker at the Lander College commencement at Avery Fisher Hall, held on May 26th.
“Devora Sara is an outstanding student who has a promising future in the field of health sciences,” said Robert Goldschmidt, dean of LAS and the vice president for planning and assessment of Touro College. “Empathetic and compassionate, Devora Sara has the personality traits essential for a caring medical professional to treat patients with dignity and respect.”
After spending a year studying at the Bnos Chava Seminary in Israel, Gelbfish came to LAS in 2010 and majored in biology while minoring in management and marketing. She graduated with a 4.0 grade point average, was the recipient of the Lander Merit Scholarship and the Biology Award, is a member of the National History Honors Society, Phi Alpha Theta, and made Dean’s List every semester. In addition, she was published in both the 2012 “Touro Accounting and Business Journal” and the 2013 “Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts & Sciences.”
In her commencement address, Gelbfish told her fellow graduates that, as history and Tanach demonstrate, the world is changed through seemingly minor actions, not grand gestures.
“My hope is that I take advantage of these opportunities, and I believe that you will do the same, wherever your professional paths may lead you,” Gelbfish said. “Remember: It is the small things that make a person great.”
In July Gelbfish will enroll in the prestigious Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital master’s program in physician assistant studies. The experience will not be entirely unfamiliar to her; Gelbfish has worked in her father’s cardiology practice since her junior year in high school at Bais Yaakov D’Rav Meir. In addition to administrative work, Gelbfish filled in as a medical assistant when the office was short-staffed, administering electrocardiograms (EKGs) and attaching Holter monitors to patients, as well as preparing them to see the doctors.
“I have always been interested in science.” she said. “Working in my father’s office solidified my interest to seek a career in the field of medicine.”
Geblfish volunteered at New York-Presbyterian Hospital for the spring semester of 2012 and was able to observe the physician assistants in action.
“I knew that I wanted to become a PA when I saw how much independence PAs actually have in the care of their patients, as well as the incredible opportunities they have to positively impact their lives,” she said.
Dr. Alan B. Levine, a professor of biology at LAS who oversaw Gelbfish’s independent study for a course on infectious diseases, said that Gelbfish was a “delight” to teach.
“Devora Sara is bright and articulate and an excellent student,” he said. “Any professor would be fortunate to have Devora Sara in his or her class.”
Gelbfish is the fourth of eight children. Her oldest brother graduated from the men’s division of LAS last year and is now a student at Touro’s Graduate School of Social Work.