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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

National AMT recognizes SJVC student and faculty member

August 10, 2015

AMT BowlHawaii provided a beautiful backdrop for this year’s American Medical Technologists four-day July conference that attracted representatives from schools across the nation. It was the perfect venue for SJVC to take center stage and three deep bows for national recognition in front of hundreds of attendees.

Student of the Year Award

Visalia Medical Assisting student Tameira Thomas had been notified previous to the conference that she would receive the national Student of the Year Award. Medical Assisting instructor Sujana De Almeida had nominated Tameira for this honor and both had participated in the nomination process.

In Mrs. De Almeida’s letter to the AMT Board, she highlighted her nominee’s strengths and accomplishments. “Tameira Thomas is a mother, daughter, student, mentor, peer tutor and President of AMTSS (American Medical Technologists Student Society) club on our campus. Tameira is an inspiration to her classmates and AMTSS members. Her role as a leader is unparalleled. I have confidence that Tameira will travel far in the medical field and will uphold the high standards of AMT with integrity and pride.”

Receiving this prestigious award was the perfect culmination of Tameira’s first AMT conference. “It was a huge honor just to be part of AMT at a national level,” says Tameira. “It was a great experience.”

“Having our Medical Assisting student recognized as Student of the Year is really a testament to years and years of great medical assisting training on our campuses,” says Mike Perry, SJVC’s CEO and co-owner, who attended the Awards ceremony and banquet.

Medallion of Merit Award

Sheryl Rounsivill, a revered Medical Assisting instructor on the Fresno campus, has attended 14 AMT conventions since she first got her Registered Medical Assisting certification in 1989. She was the recipient of this year’s Medallion of Merit Award.

“I feel 10 feet tall with everyone congratulating me and hugging me,” says Sheryl. “Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming and a pinch-me moment.”

Sheryl has been a strong influence and leader on campus, as well as in many medical assisting organizations throughout the years. “I have to thank San Joaquin Valley College so much,” she says. Sheryl is a graduate of SJVC’s Medical Assisting program in Fresno. “If I hadn’t taken that first step into those doors back in 1988, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Her feelings of pride and accomplishment are well justified.

“This is the highest award the AMT gives to a Medical Assisting instructor,” says Mr. Perry. “Sheryl has a lot of strength and passion for her students and program, and is a phenomenal regional leader in this association.”

These two awards were particularly meaningful because San Joaquin Valley College’s very first program offered in 1977 was Medical Assisting, and it was taught by Shirley Perry, who co-founded the college with her husband, Robert Perry.

AMT Challenge Bowl

A fairly new addition to this year’s conference is the AMT Challenge Bowl, where several college Medical Assisting program teams compete for the win. Three years ago, Sujana De Almeida, California State Society of American Medical Technologists Board member and legislative Chair, introduced the idea of a competition to attract more schools and students to the conference and to help prepare students for future exams to become Registered Medical Assistants.

“I wanted more students to get a feel for what a national organization in their field is all about,” says Sujana. “It is a wonderful opportunity to earn CEUs (Continuing Education Credits) and to make new friends and connections.”

This year, five colleges were represented by two-person teams that battled it out in three rounds of stiff competition. Questions were based on clinical, administrative and general topics, and each correct answer earned teams 10 points. “It was fast-paced, it was challenging and it was fun for students,” says Sujana. “It was also great preparation for their RMA exam.”

SJVC Visalia was represented by Medical Assisting students Tameira Thomas and Tawna Beaudoin. Sujana accompanied them after spending many months of Saturdays helping SJVC’s team train for the competition.

“We were the only school from California,” says Tameira. She and Tawna made it through the first hurdle of competition and found themselves up against a team from Georgetown, Texas, in the final round. “It was very intense and neck-and-neck all the way,” says Tameira. In the end, SJVC was edged out by one final 10-point question.

SJVC was well represented during the banquet’s Awards presentations, as both Tameira Thomas and Sheryl Rounsivill were called to the stage to accept their distinguished honors.

SJVC’s table offered enthusiastic applause for the accomplishments of their program, staff, faculty and students, reflected in the AMT’s recognition.

Mike Perry could not resist taking a few selfies with SJVC’s two honorees to send to his mother, Shirley Perry, who didn’t mind the 3-hours-later time difference in California. “We were all really proud, but that didn’t come close to the feeling of accomplishment that she had, knowing that her Medical Assisting program has touched so many lives over the years.”

Shirley Perry’s personal and professional legacy will continue to shape people and medical careers so long as communities have the need for well-trained, empathetic and passionate medical professionals.



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