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Katz School Confers 278 Degrees, Honors First PA Graduates at 8th Commencement

Katz School graduates capturing the moment.

The Katz School of Science and Health conferred 260 master’s and 18 doctoral degrees and recognized its first M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies graduates at its eighth commencement ceremony on May 16.  


During the ceremony in Yeshiva University’s Lamport Auditorium, Dean Paul Russo lauded the graduates as values-driven leaders who stand for truth reflected in their scholarship and practice, champions of a life built on humane values and compassionate practitioners.  


“Each of you brings a unique sense of purpose to the Katz School,” he said. “You are compassionate practitioners who bring your know-how in science, technology and health to transform our world for the better.”


Anthony Pagan, who graduated with an M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies, gave the student address.

A graduating student from each program was recognized for academic excellence. They are: Samuel Akingbade (Ph.D., Mathematics)Ashish Bachuwar (M.S., Data Analytics and Visualization); Sejal Bhutani (M.S., Digital Marketing and Media); Gianaliz Cancel Garcia (M.S., Cybersecurity)Moshe Gordon (M.A., Physics)Rachel Horwitz (M.S., Speech-Language Pathology)Brynna Kaplan (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)Sayanto Pal (M.S., Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship); and Sheng-Han Yueh (M.S., Artificial Intelligence).


A special honor was reserved for Aishwarya Rajendra Deshmane. Deshmane, who passed away this spring, was posthumously awarded an M.S. in Data Analytics and Visualization. Rana Khan, director of the M.S. in Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship, called her a “cherished member of the Katz School family and a stellar student.” Deshmane’s husband, Parth Bhivate, received the diploma on her behalf. 


In his student address, Anthony Pagan, who graduated with an M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies, thanked the faculty for their “wisdom and encouragement” and emphasis on treating the patient, “not just the labs,” which has been a guiding principle in his practice. To his classmates, he said that he was proud to have been part of a “remarkable cohort” that participated in groundbreaking research and compassionate patient care.   


Dean Paul Russo greeting graduates during the procession.

“Through our education, our training and our commitment, we’ve dedicated ourselves to the proposition that people have inherent dignity and worth,” said Pagan. “That is the challenge before us today as we join the real world. In whatever health care or business setting we choose, it will be vitally important to remind ourselves every day that it is our obligation to challenge the status quo denying that dignity. To be worthy of the Yeshiva University mission to bring wisdom to life.”   


Jesus Olivera ’22, who holds an M.S. in Data Analytics and Visualization and is president of the Katz School’s Graduate Alumni Association, credited the Katz School with helping him fulfill a dream that he had when he immigrated from Puerto Rico in 2012. Now an AI engineer at IBM, Olivera  said he wants the alumni association to extend the same welcoming hand to the school’s newest alumni, whom he encouraged to stay connected. 


Jesus Olivera, president of the Katz School Graduate Alumni Association, welcomed newly minted graduates.

“Our vision is simple but powerful,” he said. “Build a vibrant and engaged alumni community that continues to support and uplift one another long after we have left these hallowed halls. Because the true measure of our success is not just in what we achieve individually, but in how we lift others as we rise.” 


Before the degrees were conferred, President Ari Berman encouraged the graduates to persevere through a time of “deep disruption” by renewing their pledge to the values of Yeshiva University to create a better world in a spirit of compassion and kindness. 


“When I think of the Katz School and its mission of making the world smarter safer and healthier, my mind turns to the beginning of the world and how it was built,” he said. “In the Jewish tradition, the most fundamental way that we imitate God in our lives is by using our creative talents and skills to innovate and create as God did, which is the spirit in which so much of what the Katz School does to improve our world.”