USF-Lehigh Valley campus faculty recognized for selflessness

Two faculty members supporting student affairs for the USF-Lehigh Valley campus were awarded a Service Star for their support and compassion to three USF Health Morsani College of Medicine students who lost their homes in an apartment complex fire in Allentown, PA.

Michael LaRock, MD, assistant dean of Student Affairs for the USF-Lehigh Valley campus, and Kelliann Herman, MBA, senior specialist for Student Affairs at the campus, were instrumental for the students’ recovery from the damage and ensuring their basic needs were met by raising funds. They also worked on behalf of the students by maintaining communication to the main USF campus in Tampa. The three students are part of the SELECT MD program in the Morsani College of Medicine and spend their first two years of medical school on the USF Campus in Tampa and the third and fourth years in Lehigh Valley Health Network, in Allentown.

“The response from Dr. La Rock and Ms. Herman made me feel like I had people I could count on,” said Ariel Penaranda, a fourth-­­­year SELECT student who was affected by the fire. “They are so committed to their students. I will always be grateful for their compassion and generosity. Someday, I hope I can take care of someone in need the same way they’ve taken care of me,”

Service Star is a program to recognize employees who consistently exceed the Lehigh Valley PRIDE service standards. The Reward and Recognition Committee members select the monthly Service Star recipients from the nominations received.

“It was such an honor to be nominated, let alone receive this award for doing what I consider is what we sign up for when working with our SELECT medical students,” Herman said. “It’s gratifying to provide assistance to our students whenever and however needed.”