Four Alumni Celebrated for Their Accomplishments

Four Wayland Alumni were recognized by the Academy and celebrated by nearly 200 of their peers on Saturday evening October 13 during the All Alumni Dinner.
Four Wayland Alumni were recognized by the Academy and celebrated by nearly 200 of their peers on Saturday evening October 13 during the All Alumni Dinner.
Director of Advancement Judy Hill H`08 and Head of School Joseph Lennertz H`86 presided over the awards ceremony at the conclusion of the dinner. Two Young Alumni Awards were presented. The award acknowledges those who have made an outstanding impact within ten years of their Wayland graduation. The first recipient of this year’s Young Alumni Award is Walter Burtis `08. Burtis spent his four years at Wayland making others laugh and distinguishing himself through hard work as the winner of the Board of Trustees and Weimar K. Hicks Achievement awards. He attended University of Northern Iowa, and then decided to follow his passion for cooking by studying at Le Cordon Bleu. Burtis has given back to Wayland in two ways – as a member of the Alumni Board, and as a partner to Chef Richard in the Wayland dining hall as a member of the Sodexo kitchen team. His return to Wayland in the kitchen cemented his fondness for and service to the school. While he has gone on to open his own restaurant, The Brass Tap in Cedar Falls Iowa, he remains a familiar face on campus, returning for reunions each year and volunteering his time and skills at the Spring Gala and Auction. The second recipient of the Young Alumni Award is known for her positive energy and generous spirit, her drive in academic and professional life and her desire to give back to her community. After four years as a boarding student, Anna January `08 capped off her student years at Wayland by earning the Board of Trustees Award and matriculating to Butler University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies, visual art and museum studies. Her senior year at Butler she received the prestigious Fulbright Award, which she used to pursue a master’s degree in art history from McGill University in Montreal. Following her time teaching and studying at McGill, January returned to Wisconsin and began helping others through nonprofit fundraising at the Madison Children’s Museum and University of Wisconsin, where she is currently the Assistant Director for her desire to give back to her community. After four years as a boarding student, Anna January `08 capped off her student years at Wayland by earning the Board of Trustees Award and matriculating to Butler University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies, visual art and museum studies. Her senior year at Butler she received the prestigious Fulbright Award, which she used to pursue a master’s degree in art history from McGill University in Montreal. Following her time teaching and studying at McGill, January returned to Wisconsin and began helping others through nonprofit fundraising at the Madison Children’s Museum and University of Wisconsin, where she is currently the Assistant Director for 
Of the countless paths to serve one’s fellow man, healing wounds and researching cures through a career in medicine is one with incredible and obvious impact. Out of all the specialties of medicine, there is one that we single out in our everyday vernacular as being especially difficult, requiring extensive study, skill and dedication: brain surgery. Our Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Uzma Samadani `88
grew up in Beaver Dam. She was an outstanding student at Wayland, graduating cum laude and receiving the President’s Award at commencement. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before transferring to University of Illinois at Chicago, where she simultaneously completed both an MD and PhD. She served as a resident at University of Pennsylvania, attending neurosurgeon at Bellevue Hospital in New York, and the Chief of Neurosurgery at the Manhattan Veterans Administration Hospital. 
Currently, she is Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Minnesota, one of only thirty women in the country holding such a position and is the Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair of Traumatic Brain Injury at Hennepin County Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center in Minneapolis. She is the only woman
in America to hold such a chair. While her practice is extremely impressive, including a marathon set of surgeries
– 24 hours over two days to remove a series of tumors from a teenage girl’s spine – her research, particularly into advancing treatments and technologies for concussion, traumatic brain injury, and paralysis, is having an unbelievable impact. Dr. Samadani has been invited to give expert advice to the Food and Drug Administration and White House. She also chairs ThinkFirst, the largest brain injury prevention organization
in the world. Additionally, she founded Oculogica, a company that is bringing diagnostic devices to potential concussion patients. Dr. Samadani was unable to accept the award in person, as she was the keynote speaker at a conference in Chicago. Her sister Rosina Samadani `85 accepted the award on her behalf, noting that her sister would be delighted at the surprise and honor.
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