Story by PO1 Laura Myers on 08/28/2019PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Aug. 27, 2019) Naval Medical Center Portsmouth held a graduation ceremony for the Psychology Intern class of 2019, Aug. 27.
The six graduates, Lt. Jared Bollinger, Lt. Amber Hekler, Lt. Viktor Koltko, Lt. Michael Lombardi, Lt. Julia von Heeringen, and Lt. Kendall Moore received certificates marking their graduation from the year-long, rigorous American Psychological Association-accredited training program.
"What I appreciate is the confidence and professionalism you all showed this year," said Cmdr. Michael Franks, Psychology Training Program director. "This is a very fast-paced, dynamic training program. It is very much a sprint versus some of the other programs, and we jam a whole lot into one year."
Capt. Carolyn Rice, NMCP's executive officer, spoke at the graduation and offered the graduates some sage advice.
"While it feels like you only have two bars, the amount of education, the amount of training you have and the amount of leadership you're going to be able to do is going to be astounding," Rice said. "Before you know it, you could be back here leading others and teaching this program."
Von Heeringen spoke on behalf of the graduating class.
"This program is very interesting, it's just one year, but so much of our training is packed in to those 12 months we spent together," von Heeringen said. "We've grown from the most junior officers in the psychology community to the newest psychologists in the fleet in a span of just 12 months. As we move on to our next commands, we have the opportunity to be the people to pass on great patient care, great leadership and the care and compassion for one another."
Future duty stations for the six graduates include Naval Hospital Pensacola, Florida; Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune and Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point.
"I want to say thank you to our fantastic training directors, without you two, our accomplishments this year would not have been possible," von Heeringen added.
As the U. S. Navy's oldest, continuously-operating hospital since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The nationally acclaimed, state-of-the-art medical center, including its ten branch and TRICARE Prime clinics, serves the Hampton Roads area, and additionally offers premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen for future roles in healing and wellness.