BGE Graduates Receive Diplomas, Marking Thousands of Hours of Work

Posted in GUMC Stories

MAY 18, 2015—Collectively, it took the 250 students in the Biomedical Graduate Education (BGE) master’s program about 25,000 hours of work to complete their graduate degrees.

That’s according to Georgetown University Medical Center Dean for Research Robert Clarke, PhD, DSc (new window), who was among the first to congratulate the BGE students gathered at the Georgetown University Conference Center May 15 for a diploma ceremony.

BGE encompasses 26 degree-granting MS and/or PhD programs in fields such as biochemistry and molecular biology, biotechnology, pharmacology, tumor biology and complementary and alternative medicine. There’s also a Special Master’s Program in physiology. About 200 graduating students in the PhD program received their diplomas at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences commencement (new window)earlier in the day.

Professions that Serve Others

John Monahan (new window), senior advisor for global health to the Georgetown University President, delivered the keynote address.

“Despite the diversity of the 15 masters programs represented here today, they all share the initiative of using science to improve human health,” said Monahan. “It speaks to a meaning that reaches beyond your personal achievements and resonates powerfully with Georgetown’s Jesuit heritage. It reflects professions that aim to provide service to others.”

Monahan “broke the news” to the students that “there is no perfect job,” but encouraged them to look for meaningful work that allows them to pursue their passions, while always keeping service in mind. He ended by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”

Research is Personal

Student speaker Melanie E. Mendez, a graduate of the tumor biology masters program, reflected on how Georgetown has helped her move toward achieving her dream of being a cancer researcher.

“I think for many of us, research isn’t just a career goal. It’s a personal goal too,” said Mendez, “For me, it started when I lost my best friend at the age of eight.”

Mendez lost her young friend to cancer and, later in life, she watched her mother and a close friend battle breast cancer.

“We dedicate our lives to help others. We’re all here because we want the quality of our lives, and the world around us to be better,” said Mendez. “I’ve learned a lot at Georgetown: Ask questions. Think critically and creatively. Never limit yourself to what you’re comfortable with. Intelligence is valuable and should never be feared or discarded. Never stop wanting to learn more.”

By Leigh Ann Renzulli
GUMC Communications