Grenada Class of 2017 Encouraged to Climb From “Good to Great”

With an excellent education under their wings, sound advice to lean on and the world before them, greatness is within reach for the St. George’s University Class of 2017.

Such was explained by those who addressed the more than 300 graduates at this month’s commencement ceremony in Grenada, including an SGU alumnus who once stood in the graduates’ shoes. Joel Jack, BSc SGU ’03, an Assemblyman of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the Keynote Speaker for the evening, implored his fellow alumni to find their passion, prepare for change, and embrace the future, citing Jim Collins’ inspirational book, “Good to Great.”

“When what you are deeply passionate about and what drives your economic engine come together, not only does your work move towards greatness but so too does your life,” said Mr. Jack, Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance and the Economy of THA. “For in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life.”

Blossom Philbert, 2017 SAS Valedictorian

Joining him in the family of SGU alumni were graduates representing 33 countries across the globe. The 2017 class included nearly 150 students from the School of Arts and Sciences and more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies. In addition, medical doctorates were conferred on 65 Caribbean graduates, with one new Grenadian veterinarian in attendance. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

In her address to the crowd, valedictorian Blossom Philbert, BSc ’17, also quoted Collins, saying “greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is a matter of conscious choice.” She went on to compare life to that of a book, but unlike the chapters of their textbooks, they could not flip forward to see how many more pages were left.

“My next chapter might last four years, whereas the person sitting next to me might write six chapters in four years,” Ms. Philbert said. “It matters not as along as those chapters are representative of the journey that leads to a life full of greatness, which will ultimately give a pleasant read when we flip back through its pages.”

Among the degrees conferred by the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Trevor Noel became the fifth student — and first Grenadian—to earn his Doctor of Philosophy at SGU. Dr. Noel was simultaneously inducted into the Gamma Kappa Chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society for his extraordinary service to public health and invaluable contributions to the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF).

Dr. Rudi Webster

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Rudi Webster with its Distinguished Service Award for his work spanning the fields of medicine, sports, diplomacy, and politics. Dr. Webster was instrumental in establishing the Shell Cricket Academy at SGU, where he served as Academy Director – an endeavor which signified that SGU was not just a medical school but much more. Several of SGU’s Shell Academy graduates went on to play for the West Indies cricket team, including Darren Sammy, who captained the team to two consecutive T20 World Cups.

“To this year’s graduates, all that you have achieved so far shows what you have learned and what you have done,” stated Dr. Webster. “However, it does not reflect what you can learn, and what you can become. That should be your focus now.”

“Many of us in the Caribbean believe that we are not good enough and that something is missing. This is incredible because the secret to our success already lies within us—it’s called self-acceptance. That was the secret of the West Indies Cricket team’s 15 years of success,” added Dr. Webster. “Self-acceptance is going to be the key to your success and it differs from self-confidence. Although your self-confidence may fluctuate depending on your success or failure, self-acceptance means you value yourself as a worthwhile human being regardless of if you succeed or you fail. We in the Caribbean are just as smart and have just as much talent as anyone else in the world, and I have proven that.”

St. George’s University Mourns Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior

Ernest Jackson Lawson Soulsby, Baron Soulsby of Swaffham Prior passed away on Monday at his home in Swaffham Prior. As the former President of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation, former Chairman of the UK Board of Trustees for WINDREF, and a 20-year member of the Academic Board, he leaves behind a noteworthy legacy at St. George’s University. His remarkable career spanned five decades, during which he made significant contributions to veterinary and human medicine, global public health, parasitology, immunology, and zoonosis through his teaching, inspiring leadership, and scholarly contributions.

“Lord Soulsby’s contributions to WINDREF and St. George’s University leave an incredible legacy, but it is in his contributions to global health and education that his legacy will most endure,” said Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and Director of Research at St. George’s University, and Vice President and Director of WINDREF. “He will be missed by the many students and others who have met him as well as by the thousands who have relied upon his many publications, textbooks, and edited volumes in conducting their own research. His legacy in One Health One Medicine is indelible and his contributions will be missed.”

A distinguished microbiologist and parasitologist, and a leader in the US and UK worlds of veterinary medicine, Lord Soulsby was the first veterinary surgeon raised to the peerage in the United Kingdom.

He advised the UK government on animal welfare, science and technology, biotechnology, and environmental issues. He was President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Royal Society of Medicine, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, the Royal Institute of Public Health, and the Royal Society for Public Health. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Biology, the Royal College of Pathologists, the Royal Society for Public Health, the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

His career included positions as Professor of Parasitology at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Animal Pathology at the University of Cambridge, where he was Dean for several years. Earlier, Lord Soulsby was in general veterinary practice in the north of England, a Veterinary Officer for the City of Edinburgh, and a lecturer in clinical parasitology at the University of Bristol. He was an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an Emeritus Professor of the University of Cambridge.

Lord Soulsby was also a Visiting Professor at various universities in Europe, the Far East, South America, and the United States. He is an honorary member of numerous international parasitology societies and has been awarded nine honorary degrees and several awards for his research. He published 14 books, as well as many articles in various veterinary and parasitological journals.

In 2015, the RCVS awarded him the Queen’s Medal, its highest award for services to veterinary medicine. His global experience provided an incredible resource for international agencies and he served as an advisor and consultant to World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, Pan American Health Organization, United Nations Development Program, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Department for International Development, and to numerous governments and universities.

Lord Soulsby is survived by his daughter, Katrina, and his granddaughter, Kananu. His service will be held at the Church of St. Mary, Swaffham Prior, at 2:00 pm local time on Wednesday, May 24. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Soulsby Foundation.

St. George’s University Partners with Canadore College to Offer Unique Biology Program

NORTH BAY, ONTARIO, CANADA and GRENADA, WEST INDIES (May 8) — Canadore College has entered a partnership that will enable qualified Canadore graduates to earn their Bachelor of Science degree at St. George’s University in marine, wildlife, and conservation biology.

“We are excited to offer Canadore students the chance to study biology in a unique setting, at our campus in the Caribbean,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “Our program will equip them with the tools they need to thrive in careers in the life sciences and conservation.”

In order to qualify for the St. George’s program, Canadore graduates must have excellent academic records and a passion for marine and wildlife conservation. They can apply after completing their first two years of undergraduate study and receiving their Environmental Technician – Protection and Compliance diplomas. Admitted students complete the last two years of their education at SGU and earn a Bachelor of Science.

Students will focus on issues related to climate change, water conservation, and sustainability. SGU’s location will offer them ample opportunity to conduct groundbreaking field work in disciplines like marine biology, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, and conservation. They’ll also have access to research partners at Grenada’s Fisheries Division, the Marine Protected Areas Program, and the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation, the on-campus research institute developed with the goal of advancing health and environmental development through research and education programs.

“This is a tremendous academic pathway for our graduates,” said Derek Erickson, Professor in Canadore College’s School of Environmental Studies and Biotechnology. “St. George’s approach to personalizing education and their integration of experiential learning opportunities, in the natural Caribbean environment, are truly unique and invaluable.”

St. George’s University maintains academic partnerships with dozens of educational institutions in 13 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

“SGU is committed to educating the next generation of leaders in health and the sciences from a global perspective,” said Dr. Olds. “We look forward to welcoming Canadore’s best and brightest to our campus for many years to come.”

St. George’s University Names CVS Health Executive Vice President Dr. Andrew Sussman as New CEO

GRENADA (May 3) — Today, St. George’s University named Andrew J. Sussman, MD, a physician with a long and distinguished career at some of the top hospitals, universities, and healthcare companies in the United States, as its new Chief Executive Officer.

“For 40 years, St. George’s University has transformed promising students into outstanding doctors committed to addressing the healthcare needs of people all over the world, especially those in underserved communities,” said Sussman. “I look forward to working with the entire St. George’s University team to continue to fulfill this important and inspiring mission.”

Sussman will lead all executive functions of the University, with a particular focus on expanding educational opportunities, programs, and support for students; forging clinical partnerships with hospital systems; and increasing the University’s reach internationally. Dr. G. Richard Olds will continue in his role as President of St. George’s University, and report to Dr. Sussman.

Sussman was most recently Executive Vice President of Clinical Services at CVS Health, the largest pharmacy care provider in the United States. Previously, he led the development and growth of CVS MinuteClinic, the largest walk-in clinic provider in the United States, with more than 1,100 locations. Under his leadership, CVS MinuteClinic established collaborative affiliations with more than 75 major hospital systems across the United States.

Before his career at CVS Health, Sussman was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer at UMass Memorial Medical Center, the major teaching affiliate of UMass Medical School. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UMass Medical School.

Prior to his work at UMass, Sussman served as Chief Medical Officer of the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization, consisting of 800 teaching faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He began his academic career at Harvard Medical School, first as Instructor and then as Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Sussman is a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Boston University Questrom School of Business. He is a board-certified internist and primary care physician.

“We are thrilled to have Andy join St. George’s University as CEO,” said Charles Modica, the Founder and Chancellor of the University. “His record of leadership and achievement in health care is remarkable, and I know that he’ll position the University for sustained excellence over our next 40 years.”

Social Media Impact and Mixed Reality Explored at St. George’s University’s First-Ever Tech Day

The Educational Computing Team (ECT) at St. George’s University launched the Spring 2017 Series of its Teaching with Technology Tuesdays (TwTT) with its first-ever Tech Day on March 10, 2017 at Allen Pensick Hall. With the theme “Innovative Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning,” Tech Day centered on social media and video in education, 3D technologies, and the use of augmented/mixed reality in medical education.

“Tech Day provides an opportunity for participants to actually see, touch and play in what we call our sandbox,” explained Shereene Twum-Barimah, Educational Technology Specialist. “At our past TwTT launches and workshops, our audience expressed an interest in interacting directly with the various technologies our presenters were showcasing. With our introduction of Tech Day, everyone now has a chance to physically connect with a variety of different technologies on display before them, including 3D printing and several virtual and augmented reality devices.”

With the prevalence of mobile devices, students are learning anywhere and everywhere. According to Ms. Twum-Barimah, teachers all over the world can easily record their lectures and lessons and make them available for students to consume on multiple platforms and non-traditional classroom environments. As a result, students can come prepared to have more meaningful discussions in the classroom with their instructors and peers. Technology has been modifying and redefining the face of education for years now and is getting even more innovative. The classroom is no longer defined by the walls the students are sitting within. Today’s students will now need the knowledge and skills to navigate these new learning environments.

In his presentation, “Using Augmented/Mixed Reality for Medical Education,” guest speaker Ted Dinsmore, Business Technologist and Co-Founder of SphereGen in Connecticut, focused on the evolving work in applying technology to learning in the medical education arena. He covered the basics of understanding what is virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, and how it is used throughout life currently and what the future of this technology looks like. Additionally, Mr. Dinsmore discussed how medical schools are using this technology and how it is being used in hospitals by doctors from surgery to collaboration boards. Lastly, attendees were given a demonstration of how the anatomy of a heart can be taught using a mixed reality device with the assistance of Dr. Mark Clunes, Assistant Dean of Basic Sciences.

“My presentation is all about getting people to try out the new technology. If you’ve played Pokémon Go, you’ve used augmented reality,” stated Mr. Dinsmore. “We live in a physical world, but today’s kids and students live in a virtual world in that game where they’re enjoying that experience of being in their environment. So when we overlay the virtual world over the physical world, that is what we call augmented reality.

“Mixed reality is the blending of physical reality with a virtual program, a see-through effect which can be achieved through the use of many different devices on the market today,” added Mr. Dinsmore. “Movies such as ‘Minority Report’ were designed off of this technology. And now the profits from these movies are funding a lot of this technology today. One such device, the HoloLens, provides an untethered full physical PC on your head with all the technology you need in one unit.”

In addition to his more than 20 years in the field, Mr. Dinsmore’s company has developed mobile and web-based applications for SGU. He is also the co-author of the book “Partnering with Microsoft.” Other Tech Day presentations featured were “Video in Education” by rich media team members Dari Twum-Barimah and Kellidon Niles, and “3D Technologies” by Jessica Holland and Wes Price; Alyssa Bierzynski, an Instructor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, also gave a lively presentation on Social Media in Education, illustrating how easy it is to enhance the learning experience by incorporating elements of social media into the classroom.

“For more and more of our students, virtual reality is becoming the only reality they know,” said Ms. Bierzynski. “Many of today’s students have no idea what it was like to go to an encyclopedia for information. For today’s students, their source of information is Google.”

St. George’s University Educational Computing Team is committed to providing quality training and support to the faculty, staff and students at the University. Tasked with improving methods of teaching and learning at SGU, it promotes greater utilization of cutting-edge technology, so that the highest quality of education can be provided to the students that attend this institution.

School of Arts and Sciences Welcomes New Class of Nursing Students at Spring 2017 Nursing Induction Ceremony

Aspiring nurses were recently inducted into St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program, and marking their entry into the profession were presented with lamps as a symbol of the care and devotion administered by nurses around the world.

“You are about to enter a profession that is held in high regard across the globe. Take all of the opportunities that are open to you. It may seem a long journey but embrace it. You’ve done a lot of work to even sit here at the start of this journey,” praised Master of Ceremonies, Mrs. Jennifer Solomon, RN and Chair and Director, Nursing and Allied Health, SGU.”

In addition to being welcomed into the School of Arts and Sciences by Acting Dean, Dr. John Swartz, the incoming class was also greeted by recently appointed Provost of SGU, Dr. Joseph Childers. “I want to congratulate all of you on your personal and professional choice,” commended Dr. Childers.  “As nurses, you will be the first line of care for patients. You will be that connection between the doctor and the patient. That is an extraordinary responsibility and I congratulate you on choosing this career and taking on that responsibility.”

Mrs. Hazelene Benjamin, Acting Director of Nursing Services, General Hospital, Grenada and the keynote speaker, focused on the evolving roles of nurses and the challenges of a diverse, complex health care system.

“Over the years, nursing has become more complex in ways that could not have been imagined a generation ago. Now there is an imperative to not just be great caregivers, but great innovators too. Nursing is now a profession for the intellectually curious, the life-long learner, the caring enthusiast, and the innovative advocate,” stated Mrs. Benjamin.

“Today nurses are not only empowered to face the associated health care challenges, but are better prepared and able to play a significant role in the transformation of health care systems nationally, regionally, and internationally.”

“As future nurses, today marks the beginning of your journey into the beautiful, exciting and rewarding career of service filled with wonderful opportunities and possibilities. The sky is the limit,” promised Mrs. Benjamin. “Your attitude will determine your altitude of success. Go light your candle of service, go light your world,  and be an outstanding trailblazer.”

About St. George’s University Nursing Program

Uniquely structured, the Nursing Program at St. George’s provides an opportunity for students to be taught by professors from both the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as visiting professors from outside of Grenada. In addition, student nurse training experiences will include working at the Grenada General Hospital, lab work at SGU’s Simulation Center, and community-based learning opportunities. At the end of training, and with the completion of regional and international licensing exams, successful students will become fully fledged Registered Nurses as approved by the Caribbean Nursing Council.

SAS Alum Outlines Coral Reef Restoration Program During Prince Harry Visit to Grenada

An alumnus of St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences was part of a day-long welcoming party for Prince Henry of Wales – Prince Harry – during his visit to Grenada on November 28.

For a glass-bottomed boat tour in Grand Anse Bay, His Royal Highness was accompanied by Kerricia Hobson, BSc SGU ’08, Project Manager in the Environment Division in Grenada’s Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, and the Environment. One of few individuals aboard the charter boat, Ms. Hobson explained the Grenada Coastal Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) Project, which is designed to reinforce deteriorating reef structures in Grenada and Carriacou through the creation and maintenance of coral nurseries.

She and Prince Harry observed five of the program’s divers, or “gardeners,” assess and clean the nurseries, tasks that will have many long-term environmental and sociological benefits to Grenada.

“Prince Harry was impressed and pledged to be a voice to help raise awareness about the importance of coral reefs,” Ms. Hobson said. “Coral reefs produce the sand on our beautiful beaches, and they’re also important for our tourism and fisheries industries. To restore them, coastal ecosystems have proven to be less costly to implement and a better fit than hard infrastructures such as seawalls.”

The EBA program is run jointly with the Government of Grenada and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and is the first such project in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Since the program’s launch last year, EBA Project personnel, including another SGU grad, Leyana Romain, BSc SGU ’14, have constructed and overseen two nurseries off the coasts of Grenada and Carriacou. As a result of their efforts, nearly 2,000 reef fragments have matured and been installed on existing structures. Ms. Hobson and Ms. Romain are seeking additional funding that will allow them to reach their goal of planting upward of 10,000 fragments in the next 3-5 years.

Following his visit, His Royal Highness left a note that read, “Globally, 75% of coral reefs are under threat from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and acidification of the sea due to climate change. It is fantastic to see Grenada doing their bit for their surrounding ocean and coral reefs. We must protect the things that give us so much.”

Ms. Hobson described her conversation with Prince Harry as surreal. “He asked a number of questions and showed that he’s knowledgeable about our work and the issue of coastal preservation,” Ms. Hobson said. “For a while, I forgot that I was talking to His Royal Highness. He didn’t act like he was royalty; he acted like a person who was genuinely interested in the work we were doing.”

Jason Roberts, awarded an honorary doctorate from SGU in May 2016, meets with Prince Harry at Queens Park, Grenada.

Jason Roberts, awarded an honorary doctorate from SGU in May 2016, meets with Prince Harry at Queens Park, Grenada.

Prince Harry represented Queen Elizabeth II in his visit to Grenada, which included a royal welcome at Maurice Bishop International Airport, as well as sporting events at Queens Park Grounds. Prince Harry visited with members of the Jason Roberts Foundation, who launched the Youth in Action initiative to help improve the wellbeing and lifestyle of Grenada youth. Mr. Roberts, a former Premier League and Grenada National Team football player, was honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by SGU’s School of Graduate Studies in May 2016 for his longtime work on behalf of disabled children in Grenada through the Foundation.

Prince Harry’s visit was part of a 15-day tour of the Caribbean that also included stops in Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, Guyana, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Published 12/6/2016

St. George’s University Alumnus Awarded Full-Tuition Commonwealth Scholarship

Kishon Francis, a 2015 graduate of St. George’s University’s School of Arts and Sciences, has received a full-tuition Commonwealth scholarship to pursue a Master of Science in computer communication networks at Brunel University in London. The scholarship covers all expenses associated with the one-year program, including Mr. Francis’ tuition, accommodation, meals, and general living expenses.

Kishon Francis joined by his sister, Kinda Francis.

Kishon Francis joined by his sister, Kinda Francis.

Mr. Francis obtained a Bachelor of Science in information technology from SGU. He began his studies at Brunel in September, and is one of two Grenadians to receive this academic scholarship this year.

“I feel like I’m on top of the world,” said Mr. Francis. “This scholarship is one of the most difficult Commonwealth scholarships to obtain, and it feels great to be selected from among so many qualified candidates.”

“Not only are Commonwealth scholarships prestigious, but the kind of Commonwealth scholarship Mr. Francis has been awarded is very rare, with a highly competitive application process. This is testimony to the quality of education he received from SGU,” added Mr. Colin Dowe, Assistant Dean of Enrolment Planning at SGU. “We are extremely proud of him. This is a fantastic honor and one worthy of commendation and celebration.”

The Commonwealth scholarship aims to support advancement in developing Commonwealth nations. Recipients not only have shown academic excellence but also the strong potential to create a significant impact in their home countries.

As an assistant lecturer at the T.A. Marryshow Community College, Mr. Francis has always been passionate about sharing with his students more than mere knowledge of the field, going beyond the curriculum to help them convert their knowledge into high performance and success in the workplace. After earning his network-engineering-focused Master of Science, he hopes to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in software engineering and return to Grenada to fulfill his vision.

“My goal and dream is to use the education I receive to launch a company which will help make technology in Grenada seamless, up-to-date, and on par with international standards,” Mr. Francis said.

Published on 10/6/16

Future Leaders Celebrate at Annual Grenada Commencement Ceremony

Nearly 400 students from 32 countries congregated at Patrick Adams Hall on May 14 for the annual Commencement Ceremony in Grenada. While they have different backgrounds and come from all over the world, the students from all four SGU schools leave the University well equipped to serve as future leaders of their communities.

sas-commencement

In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 190 undergraduate degrees were conferred and included Bachelors of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). Degrees were also conferred on over 80 School of Graduate Studies students from, 86 students from the School of Medicine, and one DVM graduate who joined the Grenada graduation. The remaining SOM and SVM 2016 classes will graduate at Lincoln Center in New York City next month.

“Go forth and lead. We’re expecting great things from you.” That was the message from keynote speaker, Mr. Jason Roberts MBE, former UK Premier League and international football striker. Mr. Roberts founded the Jason Roberts Foundation in 2007 as his family’s way of giving something back to society through sport, with the aim of supporting young people, celebrating diversity, and promoting respect across communities.

“The skills, knowledge and influence that you have acquired and will continue to acquire through your careers will have a great bearing not just on your own life but on the lives of others,” said Mr. Roberts. “I believe in the power of education and the value it brings to people’s lives. And unlike sport, your education is truly yours. You’ve earned it. And it will serve you for the remainder of your career and lives.”

In closing, he told the graduates that they “can change the world, and if your success can be measured by the impact of your work and the benefit you gave to society, then SGU, Grenada, the Caribbean, and the world will benefit.”

School of Arts and Sciences salutatorian Raluchukwu Attah reminded her fellow graduates that “the single most important tool you need to succeed is self confidence. Be confident in your abilities and avoid comparing your achievements to others. Rest assured that with determination, perseverance, and focus you will surely triumph.”

In addition to being keynote speaker, Mr. Roberts also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. George’s University, along with fellow recipients Marion Greasley-Pierre, Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Home and creator of the SGU MD student orphanage interaction program; and Bertha Pitt-Bonaparte, a well-respected and valued member of the SGU community who formed the SGU Chorale, which provides a platform for different groups with mutual passions for singing to come together in concert.

St. George’s University’s Gamma Kappa Chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society also welcomed two surprise inductees at this year’s ceremony. Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor, and Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, were inducted as honorary members for their local and global service in the area of public health. The Honor Society has inducted exemplary graduates and distinguished individuals since its establishment in 2012.

From SGU To WashU—SGU Alumnus Wins PhD Scholarship at Top Science Program

St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences graduate Gervette Penny has been awarded a full PhD scholarship to Washington University, one of the top science and research institutions in the US. Ms. Penny, who is one of only 80 students selected, will begin her studies in August in molecular genetics and genomics, an area that draws over 1,200 applications each year to the St. Louis-based institution.

Gervette Penny

“While I am sad to leave the home that I have found at St. George’s University, I believe that God has blessed me with a life-changing opportunity, and I am excited to begin a new chapter in my pursuit of a career as a scientist,” she said.

Becoming a scientist and studying genetics has long been her dream. Ms. Penny’s pursuit began formally when she matriculated to SGU as a life sciences student in 2007. After graduating in 2010, she became a Supplemental Learning Demonstrator in theDepartment of Educational Services, where her main role has been to conduct collaborative review groups in molecular biology and microbiology, and assist with the training of student facilitators and clinical tutors. For her dedication, she was awarded the Student Government Association (SGA) Outstanding Faculty Award for Exceptional Contribution and Continued Support of Students in Spring 2015.

Ms. Penny strengthened her application to Washington by completing the Stanford Genetics and Genomics Certificate Program, where she learned about personal genomics, progress in cancer genetics studies, developments in stem cell therapeutics and advances in personalized medicine in October 2015.

Born and raised in Grenada, Ms. Penny believes that her experiences as a faculty member at SGU, including workshops, conferences, training sessions, lab research and poster presentations, have been important contributors to her success. After completing her PhD, she aspires to contribute to the advancement of genetics research in her home country and in the Caribbean. She looks forward to continuing her development as a science educator by investing in the lives of young students through teaching. It is her hope that sharing her story will inspire others to believe in their dreams and diligently work towards them.

Ms. Penny credits Dr. Pensick for his encouragement and support while completing the certificate, saying that “his interest in genomics and his continual efforts to promote development of faculty and staff has been outstanding.” She also praised the efforts of Drs. Glen Jacobs, Peter Slinger, Andrew Sobering, Kathryn Gibson, Svetlana Kotelnikova, Mary Maj, and Abboud Ghalayini for allowing her to participate in research projects, and providing mentoring, encouragement and assistance during the application process. She also thanks her undergraduate professors—Drs. Clare Morrall, Joanna Rayner, and Antonia MacDonald, and Mr. Teddy Ikolo —as well as her co-workers in DES and friends on campus for their continual support.

“I will take with me the experiences, friendships and skills that I have gathered on my journey,” Ms. Penny said.

Published on 5/19/16