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

SGU Grad Working to Rebuild Grenada Reefs

Through a lengthy study, Kerricia Hobson, BSc SGU ’08, Project Manager in the Environment Division in Grenada?s Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, has identified several coral reefs in Grenada that have been adversely affected by rising sea temperatures and pollution.

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SAS and GSP Classes Implored to Seize the Moment at Graduation Ceremony

St. George’s University Graduates More Than 250 Students at Grenada Graduation

At the St. George’s University School of Arts Sciences and Graduate Studies Program commencement held at Patrick Adams Hall on May 16, the message to its more than 250 graduates was clear – the present, at all times, is the most important time in their lives because it is always a chance for them to define their role in the world.

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To emphasize her point, Gillian M.S. Bristol, former Ambassador of Grenada to the US, Mexico and the Organization of American States, and Keynote Speaker for the evening, cited author Leo Tolstoy’s novel “What Men Live by and Other Tales,” stating, “There is only one time that is important — now.” She explained that Tolstoy that the present is more significant than any other time, with the menu of possibilities and opportunities practically limitless.

“Now is when we choose, when we decide what we’re going to do, when we opt for one or another course of action,” Ambassador Bristol said. “Today I see before me a powerful group of accomplished dreamers for you hold in your hand not merely a certificate of scholarship, erudition, and expertise. You are geniuses who hold in this moment the single most important tool to carve your destiny: the power of now. So as you step out into the somewhat misty future, remember that each one of you is the designer and owner of all your future nows. You have that power.”

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In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 150 undergraduate degrees were conferred a Bachelors of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc). These students represented 16 countries, with Grenadian students making up the majority of the graduates.

In her valedictory address, Donna Walker, BSc SGU ‘15, stated, “We bid farewell to a school which has perhaps been the most important influence in our lives thus far.” She went on to say that, although leaving SGU is bittersweet, the milestone was a victory in itself in that, in the truest sense, she and her classmates had all learned to think beyond.

Degrees were also conferred on over 100 students from the Graduate Studies Program, representing 15 countries across the globe. Fifty-four students received a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, 32 obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Multi-Sector Health Management, 13 students earned an MBA in International Business, and two received a Master of Science Degree (MSc).

Born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia, Samfee Doe, MPH SGU ‘15, describes herself and her fellow graduates as healers who are prepared to address any number of public health issues, including in their home countries.

“The day when we have the opportunity to go out there and start making meaningful contributions to society as we know it has finally come,” said the 2015 class speaker. “The question is ‘are you prepared for the task ahead?’ Our dreams have expanded. We’ve gone beyond the boundaries of our countries just by being here at SGU. Let us go out into the world and leave our footprints.”

“In addition to the traditional commencement ceremonies, SOM graduates and, for the first time, a DVM graduate from Grenada walked the stage at the SAS/GSP graduation, allowing family and friends to celebrate the moment.” The rest of the SOM’s and SVM’s class of 2015 will graduate next month at Lincoln Center in New York City.

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Grenada’s First Female Governor General Addresses SAS/GSP Graduating Class

A jubilant class of 178 St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and Graduate Studies Program (GSP) graduates received their degrees from Dr. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University, on May 18, 2013 at the 2013 commencement held on campus in Grenada.

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The 2013 SAS/GSP class had the distinct honor of being addressed by Her Excellency Dr. Cecile La Grenade, first female Governor General of Grenada and Managing Director of De La Grenade Industries for 21 years. In her inspiring address, Her Excellency encouraged the graduates to continue learning, developing and growing and to aspire for great things.

“You are all now standing on the threshold of future greatness and the tools of personal success have been imparted to you,” Her Excellency began her address. ”As you begin your new adventure, it is now up to you to blaze forth a trail of activities which create value to your jobs and business ventures alike.”

The Distinguished Service Award, St. George’s University’s highest honor, was bestowed on Dr. John B. Davidson in recognition of and gratitude for his outstanding contribution to St. George’s University, his role in the development of the biochemistry department and its survival following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and his long-standing friendship with the University.

Coincidentally, School of Arts and Sciences valedictorian, Karla Hood, spoke to her fellow graduates on making the most of every opportunity. MBA graduate Gwen Burbank, spoke on finding the best place to be, which she described as “the place where you feel what is right for you and what is good for the world at exactly the same time”.

The graduates, who represent 12 countries, join the over 13,000 St. George’s University graduates in medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, and other professions and disciplines who have worked in over 50 countries around the world.

SGU Marine Biologist Says Deteriorating Condition of Reefs Puts Strain on Fishing Industry

International Press Service

Clare Morrall, director of the marine biology program at St. George’s University, says that sea surface temperatures have strained the fishing industry in Grenada due to coral bleaching.
“When you’ve taken away the fish that would normally crop and harvest and keep that algae in check, you’ve got a situation which has happened throughout the Caribbean, when you get a change from coral dominated systems to algal dominated systems,” she said.

The chairman of the Southern Fishermen Association is reporting that fishermen are suffering financially because they are catching fewer fish, and that once-abundant fish species have disappeared.

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Several Firsts for SGU 2011 Graduating Class

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On Saturday, May 14, St. George’s University held its annual Commencement Ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate Studies Program. More than 300 students took to the stage to receive their diplomas at Patrick Adams Hall, the University’s newest and largest auditorium. This year’s Commencement Day also marked several firsts for the University. The commencement included the first cohort sponsored by the University of Botswana to earn their Bachelor of Preveterinary Medical Sciences; the first class to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); and the charter class graduation of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Multi-Sector Health Management.

Renowned Grenadian writer and poet, Dr. Merle Collins, OBE, PhD, was the keynote speaker, taking center stage to address all students and their families. Along with Dr. Collins, honored guests included Deputy Chair of the Conference of Churches in Grenada, Reverend Osbert James, PhD, and 2011 Distinguished Service Honoree Gloria Payne-Banfield, OBE, MSc. Ms. Payne-Banfield received St. George’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her outstanding service to the University; in acknowledgement of her long friendship with the University and leadership in forwarding its progress; and in gratitude for her advocacy and commitment to the evolution of graduate studies, research programs, and to the creation and development of the School of Arts and Sciences. Additionally, the University’s Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) presented the George B. Daniel Undergraduate Award to Ejaz Ramsingh, BS for his outstanding contribution to student life.

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In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 250 undergraduate degrees were conferred and included Bachelors of Arts (BA), of Education (BEd), of Science (BS), or of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. Grenadian students made up the majority of the graduates and were addressed by Class Valedictorian, Alana Praimdass of Trinidad and Tobago. “It is important for us to realize that final examinations and graduation does not mark our end to the relationship we have with St. George’s University,” she emphasized during her speech. On behalf of the graduating class, Ms. Praimdass also expressed her gratitude for the support offered by the University staff and faculty. She reminded her fellow classmates, “We are the force that will drive this institution towards future success. We should wish to contribute in whichever manner possible to the enrichment and enhancement of the quality of education being received by the current and future students.”

The commence ceremony included a group of Batswana students—sponsored by the University of Botswana— to earn their BS in Preveterinary Medical Sciences in Grenada. Similarly, a handful of students who completed their first two years at Stony Brook University in New York also had their Bachelor’s degree conferred. Each of these students will continue onto the four-year veterinary medical program at St. George’s. Their graduation, and promotion into the School of Veterinary Medicine, speaks to the success of St. George’s collaboration with the University of Botswana and Stony Brook University.

The second half of the Commencement Day was dedicated to St. George’s graduate students. In the Graduate Studies Program, approximately 70 students earned their Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPH), or Master of Science (MSc) degrees. While four MBA graduates were members of the MBA in Multi-Sector Health Management charter class, the remaining MBA students specialized in the International Business.

MPH graduate, St. Lucian born Lydia Atkins, represented the graduate students during the ceremony as Class Speaker. Ms. Atkins joined St. George’s in 2010, excelling throughout her years in Grenada. She was selected as Class Speaker due to her unique combination of technical expertise and administrative experience in the health sector as well as community and youth development.

St. George’s University is proud of all its graduating students and confident its alumni will positively impact the world in each respective field.

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St. George’s and American University – A Unique Partnership, A Remarkable Experience

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St. George’s University student Krystle Noel recently returned from American University’s Washington DC campus. She is the first School of Arts and Sciences student to take advantage of the Washington Semester Program, a partnership between St. George’s University and American University. The International Business major spent her fall semester at American University—including a three week visit to China in November. Krystle has returned to the St. George’s campus with rave reviews of the program, saying, “This program reinforced so much of what I have learned at St. George’s—I felt very well prepared for participation in the program.”

Dr. Reccia Charles, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Department of Business, is behind the St. George’s partnership with American University. On the success of the first participant, Dr. Charles said, “In observing Krystle after her return, I can see a transformation in her outlook on the world as well as an increase in her overall confidence.” The Washington Semester Program allows students to research topics in their field of study, network with leaders and experts in their respective fields, engage in international travel, and build friendships with other college students— the byproduct of which is usually an increase in a student’s enthusiasm in their education. Dr. Charles continued, “I am very proud of Krystle’s success.”

The Washington Semester Program’s intense schedule included presentations from more than 50 guest speakers—including Krystle’s now favorite author, Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist and author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas Freidman. In addition to rigorous study, Krystle, along with her classmates, had the opportunity to visit various government agencies and corporations in the US and China, including the Library of Congress; the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman; the International Monetary Fund and World Bank; the United States Federal Reserve; the New York Stock Exchange; Goldman Sachs; Beijing’s Peking University, Hyundai, and IDC China; Shanghai’s Autodesk (the company which produces AutoCad); and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Additionally, Krystle volunteered at the Annual Global Services Summit and interned at the Center for Social Leadership.

“It was better than I thought possible,” commented Krystle. “The University put so much effort into making the experience remarkable. It is something that I will be able to draw from for the rest of my life.” Krystle was very impressed by the cultural diversity she met in the Washington Semester Program and was happy to have been exposed to the business cultures of both China and Washington DC.

Dr. Charles offered insight into some of the challenges of recruiting for a study abroad program for local students. “The families of some students are often reluctant to allow their children to study abroad or travel much on their own or with peers,” she said. “However, the Washington Semester Program offers a supervised compromise that is acceptable to parents, especially with available generous financial aid. This unique program gives students an opportunity they might not have otherwise had to expand their knowledge beyond the borders of their home country.”

The next group of students is expected to go to Washington DC in Fall 2011. Beginning this spring, directors of the Washington Semester Program plan to hold information sessions via video conference to answer any questions students may have regarding the program.

St. George’s University, which began its partnership with American University in 2009, is the only university in the Caribbean (apart from Puerto Rico) to be part of this affiliation. Dr. Charles and the rest of the University have high hopes for the partnership as it extends St. George’s mission to offer an international education beyond its Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, to a blossoming School of Arts and Sciences.

St. George’s University Welcomes UWI Chancellor at SAS and GSP Commencement

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Sir George Alleyne

On Saturday, May 15th St. George’s University (SGU) hosted its 2010 Commencement Ceremony in Charter Hall on the True Blue campus. The commencement was a combined ceremony of over 250 undergraduate and graduate students, 139 of whom are Grenada nationals.

Students and their families were honored by guest speaker Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. His poignant speech, “The Price of Privilege” emphasized each student’s responsibility as a privileged graduate of higher education and subsequent vessel of information; information that is to be shared for a greater good.

Having visited the University 30 years prior, Sir George Alleyne reflected upon how much the University has changed, and how its commitment to providing a superior, service-minded education to its student body now applies across many disciplines. As he addressed the graduates he expressed, “the great majority (of you) are from families in which a university graduate represents the exception rather than the rule.” He informed the graduates that “a university education provides benefits that goes beyond the individual graduate,” and challenged them to play an active and positive role in instituting societal change; change that addresses discrimination in all its existing forms.

“The currency in which you will pay this price of privilege has compassion, engagement, and commitment among its highest denominations,” said Sir George Alleyne. With the understanding that many of the graduates will likely occupy positions of influence and power in their countries, he charged them to apply the skills they acquired and the talents they possess to “sharing information for the creation of a better society.”

Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost of St. George’s University, reminded the graduates that “the term ‘commencement’ means the beginning of a journey rather than its end. You leave us equipped with the basic knowledge and skills for you to continue learning. This continued learning is absolutely necessary for all of us to keep pace with the ever-changing world in which we live.”

Chancellor of St. George’s University, Dr. Charles Modica, joined in extending his congratulations to the graduates and expressed pride at their accomplishments. He reminded the audience of the genesis of the University, stating “ …this University has its most important purpose – to educate Grenadians. We do give educational opportunities to people in other countries, and we educate many Grenadians. We are so proud of that.”

The valedictory address was delivered by Ms. Sharmaine Shallow of St. Vincent & the Grenadines who pursued her BSc in Life Sciences with a Marine Biology specialization. In her delivery she declared that “It is our time to leave SGU, but SGU shall not leave us. SGU is not merely a learning center. It is a diverse community that has shaped us and made it easier to enter into the world, small fish in a big pond. Small, but prepared! SGU has not only given us the knowledge for our respective careers but has opened our eyes to different ways of thinking and interacting with people. It truly has allowed us to ‘Think beyond’!”

Mr. Nicholas Cheronis, the graduate class speaker, was selected by his peers from a number of students with a grade point average of 4.0 in the Graduate Studies Program (GSP) and completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Environmental and Occupational Health. Like the valedictorian and other speakers, he acknowledge the impact of attending St. George’s University and he too challenged his peers not to be complacent with their achievement, but rather to continue in their pursuit of higher education, achieving rewarding careers and a maintaining the desire to positively impact their immediate surroundings.

The University was also pleased to have in attendance special guests Prime Minister Honourable Tillman Thomas; Minister for Education & Human Resource Development, Senator the Honourable Franka Bernadine and Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Michael Lett.

Sir George Alleyne has had a remarkable career in academic medicine, administration, and as a global leader in health policy whose vision has served this region so well for many decades. Sir George has received numerous honorary degrees and awards in recognition of his work, including prestigious decorations and national honors from many countries. Of these Sir George is most proud of being awarded in 2001 the Order of the Caribbean Community, the highest honor that can be conferred on a Caribbean national.

Sir George joins a list of internationally recognized Caribbean luminaries whose lives and words have inspired St. George’s University Commencement Classes. Past speakers include the former Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Right Hon. Keith Mitchell; the Governor General of St. Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent & Grenadines, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; the Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders of the Caribbean Court of Justice; Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor E. Nigel Harris and Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Sir K. Dwight Venner.

For a complete copy of Sir George Alleyne’s speech “The Price of Privilege”

St. George’s University Welcomes New Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences

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Dr. Beverly Bonaparte has been named St. George’s University Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. Her extensive career is marked by a plethora of ground-breaking accomplishments both internationally and in her home country of Jamaica; work that has spurred important changes in the health care delivery system, government, academia, and private industry.

Dr. Bonaparte takes on the role as Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences as the first group of graduates from the Nursing Program prepares to receive their degree in nursing. In August 2008, St. George’s University inducted 25 students into the inaugural class of the four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Since that time, a total of 55 young men and women have enrolled in the program.

Dr. Bonaparte’s plan to build the program at St. George’s University is directly influenced by the extreme shortage of qualified nurses and nursing educators worldwide. Her initiative at St. George’s University includes: inviting qualified faculty with doctoral degrees in nursing to actively participate in the program; instituting stronger admission criteria; creating a pre-nursing foundation sequence which will include core curriculum in chemistry and biology, and expanding the use of the University’s high fidelity human simulation lab as part of the nursing curriculum’s clinical component. Dr. Bonaparte noted that a human simulation lab is a tremendous asset in clinical education and have changed the way in which nurses and health care professionals learn to do direct patient care.

As the University moves forward with these endeavors, Dr. Bonaparte will be reaching out to new audiences of nursing students, including recruiting liberal arts students on our own campus and elsewhere who may benefit from the option of obtaining a second degree in nursing. She has expanded the BSN program to provide the option of an accelerated 15 month program for students who enter the program with a bachelor’s degree in another field. Dr. Bonaparte also plans to build on the extensive affiliations St. George’s University currently has with other universities and health care institutions in the United States, Canada and the UK by responding to invitations to explore linkages between SGU and their nursing programs, thus providing international nursing education experiences for our nursing students. Additionally, emphasis on faculty research through collaboration with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), and the establishment of an advisory committee of international nursing leaders will help secure St. George’s University reputation as a respected and sought after nursing program.

Dr. Bonaparte’s exceptional skill set will serve to strengthen the existing nursing program at St. George’s University, and create “a center of excellence in the country, region, and globe.” Her forty-year career is marked by a host of faculty and administrative positions at top-tier academic institutions which include: Chair of Master’s programs at New York University, Professor and Dean, Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing; Chairperson and Professor, Medgar Evers College /CUNY, Department of Nursing; and Senior Fulbright Scholar, University of the West Indies, School of Nursing, Mona.

Throughout her academic career, Dr. Bonaparte has enhanced her credentials which include a PhD in Nursing from New York University with numerous certification programs from Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, and University of Pennsylvania. She is eager to bring her experience to the St. George’s University Nursing Program, and expressed high hopes for its future. “All the right components are here on the True Blue campus, to support an excellent nursing program.”

In addition to her academic vocation, Dr. Bonaparte’s entrepreneurial spirit and talent has led to the establishment of her own international health care consulting firm. This has earned her a reputation for successfully restructuring and/or managing complex organizations which include the University Hospital of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, William Patterson University. She has also been engaged in capacity building projects for New York University AIDS Education and Training Center and the Education Development Center.

Prior to starting her Florida based international and health care consulting firm, Dr. Bonaparte headed the Corporate Nursing Division at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHHC), the largest public hospital system in the United States. In this capacity, she managed a budget of more than $400 US million and was recognized for developing new programs that provided education and career advancement opportunities for the more than 11,000 nurses and nursing support staff in the HHC hospitals.

The Nursing Program was conceived as a response to the mandate by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that all nurses in the region hold a BSN degree by 2010. This program is uniquely structured to allow enrollees to complete the program in 3 years and sit for regional and international licensing exams. Upon successful completion of these exams, the students can join the workforce and be positioned to pursue advanced studies in nursing at the Master’s degree level.

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St. George’s University Partners with United Nations on Climate Change Convention

Spice Islander – Grenada

True to the spirit on which the institution was founded, St. George’s University extends a warm welcome to the delegates and is pleased to be a partner in this noble venture which encourages us all to “think beyond.”

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