Celebrating Pride Month: How to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community

SGU students celebrate Pride Month.

Each year, the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and/or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally, plus) community celebrates its liberation movement throughout the month of June.

Named “Pride Month,” it is a chance for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and others, such as allies—heterosexual and cisgender people who support equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQIA+ inclusion movements/efforts—to gather and commemorate both the struggle and challenges faced as well as the positive changes made to acknowledge and support this group.

But what does it mean to be an ally to underrepresented groups like the LGBTQIA+ community, and how can we all support these members of the St. George’s University community in our day-to-day lives?

To offer perspective, meet Gabrielle Rivera (she/her), the incoming fall term president of Pride & Equality SGU student club and a Term 5 School of Veterinary Medicine student, shared tips on how we can all become allies to underrepresented groups such as LGBTQIA+ people, and why observances like Pride Month can elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion and create a community of mutual respect and support.

St. George’s University: What does Pride Month mean to you? 

Ms. Rivera: Pride Month means representation for the marginalized LGBTQIA+ community by promoting equal rights and self-affirmation. It allows our community to celebrate, be visible, and stand up for the fundamental right to love. Our ability to celebrate Pride Month would not have been possible without our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans minority groups of color in the 1960s. Their courage to stand up for equal rights paved the way for LGBTQIA+ folks to be included. I am thankful for their determination, and I hope our community can keep taking steps forward so one day we won’t have to “come out” anymore.

 

 

SGU: How can students, faculty, and staff in the SGU community be an ally to all? 

Ms. Rivera: Allyship is such a pivotal part of our community, and we encourage our allies to join us as we continue to create a safe space for our community at SGU. Allowing yourself to be an ally helps the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and seen within your presence.

  • One way to be an ally can include integrating inclusive language in your everyday life. Asking someone their pronouns when you first meet them shows you are open-minded and inclusive.
  • Another great way to be an ally is becoming involved in the events/opportunities for the LGBTQIA+ community by the Pride and Equality club or the other clubs/events on campus.
  • Denouncing anti-LGBTQIA+ comments or jokes during your everyday life helps the fight against the discrimination that is still present. All of your allyship efforts help build up our community as we continue to push for acceptance and understanding.

 

“Allowing yourself to be an ally helps the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and seen within your presence.”

 

SGU: What does it mean to be supportive of all different walks of life? 

Ms. Rivera: When you are supportive of all different walks of life you are open to all people despite their gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc. You create a safe space for someone to be their authentic self without judgement.

SGU: How can we create a community of mutual respect and support? 

Ms. Rivera: We create a community of mutual respect and support by the acknowledgment that not everyone is the same. Even though you may not understand someone’s identity or sexual orientation, you still hold mutual respect and support for that person. This will bring togetherness within a community.

SGU: How do observances like Pride Month elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion in healthcare? 

Ms. Rivera: Observances like Pride Month elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion in healthcare by bringing awareness to the essential need for embracement towards all different people no matter their identity or sexual orientation. Having acknowledgements that promote diversity allow healthcare professionals to live their lives freely and with integrity as we give back to our human or animal patients. Creating a more accepting environment for medical workers will only help people feel safe and comfortable in their work environment amongst colleagues.

SGU: How can the SGU community get involved with P&E SGU?

Ms. Rivera: All members of the University are eligible for membership within P&E SGU including faculty, students, and staff. You can join by filling out our form. Also follow us on Instagram @PrideandEqualitySGU and Facebook Pride & Equality SGU.

 

 

 

–Jessica Epps and Laurie Chartorynsky

 

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SAS Alumna Finds New Purpose in Life

As a part-time student and full-time employee at St. George’s University, Samanta Johnson, BSc ’22, always knew that if she obtained her bachelor’s degree, more doors would open for her professionally, allowing her to create more purpose in her life.

This month, Ms. Johnson graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in management. The grad is about to embark on the next step in her professional career.

On July 1, she begins her new role at the University, as coordinator of campus life within the Office of the Dean of Students. Ms. Johnson has worked for the past 13 years within the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pharmacology—where she started off as a secretary and was later promoted to executive secretary within the same department.

She shared with SGU News that completing her degree at SGU has been the greatest accomplishment of her career so far and how it has boosted her desire to grow both personally and professionally.

St. George’s University: What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your new role?

Ms. Johnson: As I transition into my new position, I will have the opportunity to assist within the areas of planning and oversight of new student orientation, Family Weekend, White Coat Ceremonies, student organizations, and SOM College events. Also, with everyone being back on campus next term, I’m looking forward to having more in-person interactions and cultivating an even more collaborative environment as I support with the recruitment, training, and supervision of various student assistance teams.

SGU: Share what your student experience was like at SGU and its impact on your life. 

Ms. Johnson: Being a student at SGU has been one of the defining moments of my life—one that has brought me many opportunities. The University is extremely student centric and there is a breadth of support services that students have at their disposal, for both new and seasoned students. From inception, students can learn all that SGU has to offer in the Introduction to University life presentation, which provides vital information to first-year students to ensure their success.

I believe that regardless of your current position, there is always more to learn and once you invest in your professional growth it creates self-awareness, tenacity, humility, and the like. Being a student at St. George’s has pushed me out of my comfort zone and inspired me to think differently—in a positive way.

 

“I believe that regardless of your current position, there is always more to learn and once you invest in your professional growth it creates self-awareness, tenacity, humility, and the like. Being a student at St. George’s has pushed me out of my comfort zone and inspired me to think differently—in a positive way.”

 

SGU: How did it feel to walk across the stage at commencement?

Ms. Johnson: For me, graduation signified that I completed a certain period in my life. Not having to consistently attend classes anymore, I felt as if I was leaving behind an organized set of routines, and it was a bittersweet occasion for me. Yet, on the day itself I felt honored and accomplished. The chance to walk across the stage and become an SGU alumna brought feelings of happiness, excitement, and pride.

Throughout the years, there was always a goal in my mind to earn my bachelor’s degree. Completing that degree and graduating with honors, whilst being a full-time employee has been my greatest accomplishment in my career thus far. My goal in the future is to continue to improve myself, continue reaching for greatness, and becoming an expert in my field.

SGU: How well do you feel that SGU prepared you for the next step in your journey?

Ms. Johnson: SGU has aided me in developing my confidence and assertiveness. I am much surer of myself, and I believe I can accomplish everything I set my mind to. The University also instilled in me a sense of wanting to achieve more and not settling for less.

SGU: What would you say to an aspiring student considering going to SGU? 

Ms. Johnson: I believe prospective students will have a unique opportunity to study and learn in a multicultural setting that will benefit them both academically and personally. They will also be immersed in a professional environment from the very beginning of their journey.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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A Shared Resilience: SAS, SGS Class of 2022 Celebrates at Grenada Commencement Ceremony

It was a sight to remember. After facing uncertainty throughout their studies from the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. George’s University Schools of Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies Class of 2022 stood with pride and gratitude as they received their degrees on Saturday, May 14.

Held in-person for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020—and for the first time outside the True Blue campus—the event featured 1,400 attendees at the Grenada National Cricket Stadium, while more than 10,000 viewers tuned in online to watch the ceremony live.

“This is a significant ceremony because it is a post-pandemic ceremony,” said Dr. Charles R. Modica, chancellor and co-founder of SGU, and this year’s keynote speaker. “There were many hardships along the way, but you managed to find a way to succeed. I have the greatest admiration and respect for you as the first post-pandemic in-person graduating class.”

 

 

Among the 200 graduates from 40 countries were husband and wife duo, Clevon Noel, BSc ’11, MBA ’22, and Sallisha Noel, BSc ’22. Mrs. Noel received her undergraduate degree in business management while her husband, this year’s class speaker gave a rousing speech on behalf of his fellow graduands in the School of Graduate Studies. Proudly cheering them on in the stands were their two children and other members of their family.

“I feel ecstatic today not just as the wife of the class speaker but for also having earned my place upon that stage,” shared Mrs. Noel. “I’m elated that we get to share this moment together and with [our peers]. In the future, I look forward to pursuing my master’s in operations and logistics while also working with my husband in his company, Metarelic.”

Mr. Noel was selected as class speaker for his scholarly achievements and community participation. He has established himself as a respected digital expert and strategist in Grenada, and using his considerable talents as a techno entrepreneur, he has founded a number of award-winning digital companies, which today serve clients such as The World Bank.

 

“One of the greatest endowments of being SGU’s Class of 2022 is knowing how to discover and rediscover ourselves in the face of adversity. I commit this class to what I call the ‘how’ principle. How can my actions make a better world for my friends, family, community, country and beyond? If we keep these questions in mind, we will be impactful wherever we go.”

 

“One of the greatest endowments of being SGU’s Class of 2022 is knowing how to discover and rediscover ourselves in the face of adversity,” stated Mr. Noel. “I commit this class to what I call the ‘how’ principle. How can my actions make a better world for my friends, family, community, country and beyond? If we keep these questions in mind, we will be impactful wherever we go.”

Joining Mr. Noel as a commencement speaker was valedictorian for the School of Arts and Sciences, Jesse R. Becker. Ms. Becker completed her bachelor’s in medical sciences with a perfect 4.0 GPA and is currently a Term 2 student in the School of Medicine.

“Our shared experience is truly unprecedented,” said Ms. Becker. “Not many graduates from SGU can say they started classes in person, then studied from home, and returned to graduate in person. The amount of resilience I see in my peers before me is truly humbling and I’m glad to be among such incredible students. I want to remind all graduates that while one chapter closes, [another] one opens and is waiting for you. Your choices will continue to take you to great places, and you truly can achieve anything you dream of.”

Degrees were conferred on the classes of August and December 2021, and January and May 2022 in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies, and Medicine. In addition, SGU hosts the Gamma Kappa chapter of the Delta Omega Honors Society and inducted the top 10 percent of this year’s MPH graduates into the chapter for demonstrating excellence in education and scholarship in research and service.

Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on June 4-5.

– Ray-Donna Peters

 

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A friendly face in SOM and SAS: Faculty spotlight on Dr. Cristofre Martin

St. George’s University professor, Dr. Cristofre Martin, is often one of the first faculty members that new undergraduate general biology students and new MD students get to know.

Because many general biology students go on to be admitted to the School of Medicine—in his dual roles as chair of the Department of Biology, Ecology and Conservation in the School of Arts and Sciences and as a professor of biochemistry in the School of Medicine—Dr. Martin is a constant for them as they take the next step in their professional journeys.

“By being involved in both schools I am able to mentor undergraduate students who aspire to become doctors by guiding them in their program and defining the requirements and expectations they need to meet to be admitted into the medical program,” said Dr. Martin.

Dr. Martin believes that when students recognize him from their undergraduate studies during their first week of med school, it’s an equally proud moment for both professor and student.

“It’s kind of a ‘See Dr. Martin! I made it!’ moment for them,” he shared. “And for me, it’s a wonderful experience seeing students who start out in SAS still fresh from their high school studies, maturing as undergraduate students, then beginning their training as MDs, and often later receiving messages from them when they become practicing physicians.”

 

“I get excited about teaching in my field and try to transmit that enthusiasm to my students.”

 

A Proud Moment

Dr. Martin began his academic training in zoology at the University of Manitoba in Canada. His interests evolved as the new field of molecular biology emerged, and, as he stated, he “saw the future.” The rest of his training and early career research was then dedicated to molecular medicine, genetics, and developmental biology. This combination of training led him to SGU in 2005 and eventually to his dual role at the University.

Recently, Dr. Martin played a pivotal role in the accreditation for SGU’s BSc (Honors) in Marine, Wildlife and Conservation Biology by the Royal Society of Biology.

It wasn’t a simple, or short, process to receive the accreditation. According to Dr. Martin, it took two years of faculty working tirelessly to develop the evidence for the program. Most of the work took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the department not only working toward success in the effort to receive accreditation, but also adjusting to the transition to online teaching. But the hard work was well worth it.

“It was an incredible team-building experience and it helped faculty see the important contributions that each of them makes for our students,” Dr. Martin said. “It brought us all together with a single goal. All these challenges did not distract faculty from our accreditation mission, and I am so proud of them for their commitment to our students.”

When the department finally received word of its success, it triggered an incredible burst of energy throughout all those who worked hard to achieve the result.

“This accreditation established our department as a Center of Excellence in the field of conservation biology,” said Dr. Martin. “Equally rewarding was calling a meeting with our Marine, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology students to inform them their degree is now accredited. Our students can now be confident that the training they are getting is of the highest standard and will help them reach their career goals.”

 The department, of course, isn’t stopping there. They hope this accreditation will bring more students to the program, including international students seeking a degree in the fields of marine and conservation biology. Dr. Martin also said the department’s next big project is working to develop a MSc in Marine, Wildlife and Conservation Biology that will allow students to continue their education.

“It will give students the opportunity to utilize the skills they learned in their undergraduate training to conduct meaningful scientific research that aims to address questions that are so important for small island development nations such as climate change, natural resource management, and environmental conservation,” added Dr. Martin.

A Found Passion

While this administrative process led to immense pride for Dr. Martin, his true passion is teaching.

“I get excited about teaching in my field and try to transmit that enthusiasm to my students. I do this by expressing my passion in the classroom and holding the student’s attention by being fun in class, and sometimes a bit crazy,” he said.

This passion may come from witnessing what Dr. Martin described as the “transformative power of St. George’s University,” which lives within the students he teaches.

“For many of our undergraduate students, they are the first generation of their family to receive a university education,” said Dr. Martin. “Over the 16 years I have been at SGU, I have witnessed how this has transformed the landscape in Grenada.   Our graduates are now working in government ministries, regional NGOs, tourism industries, education, and various research groups. These graduates of SGU will be forming the decisions on the future of the region and especially Grenada.”

 

 

— Sarah Stoss

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Promoting Environmental Awareness Year-Round: Here’s Why You Should Join the ECO Student Club

 

Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on the impact that all humans have on our planet, but the School of Arts and Sciences’ Education, Conservation, Outreach (ECO) student organization strives to do this year-round by raising awareness about the environment to the St. George’s University community and to the wider Grenadian population.

As one of SGU’s more than 60 student organizations, all students—regardless of school—are welcome to join the ECO club. The group’s main activities center on curating visiting lecturers and scientists to speak with students about issues affecting marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They also host movie nights, environmental cleanups, and collaborate on events with other student clubs. These and other activities organized by the group create a genuine connection between students and Grenada’s natural environment, leading to a greater appreciation of all the island has to offer.

There is also a strong tie to the Grenadian community as the group strives to highlight environmental issues, through methods like guest lectures, impacting the country, such as pollution, poaching, overharvesting of local species, and climate change.

SGU News spoke with ECO’s current president, Rachael Steele, a third year Marine, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology student in the School of Arts and Sciences who is aspiring to be a marine biologist, to learn more about the organization’s mission and why students should get involved.

St. George’s University: What is the mission of ECO and what does it mean to you? 

Ms. Steele: ECO’s mission is to spread awareness of pressing environmental issues we are facing today caused by human activities. We hope this leads to a change in the values, morals, and, ideally, the behavior of society toward nature. Environmental awareness is so important because we all inhabit the same planet, so we want to encourage more environmentally friendly behaviors.

SGU: Why should students get involved? 

Ms. Steele: “Saving the Planet, Saves Lives.” ECO clubs are important at all levels of education because they foster more sustainable and environmentally friendly actions by their members—and communities at large.

Knowing more about the earth should be an essential part of our lives, just like how we learned to walk, write, speak, cook, etc.  That’s why it’s our mission to promote environmental awareness throughout the student body and general public. A healthy environment improves overall human health.

SGU: What are your goals for the organization as president?

Ms. Steele: My goal for ECO continues to be to increase the care and respect our members have for the environment. We’ll do this through education, outreach programs, and participating in conservation activities.

SGU: If you could convey one message surrounding Earth Day and environmental conservation, what would it be? 

Ms. Steele: We often think being healthy involves only taking care of our physical and mental health. However, living in an unhealthy environment will undo all the work you have done to stay healthy. Beginning in the industrial era, there have been more cases of cancer and reported sicknesses/diseases due to the degradation of our planet.

I wish to convey the overall message to “take care of mother nature and she will take care of you.” Planet earth is our home, the only known habitable planet to support life as we know it, and its health needs to be a priority for us all.

SGU: How can students become members of the club?

Ms. Steele: Students can join our organization through the University Portal.

When in the portal, they should follow the following steps:

    1. Hover your mouse over student resource
    2. In the drop-down menu, select student organizations.
    3. Find ECO listed under the School of Arts and Sciences.
    4. On the ECO page, there is a ‘join here’ button under the welcome section.
    5. Complete and submit the form.

 

—Sarah Stoss

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Marine, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Degree Gains Accreditation from Royal Society of Biology

St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) is pleased to announce that the Bachelor of Science Honors (BSc Hons) in Marine, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (MWC) has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB). It becomes the first program in the Western Hemisphere to obtain this distinction, further establishing SAS as a premier higher learning institution in the Caribbean. 

The degree program is housed within the SAS’s Department of Biology, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC). It is only the 11th program outside of the United Kingdom to earn RSB accreditation, which will last through the end of 2026.  

“We are very enthusiastic not only about the breadth of opportunities available in this program but also about its potential for current and future students,” said Dr. Lucy Eugene, dean of the SAS. “There is nowhere quite like Grenada for studying marine and terrestrial biology, and we’re so proud of what this program has become, and of all the incredible faculty and staff members who helped us attain this accreditation.”  

This marks another accreditation by an international body joining other SGU programs: 

  • School of Medicine: Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC) 
  • School of Veterinary Medicine: American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) 
  • SAS BSc Nursing degree: Grenada Nursing and Midwifery Council (GNMC) and the Caribbean’s Nursing Board
  • Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Master of Public Health (MPH) degree: Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)

“With this accreditation, our students can be confident that their program is consistent with internationally recognized standards and that they are prepared to undertake graduate programs,” said Dr. Cristofre Martin, chair of the Department of Biology, Ecology, and Conservation. “It also gives future employers and advisors confidence that their employees have been well trained in marine and terrestrial biology,” 

To graduate, students are required to complete 121 hours of coursework in lectures, the laboratory, and in the field, where they develop skills required to conduct ecological surveys, measure abiotic parameters, and manage and analyze data, while implementing a research design.  

“Grenada is ideal to study marine, wildlife, and conservation biology,” said Dr. Patricia Rosa, BEC deputy chair and MWC program director. “It offers a unique learning environment considering our classrooms are rainforest, dry forest, mangroves, estuaries, freshwater, and ocean ecosystems. This diversity of ecosystems is also readily accessible; one can go from the beach to a mountain peak in the same day.”  

 

“We’re so proud of what this program has become, and of all the incredible faculty and staff members who helped us attain this accreditation.”

 

All students must also complete an independent research project and a capstone thesis in their final year to graduate. Upon doing so, graduates receive an accredited honors degree and a certificate outlining the mastery of 75 technical skills related to marine biology, as well as transferrable job skills such as leadership, communications, and project management. 

“This accreditation will lead to more opportunities and recognition for our students and graduates,” said Dr. Rosa. “It will also enable our department to enhance research capacity and train more highly qualified personnel for conservation in the Caribbean.” 

What graduates are saying about the MWC program

Farihah Khan (Trinidad and Tobago), Class of 2019: 

“I can confidently say that my time at SGU as a MWC student was well spent.  The program’s high academic standards allowed me to develop a solid foundation in science and instilled in me a strong work ethic and sense of professionalism. Its Environment Conservation Outreach (ECO) student organization also encouraged me to balance academic work with extracurricular club activities. The rapport between students and educators was excellent and the teaching is unparalleled. It sets you on a positive trajectory as you enter the working world or continued studies.” 

Saiyana Baksh (Guyana), Class of 2021: 

“My experience at SGU has been no less than exceptional and enlightening. The University overall is challenging, and being an international student had additional challenges. SGU’s commitment to providing students with high academic and professional skills is constant and reliable. It has made me capable of handling anything that’s thrown my way. Their commitment to quality education allowed me to reach a level of maturity and wisdom that may not have been possible under different circumstances.” 

SAS grad becomes Grenada board’s first female CEO

Leadership has always been a strength for St. George’s University graduate Afia Joseph, from her time as a Grenada Junior Achiever to her current role—chief executive officer of the Grenada Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB).

As the organization’s first-ever woman CEO, Ms. Joseph, BSc ’08, MBA ’14, heads up the leading purchaser, retailer, and exporter of traditional and local agro-products on the island. She is responsible for the marketing and national export of agricultural produce, and management of the importation and supply of specified commodities to Grenada. She also plays a supporting role in the development and expansion of the country’s agricultural sector.

Nine months into her new role, Ms. Joseph opens up about what she hopes to accomplish at MNIB, the characteristics of a good leader, and offers advice to those seeking higher education.

St. George’s University: How does it feel to be the MNIB’s first-ever female CEO?

Afia Joseph: I feel very privileged to secure this role yet humbled by this responsibility. With great power comes great responsibility. I hope that my appointment sends a signal to the youth in Grenada to get involved in the development of our country. My appointment also confirms to women that there is a clear path to their goals once there is determination and commitment.

 

“My role has the ability to influence change and improve the agriculture sector. My aim is to facilitate further development of the agro-processing industry in Grenada and play a key role in the expansion of national exports, which will benefit many Grenadians. “

 

SGU: What excites you most about your new job? 

AJ: My role has the ability to influence change and improve the agriculture sector. My aim is to facilitate further development of the agro-processing industry in Grenada and play a key role in the expansion of national exports, which will benefit many Grenadians.

SGU: What makes you a good leader?

AJ: My capacity to manage challenging and otherwise difficult environments with a sense of calm resolve while producing results. Also, critical for leadership is the ability to manage ego, maintain humility, see the value in others, and understand that in order to lead others one must first learn to lead oneself.

SGU: How well do you feel that SGU prepared you for the next step in your journey?

AJ: I felt thoroughly prepared by SGU to enter the workforce—equipped with the soft skills, confidence, tenacity, and emotional intelligence necessary to succeed. The business management program promoted success through teamwork, which is critical to becoming a leader worth following.

Overall, my experience at SGU has had a profoundly positive impact on my career development. Along with the experience attained, both my Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in accounting have positioned me for many opportunities and will continue to do so. The principles and knowledge I acquired have supported all my leadership roles and allowed me to excel.

SGU: Was a career in business something you always wanted to pursue?

AJ: Fortunately, I did not choose my field; my field chose me. I was nurtured and nudged into the direction where I can truly give of myself by making a meaningful contribution to the world through my work.

SGU: What advice would you give someone on a similar journey?

AJ: For anyone contemplating whether it is the right time to pursue higher education, I would say that it’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. It is with this in mind that I continue to grow and learn while expecting greater things for myself and others.

 

– Ray-Donna Peters

SAS grad on data analysis: “Nothing brings me more joy”

Data, data analysis, reporting—they all came natural to Donella Telesford, BSc ’09, whether it was during computer courses, mathematics, or any class that required critical thinking and analytical skills.

Looking back on her academic career now, as St. George’s University’s associate director of University Surveys and Qualtrics brand administrator, Ms. Telesford realizes she was on a quick path to serving as a leader in survey research at her alma mater. She has been a crucial asset to University operations, including as SGU navigated the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

“Nothing brings me more joy than being able to utilize my skills, expertise, and knowledge of Qualtrics to demonstrate the capabilities of the software,” Ms. Telesford said. “I enjoy creating complex surveys and systems that can help other users manage and streamline their tasks.”

 

“Nothing brings me more joy than being able to utilize my skills, expertise, and knowledge of Qualtrics to demonstrate the capabilities of the software. I enjoy creating complex surveys and systems that can help other users manage and streamline their tasks.”

 

In her current role, Ms. Telesford leads the monitoring and approval of various surveys to ensure that all policies are adhered to. In addition, she is responsible for the design, administration, analysis, and reporting of SGU Student Satisfaction Surveys, which are sent to more than 5,000 students across all four schools each term. While helping to achieve institutional goals, Ms. Telesford works closely with the deans, faculty, and administrators to create these surveys, provide general support to over 500 Qualtrics users, and work on special projects for the provost’s office.

As a first-generation college graduate, Ms. Telesford got her entry into the workforce at SGU, where she held her first job as a registration assistant in the Office of Enrollment Planning, now Office of the University Registrar. After completing SGU’s internship program at GRENLEC, Grenada’s sole electricity company, she jumped at the chance to join SGU full time in the housing department as a data entry specialist, sparking her interest in her future field. She later transitioned to the position of SAS Peer Learning Group coordinator followed by an appointment as coordinator of the Student Support and Administrative Office within the Department of Educational Services.

“My experience at SGU as a student and now an employee has been amazing,” shared Ms. Telesford. “During my time as a student, I met friends who have motivated me, mentors who have guided me, and professors who have taught me a great deal. SGU has also been instrumental in my career development, providing numerous professional development sessions, as well as access to high-quality resources free of cost to its employees. These sessions have had a great impact on me professionally, academically, and personally. I feel extremely prepared for the next challenge and advancement opportunity.”

This next challenge came during the current COVID-19 pandemic when Ms. Telesford was appointed as the SGU Contact Tracing Team Lead. As part of several task forces formed to assist SGU students in Grenada and abroad, she designed, distributed, and reported on several surveys that captured pertinent information needed for decision-making by the University’s leadership. Additionally, to assist in her new role, Ms. Telesford completed the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Contact Tracing course that not only provided her with the knowledge to be effective in her role but also helped her host training sessions and create resources for new team members.

“In this role, I managed a team of eight people who conducted contact tracing, wellness checks, scheduled testing, and arranged medical clearances through the Ministry of Health for more than 700 contacts and cases. Working closely with stakeholders, I also created the SGU COVID-19 Case and Contact Tracing Protocols. Although this is a challenging role, it has provided me with the opportunity to serve SGU and give back to the Grenada community, while assisting the MOH with reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Grenada.”

Currently, Ms. Telesford has completed seven Qualtrics certification courses assessing her ability to understand Qualtrics XM principles, confidently execute on research projects, and report insights using the Qualtrics platform. In the upcoming months, she will be preparing to take the Qualtrics Level 1 certification exam, which will be the first step towards validating her expertise as a certified Qualtrics XM professional.

“All of my past experiences at SGU have prepared me for the work that I do today,” stated Ms. Telesford. “Transferring the many skills and knowledge I’ve acquired throughout the years has allowed me to gather valuable feedback and identify areas of concern, so that I can better serve students by providing the academic and non-academic support needed to improve student success. My SGU experience has also enabled me to view collaboration as a learning experience that fosters an open, connected, and engaged work environment.”

 

— Ray-Donna Peters

Research Day returns to SGU

After a two-year hiatus since a record-breaking turnout in 2019, the True Blue campus was once again buzzing with excitement as faculty, students, and local and regional visitors arrived at Open and Upper Modica Hall for the 19th SGU Research Day and Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day on October 23.

For the first time, the event featured both in-person and virtual presentations. A faculty panel made up of judges from SGU and outside of the University reviewed the presentations and chose winners for each category based on originality, scientific merit, and level of involvement. All winners (complete list below) was presented with a plaque at an awards ceremony held on November 9 at Open Modica Hall.

“This year’s Research Day/Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day was unique in its hybrid delivery, which facilitated participation by faculty and students around the world,” said Dr. Calum Macpherson, director of research at St. George’s University. “Many thanks to all who presented, attended, or assisted with this year’s Research Day and made the event such a success.”

All told, 135 individuals attended Research Day on campus while 67 registered online. Faculty and students from all four schools at SGU contributed 55 oral presentations—21 of which were virtual—and 51 poster presentations, with 25 presenting online.

Highlights included Grenada’s chief medical officer, Shawn Charles, MD ’17, MIB ’07, MBA ’08, who was accompanied by the Ministry of Health’s senior medical officer, Myanna Charles, MD ’16, MPH ’21, in delivering the first of over a dozen presentations on the COVID-19 experience in Grenada. Other COVID-related topics included SGU’s contribution to screening and surveillance, vaccination and vaccine administration in Grenada, as well as reasons for vaccine hesitancy.

Best Faculty Oral Presentation

  1. Anne Marie Corrigan – SVM
  2. Shaniza Haniff – SOM

Best Student Oral Presentation

  1. Madison Kucinick – SVM
  2. Daniel Francis – SAS
  3. Caitlyn Hatcher – SOM

Best Faculty Poster Presentation

  1. Firdous Khan – SVM
  2. Karla Farmer-Diaz – SOM

Best Student Poster Presentation

  1. Ireny Barsoum – SVM
  2. Melissa Joseph – SOM

Best Psychological Services Center Presentation: Dr. Cecilia Rougier

Best Department of Educational Services Presentation: Oluwatosin Omobolanle Arubuolawe

Best WINDREF Presentation: Tania Khan

– Ray-Donna Peters

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SGU Nursing Students Lead Volunteer Efforts in the Community

Photo courtesy of SGU Nursing Student Association

Historically, nurses have always volunteered to serve during times of crisis—often traveling to wherever they were needed the most. Much in the same way, many students in the St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program are also answering the call to serve—volunteering to travel to rural villages to work at mobile testing and vaccination clinics islandwide.

Working closely with Grenada’s Ministry of Health, the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences within SAS, and in collaboration with the Student Government Association, has become the official liaison to the MOH—playing an integral role in the organization, planning, and gathering of SGU student volunteers to work at various pop-up clinics.

“I made the decision to volunteer for two reasons—my strong desire to help provide much-needed assistance to my future colleagues, and my love for this noble profession,” stated Shawndy Duncan, a third-year nursing student at SGU. “During my experience in the field, we did encounter many that were skeptical about taking the vaccine. However, we took the time to explain the benefits and why it was so important to get vaccinated now more than ever. I believe that what we’re doing here will have a positive impact on the Grenadian public.”

 

“Nursing student volunteers have the unique opportunity to practice both their science and art (by) engaging in hands-on learning in the field.”

 

For the past several weeks, nearly half of the department’s 110 students has volunteered during the government’s current restriction of movements on the weekends. At the MOH’s request, SGU nursing students have been serving at healthcare clinics, mobile vaccination sites, and homes for the elderly.

“As an aspiring nurse, I didn’t hesitate to volunteer my services,” said second-year nursing student Casira Peters. “I was happy to go wherever I was needed. I wanted to help in any way I could to ensure that Grenadians got the proper support they required. Volunteering allows me to not only work alongside dedicated healthcare professionals, but it also enables me to develop my communication and practical skills. And even though I’m not a licensed nurse yet, I’m getting valuable experience to make me an even better one.”

SGU nursing students volunteer at one of the Ministry of Health’s mobile vaccination clinics in Grenada.

In addition to assisting physicians with administering COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, and providing results and educational material, the student volunteers have also been functioning as clinic nurses, applying wound dressings, and performing blood sugar checks—working more days and longer hours, often side by side with members of their own communities.

“Nursing student volunteers have the unique opportunity to practice both their science and art,” said Dr. Jennifer Solomon, chair and director of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “Engaging in hands-on learning in the field, may arguably make them even better nurses. Additionally, volunteering brings benefits not only to the people being helped, but also to the volunteers themselves, such as improving self-esteem, increasing confidence, and providing a sense of purpose. It fills me with pride as the Grenadian people get to see how the SGU nursing program is community and locally centered. I am humbled by our students as they continue to selflessly volunteer in their home communities.”

Nursing students and Dr. Jen Solomon, chair and director of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU, pose for a picture. Photo courtesy of SGU Nursing Student Association

St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program features many aspects of interdisciplinary learning and teaching. Uniquely structured, it allows the students to be taught by professors from both the Schools of Medicine and Arts and Sciences, as well as visiting professors from outside of Grenada. Their training experience will include working at the General Hospital, lab work at SGU’s Simulation Center, and community work. At the end of their training and with the completion of their regional and international licensing exams, the students will become fully fledged registered nurses as approved by the Caribbean Nursing Council.

 

— Ray-Donna Peters

 

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