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

SAS International Business Student Wins Best Elevator Pitch at X-Culture Symposium

For St. George’s University’s Renée La Touche, participating in the 2016 X-Culture Symposium last month could not have gone any better. The Grenadian-born, third-year International Business student in the School of Arts and Sciences not only won a spot in the competitive selection process from a pool of over 4,000 candidates but also won the award for Best Elevator Pitch at this year’s competition. Judged by nine business professionals individually, Ms. La Touche had to present a 60-second sales pitch as to why she should be hired using on-the-spot feedback to improve her pitch each time she met with a new judge, all without the use of cue cards or additional notes.

“It was an honor to get advice from actual entrepreneurs and people who are in the industry. These were international business owners who spoke about what is expected of us outside of the classroom,” said Ms. La Touche. “This experience really taught me how to be adaptable in a fast-paced, high-pressure situation. I also learned valuable networking skills.”

After a second round of grueling competition, Ms La Touche was chosen as one out of 50 students to attend the X-Culture Symposium aboard a cruise ship. She was placed on a five-person international team that included students from Germany, Peru, Canada, and the US. Ms. La Touche and her teammates collaborated virtually for 4-6 weeks prior to the conference with some additional time allotted on the cruise ship to finish up their report working face-to-face. On the last day of the conference, all teams presented their findings and recommendations to SYKES executives and X-Culture professors, with awards presented to the winners.

“The best part of this experience for me was getting to interact with people from many different cultures,” stated Ms. La Touche. “There were students there from 29 different countries, and I learned about their culture and I got to share my own.”

The X-Culture Symposium is co-organized with the Academy of International Business USA Southeast Division and sponsored by SYKES, one of the world’s largest multinational companies specializing in business process outsourcing services and IT solutions. Held twice a year, the four-day conference includes an International Business Competition, meetings with entrepreneurs, academics, and community leaders, as well as access to all Academy of International Business Southeast conference events, including scholarly presentations, panel sessions, professional development workshops, and networking and social events.

The conference took place on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas, which departed Tampa, Florida, and traveled to and from Cozumel, Mexico. Ms. La Touche professed to her mentor, SGU professor Dr. Reccia Charles, that she would “make every minute of the experience count.”

“This event was phenomenal,” Ms. La Touche said. “It not only taught me how to work well with others but I also got to listen to some of the world’s leading international business scholars, who spoke to us about what we had learned in the classroom and now got to apply in real-life scenarios.”

Ms. La Touche is expected to complete her undergraduate degree next December, and plans to attend graduate school in Washington, DC, to pursue a master’s degree in international governance and politics. In the future, she hopes to work for the Organization of American States or the United Nations, to become a politician, and hopefully the first-ever female Prime Minister of Grenada. Ms. La Touche was also offered a coaching position at the next X-Culture Symposium, which will be held in Washington, DC.

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.


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

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.

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.

sas gsp graduation

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.

sas gsp graduation 3

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.

news 2013 sas gsp commencement

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.

Read more…

Several Firsts for SGU 2011 Graduating Class

news 2011 graduating class 1

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.

news 2011 graduating class 2

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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