Penn State College of Medicine welcomed 109 new graduate students during the August 17th and 18th celebrations. Students will study anatomy, biomedicine, biostatistics, clinical research, epidemiology, laboratory animal medicine, neuroscience, and public health.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students celebrated the start of their new academic work in two celebrations to enable social distancing. Live videos of the events were available for friends and family.
Students also took orientation courses at the College of Medicine, where they learned about safety, diversity and inclusion, curriculum, stress management, career services, and other resources.
Zari McCullers, a graduate student in biomedical sciences from Frederick, Maryland, said she was excited to begin her studies and hoped to research the effects of alcohol addiction on the brain. She chose the College of Medicine for its research programs and the ability to rotate through different disciplines in the freshman year.
“I like the idea of having mentors from different programs,” she said. “It is a broader education and gives me the flexibility to consider different fields of study.”
McCullers added that she chose the College of Medicine also because of the calmness of Hershey and the kindness of the people she met.
“I’ve met a lot of happy people,” she said. “It seems like a great atmosphere here.”
The students recited the traditional PhD students’ oath during the ceremonies. They vowed to uphold the values of integrity, professionalism and erudition throughout their academic careers. The college first held the swearing-in ceremony a decade ago to help students make their transition from undergraduate to graduate courses.
Dr. Charles Lang, Deputy Dean of Studies, is pleased that the College of Medicine is again offering classroom courses. During the orientation, he said, the students were very engaged and motivated to interact personally with their fellow students.
“It’s great to have students back on campus,” he said. “The faculty is just as enthusiastic as the students.”
McCullers said the oath ceremony is an important introduction for new graduate students. She said it was a memorable moment to get her white lab coat. She will be the first person in her family to do a PhD in science.
“I go with a clear head, open-minded and willing to learn a lot,” she said, adding that as a black woman she also wants to be an example to others that a doctorate is possible for everyone.