GMS Master’s Graduates Urged to Expect the Unexpected

On behalf of all the GMS faculty and staff, I want to tell you and your families how proud we are of your scholastic and professional accomplishments. You have earned the title of ‘Master’s’ in your field of expertise despite a global viral pandemic, despite rapidly shifting landscapes in the classroom, in the laboratory, the clinic, in your families and in our nation,” said Deborah Stearns-Kurosawa, PhD, ad interim Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Medical Sciences, at the prerecorded 2021 GMS Convocation, available for viewing here.

BU Medical Campus Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, then greeted the class and wished the graduates well on their journeys.

“The faculty have great confidence in your creativity and innovation. You are smart, committed, resilient and adaptive. We are confident that you will collectively and individually change the world. We are counting on it,” she said.

GMS conferred a total of 207 Master’s degrees:

  • 5 MS/MPH
  • 33 MA
  • 169 MS
Reshma Gheevarghese in red robe behind white podium giving her address.
Reshma Gheevarghese

Reshma Gheevarghese, a graduate of the Biomedical Forensic Sciences program, was chosen as one of the class speakers. An active member of the student body throughout her time at GMS, she served as a classroom moderator, teaching assistant and President of the Forensic Science Student Organization. After graduation she plans to pursue a career as a forensic serologist or DNA analyst.

Gheevarghese reflected on feeling overwhelmed by the number of students at Boston University and GMS when she first visited Boston for the accepted students open house.

“Every student brought in their unique histories. I feared for a moment that my voice would be lost in the numbers, but here I am,” she said.

She shared three important lessons learned in her time at GMS: reclaiming the narrative about her Indian heritage, the importance of perseverance and the realization that it takes a village to “raise a graduate student.”

Stephen Wright in red robe behind white podium giving commencement speech
Stephen Wright

Stephen Wright was also selected as a class speaker. He completed the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program, and was described as “one of the best interns ever” by the supervisory team at his primary clinical placement.

Wright focused his speech on the numerous ways the pandemic has affected him and his fellow graduate students, as well as the world at large. He said that this era of changes presented not only challenges and obstacles, but opportunities.

“As we know, the last year has brought to the forefront of our attention the glaring inequities and injustices in our society. Discrepancies in the way our society treats people of color and Black-identifying people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those with lower socioeconomic status have been made inescapably clear,” he said. “The question now becomes, what are we going to do about it?”

Sara Sakowitz in red robe behind white podium giving her speech
Sara Sakowitz

The final student speaker was Sara Sakowitz, a graduate of the MS in Medical Sciences (MAMS) program. As she heads off to medical school in the fall she plans to devote her time to cancer research and medical education.

“The past year may not have been what any of us had imagined for our MAMS experience,” she said. “But I am so very grateful to have gone through this program with all of you, and I know that if we could get through this past year, there is frankly nothing we cannot do. I am so thrilled and honored to have you not just as my classmates, but as my friends.  

In lieu of the traditional in-person hooding ceremony, GMS presented individual acknowledgement slides for each student.

“We know this cannot replace the traditional hooding and presentation of diplomas, however, recognizing each of our graduates’ achievements is important,” said Dr. Stearns-Kurosawa.

Several GMS programs held individual virtual celebrations for their graduates. These celebrations spanned from May 12 through 15.

“It is unfortunate that we can’t be together in person to celebrate our students’ accomplishments, but we still are determined to recognize their success and send them off with best wishes for future success and happiness,” said Theresa Davies, PhD, Assistant Dean for Master’s Programs and Director of the Oral Health Sciences Program. “We feel confident that as GMS graduates, they will make a difference in the world.”