Ceremonial Declaration: Celebrating a Milestone

Students recite the Oath of Scientists at the conclusion of the ceremony
Students recite the Oath of Scientists at the conclusion of the ceremony

Vibrant black, red and white balloons adorned Robbins Auditorium on Thursday, August 16, in honor of Einstein’s second annual Declaration Celebration. The ceremony, celebrating graduate students’ official declaration of the discipline in which they intend to do their thesis research, was implemented last year to formalize this rite of passage.

Einstein overseer Nathan Kahn, who helped to bring the celebration about initially, and Dr. Ruth Gottesman, chair of the Board of Overseers, were in attendance, as were the families and friends of many students being recognized.

Dr. Victoria Freedman, associate dean for graduate programs in biologic sciences remarked that the relationship of a graduate student to the lab that he or she declares is "almost like a marriage—for the next five years you’re going to be tied to that lab and to that mentor."

Students and mentors alike hope that this commitment will pay off with the thrill of a research discovery and the potential to influence human health.

In his welcoming remarks, Einstein’s Dean, Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, noted that while Einstein encourages lifelong learning to its medical students, Ph.D. researchers need no encouragement: lifelong learning is the essence of what they do.

Next, keynote speaker Dr. Bernice Morrow, professor of genetics, of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, and of pediatrics, shared wisdom she had gained during her graduate school years, including not throwing in the towel after a minor laboratory accident and finding ways to continue her research with an infant in tow. "Perseverance is super-important," noted Dr. Morrow, who also is director of the division of translational genetics and the Sidney L. and Miriam K. Olson Chair in Cardiology.

The students were then led in a recital of the Oath of Scientists by Dr. Joan Berman, professor of pathology and of microbiology & immunology, and senior academic advisor to the graduate division. They pledged to honor the contributions of prior scientists; to work in order to benefit all of humanity; and to seek truth in an attempt to advance biomedical science.

At the ceremony’s conclusion, students and their mentors received gift bags containing, among other items, coffee mugs for all those late nights spent writing grant proposals and working in the lab. Everyone then enjoyed a reception held under the tent in the Mazer courtyard.

The Declaration Celebration is sponsored by the Einstein Board of Overseers, along with institutional advancement and the Graduate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences.


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