Sixty-six new students were welcomed to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences during the annual Community of Scholars ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 27 in UTMB’s Levin Hall. This event was led by master of ceremonies, professor Joan Nichols, GSBS dean for student affairs. 

Sponsored by the Graduate Student Organization, the event featured a keynote address by professor Sheryl Bishop entitled, “The Hard Work of Discovery.” Bishop is the recipient of the student group’s 2014 Outstanding Teacher Award.

In her address, she opened by citing the intellectual intensity, long hours and dedication that permeate the daily life of the budding researcher. Bishop then segued this discussion into the reasons that make this journey certainly worth the effort. 

What do you get for all this,” asked Bishop. “The same thing every explorer in human history has gotten: the unique joy of discovery; the thrill of connecting that next piece of the puzzle to the whole; the exhilaration of making your own personal contribution to the common knowledge; the excitement of defining the next part of the journey; the opportunity to be the first to find, the first to understand, the first to lead the way forward.” 

Bishop concluded by driving home the point that research is an endeavor for which the journey never ends. Each new inquiry, whether it is an extension of prior work or a completely new focus, will be quest for answers, an adventure with its fair share of blood, sweat and tears in addition to the glory of discovery, success and triumph. You must be ready for anything,”

David Briley, president of the GSO, and David Niesel, dean of the graduate school, welcomed the group to campus and the start of their new scientific careers. Robert Fader, president of the GSBS Associate Executive Committee discussed the availability of alumni as a resource. 

Amit Kumar of the population health sciences program, Rimma Osipov of the combined M.D. - Ph.D. program and Stephanie Vega of the microbiology and immunology program provided insight into what it takes to succeed in the GSBS, what pitfalls to avoid and how to find fun along the way. 

Symbolizing the pursuit of science and scholarship, pins bearing the image of an open book and leather portfolios were given out by GSBS dean David Niesel, GSO treasurer Sergio Rodriguez and GSO secretary Elizabeth Crofton. 

The ceremony concluded with a recitation of the Graduate Student Code of Conduct, led by GSO vice president Shannon Ronca. "Graduate study in the sciences is both a privilege and a responsibility…”