Biomedical Graduate Education (BGE) presents "Spotlights". Spotlights features the fun things that the BGE Community has been up to outside of the classroom. This page will be updated on a regular basis.


Name: Megan HuizengaFurzan
ProgramPhD in Pharmacology
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Plymouth, CT
What made you choose Georgetown University for your PhD degree?: The Pharmacology program itself is what drew me to apply to the program. However, upon interviewing, it was the tight knit family feel between both the students and the faculty that influenced my decision to choose Georgetown.
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?: My cat Winslow.
What is the best thing (non-academic) you like about your program?: Having formed some of my closest friendships with other students both within and outside of my program.


Name: Sinéad Gilmore Furzan
ProgramMS in Clinical & Translational Research
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Sterling, VA
What made you choose Georgetown University for your M.S. degree?: Getting my M.S. degree at Georgetown was a natural choice for me! In 2013, I started working in Clinical Research at GU, with the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical & Translational Science (GHUCCTS). I knew that I wanted to further expand in this field, and saw the MS-CTR program as the perfect complement to my work and academic aspirations. 
What is your favorite thing to do in DC?: This is hard! I love to do so many different things in DC. It’s great because while it’s very metropolitan it’s also easy to jump on 66 and get out to the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love hiking, and you can get to the Shenandoah Park in just a couple hours or can head to Great Falls (VA or MD) for something close! 
If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be? And why?: I’d love to visit the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia! It’s been on my bucket list for quite some time; it looks like an absolute fairytale during both summer and winter.


Name: K. Aubin AttilaFurzan
ProgramMS in Physiology
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Lomé Togo; Newark, NJ
What made you choose Georgetown University for your M.S. degree?: Choosing Georgetown University for my Masters degree in physiology was a no brainer. The location and everything that Georgetown has to offer greatly influenced my decision to attend. When I was researching their curriculum, I quickly realized the courses that were offered were geared towards dental school, medical school, and other health professions. This was ideal because the flexibility of the curriculum allowed me to continue building towards my chosen career path while, simultaneously, learning more about other health professions.
As a current student, I’ve learned so much about the human body at a molecular and organ based level than I could’ve imagined. Now, I am more than confident that I will be able to handle medical school. 

What do you like to do outside of class?: Outside of class, I enjoy running. I find running very therapeutic and helpful in keeping my sanity. When I run, I reflect on goals that I have set for myself. Running allows me to envision myself striving forward towards what I would like to become in the future. 
What would you do if you won the lottery? The obvious answer would be to pay back my student loans that I have accumulated over the years during my academic career. However, a more meaningful use of the money would be buying my parents and I a house, building schools and hospitals in Togo, and even starting a charitable foundation to benefit orphans in the states and back in my home country.


Name: Furzan Azam Furzan
Program: MS in Microbiology & Immunology
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Fontana, CA
What made you choose Georgetown University for your M.S. degree?: I chose Georgetown for my Masters because it has a variety of classes and the department provides great research on viruses. Georgetown is also a major metropolitan city and being from the suburbs it was a great way to explore a new place full of bustling life. 
What are your plans post-graduation?: My plan after graduation is to take a long over due vacation. First I will be taking a trip to Japan and to see everything the country offers. After that I will go to the Coachella music festival and spend time with all my close friends.
What book can you read over and over again? Why? I can read The Kite Runner over and over because Khaled Hosseini’s talented writing makes it feel as if you are actually living the story, interacting with the characters, and feeling empathy for everyone involved. 


Name: Adaku Umeadaku
Program: MS in Pharmacology
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Carson, CA
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: I remember sitting at the airport scouring the internet and looking for the next step after completing my second post-baccalaureate program at UC Davis School of Medicine. I searched for a 1-year masters in Pharmacology program that did not require the GRE for admission and Georgetown was first on the list! After reading about the courses that I would take as a grad student at Georgetown, I knew that this institution would provide me with a deeper understanding of the human body at a molecular and organ-based level. 

As a current student taking the courses that I originally read about, my expectations have been exceeded and I look forward to coming to class every day! With the Pharmacology program being particularly strong in neurophysiology and neuropharmacology, I am forced to step out of my comfort zone to learn more about the brain and the efforts being made to understand exactly what is in that black box! Although I miss my family in California, I am surrounded by an awesome support system in the Pharmacology and Physiology Department and encourage anyone considering pursuing a Masters degree at Georgetown to apply!  
What is one unique hobby?: I love to run long distance. I recently completed my first 10-mile race (Thank you Temi for encouraging me to do it!) and am training for the next run! Running has helped buffer the stress that comes with taking an intensive course load here as a grad student and has even helped me get a better night’s rest. 
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?: I cannot go a day without acknowledging God’s presence in my life. My relationship with Him gave me the confidence to turn from pursuing “back up” careers to chasing after my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. God has given me the strength to persevere through past trials and tribulations and has blessed me with wisdom to see the beauty in my struggle. I attribute the woman I am today to Him and encourage those of you to continue working towards your dreams with faith that God will work everything out in your favor! 


Name: Sumire NoguchiSumire
Program: MS in Physiology, Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: Discovering this program was probably one of the most serendipitous events in my life. As I was preparing to apply for medical school last year, I was at the UC Davis Pre-Health Conference. I had no interest in a MS program at the time but I was intrigued by the “integrative medicine” in the name of a workshop that introduced the Georgetown CAM program. There I met Dr. Amri, who had enough influence on me in that hour that by the time I walked out of the room there was no doubt in my mind to move across the country to participate in the program.

As an aspiring physician who has always hoped to hold an integrative practice, the CAM program is almost uncannily fitting. This program is the only one in the US that offers the rigor of hard science simultaneously with serious dialogue on CAM practice. Nowhere in a traditional MD program will I be in an environment made specifically conducive to exploring the overlap between science, culture, ethics, and psycho-sociology. I believe this is where healing lies, and my plan is to take this knowledge into medical school as a CAM alum.  
What is the best thing about your program so far?: I will have to be greedy and choose two! Coming from a huge public university, I love how cooperative our small program is! We just had a Halloween get-together with pizza and Cards Against Humanity, and we’re planning a cabin trip soon (likely with more pizza and Cards Against Humanity). The other is my elective course, Legal Issues in CAM. It’s been an eye-opening platform not only for understanding the legal challenges that make integration of CAM into the mainstream difficult, but also for ethical/philosophical discussions on what constitutional rights mean in maintaining patient autonomy.
What would you do if you won the lottery?: My boring answer is that I would pay off my student loans, save money for medical school, and buy my parents a nice house. My fun answer has more to do with buying the biggest house possible and filling it completely with plastic balls for a giant ball pit!


Name: Mario Giovacchinimario
Program: MD/ MS in Systems Medicine
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: There are so many good reasons to study at Georgetown, and one of them for me was that this is the first university in the nation to offer a program in Systems Medicine. I was excited to meet last year with Dr. Vasudevan, the director, and talk about how I could combine what I would learn in this program with the things I am learning in my medical courses. A cool bonus of enrolling in the program here is that in addition to all the great lecturers and course leaders, Georgetown also has a wide range of outstanding investigators who are usually more than happy to involve us in their research.

Another factor is that DC is just an amazing city: there are only a handful of world-class cities in the US and this is definitely one of them. I remember once last spring sitting in one of the circle parks and loving the feel of the energy all around me. This city just crackles with it. There is a constant movement of people doing so many amazing and interesting things here, and I feel very lucky to get to be a part of that.
What do you like to do outside of class?: My classwork keeps me pretty busy most of the time, but I do love rock climbing and enjoying all the great events and attractions here in DC. There are so many interesting museums, food fairs, farmers markets, and cultural events, as well as a whole range of great places to hike or just sit and enjoy nature. Every once in a while when I bike past the White House, I wave at the West Wing just in case Obama is in there watching, which I guess is another luxury of living in the nation’s capital.
What inspires you? : I feel inspired by the university itself and at being a part of its community and history: to join the ranks of the students who have studied here means a lot to me. In fact, in addition to the reasons I discussed earlier, one final reason I chose Georgetown for my education was its philosophy, mission, and dedication to the Jesuit values. The university invites its students, its faculty, and its staff to consider these ideals, including academic excellence, service to others, and Cura Personalis, to help them make the work that they do the best that it can be. Every time I walk onto the campus I get a little boost just thinking about all that goes on here: great scholarship, careful thought, healing of the sick, and the work of bettering our world and the lives of the people in it.


Name: Sarah Sheppard (left); Brooke Borgert (right) sarah and brooke
Program: MS in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Sarah- Holloway, OH; Brooke- Miami, FL
What made you choose Georgetown University for you M.S. degree?: Sarah- Georgetown was one of few schools that offered a program in biodefense. The strong science focus and short duration of the program really drew me in. Now that I’m here, I couldn’t imagine going to any other University.

Brooke- The biohaz program was unique amongst all others that I was investigating. Primarily, the curriculum, including professors, speakers, and the courses offered, is unrivaled. Plus, the timing of one year is ideal and can you beat the location? 
What is the best thing (non-academic) you like about your program?: Sarah- We have students of all different ages and backgrounds. Some have worked with the government and others are coming right out of undergraduate. Then we have lecturers from the White House, the CDC, the FBI, the CIA, DHS, and Secret Service. Each day I come to class not knowing who I’m going to meet or what connection I’m going to make.

Brooke-I have really enjoyed the various talks in biosafety outside of Georgetown that I have heard about through my program. They have given me the opportunity to learn about current events and decision processes in the real world, like Zika virus response and genomic research for precision medicine and biological agents. These events have also given me great opportunities to network outside of the program. However, my program has introduced me to a diverse group of great people that truly complete the non-academic aspect of my Georgetown experience.
Favorite thing to do in DC so far?: Brooke- Well I have not been here that long but Nats and Caps games are a blast! I love exploring all of the neighborhoods, taking in free concerts and events, and being surrounded by so much history!

Sarah- I love exploring the city with my classmates. Coming from a small town in Ohio I’m not familiar with the metro system or the weird foods that are so common here. Luckily, I’ve made incredible friends that push me out of my comfort zone and drag me around the city. Without them, I’d get much more sleep but would miss out on the culture and the college experience. 


Name: John Psaltis john
Program: MS in Biotechnology
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Belleair Beach, FL
What made you choose Georgetown University for you M.S. degree?: First off, the opportunity to live in Washington D.C. and the Georgetown area was extremely appealing. With various biotechnology companies and NIH situated close by, I felt like this was a unique opportunity. It also helps that Georgetown has one of the best Biotechnology programs in the country. The fit just seemed perfect in regards to the program’s emphasis on reconciling every day business practices with science, the Capstone internship, and the opportunity to work with leaders in the industry. 
What is the best thing about your program so far?: The program’s ethos is very conducive to learning and fosters a tight-knit environment. My classes are catered to very tangible and practical concepts that will further my education and enhance both technical and interpersonal skills. Dr. Chirikjian “Intro to the Biotechnology Industry” course has been my favorite course thus far because of the opportunity to learn from different pioneers and innovators in the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical fields in a personalized and intimate classroom setting.
What is one unique hobby?: Growing up on the West Coast of Florida, I enjoy fishing. Whenever I am back home, I make it a priority to get some fishing in. There is something innately therapeutic and peaceful about fishing that provides me with a sense of solace.


Name: Harini Sivagurunatha Krishnan Harini
Program: MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Academic Year: 2016-17
Hometown: Coimbatore, India
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: While researching graduate schools, the most important criteria I considered was the curriculum, research opportunities and the faculty. My interests were in the close inclination with the research happening here. Also, Georgetown is one of the top schools and its close affiliation to Lombardi Cancer Center and the proximity of NIH, USFDA, and other industries made me choose Georgetown without any doubt. Besides the academic aspect, Georgetown is known to be culturally diverse and it is one of the most beautiful schools!
What would be one piece of advice you would give to other students thinking about coming to the USA to study?: Follow your heart! Do something you are passionate about and never give up on your dreams. It might be intimidating initially but in the end it is all worth it. It might be tough to come out of your comfort zone, but in the process, you will discover yourself and I’m sure you would enjoy studying as I do now. 
How do you like living in DC?: DC is absolutely beautiful.  I have visited the museums and I love the architecture here. I have had the opportunity to meet many people from culturally diverse backgrounds and engaging with them was absolutely fun. Late night walks along the Waterfront is simply beautiful. I discover something new about DC every day and I’m very excited about my next year at DC.


2015-2016 Spotlight Students

Name: Wenxiang Zhengwenxiang
Program: MS in Biostatistics
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Fukien, China
What made you choose Georgetown University for your M.S. degree?:  Georgetown University actually chose me. When applying for the M.S. in Biostatistics program, I was concerned about whether the program was focused on teaching the actual application of statistical methods that could be applied in real-life situations. Turns out, the Biostats program provides integrated training in computational, quantitative and biomedical sciences to support health-related research in different sectors of industry.

After receiving admission offers from programs in DC, NYC and St. Louis, MO areas, I thought the comprehensive quality of the program at Georgetown University should be the best among them. So I came here.
What are you doing this summer (ie: internship)?: I am now working as an intern at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA. My main job is to do simulations in R for improving the power of mixture-based gatekeeping procedures for multiplicity problems with multiple sequences of hypotheses. I also work on modifying and enhancing gatekeeping procedures that are in progress.
If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?: One of my classmates passed away from an accident in junior high school. If I could go back and change one thing, I would invite her out for lunch or do something with her so that she could have avoided the accident.


Name: Francisco Rodolfo Sáenzfrancisco
Program: PhD in Tumor Biology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Trujillo, Peru; Stamford, CT
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: My decision was mostly influenced by people – more precisely, the faculty and students of the graduate school. Before pursuing a Ph.D., I joined the Master’s degree program in Cancer Biology, Prevention and Control offered by the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in partnership with Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. During this time, I took classes in both schools and it was through this great opportunity that I had a chance to interact with the nurturing faculty and the friendly students enrolled in graduate programs, such as the Tumor Biology (TBio) at GU. Having witnessed firsthand the quality of research and the engaging academic and professional atmosphere, I made the TBio program my top choice for my Ph.D. training. Other aspects influencing my decision were location, institutional prestige, and professional network.
What do you like to do outside of class?: I love the outdoors and enjoy being out and about observing the beauty in people, nature, and man-made designs. I enjoy the good company of friends; although, paradoxically, I do try to stay away from crowds. Growing up as a child in Perú, I enjoyed an average 80°F-weather almost year around and that has shaped my predilection for the Summer season, which gives me an excuse to escape to the beach. I like to listen to music and from time-to-time I catch a concert from the National Symphony of Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. I highly recommend this.
What of the five senses would you consider to be your strongest? : I strongly believe that my senses complement each other very well. They allow me to enjoy the world as it is and I am grateful for this. I grew up seeing, smelling, and tasting the richness of Peruvian cuisine and the vastness of its biodiversity. Having said that, I enjoy the presentation, the aromas, the juice, and texture of foods, perhaps because my grandma Valeria was an excellent cook. Although I had the chance to explore different cuisines styles by now, I still considered my grandmother’s cooking top notch.

If it is essential that I must choose one sense, I choose my sight. Although, it will be difficult for me to tell apart what my experience would have been if my perception was altered by the lack of any of my other senses. Perhaps, evolution is speaking in my subconscious because of how we depended in our sight to avoid danger or to forage for food, which had played an important role in our development as species. Perhaps I choose my sight because it is very important in what I do with respect to my work in the lab – observing changes following experimental conditions.


Name: Erin Gutherin
Program: MS Physiology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Lexington, OH
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: Because Georgetown chose me! I applied to Georgetown because I was interested in applying to medical school, but had been out of school for a few years. The MS Physiology and Biophysics program seemed perfect for my future goals and myself. I am currently applying to medical schools for Fall 2017 admission!
What is the best thing about your program so far?: This sounds cheesy, but I love being surrounded by so many passionate individuals whether they are professors or peers. There is a tremendous emphasis on public health and using your talents and education to generously serve others. I had never experienced this in an academic setting before and was truly blown away at how genuine and passionate students and professors were about serving others.

Another was when one of my peers, and now a really good friend, had a precious baby boy here at Georgetown during our program. That was pretty incredible.
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? : Coffee and chocolate peanut butter cups, especially from Trader Joe's. I eat a chocolate peanut butter cup every morning, just for waking up, and then start my coffee. I'm not sure I would wake up in the mornings if I didn't have chocolate and coffee to look forward to!


Name: Sumati Hasanisumati
Program: MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Danville, CA
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: I chose Georgetown University primarily because of its close affiliation to the Lombardi Cancer Center. Although I was interested in cancer research prior to the program, I didn’t have much knowledge about the subject. The MS. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program gave me the opportunity to learn more in-depth about a variety of molecular processes and mechanisms while also permitting me to focus on topics such as tumor biology and carcinogenesis.
Any plans for after graduation?: My education here has inspired me to continue in the field of cancer research. Currently I am looking for employment in oncology-focused companies and I hope to pursue my Ph.D in Cancer Biology in the future.
What would you do if you won the lottery? : Travel! The only thing hindering me from exploring the world is a lack of financial resources so I would definitely take advantage of my lottery winnings! From a young age, I have had a top 10 list of places I need to visit during my life and so I would like to make a big dent in that list. I would also pay off my student loans.


Name: Christine Evanschristine
Program: MS in Tumor Biology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Hagarstown, MD
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: When I started researching graduate schools, the most important criteria I considered were the faculty and opportunities post- graduation. First, the faculty here complete ground breaking research and I shared many research interests with the faculty in my program. Secondly, DC is a great location for job opportunities, the NIH only being about 30 minutes away. When the time to make a decision came, the choice was simple. Georgetown is a great school with so many opportunities to learn, grow, and stay connected to the campus.
Favorite thing to do in DC?: My favorite thing to do in DC is to go exploring. DC has some really cool little shops to check out like antique used-book shops or a Cat Cafe. There is always something to do either if its grabbing dinner at a local restaurant, going to see the monuments, going to a Nationals game and so much more. There is no way you could possibly run out of things to do here and I love that!
What book can you read over and over again? Why?: The book I can read over and over again is The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and of course the other books in the series. Every time I read them I feel like I’m going through the journey with Robert Langdon. Something I love about these books is that Brown completes extensive research about the art, history, religion, etc. being discussed in the novels. Plus who doesn’t love a good mystery?


Name: Maggie Fumaggie
Program: MS in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Rockville, MD
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: I initially heard about the MS program through a friend. When I looked into it I found that it aligned perfectly with my professional interests. Because I currently work for a regulatory agency fulltime, many of my work projects have exposed me to the policy development world. However, I knew there was so much more to learn and this program would be perfect in helping me cultivate my interests in the field.
What is the best thing (non-academic) you like about your program?: I returned to school after four years so coming back to campus was a refreshing experience. I love the diverse student body in Georgetown. It’s been inspiring getting to know my peers and hearing about their backgrounds and ambitions. Also, I want to thank my Program Chair, Dr. Calderone. He has been a wonderful support in my life here at Georgetown and his passion for the students has been nothing short of admirable. Thank you!
What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?: I proudly confess that I love binge watching shows. During the snowstorm a few weeks ago, I watched the first two seasons of House of Cards in a matter of days—which I highly recommend btw—and I can always rewatch seasons of Modern Family. I love Jay Pritchett.


Name: Sikoya Ashburnsikoya
Program: PhD in Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Newport News, VA
What do you love about Georgetown University?: I have always admired the support offered by the GU community, relative to both academic and career development. It constantly affords discussions, seminars, workshops, etc., intended to enhance your general experience and personal development. Overall, it is truly a community that wants you to succeed; not just within our prospective programs but after graduation as well.
Why did you pick your program?: One of the main reasons I chose the IPN is because it is interdisciplinary. Although my research is considered within the division of cognitive neuroscience, the program emphasizes that all students have a fundamental understanding of the entirety of the Neuroscience field ranging from molecular to behavioral to cognitive neurosciences. Equally as important for me are the multiple cognitive research labs that focus on brain & language, the student community, the involvement of faculty, and the collaborative atmosphere. In addition, being a teaching assistant is not a requirement, but there are appealing teaching opportunities such as becoming the course director for the undergraduate course Drugs, Brain, and Behavior, which I plan to do within the upcoming academic year.
What is the strangest thing you believed in as a child?: I was never the child that believed in fairy tales or Santa. I was far too rational for that; so, my beliefs were centered around things that were semi-plausible. For example, I believed that I would grow up to be the next Xena Warrior Princess: single handily fending off "the bad guys", backflips, the "Xena call" -- none of which I am currently capable of. (But, it's never too late right?)


Name: Kimbell Duncankimbell
Program: PhD in Pharmacology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Washington, DC
Why did you choose Georgetown University?: I originally chose Georgetown University because of its unique Masters program in Biotechnology, from which I graduated last May. I chose the Pharmacology program at Georgetown because of the relationships I formed during my time in the masters program.
What is the most interesting thing that happened in 2014?: I was married in August 2014 to Michelle Kosinski, CNN White House correspondent and moved back to Washington, DC from London where I had resided for the past 21 years.
What do you like to do outside of class?: I prioritize spending time with my family, exercise and business activities. I am on 5 boards of directors for companies in the biotech space – four drug development companies and one medical device company – and I engage management of each company regularly.
What are your goals for after you finish up your degree?: My main goals relate to my charitable activities through the Rush Charitable Foundation. I hope to be able to help others make a significant contribution to reducing the burden of the HIV pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.


Name: Jerry Ruijie Yin
jerryProgram: MS in Biostatistics
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Shenzhen, China
Why did you choose Georgetown?: When I started applying for graduate schools in the United States, I found the facilities in this program have more research direction than any other programs at other universities. Since I haven’t decided which direction I would take at that time, I decided it was better to go somewhere that offered a variety of choices. Besides, Georgetown University is located in DC and I have always wanted to be in DC because I am a huge fan of the show, House of Cards. I love politics and James Chu-yul Soong, an alum of our university, has always been my favorite politician and I wish be like him and one of his fellow alum.
How does James Chu-yul Soong inspire you?: According to Soong’s wife, all he cares about is how to make his people’s lives better. He is a generous and clean-fingered politician who has run for president in Taiwan three times and is now preparing for his fourth attempt since he believes he can lead Taiwan down the right path. Soong was elbowed out of the Kuo-Ming Tang political party due to negative criticism from the party members. Soong never loses his faith and this inspires me all the time.
What is your favorite spot/area in DC and why?: My favorite spot in DC is Capital Hill because I’ve seen it so many times in House of Cards. Every time I go there, I can see congressmen and canvassers, wearing nice suits and talking to each other while waiting for taxis. It feels just like being in the show.


Name: Thien Nguyen
thienProgram: PhD in Pharmacology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Belmont, NC
Why did you choose Georgetown?: Georgetown University was my top choice because it has the partnership with the NIH. This unique program was entreating to me because I can have the education at Georgetown while having the resources of the NIH for my thesis project.
What is the best thing about your program so far?: The best thing about my program so far is the people in my department. They are all very welcome and inclusive even though I am not always at Georgetown.
What advice would you give prospective students looking into your program?: I would advise prospective students to start looking for a rotation lab at the NIH early. With so many institutes and great PI at the NIH, finding the right one can be very frustrating. I would start the process very early.


Name: Shivai Gupta
shivaiProgram: MS in Biotechnology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Why did you choose Georgetown?: Georgetown University has one of the best Biotechnology programs in the continental United States. It caters to every subject in one of the most unique ways with some of the most interactive and lively spirited classrooms. Additionally, it is one of the most beautiful schools in the United States ranking among the best. So I chose it for the atmosphere, sense of belonging, and general Hoya spirit.
What do you like to do outside of class?: The program is an intense 9 month program with very little time outside the classroom. But the little time I do get, I love eating out, and trying the flavors of DC. I am driven by aroma and what we call ‘Zaayka’ and DC is a place that is home to diverse cuisine and varied cultures. It is amazing how many flavors you can experience on a single palate.
What are your goals for after you finish up your degree?: The idea is to work for a year and then apply for a PhD program. But most of all, I want to fully experience DC, as it a place and an opportunity that anyone would kill to get. I want to enjoy and live every minute of DC.


Name: Whitney Nicholswhitney
Program: MS in Clinical and Translational Research
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Suffolk, VA
Why did you choose Georgetown?: I have wanted to go to Georgetown since I was a little girl. When I started to do research in middle school on great colleges, I looked at the top 10 colleges to go to. Georgetown was the most beautiful school ranked in the top 10, so I made it my goal to get here!
What is the best thing about your program so far?: The amount of knowledge that everyone in my program embodies is the best part. I am being taught by some of the best researchers who are highly regarded in their careers. My classmates are also awesome because many of them are already health care professionals, so they give me excellent advice.
What is one unique hobby that you engage in?: A unique hobby of mine is Party Planning. I love to organize gatherings and get togethers for my friends, which happens often since I am the only one who lives in D.C.


Name: Melissa Downey melissa
Program: MS in Biomedical Science Policy & Advocacy
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: McLean, VA
Why did you choose Georgetown?: Georgetown offered several Master’s programs that I was interested in. After getting an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology, I was looking to learn more about science policy and I found a program here that was perfectly tailored to what I wanted to do next. Not to mention, there is no better place than Washington for exposure to policy, and I am back home!
What is one (non-academic) thing you like about your program so far?: I love that it’s a small program. I already know my classmates well and given how specific our program is, we have a lot of interests in common.
Any recommendations on things to do/see/eat in DC?: One of the best spots to spend a day walking around or go on a run is the tidal basin. As you follow the perimeter, you can visit the Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial and MLK Jr. Memorial. The WWII memorial and Washington Monument are also really close by. In the spring, it’s lined with beautiful cherry blossoms!


Name: Reem Gahtani reem
Program: MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Home Country: Saudi Arabia
Where were you when this photo was being taken?: I was at the Dahlgren Memorial Library, Georgetown University.
How are you liking your time in the city? Any recommendations on things to do/see/eat?: I always enjoy doing or watching many things in Washington DC such as cultural festivals that give me idea about other cultures' customs and norms . I personally like the Washington Harbour where I enjoy having a boat trip, or just enjoy the river view with a cup of iced tea. I always advise my friends to relax there.
What do you like to do outside of class?: I like to spend my free time with my friends, and I extremely like to meet people from different countries around the world, which is easy to do in Georgetown University. Also, I like reading or studying at DML where I find the best references or recourses for my program.


Name: William Haywardwilliam
Program: MD/PhD in Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL
Why Georgetown, and why the IPN program?: When applying to medical school, Georgetown was an obvious choice because of it's ethos of cura personalis and the quality of the Neuroscience program. The clinical experience and research training on offer are exceptional, and will teach me to become a better physician-scientist and grow as a person. Having a fantastic mentor, a cool project and being on the doorstep of the NIH don't detract from that decision either.
What do you like to do outside of the lab/class?: I enjoy spending time with my fiance. A fan of playing (and watching or talking about) soccer, reading, cooking and gardening.
What is one unique hobby?: Recently, I have taken to molecular gastronomy, which is applies science to cooking. This translates into an excuse to eat fancy food while spending time with friends.


Names: Sarah Zamamiri and Christina Nagy sarah and christina
Program: MS in Physiology-Complementary and Alternate Medicine
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Sarah- Greensboro, NC; Christina- Gainesville, FL
Unique Hobbies: Sarah- Violin; Christina- Tribal belly dance!!!!
What were you guys doing when this photo was being taken?: We are in front of the Medical and Dental Building getting our class photo taken!
What is one (non-academic) thing you like so far about your program?: Christina- I love that our program embraces a healthy lifestyle. All of the students in the program encourage one another to take care of their mind and bodies. We are planning on doing yoga all together on a regular basis.
Sarah- I like that the program is small (about 25 students). I came from a huge undergraduate class, so it is nice to get to know my peers more personally.
Any recommendations on things to do/see/eat in DC?: Christina- I haven't explored yet - this is actually my first time in DC!
Sarah- Brunch is a MUST at Fishers Farmers Bakers on the harbour!


Name: Tahirah Burford tahirah
Program: MS in Biohazardous Threat Agents
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Woodbridge, VA
Why did you choose Georgetown?: I chose Georgetown specifically for the Biohaz program. I was not considering getting a masters in the biomedical field until I was introduced to this program. Everything about it, and the possible doors it could open for me sparked my interest so I had no choice but to pursue the opportunity.
What is one (non-academic) thing you like about your program so far?: One thing I like about my program is the credibility of my professors. It is nice to know that the persons teaching my courses are more than qualified. They have the knowledge and the experience, some of which are currently working in outside agencies along with teaching. I can tell the professors are carefully selected to give my peers and I the most beneficial education possible.
What do you like to do outside of class?: Outside of class I like to relax with classmates, talk amongst one another about current issues, and just enjoy my free time. The commute to Georgetown is a bit tiresome so outside of class time preps me for the journey back home every day!


Name: H Parker Stride h
Program: MS in Physiology-Special Master's Program
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Lake Forest, IL
How have you been enjoying your time at Georgetown so far?: Georgetown has been great so far! I've had the chance to do some exploring, and I am impressed by the school as well as the surrounding neighborhood. There are a lot of cool things to do and see, and I'm slowly getting used to all of these hills.
What do you like to do outside of class?: Outside of class, I like to go running in and around the Georgetown neighborhood. I've also been looking for cool new restaurants with one of my friends, and we have found some great spots.
What inspires you?: I think the thing that inspires me most is hard work. In particular, the work that my parents and nanny Angela have put in to raise my sisters and I is incredibly inspiring. They have put in countless hours doing thankless tasks so that we would have the opportunity to chase our dreams, and they make me want to be a better person.


Name: Chao Tu chao
Program: MS in Biostatistics
Academic Year: 2015-16
Home Country: China
Where was this photo taken, and what have you been doing in Georgetown over the summer?: The photo was taken in Ressom's lab, Building D. I have been doing my internship in there during the summer for analyzing the omics data.
What is the thing you miss most about home?: I miss the food my mom used to make, out of love. Nothing can beat that.
What is your favorite thing about DC/America?: There are so many museums and archives that I can explore, which help me understand what I've learned about America.
What do you like to do outside of the classroom/lab?: I go to movies with friends and hang out sometimes but mostly I have to do the chores(laundry, dishes,cleaning, etc), but I really enjoy cooking.


Name: Nathanael J. Lee (Nate) nathanael
Program: MD/PhD program in Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Seoul, Korea
Favorite Pixar Movie: Wall-E
Could you tell us just a little bit about your program?: The MD/PhD program is designed for students interested in becoming physician-scientists. Traditionally, students complete the first two years of the medical school curriculum, then join a PhD program, which can range anywhere from Philosophy to Tumor Biology. After completing the PhD portion of the training, students go back to finish the remaining two years of the medical school curriculum.
What are your plans for after you complete your dual-degree?: There is still a long way to go, but I aspire to receive further training through a research-oriented residency program. I am not too sure what specialty I will be pursuing, but I do know that it will have something to do with the brain.
What do you like to do outside of the classroom/lab?: I enjoy learning new things, such as a foreign language (French is next on my list), instruments, or sports. I also try my best to make time to travel and capture those experiences through photography.


Names: Yang Yang (left), Cameron McKay (right) yang cameron
Program: Yang- PhD in Cell Biology; Cameron- PhD in Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Yang- Beijing, China; Cameron- West Palm Beach, Florida
What made you decide to pursue your PhD here at Georgetown?:
Yang - I am interested in biomedical research as to choose it as the direction of my future career. Georgetown is a great place for research with out-of-state work about cancer. I also enjoy the beautiful campus and the city which is an ideal place to live.
Cameron - I was attracted to the diverse areas of collaborative research being conducted at Georgetown. The enthusiastic professors and students in the IPN made my choice to come to here a very easy one.
What are you looking forward to in your next few years in the DC area?:
Yang - Washington DC has lots of research facilities located nearby in Maryland and Virginia which matches with my career plan for doing biomedical research. There are also many things to see hear. I would like to pursue a postdoc because I want to get a university position finally.
Cameron - I am looking forward to visiting all the Smithsonian museums and exploring all the hiking trails in the area!


Name: Syeda Amna Zaim syeda
Program: MS in Physiology
Academic Year: 2015-16
Hometown: Islamabad, Pakistan
Where was this photo taken?: This photo was taken in Dahlgren Memorial Library. Before and after class, I visit DML everyday to study.
What are you doing in Georgetown over the summer?: I was in the ABS certificate program of GMU and Georgetown University. Here I am completing an MS in Physiology which was offered to ABS students.
What inspires you?: Actually there are bunch of things that inspire me but the most important is hunger and poverty in the world. I really want to do something for those who die from hunger. This is a shame for us all that how much food we throw in the trash, while there are people dying of hunger. I feel desperate wishing I could do something for them.
What do you like to do outside of class?: I’m a mother so I am always with my beautiful children when I’m outside of the classroom. They are very supportive to me and their daddy. They ask so many questions and I enjoy having all kinds of conversations with them.


2014-2015 Spotlight Students


Name: Eric Berens eric
Program: PhD in Tumor Biology
Academic Year: 2014-15
Hometown: Twin Cities, MN
Why did you decide to come to Georgetown and why did you decide to focus on tumor biology?: The research, above all else. GU, as an institution, produces some fascinating and relevant research, though in an environment that is tight and collaborative. In the Tumor Biology Program, you always have a sense of what everyone is working on, and this places people in a convenient position to help one another, which they certainly do. You get to think for yourself, but your ideas are also critiqued in a supportive environment. All of these factors lead to intellectual growth and better science.
Where was this photo taken and who are you standing with?: This photo was taken in the Wellstein/Riegel Lab. I am standing next to my mentor – the man, the legend – Dr. Anton Wellstein.
What do you like to do outside of the lab/class?: I’m usually planning some convoluted experiment. If I’m not doing that, then I’m typically trying to discover new music, trying to read a good book, or trying to find an East Coast brewery to rival MN’s Surly Brewing. …Still looking for that last one. Yeah, I said it. I’m calling you out, DC!


Name: Carly Starke carly
Program: PhD in Microbiology and Immunology
Academic Year: 2014-15
Hometown: Clarksburg, NJ
Why did you decide to come to Georgetown?: Coming to Georgetown has allowed me to participate in a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health through the Graduate Partnerships Program. I benefit from the expertise of the faculty at Georgetown while collaborating with many scientists and having access to the extensive research resources at the NIH.
Favorite place to eat in DC?: What’s great about DC is the wide variety of food options. I’ve been able to try many different cuisines, especially through DC’s restaurant weeks. My favorite place to eat is Floriana Restaurant in Dupont Circle and my favorite place for desserts is Baked and Wired in Georgetown.
What inspires you?: I’ve always wanted to work on basic research since I have a curiosity for discovering something new. Knowing that the research I am doing will make a difference inspires me. Currently I am studying T-cell immunology in SIV infected nonhuman primates.


Name: Abhishek Pandey Abhishek
Program: MS in Pharmacology
Academic Year: 2014-15
How do you like living in DC?: I love it! I really like the diversity here and meeting people from different backgrounds, culture and ethnicity, and DC is a perfect place for it.
What inspires you?: When I learn something and am able to apply in real life, that inspires me.
What are your plans for after graduation?: I will be applying to medical schools and also looking for an opportunity to work for an institution where I can contribute to and learn more about projects that are working towards finding new therapeutic strategies against complex diseases.


Nuozhou

Name: Nuozhou Chen
Program: MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Hometown: Nanjing, China
Current Academic Year: 2014-15
Why did you decided to come to Georgetown?: Georgetown has enjoyed a good reputation for a long while. It is one of the top universities in the US. Meanwhile, it is located in DC, I consider this as a great combination of acquiring knowledge and knowing more about the US. And I have a one year program here, which is good for me because I want to get my degree faster considering I already had one gap year.
How do you like living in DC?: It is a lovely city with gorgeous natural view, historic figures and cultural heritage. National Mall, Smithsonian Institution, Kennedy center and all the activities held all year round make life in this city dynamic and full of variety. Even more, it is the capital of the United States, and many famous people like to come, so I got chance to get in touch with them closely. Specifically in Georgetown, I have already seen Hillary Clinton, [Shaquille] O‘Neal and [Lionel] Messi just in one year.
What do you like to do outside of class?: I love cooking so I like to hold party with my friends and cook for them. Traveling around DC and nearby areas is another common option, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other areas in Maryland and Virginia. So many interesting places around! However, unfortunately we actually do not have much outside class time for any fun since we are in an intensive one year program! Lol



soniya

Name: Soniya Jagyasi
Program: MS in Biotechnology
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Current Academic Year: 2014-15
What are you doing in the photo?: I participated in the Gamble Diversity Conference that was held in February 2015. At this fun event, there was a diversity panel, concurrent sessions, and a career fair with companies that I could network with. The special speaker for the event was Shaquille O'Neal, who is a former NBA player and an active and successful businessman. I took a picture with him because it was a unique experience to get a picture with someone who is the opposite of me -- I am short at just 5 feet tall and he is over 7 feet tall! Shaq is a very humble person and has an awesome personality. He is very funny in person because he responded to every question asked of him by the panel into a comedic and hilarious response. He always brings the fun in his talk because he likes to entertain people and he responded to every question asked of him by the panel in a different and fun way. Overall, I had a great time at this event.



monica
Name: Monica Javidnia
Program: PhD in Pharmacology
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Current Academic Year: 2014-15
Why did you choose Georgetown?: In addition to the faculty and Pharmacology program at Georgetown, being here felt like being part of a family. Also, the location couldn't be more perfect. Whether you want to go into academia, non-profit, industry, government, or something else entirely, D.C. has it, and Georgetown can help you get there.
What do you do outside of class?: I love exploring and trying new things! Kickboxing, new recipes, a gallery opening...you name it.
What inspires you?: I really enjoy teaching, and whether it's a formal lecture or something scribbled on a napkin, I am inspired by the moment someone understands the concept and wants to delve further.