The foyer for the South Texas Research Facility was filled with the ambient noise of quick introductions followed by a slew of specific questions. Incoming students were playing “Ice Breaker Bingo.” Each box contained an interesting fact about the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) staff members; students were challenged to “blackout” or match each fact(s) with the corresponding GSBS staff member. Facts ranged from being able to speak five languages to being able to eat Whataburger morning, noon, and night. Ultimately, the informal atmosphere and amusing bingo game helped to spark casual conversation, establish new connections, and allow students to meet the numerous individuals devoted to ensuring their academic and social success.
Following the meet and greet, students were encouraged to attend
the GSBS Convocation. Dr. Weiss, Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, highlighted the importance of convocation as a ceremony that acknowledges the “input”, i.e. the eager new students whose impressionable
minds are focused on accomplishing great things. Additionally, Dr. Paolo Casali, the keynote speaker and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, helped to encourage students to be curious, persistent, and
relentless in their scientific endeavors. He reminded students that scientists do what they do for the benefit and general welfare of humanity. Moreover, he advised students to try to “get to the essence of the bull” or strive
for that elegant simplicity in the midst of their research.
After the formal ceremony, students were met with burgers, fries, cupcakes and milkshakes catered by Cheesy Jane’s and Saweet Cupcakes plus entertainment by
DJ Masquerade under white tents. This informal, picnic-style dinner allowed for further conversation as well as some much needed relaxation! Students were eager to mingle and learn more about each other. More importantly, the
event helped to foster a sense of community. Rather than seeing the various programs and disciplines as a method of division, this year’s meet and greet, convocation ceremony, and picnic illustrated every person as a necessary
building block, an integral part of the graduate school as a whole.
The Graduate School staff would like to thank everyone for a successful week and would like to let all of the graduate students know that we
are here for YOU! Have a great year!