The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio hosted a candidacy ceremony on Aug 18 to recognize our new doctoral candidates. This is an exciting milestone on the journey towards a doctoral degree and we would like to congratulate these students on this achievement!
While the white coat ceremony is traditionally associated with professional schools where it is used as mechanism to welcome new students to the profession, the candidacy ceremony is a relatively new development for graduate schools. In fact, in 2012, the AAMC identified only nine graduate schools hosting this type of ceremony.
In March of 2015, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences held a pilot ceremony with students from the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development training program.
“The students provided such positive feedback that we felt compelled to have our entire graduate student body have this same experience,” said Dr. Nicquet Blake, associate dean for the graduate school.
Miryam Pando, a graduate student in the Neuroscience discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program, said that her favorite parts of the ceremony were seeing all the students being coated by their mentors, as well as being coated by my mentor herself.
“It was a symbol of all the mentorship, advice, and help received while working in lab,” she said. “The GSBS Candidacy Ceremony was an event that symbolized how far we’ve come along in our doctorate studies. It was great to see all of my fellow classmates standing besides me as we all acknowledged our trajectory, what we have gone through and what we have yet to accomplish.”
Nursing Science Ph.D. student Kelly McGlothen participated in the ceremony and believes this should be an annual tradition.
“I feel very honored to have been apart of the inaugural white coat ceremony at UT Health. The ceremony signifies the doctoral candidates’ journey to become an independent, scientific researcher. It also symbolizes professionalism and our duty to the health science profession. As a doctoral candidate in nursing, I greatly appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the ceremony as it allowed candidates across disciplines to learn more about each other’s work and celebrate this special occasion together,” she said. “The ceremony served as a vehicle to motivate us to continue to pursue our degree and to finish strong.”
Ara Alexandrian, a graduate student in the Radiological Sciences program, said he thought it was a very nice gesture from the graduate school for the students.
“It was meaningful to me, in fact, the most meaningful event that has happened at UT Health San Antonio since I started my Ph.D. because it reminded me how far I’ve come along on my academic journey,” he said. “I feel that the graduate school should definitely do it again because It was a great way to show the students that the graduate program cares for their students and is proud of their accomplishments.”