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The CRS Celebrates the First Graduating Class of the Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine (MS-RSM) Program!

By: Chelsea Castleberry, CRS Program Assistant, June 25th, 2018

MS-RSM Grad Group PhotoLaunched in 2016, the Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine (MS-RSM) program celebrated its first graduating class last week! The 2018 class included 7 thesis track and 2 non-thesis track students. This group culminated their tenure in the program with research presentations to colleagues, friends, and family, followed by a celebratory reception. Dr. Teresa Woodruff, CRS Director and Dean of The Graduate School, kicked off the evening with an inspirational keynote address to the students in which she urged them to “continue to seek new roads” and to “meet each challenge [you] face with determination and optimism.”  

As part of the graduation festivities, Dr. T. Rajendra Kumar (The Edgar L. & Patricia M. Makowski Professor in the Division of Reproductive Sciences, and Associate Vice-Chair of Research in the Department ofDrs. Kumar and Woodruff presenting Makowski award Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado Medical School) conferred the first Makowski Award for the most outstanding MS-RSM student. This award is endowed by Dr. Edgar Makowski, a prominent physician who practiced at the University of Colorado and whose named endowed chair is now held by Dr. Kumar.  The Makowski Award recognizes a single exemplary MS-RSM student based on their academic performance, engagement in the Center for Reproductive Science, overall contributions to reproductive science and medicine, and future plans to continue training or stay involved in the field. The inaugural winner of this award was Luhan Tracy Zhou who studied the role of post-translational protein modifications during meiosis in bovine and human eggs in the laboratory of Dr. Francesca Duncan. “I am dedicated to continue learning from, and working in the field of, reproductive science and medicine.” Said Tracy.

Here is what our first cohort of students had to say about their experience in the MS-RSM program:

“The MS-RSM program provided so many unique opportunities that allowed me to engage with the community inside and outside of Northwestern. I am so grateful to have had these experiences! I have learned so much not just in the world of reproductive science, health, and academia, but also about myself!”  - Megan Runge, MS

“I will be forever grateful for how this program allowed me to become a scientist who is confident in her abilities and who has a wonderful community with whom to explore and investigate her findings.” – Allison Grover, MS

Yi Luan presenting“MS-RSM program gave me a lot during the past 18 months, not only knowledge, but also leading me into a challenging but fascinating field of academic research. The profit I gained from this program will be of everlasting significance to my future study.” – Yi Luan, MS

“The MS-RSM program truly was a life changing experience. I am very grateful for all the opportunities, techniques, and instructors that I have been exposed to. This program really allowed me to flourish, introduced me to many brilliant people, and I am thrilled to be able to continue being a scientist in this field. Overall, I am thankful to be a part of such a unique and wonderful program. I look forward to seeing this program thrive and the impact it will have in reproductive science and medicine.” – Luhan Tracy Zhou, MS

“My goal as a reproductive endocrinologist is to provide future hope for all woman with infertility problems. The MS-RSM program is great opportunity. I have learned three important things in the MS-RSM program; 1. Both scientific and clinical knowledge to understand the mechanism of fertility, 2. The innovative research techniques to improve reproductive science and medicine, and 3. Methods to move forward new technology to the world.” – Atsuko Kusuhara, MD, MS

“A comprehensive course worth savoring every moment of, with a remarkable faculty set to help you achieve your goals.” – Azza Mohamed Akasha, MD, MSDana Kimelman presenting

“I am more than grateful I was accepted to do this master’s program. I am sure I will be able to make a difference in the field in my country and that is priceless.” – Dana Kimelman, MD, MS

"The MS-RSM program at Northwestern University has opened my eyes to the urgent need for more advocates in the reproductive sciences. Through the program's leadership, I am more eager than ever to be a pioneer for both women's and men's health using all the knowledge I have gained in the short time I studied here. I know this program will continue to inspire future scientists and physicians to make new discoveries, and I am proud to be one of the first cohorts of students to graduate with a MS-RSM." – Sheila Egan, MS

“The MS-RSM program reinforced my passion for reproductive science, research, and medicine. Although I came with a degree in medicine, the program offered great courses that covered more specific topics in the area of ​​reproduction and where research is going in this field. It provided us with a unique setting that has many resources, professional network, innovative facilities, and scientific opportunities to do research and advance our career.” – Sergio Cardona-Gonzalez, MD, MS

MS-RSM students at NU commencementDespite the rain, our graduates also participated in Northwestern’s 160th Commencement Ceremony on June 22nd! We congratulate our graduates and wish them the best of luck in their careers.

I enjoyed mentoring each of you and you each taught me something as well. You each have unique strengths and abilities that will benefit our world through reproductive science, medicine, and health.” – Beth Sefton, PhD, Director of Graduate Studies, MS-RSM