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Celebrating the 2021 Graduating Class of the MS-RSM Program

On June 10th, the Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine (MS-RSM) program celebrated the graduation of its 5th class of reproductive scientists. Gracefully navigating rigorous curriculum, engaging in cutting edge research projects, and carving their career paths during an unprecedented global pandemic, these 7 thesis and 4 non-thesis students showcase the excellence in our field.43245372-63c6-4079-a88a-860bbf863c47.png

Dr. Francesca Duncan, CRS Co-Director, began the celebrations by highlighting our program’s mission, the dedicated and growing faculty supporting our students, our global reach, and the scientific accomplishments achieved by students in the MS-RSM. Graduation is also a time to recognize the exceptional accomplishments of our students with the awarding of the MS-RSM Outstanding Student Awards. 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 of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado Medical School) conferred this year’s Makowski Award for the Most Outstanding MS-RSM Student which recognizes a single exemplary student on the thesis track each year. This year’s awardee was Hannah Anvari, MS (Dr. Francesca Duncan Laboratory) who’s work has shown that ovarian aging markers are similar between non-Hispanic Black and white women. The celebration was also joined by Dr. Teresa K. Woodruff past CRS Director and current Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Michigan State University, who presented the Teresa K. Woodruff Award for the Most Outstanding MS-RSM Student which recognizes a single exemplary student on the non-thesis track. This year’s awardee is Katy Trotter, MS (Drs. Pamela Monahan & Hoi Chang Lee Laboratory) who’s work focused on the effects of angiogenic factors and oxidative stress on the rat model of preeclampsia.

Proud only begins to communicate the collective pride that the MS-RSM faculty, mentors, and community members have for this year’s graduating class. Our student’s experiences are diverse and valuable and can be best communicated in their own words.

Hear what each of our laudatory reproductive scientists have to say about their educational journeys in the MS-RSM.

“In the MS-RSM program I learned the importance of translational research and collaborative science. I had many experiences that will shape my future career and am so grateful for all of the mentorship and guidance throughout this journey” – Hannah Anvari, MS (Mentors: Drs. Francesca Duncan and Melissa Simon)

“No other program would have given me the opportunity to dive so deeply into the topic of reproduction. The education, tools, and opportunities provided by the MS-RSM program have been undoubtedly life-altering in navigating me towards my passion in life. I am forever grateful for the people and program who helped shape my future in the field of reproductive science” – Lauren Butler, MS (Mentors: Drs. Francesca Duncan & Kara Goldman)

“I came into the MS-RSM program with a plan of everything I was going to accomplish and do. Did everything turn out as planned? No, because the best things in life are unexpected. I have accomplished more and exceeded my expectations because of the friendship, mentorship, and skills I have gained these past two years as an MS-RSM student” – Ashley Diaz, MS (Mentor: Dr. Monica Laronda)

“My time at Northwestern University has been the highlight of my education thus far, and I am grateful to have had this experience. I feel as though the Reproductive Science and Medicine program has given me the appropriate knowledge and tools to go forward and thrive in my career. I am immensely appreciative of the dedication and effort put forth by the faculty and guest lecturers to provide us with an outstanding education despite the challenges of the past year.” –Patrick Eckelkamp, MS (Drs. Hoi Chang Lee & Pamela Monahan)

“This program provided me with more than I imagined it would, and If you told me two years ago that this program would open the opportunity for me to be part of Breast Cancer Clinical Trials at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, I’d laugh. Dad, if only you can see me now! Thank you CRS/MSRSM, and the people who got me here.” – Shelby Hophan, MS (Mentor: Dr. Yong Wan)

“This program has provided me with the knowledge and skills to pursue my passion in clinical embryology. The faith my teachers and advisors had in me not only pushed me to be not only to be a better student, but a better scientist as-well. It’s been a pleasure working with my non-thesis team and thank them for all of their help.” –Yair Lupovitch, MS (Drs. Hoi Chang Lee & Pamela Monahan)

“My time in the MS-RSM program was filled with personal development and a newfound interest in reproductive-related endocrinopathies” – Norisha McCaddy, MS (Mentor: Dr. Margrit Urbanek)

“The MS-RSM Program has been an amazing opportunity for me. There has been nothing better than spending the last year learning about a subject that I love and being surrounded by people that are equally as passionate about reproductive science.” –Madison Minette, MS (Drs. Pamela Monahan & Hoi Chang Lee)

“During my time at MS-RSM, I gained a wonderful experience in research, explored a variety of opportunities, and met outstanding people. MS-RSM allowed me to realize how fascinating research can be.  As I learned throughout the journey, the more eager I became to pursue further research goals” – Zainab Taghvaei, MS (Mentor: Dr. Margrit Urbanek)

“The MS-RSM program has been more than I ever imagined it would be. It feels great to be surrounded by a community that share similar interests and are eager to learn about reproductive science. I cannot thank the faculty of the MS-RSM program enough for their guidance and mentorship that has shaped me as a reproductive scientist.” – Katy Trotter, MS (Drs. Pamela Monahan & Hoi Chang Lee)

“In addition to reproductive science, the MS-RSM program has taught me to take advantage of any opportunity and has pushed me to go outside the scope of reproductive science and collaborate with other scientists. I am truly grateful for the MS-RSM program and everyone that has shaped me into becoming a well-rounded scientist” –Karen Velez, MS (Mentor: Dr. Francesca Duncan)