Starting a New Journey with a White Coat!

August 24, 2021

By the end of high school, people expect you to start figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life. But how can you decide your career if you haven’t had any experience in that career field yet? In college, I dreamed of becoming a physician and when people suggested other career options I might enjoy, such as research, I paid no attention. It took me 8 years of hard work including a master’s degree in anatomy and two years working in academia to realize that my strengths are more suited to a career path other than becoming a physician. Part of life’s journey is being adaptable as you learn new things. Change is scary but can provide so many new opportunities.   
My new career officially began this past week when Case Western Reserve University held a white coat ceremony for their new PhD students. The white coat ceremony is a tradition that started in 1993 with Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. This is when medical students received their first white coat to emphasize their training years. Now, several schools are starting to hold these ceremonies for other terminal degree candidates including PhD students. In fact, some schools have students recite a Graduate Student Oath (listed below)! It was such an honor to begin my PhD journey celebrating with my university and parents. Having dreamed of this moment for so long, I admit I am still in shock that I am actually here! 
There is so much that I hope to share with you through this blog, but first I need to recognize the two people who have been my ultimate cheerleaders through life – My Parents! I am so thankful to have such an incredible support system and am very glad they were able to share my white coat ceremony with me!

Getting my White Coat!
My Cheerleaders!
My grandfather's white coat from when he started his medical residency.

Graduate Student Oath
As I embark on my career as a scientist, I willingly pledge that:
  • I will practice and support a scientific process that is based on logic, intellectual rigor, personal integrity, and an uncompromising respect for truth;
  • I will perform my professional activities and interactions with scientific integrity and respect for the field and my peers;
  • I will acknowledge my role as an ambassador of science to the public, and strive to be honest, respectful, and unbiased with engaging the public;
  • I will value my work and its contribution to the scientific community;
  • I will never let the potential for personal recognition or advancement cause me to act in a way that violates the public trust in science or in me as a scientist;
  • I will foster a community that is inclusive of all and recognize that diversity cultivates innovation, creativity, and progress;
  • I will acknowledge and honor the contributions of scientists who have preceded me and become a worthy role model deserving of respect by those who follow me;
  • And I will always be cognizant that my work is for the advancement of knowledge and the benefit of all humanity.
By pronouncing this Oath, I declare my commitment to these professional standards and goals.



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