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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / May 2023 / UR CTSI Firsts at Commencement 2023

UR CTSI Firsts at Commencement 2023

Last Friday’s Commencement of the Class of 2023 included several firsts for the UR CTSI. It featured the first cohort of graduates of our Bachelor in Clinical and Translational Sciences program and it was the first time one of our Translational Biomedical Science PhD Program graduates gave a commencement speech.

Raven Osborn, PhD, gave a rousing and heart-felt speech recounting the many struggles and self-doubt she faced along her academic journey. Coming from an unaccredited and sorely under-resourced high school, working two-to-three jobs throughout high school and college, Osborn beat the odds to become the first person in her family to go to college… and then the first to drop out.

Watch her full speech to learn how she overcame self-doubt to finish college, and excel in graduate school - studying COVID while leading efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM fields.

Meet Our First Bachelor Program Graduates

The class of 2023 also included the first three graduates of our recently launched Bachelor in Clinical and Translational Sciences program. The new major is a collaborative effort between the UR CTSI and the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering to provide in-depth instruction in the fundamental skills, methodology, and principles of clinical and translational research. Students also get formal laboratory experiences and specific ongoing guidance on the process of translational science and emerging developments in the field.

from left to right: Anna Job, Anna Mercer, Edwin Van Wijngaarden, PhD, and Anjali Blow pose at Commencement 2023Anna Job (far left) participated in an internship at the University of Rochester’s Saunders Center for Health and Technology, which partners with the Parkinson’s Foundation, to understand how an integrated palliative care approach could help improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers. She is also a Research Coordinator at the Geriatric Oncology clinic at the university’s Wilmot Cancer Institute. She is excited to continue her work here while earning her master’s degree in Clinical Investigation.

Anna Mercer (second from left) worked at the Center for Research on Flavored Tobacco (CRoFT), to understand the public’s consumer and health perceptions about vaping to help guide regulatory policy and cessation interventions. She plans to move to Raleigh, NC, after graduation to work at the SAS Institute as a technical consultant on public health and health services data projects.

Anjali Blow (far right) participated in the Emergency Department Research Associate program, where she got hands-on experience with clinical research and medicine.  She also worked on the Digital Health Equity Navigator Training Program, which aims to increase patients’ ability to navigate their healthcare by creating and disseminating “train-the-trainer” learning modules and building sustainable connections with community-based organizations. Anjali plans to become a physician and conduct translational research in the future.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

In addition to the graduates listed above, the class of 2023 also included six more graduates of our TBS PhD Program. Congrats to Jack Chang, PhD, Ian DeAndrea Lazarus, PhD, Christie Gilbert-Klaczko, PhD, Hannah Murphy, PhD, Zahira Quinones-Tavarez,MPH, PhD, and Jishyra Serrano, PhD.

(from left) Raven Osborn, PhD, Hannah Murphy, PhD, Zahira Quinones-Tavarez, MPH, PhD, and Jack Chang, PhD pose with former TBS Program Director Tim Dye, PhD.(from left) TBS graduate Ian DeAndrea-Lazarus, PhD, poses with fellow Deaf graduates Sara Blick-Nitko, PhD, Corinna Hill, PhD, and Courtney Kellogg, PhD.Jishyra Serrano-Lopez, PhD, and Zahira Quinones-Tavarez, PhD, pose with an Instagram placard.


Students in the Translational Biomedical Science PhD Program were supported by the University of Rochester CTSA award number TL1 TR002000 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Michael Hazard | 5/17/2023

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