Matriculation ‘the beginning of a new chapter’

Graduate Student Association (GSA) president Sophia Kisling greeted new students at the matriculation ceremony welcome reception.

Graduate Student Association (GSA) president Sophia Kisling greeted new students at the matriculation ceremony welcome reception.

UNMC Graduate Studies celebrated the arrival of more than 200 students at its annual Matriculation Ceremony Aug. 15 at Durham Research Center I auditorium.

“Take a deep breath,” Graduate Student Association (GSA) president Sophia Kisling told the assembled crowd. “This marks the beginning of a new chapter in your lives.”

The new students were welcomed by Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean for graduate studies, who asked them to make a heart symbol with their hands and promised they would make new friends.

Dr. Davies told the new students that they will work hard, but they also have a team working hard to support them.

Find yourself, colleagues or loved ones in this matriculation photo album.

The keynote address was delivered by Joyce Solheim, PhD, professor in the Eppley Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Solheim reminded incoming students of the importance of forgiving oneself, of mentorship and menteeship, and balance:

Joyce Solheim, PhD, served as keynote speaker at the 2023 matriculation ceremony.

“Do very well,” she said. “(Graduate school) takes effort, it takes quality. But at the same time, always care for yourself. Know your own limits. Sleep. Exercise. Eat. Enjoy the people around you.”

Students may eventually take on an academic career. Or, they may not, and instead go into “policy, industry, government, or advocacy,” Kisling said.

“In any career you will need skills in the areas beyond bench work. And there are a multitude of opportunities here for you to achieve that.”

The future is wide open, agreed Nicholas Wojtynek, PhD, president of the Graduate Studies Engagement Council of the UNMC Alumni Association, checking in via Zoom (he works at a biotechnology company in the Boston area). Dr. Wojtynek made this point through his favorite Wayne Gretzky quote.

“You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take,” Dr. Wojtynek, and Gretzky, said.

Dr. Davies also is a big Wayne Gretzky fan and was immediately inspired to share his favorite piece of wisdom from hockey’s all-time great.

“Don’t skate to where the puck is,” Dr. Davies said, quoting Gretzky, “skate to where the puck is going to be.”

That is how the future of science will be built, Dr. Davies said.

Dr. Davies then closed with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Today, the tasks ahead might seem overwhelming. But Emerson put it this way: “That which we persist on doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.”

Remember, Dr. Davies said: “Everything that you are going through is a bump. You’re going to get through this. You’re going to do great.”