Alumnus urges grads to take ‘braided river’ path

Dele Davies, MD, dean for graduate studies, greets UNMC Graduate Studies alumnus Robin Cotter, PhD, before she gives the keynote address at the 2023 Winter Honors Convocation.

Dele Davies, MD, dean for graduate studies, greets UNMC Graduate Studies alumnus Robin Cotter, PhD, before she gives the keynote address at the 2023 Winter Honors Convocation.

UNMC Graduate Studies held its annual Winter Honors Convocation Dec. 15, 2023, honoring August and December graduates. The honorees include those who had earned or were about to earn three graduate certificates, more than 20 master’s degrees and 40 doctoral degrees.

The keynote speaker was UNMC Graduate Studies alumna Robin Cotter, PhD, who has taken a nontraditional academic route to transforming the lives of underserved populations through research training. She is currently a professor in the Department of Biosciences at Phoenix College in Arizona, a highly diverse, Hispanic-serving community college.

It was a proud and emotional day for mentors as well, as demonstrated by Regina Idoate, PhD.

Dr. Cotter had this advice to the graduating students: “In the face of challenges, remember the strength that comes from the support of your community, and in times of success, share that joy with all those who have been part of your journey.”

She continued, “As you move forward, don’t be afraid to explore a variety of career pathways because like a braided river, these paths may take you in unexpected directions, but they will all intertwine to shape your distinct career journey.”

Watch Dr. Cotter’s keynote presentation.

Dr. Cotter’s own unique journey and lasting impact on her students inspires deep respect from her peers, notably Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies.

Families and loved ones celebrated the end of a long road.

“Dr. Cotter’s work through her course-based undergraduate research experiences (or CUREs) has demonstrated that community colleges can influence and transform the career trajectory of pre-health STEM professions students in traditionally underserved populations by implementing high-impact practices,” he said. “Her work is dramatically diversifying the STEM workforce and reducing barriers for hundreds of first generation and underrepresented students to participate in research across the nation.

“We are very proud that this UNMC alumnus has taken a nontraditional path to impacting the lives of a whole generation of students, and she is a great inspiration to our own graduate students here at UNMC.”

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, also addressed the soon-to-be graduates, who were hooded by mentors.

Nozima Aripova, PhD, Suhita Ray, PhD, and Susan Solmos, PhD, were noted as Graduate Students of Distinction. Adrian Flores, PhD, and Austin Gowen, PhD, were hailed for having earned the “Silver” Service Learning and Professional Development Badge.

View a Flickr photo album from the convocation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

MwN XP SybfqKYIjgdl OWid ZR h