Freshly minted scientists embark upon ‘careers of greatness’

June 13, 2014 | by

In an intimate ceremony with family, friends and faculty gathered near the Rose Garden, a dozen of City of Hope's brightest young people embarked recently on the next phase of their scientific careers.

Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences commencement ceremony

The 2014 commencement ceremony at City of Hope's Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences launches a new class of top-notch scientists.

The 16th commencement ceremony of the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences took place June 6 on the institution's Duarte campus. Sharing the culmination of years of intensive study and training, the students received their Doctor of Philosophy degrees from their laboratory mentors.

The event marked the beginning of what are sure to be great works of discovery, according to Robert Stone, City of Hope's president and chief executive officer.

“While it’s true that today marks the completion of countless hours in the lab and the library, these pursuits were not ends in themselves,” Stone said. “Rather, they were preparation for careers of greatness …

“Thanks to this great institution — and thanks to the careers that now lie before you — progress will be made against diseases that cause untold suffering and death,” he added.

Nobel Laureate Thomas Cech, Ph.D., who gave the keynote address, reaffirmed Stone’s sentiment.

“It’s the discoveries of today that are going to be responsible for our better health 20 or 30 years from now,” Cech said.

He also encouraged the graduates to spread awareness of science and its benefits, something graduate Marisa Bowers, Ph.D., may pursue in her future work.

“I want to take a nontraditional career path and go into foundation relations or a granting institution to help research institutions bring in grants,” Bowers said. “I found through my time at City of Hope and working with Development that I really enjoying explaining science to the visitors who come to our lab.”

Philanthropist and longtime supporter honored by graduate school

During the event, the school honored philanthropist Michael Amini, a longtime supporter whose contributions to City of Hope include establishing its state-of-the-art Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center. The iconic furniture designer and chief executive of Amini Innovation Corporation received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the graduate school.

Amini joined 12 students who received their Doctor of Philosophy degrees in biological sciences.

  • Jerlisa Ann Arizala
  • Marisa Teri Bowers
  • Deepti Chadalavada
  • Hei Jason Chan
  • Gregory Allan Cherryholmes
  • Renzo Martin Corzano
  • Heather Florence Johnston
  • Samuel Adam LaBarge
  • Lauren Courtney Liddell
  • Armen Mardiros
  • Meilen Chang Muñoz
  • Sergey Nechaev

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Learn more about City of Hope's Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences.