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Graduate Education Office (GEO) Newsletter

April 7, 2021
in this issue: 

1. GEO Leadership Corner
2. BGSO Announcements 
3. The Birth Justice Fundraiser

4. Watch the CWRU/OSU Case Competition Tonight
5. (Wacky) Wack 'Em Wednesday: Self Defense Class Tonight
6. SA&L Cookie Pick-Up
7. Daily Trivia
8. Upcoming Seminars


GEO Leadership Corner

With the advent of vaccine availability, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic.  However, we’re not out of the tunnel yet!  There still is an amount of uncertainty with new variants emerging.  I write to remind you to continue to wear your mask and social distance while on campus and to continue your weekly testing if you are on campus.  We are planning for a fall that is a little closer to “normal” but continuing to evaluate factors to keep our students, faculty and staff safe.

In order to help us get closer to where we want to be, and to protect yourself and others, we STRONGLY encourage you to get vaccinated ASAP if you have not already done so.  For those of you on or near campus, you can schedule appointments for vaccines on campus by calling 216.368.1964 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or completing this online form.


Cheryl L. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Educational Initiatives, School of Medicine
Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

BGSO Announcements


School of Medicine RTA Vote
We are voting on the implementation of a fee for a discounted RTA Universal Pass. The pass grants unlimited access to the services provided by RTA. This is an all-in process, wherein the outcome of the vote applies to every graduate student in the School of Medicine. Voting will be open until April 16th at 12pm. 

If passed, the fee will be $60 per semester that all students in the school will be required to pay the fee through Spring of 2022. At the end of Spring of 2022, a new contract will be negotiated and voted on. More information can be found here:  Slideshow  

If rejected, no student will have access to the universal pass, but students individually can purchase the standard monthly pass at the rate of $95 per month directly through the RTA.

If you have additional questions, reach out to BGSO at

BGSO will be hosting a TownHall April 9th at 3pm to allow for any questions or thoughts to be shared.
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 950 5686 9738
Passcode: 018773


CWRU Medical Insurance Survey
We would like to get your thoughts on the graduate student health insurance provided by CWRU. Please fill out this survey by April 15th at 12pm. Details on the Aetna plan provided by CWRU are found at here. Additional questions please send to

BGSO 2021-2022 Executive Board Nominations
Are you outgoing? Are you looking to get involved with BGSO? Are you looking to showcase your leadership? Nominations for members of the 2021-2022 BGSO Executive Board are open! Please nominate yourself or a colleague. If you have specific questions on the role, email us at

Safety Reminders

BGSO would like to remind everyone of several resources for students in regards to safety. GSC is leading efforts to increase safety presence on campus

Safe ride: Safe Ride carries students, faculty and staff around campus and part of University Circle. The service is an after-hours addition to public transportation. It runs seven days a week, between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. You can access either through the Guardian app or visit
Walking Escorts: available within the University Circle area: and the Rave Guardian app also has a "Guardian" and safety timer features (easier to read their description than for me to reword it):

Attention all BSTP graduate students:

This year, BGSO is launching the Mentor Match-up program. Interested current graduate students will have the opportunity to mentor an incoming BSTP student who shares their research and academic interests. As the mentor, you will be one of the first friendly faces the new students will contact regarding rotations, information about CWRU or Cleveland, etc. If you are interested, please sign up on the Google sheet via the link below. Include your name, email, department, and research interests.

Let's Taco Bout It!
Hello all! The BGSO has created a Zoom link for a virtual lunch each week on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:30-1:30! Come for a few minutes or come for an hour! For sure, come and have fun! 
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 964 4855 8123
Passcode: 392001


2021 Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS)

After a successful 2020 Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS), we're ready to plan next year's event! If you are interested in being a member of the organizing committee, please fill out the attached google form. Those interested will meet early 2021 to transition in the new subcommittees.


Upcoming Events & Announcements

The Birth Justice Fundraiser
Cleveland's new black owned birthing center, Birth of a Nation, (founded by MSMP student, Alliyah Harold) is partnering up with Birth Center Equity Fund and Bravo Television Network to host a birth Justice Fundraiser on May 1st, 2021. Registration opens Monday April 5th. Birth of a Nation aims to serve women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Birth Center Equity Fund is an organization that allocates funds to BIPOC owned birthing centers across the nation. Heather Thomson from The Real Housewives of NYC will be the MC and Dr. Jackie Walters from Married To Medicine will serve as keynote speaker. Registration link: will be active on Monday and closes April 26th.
Watch the CWRU/OSU Case Competition

Wednesday, April 7, at 6 p.m.

To help celebrate National Public Health Week 2021, teams of students from CWRU and OSU will compete to develop the best and most innovative public health solutions in a virtual Case Competition. For this case, the teams will provide recommendations to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among those incarcerated and working in Ohio’s jails. The community partnering organization is the ACLU of Ohio. Mark your calendar for the final round and
Attend the virtual Case Competition here.
Meeting ID: 960 8820 8425
Password: 746317

What is a Case Competition? A Case Competition brings teams of students together to develop solutions to an identified issue. The winning team is selected based on the merits (based on defined criteria and as judged by relevant experts) of their solutions.

How does this particular Case Competition work? Teams from CWRU and OSU will compete in a preliminary case competition. The winner from each school will then face one another in the final round of the competition. Community partners representing relevant organizations and expertise will serve as judges.

(Wacky) Wack 'Em Wednesday: Self Defense Class

Wednesday, April 7
7:00pm - 8:30pm

Come (virtually) with a partner to learn self-defense skills!
Hosted by the Krav Maga Cleveland
Sponsored by the Office of Graduate Student Life
Click here to RSVP

Weird, Quirky Things on Campus

Wednesday, April 7
7:00pm - 8:00pm

Ever notice an odd detail next to a sidewalk or on the side of a building? Wondered about a piece of art? Thought a place name was unusual and wondered about the backstory? Wished you could seek out the little quirky gems of rooms and courtyards on our campus that only those who explore every inch of campus know? This is your chance to ask those questions, or make a list of spots to check out the next time you come to campus. This is a Zoom presentation, but soon enough you'll want to explore in-person on your own! (In the meantime, pick up some hints to help you out on the virtual scavenger hunt.) Hosted by the Office of Student Affairs. Click here to RSVP.

Wednesday's Daily Trivia is out! The daily trivia will be open daily and close at 10:00p.m. daily! One lucky winner will be chosen and win at $20 gift card! 


Wed, Apr 7, 2021 9:00 PM –

Fri, Apr 9, 2021 4:30 PM EDT

In celebration of this year's Graduate Student Appreciation week, SA&L invites graduate students to stop by our office between April 7 - April 9 to pick up a sweet treat from a local bakery! Quantities are limited, so make sure you don't miss out by signing up today! Click here to sign up.

19th NPA Annual Conference 

The NPA Annual Conference is the largest national conference and networking event dedicated to the postdoctoral community. Conference attendees - postdoctoral scholars, administrators, faculty, and representatives from disciplinary societies, industry, and corporations - are provided with the opportunity to gather and enhance their professional development and leadership skills.

The virtual event, set for April 15-16, 2021, will be easy to join from across the nation or around the world. Attendees are provided with the opportunity to enhance their professional development and leadership skills. Register now for the largest educational conference and networking event dedicated to the postdoctoral community. Click here to register.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs invites you to celebrate the 31st Annual Unity Banquet and Scholarship Benefit entitled, Rise Up: Resilience Through Community. In reaching a full year of pandemic living, OMA wants to recognize all of the ways that our community has learned to be resilient and continue to push the needle forward for equity and inclusion.

Unity Banquet will be held April 5th to April 9th, 2021. Yes, you read those dates right. Unity Banquet is now Unity Week! OMA has expanded our typical single evening event, into a week of programming. We want to take this week to highlight all of the amazing achievements and milestones that our office and the students that engage with us have accomplished across this very unconventional year. Please see below to learn about our daily programming and register to tune in! Click here for more details.

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences Information Sessions

The Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences invites you to explore our programs and get to know our faculty, who are nationally and internationally recognized. Click here for more details.

Summer Biochemistry Course- BIOC 405

The Department of Biochemistry would like to let you know about a biochemistry course, BIOC 405 that we'll offer in June.  This 5-week graduate course (beginning June 1) is intended primarily for MS students who are headed for careers in the health sciences.  BIOC 405 lets you meet the requirement of many professional programs for a biochemistry course and helps prepare for entrance exams.

The course will be synchronous remote, following university safety requirements..
BIOC 405 will survey the molecules of living systems and will stress the structure and function of proteins, and the metabolism of small molecules, with frequent references to the role of these molecules in human health and disease.  Topics include: protein structure and function; enzymes; membranes; bioenergetics; and intermediary metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleotides.  One year of organic chemistry is required.  
If you are interested in taking BIOC 405 this summer, please contact Dr. Snider at or Dr. Wang at  We will be happy to answer questions. 

The Evolution of Public Health into Global Health Practice
MPHP 496

This condensed course will use readings and case studies to explore the motivating factors in the emergence of global health interventions over the last 200 years, with a focus on its roots in public health practice, its expanding scope in the early to mid- 20th century, and the strengths and weaknesses of modern global health interventions. Readings and seminar discussions will involve consideration of the changing definitions of "public health", and of the spaces in which public health interventions are expected to occur.  

This course that will be offered online asynchronously from June 1-July 2.  If you have any questions, please contact Tara Hannum.
Restore Cleveland Hope’s Freedom Festival
A virtual Celebration of the opening of the new
Underground Railroad Interpretive Center at the Cozad Bates House

We are so excited to show you the newly finished Underground Railroad Interpretive Center at the Cozad Bates House. You are invited to join Restore Cleveland Hope for our virtual celebration of what is an inspiring, historic, and fun place to visit in University Circle. We will treat you to some of the artists who have performed at our Freedom Festival! In addition, we will show you what the house looks like inside and a bit of the outside. We would love to be gathered together in the newly landscaped front yard, but that is an event we will plan for the future.  Click here to download flyer.
Our celebration will be Live Streamed on Thursday, April 8 at 7pm.

Here is a link to the event website:

You can also watch on Facebook:

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Pre-Professional Health Program Seminar
Click here to view the Pre-Professional Health Program Seminar "Selecting Medical Schools for Admission".

Women of Achievement Awards & Spotlight Awards
Open for Nominations

Since 2015, the Annual Women of Achievement Awards & Spotlight Awards celebrates the scholarship and research of women faculty and outstanding achievements by women campus staff and students. The prizes are partially funded through the Mather Spotlight Series Endowment, established in 1989 by the Mather Centennial Celebration Committee of the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association.

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and the Mather Spotlight Awards Selection Committee invite nominations of CWRU women faculty, staff, and students for the biennial Mather Spotlight Award, which recognizes the achievements of two women faculty, two women staff, one woman graduate or professional student, and one woman undergraduate student whose outstanding professional accomplishments, leadership, and service have had a significant positive impact on our university and campus community. 

The evaluation criteria for this award are:
  1. Professional Accomplishments (could include job performance, academic performance, scholarly contributions, etc.)
  2. Leadership (leadership can relate to positions/roles and/or engaging in work that reflects the Flora Stone Mather Center values - these values are in the nomination form for reference).
  3. Service (could include volunteering, teaching, committee work, mentoring, etc.) 
  4. Demonstrated impact on our university/campus community 
Nominations are due by April 23Click here to submit a nomination!


The Office of the Provost, The School of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) and others are recognizing graduate students' intellectual, teaching and cultural contributions to the Case Western Reserve University community with several sponsored events during Graduate Student Appreciation Week from April 5-9th.    

Unfortunately due to COVID the SOM Graduate Education Office is unable to host our annual Graduate Student Appreciation Reception, but we would still like to show our appreciation for SOM Masters students, SOM Postbac students, and SOM & BME PhD students with a small token of appreciation. Click here to sign up to receive your small appreciation gift no later than Wednesday, March 31st.

Make sure to become a member of the Office of Graduate Student Life Campus Groups to find out about
Graduate Student Appreciation Week (GSAW) events, free giveaways, and raffles. 

CWRU Resources Available to Students

We all need a little help sometimes.  If you find yourself in need of assistance, here are some resources available to students from CWRU:
Source: Katie Gaffen, Department of Nutrition

New Virtual Mental Health Option for CWRU Students—
Wherever They Are

CWRU has announced a new initiative to help ensure that students living outside of Ohio can access mental health care during these trying times called CWRU Care. CWRU Care is a 24/7 mental telehealth care service that undergraduate, graduate and professional students can access from wherever they are.
Through CWRU Care, students can access two kinds of appointments: TalkNow Visits, which are available 24/7 and provide immediate support, and Scheduled Visits, which is a scheduled option for students to speak to a licensed counselor based on their needs and schedule. International students will only be able to use the 24/7 TalkNow visits, and not the scheduled option.

For more information about the program or to make an appointment, please visit


Upcoming Seminars

Thursday, April 8th

Immuno-Oncology Seminar Series
Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
Director, Abramson Cancer Center
Vice Dean, Cancer Programs, Perelman School of Medicine
Vice President, Cancer Programs, University of Pennsylvania Health System
University of Pennsylvania
"CD40 immunotherapy of cancer: should agonists join the center stage?"
10a Zoom

Neurosciences Seminar
Ted Abel, PhD
Director, Iowa Neuroscience Institute
University of Iowa
"Molecular Mechanisms of Long-Term Memory Storage"

12p Zoom
Friday, April 9th

Cancer Center Seminar Series
Susan Mazanec, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN
Nurse Scientist, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center
Assistant Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Member, Cancer Prevention Control & Population Research Program
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Case Western Reserve University
"Preparing Family Caregivers for the Complex Role: A Call to Action for Researchers and Clinicians"
12p Zoom

Monday, April 12th

Neurosciences Seminar
Catherine A. Collins, PhD
Associate Professor, University of Michigan
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
"Circuit plasticity and inflammation gated by a conserved axonal damage signaling pathway"

11a Zoom

Upcoming Dissertation Defenses

My Nguyen
Biochemistry Dissertation Defense
Friday, April 16th
"Discovery and Understanding an Effective 'Door Stopper' Inhibitor of the Human Uracil-DNA Glycosylase to Target Base Excision Repair
Danny Orabi
Molecular Medicine Dissertation Defense
Monday, April 19th
"The Effects of High Fat Diet in Liver Disease and Hepatocellular Carcinoma"

David Sweet
Pathology Dissertation Defense
Thursday, April 22nd
"Kruppel-like Factor 2 Regulation of Aging and Healthspan: A Link between the 3D Nucleome and Disease"

Britney Graham
Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Dissertation Defense
Monday, April 26th
"Estimating Prevalence of Human Traits Among Populations from Polygenic Risk Scores"

Liyan Fan
Pathology Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, May 12th
"Kruppel-like Factor 15 Regulation of Systemic Metabolic Homeostasis

GEO Wants to Hear From You

Have you published a paper, received a fellowship, or have other exciting news you want to share?  Well, the Graduate Education Office would like to hear you. To submit information to be included in the GEO newsletter, please complete the GEO announcement submission form.

The Huddle provides news and information about our interprofessional education and collaborative practice efforts within and beyond Samson Pavilion and the dental clinic.  Click here to read the latest issue.

The Pulse

The Pulse, the School of Medicine's newsletter, where you can keep current with latest news from the school every month. If you have news to share in future issues, submit your story here.  Watch for The Pulse in your inbox each month, stay informed and enjoy!  Click here to read latest SOM news.
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