On August 4, The Wistar Institute hosted a ceremony celebrating the 2022 graduates of the Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program and Fox Biomedical Research Technician (BRT) Apprenticeship.
The hybrid event kicked off with a welcome by Dario Altieri, M.D., President and CEO of the Institute, and brief remarks from Kristy Shuda McGuire, Ph.D., Wistar dean of Biomedical Studies. Shuda McGuire expressed the Institute’s gratitude to all the supporters of both programs as well as her excitement for what the future holds for Wistar education and training program trainees. “It is a testament to The Wistar Institute’s support that education and life sciences represents one of three pillars in our BOLD Science // GLOBAL Impact strategic plan and capital campaign.”
Juan Esteban Perez Rodriguez, graduate from the BTT Program, and Jane Koshy, graduate from the Fox BRT Apprenticeship, each spoke, reflecting on their personal experiences as Wistar trainees and what they learned throughout their time. From what it means to work in a lab to the victories and mistakes made, the graduates felt they are now individuals capable of adapting and working independently in the life science workforce.
BTT speaker Juan Esteban Perez Rodriguez recounted one of his early days in the program where Shuda McGuire summed up what their time together could accomplish, “Kristy said ‘We are the BTT program. We are a family, and we are one,’ and that really set the tone for the year. Even though we students came from different community colleges, we were there to support and lean on each other.”
Keynote speaker Lois Tolvinski, M.S., a former BTT graduate and current manager of laboratory operations at life science company Chimeron Bio – the newest industry collaborator of the BTT program (thanks to Tolvinski’s connection) – shared her path to science and congratulated trainee graduates. She encouraged them to ask questions, take what they learned from Wistar with them throughout their academic and professional journeys, and carry that initial spark they had for science upon starting the Program with them throughout their careers. “My success story was built on the foundation of my BTT training,” Tolvinski shared. “It’s amazing to bring my professional experience full circle and connect my time at Wistar to my current role at Chimeron Bio.”
After the presentation of certificates to graduates by leaders from Community College of Philadelphia and Montgomery County Community College, a reception followed in the Tobin Family Atrium.
Aligning with strategic plan goals for the next five years to expand education in the Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Education and Training Center, Wistar is looking forward to the expansion of both the BTT and Fox BRT education and training programs with funding from the PA Department of Labor and Industry, National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program, the Fox Family, and various philanthropic supporters.