Introduction of Recipient By Dean Jose Maliekal
There are about a dozen graduate programs in the School of Arts and Sciences. Students in these programs achieve remarkable growth and acquire exceptional abilities during their study. The Outstanding Graduate Student Award of the School of Arts and Sciences recognizes the student who is tops in this group. This year’s recipient of the Award is Miss Christeen Abraham, who is on track to complete her Master of Science in Biology in May.
Miss Christeen Abraham has a perfect 4.0 GPA. Clearly, the pandemic had no impact on her GPA. However, when the College cancelled its in-person instructional activities due to COVID-19, Miss Abraham had to halt the lab experiments that she has been conducting as part of thesis work. Undeterred, she altered her initial plans and focused on writing a review on the development of interstitial cells of cajal. These are pacemaker cells that beat rhythmically and facilitate communication between the nervous system and the smooth muscle of the gut wall. As a result, food is propelled along the entire length of the digestive tract. The overall objective of her current work is to publish the review in a peer-reviewed Journal.
Miss Christeen Abraham has been a teaching assisitant in the Department of Biology. She taught lab sections of Anatomy and Physiology I and II in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. More recently, she taught or has been teaching labs for the introductory Biology courses. To ensure that the adverse effects of pandemic on teaching and learning are minimal, the Biology department decided to deploy in the last two semesters its best graduate students as teaching assistants. These are the students who are most capable academically and at the same time most approachable with a deep commitment to teaching. According to Dr. Adan Rich, her thesis advisor, Christeen possesses these attributes in spades.
Language fluency is another skill that she has in spades. Besides her native longue, Christeen Abraham is fluent in three languages and has conversational skills in two more. No too many people can match this, least of all me. But she and I share the same native longue.
Besides pursuing studies, Miss Abraham has been working as a patient care technician to gain experience in the hospital setting. About this work, she wrote: “I get to wake up patients with a morning greeting and start the day off by taking their vitals. I love hearing the stories when they speak fondly of their youth and their pets when I take patients for a walk outside to get fresh air. Working at a hospital during a pandemic has further strengthened my passion to work in the medical field.” Her passion got a boost recently when she secured admission to medical school to pursue her lifelong aspiration of becoming a physician.
Dr. Adam Rich, who nominated her said it best: the combination not only of “her ambition and hard work, but also an openness and a compassion for others” is impressive.
For these reasons, I am so pleased to present Miss Christeen Abraham with the highest Graduate Award of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Christeen Abraham, Outstanding Graduate Student
The School of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Award is presented to an outstanding graduate student who has completed or is completing a program of study within the School of Arts and Sciences in the academic year of nomination. The nominee must have a minimum GPA of 3.85 and significant scholarly activity in their field of study.
About Christeen Abraham
Christeen M. Abraham is completing a master’s in biology, with a 4.0 GPA. Christeen earned her bachelor’s degree, also in Biology (Pre-Med), from SUNY Brockport. Beyond her studies, Christeen was also an active member in various organizations including: a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Biology, a Patient Care Technician at Rochester General Hospital, a Peer Mentor (2018-2019), Vice President of the Delta College Student Association (2018) as well as, Vice President of PACE within the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (2018-2019). She was awarded the Distinguished Professor Award in the Spring of 2021. On top of these awards and activities, Christeen is also working closely with Dr. Adam Rich to create a review project focusing on interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) development. Upon graduation, Christeen will be attending medical school in the Fall of 2021 to become a physician.