Graduate School showcase aims to recruit future scientistsPublished on Monday, September 24, 2018By: Karen BascomThe School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences hosted a showcase of its Ph.D. programs Thursday and Friday, introducing faculty advisors from other institutions to the options the SGSHS has to offer.“The major goal of the event is to foster relationships with local and regional colleges and universities in order to maintain and grow the pipeline of candidates for our Ph.D. programs,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, associate dean for academic affairs.Representatives from 11 schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi came to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to meet with program directors from eight Ph.D. tracks.The SGSHS accepts students from an international pool of candidates, looking for students with a strong scientific background and a desire to conduct research ranging from anatomy to biomedical materials.Dr. Michael Garrett, second from left, professor of pharmacology and toxicology, gives visiting faculty a tour of the molecular genomics core facility at UMMC.Ryan, who also serves as program director for physiology and biophysics, said UMMC’s selling points for potential students include a shorter degree completion time compared to other schools. This is in part due to the school’s commitment to funding students without using teaching or research assistantships, which allow them to focus on their studies.Dr. Peter Ryan (no relation to Michael), Mississippi State University associate provost for academic affairs and interim dean of the graduate school, said one aspect of the SGSHS he finds impressive is its financial support for Ph.D. students. The school currently offers a $24,150 stipend for three years, a tuition waiver and health insurance.Peter Ryan“UMMC provides solid stipend support,” said Peter Ryan, a professor of reproductive physiology in MSU’s Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. “Funding is often a big worry for students considering graduate school.”He also noted that UMMC’s programs may be good options for MSU graduates interested in programs and expertise that their own graduate school does not have, such as clinically-oriented microbiology.“We want encourage a diversity of training opportunities for our graduates,” he said.The SGSHS’s benefits go beyond the financial.“Our graduate school has a collegial atmosphere,” Michael Ryan said, noting that students regular cross department boundaries to collaborate academically, as well as philanthropically and socially for events like the annual UMMC School Cup competition. “We want to instill in our students a sense of social responsibility – that they are citizens and scientists.”Dr. Camellia Okpodu, right, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, asks a question at the SGSHS's recruitment event.Dr. Joey Granger, dean of the SGSHS, told attendees that another strength is the school’s high faculty-to-student ratio.“We have approximately 200 graduate faculty and 200 graduate students, 85 of which are in our Ph.D. programs,” Granger said.Michael Ryan said that in previous years, the SGSHS has hosted a similar visit day for top admissions candidates, but this is the first year the school has hosted a similar event for advisors.“We intend to make this an annual fall event and hope that our invited guests will become ambassadors for the Ph.D. programs at UMMC,” Ryan said.