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Graduate Student White Coat Ceremony 2015

White lab coats on hangers

On Friday, September 4, 2015, 72 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health graduate students were recognized for the successful completion of their Doctoral Board Oral Examinations with a celebratory white coat ceremony and reception.

The event, led by Peter Espenshade, the associate dean of graduate biomedical education for the school of medicine, and Roy Ziegelstein, the school of medicine’s vice dean of education, marked the first annual coating ceremony for the school of public health and the first time both schools would come together to honor the budding scientists. 

During the ceremony, Namandje Bumpus, the school of medicine’s associate dean for institutional and student equity, delivered a keynote address urging each student to always uphold the level of scholarship and professionalism associated with their white coats. Each coat came embroidered with the student’s name and with a graduate student pin affixed, which represents the unity of each of the 14 Johns Hopkins University doctoral programs. 

With their families, peers and mentors as witnesses, each student recited the graduate student oath, scientists’ pledge to always maintain integrity and commitment to the scientific community. Though the white coat ceremony is most commonly known as an educational milestone and ritual for M.D. graduates, The Johns Hopkins University is one of the few institutions in the country to present its graduating Ph.D. students with white coats.

Graduate Coating Ceremony - Amanda's Story

Amanda Edwards has known she’s wanted to be a scientist since age 5. She, along with 71 other school of medicine and public health graduate students, were recognized and awarded for the successful completion of their Doctoral Board Oral Examinations during the white coat ceremony on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Family, friends and peers traveled from near and far to watch students receive their white coats and recite the graduate student oath, where they pledge to uphold their integrity and professionalism throughout their careers.

Meet Varenka Rodriguez, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program 

Varenka, her parents and her fianceVarenka, her parents and fiance celebrate after the 2015 school of medicine white coat ceremony. 

“Participating in the second graduate coating ceremony was the perfect time to reflect on the milestones we’ve met and opportunities on the horizon. 

But this occasion was merely a stepping stone.

Having the white coat bestowed upon us reinforces our commitment to conduct scientific research with integrity in our never-ending quest to improve societal welfare. This journey undoubtedly has been — and will continue to be — made possible through the support of my family, friends and mentors.”

- Varenka Rodriguez