When Celeste Diaz, a new graduate student in cancer biology, stepped down from the elevator in the lobby of Berg Hall in the Li Ka Shing Learning and Knowledge Center on September 20, she was greeted by rows in clean white coats. hanging from shelves. All the first year bioscience students had one waiting for them, with their names embroidered on the left chest of the coats.
âI’m so happy to be here in person,â said Diaz, one of 164 new PhD and MD-PhD students entering a variety of Stanford departments and programs in biosciences, such as biophysics, biology, immunology, stem cell biology and neuroscience. She was handed her coat, which she draped over her arm.
âI’m excited. I’ll be the first to get a PhD in the family,â she said, adding that she was also the first in her family to graduate from college. âI’m a little sad that my family couldn’t be there for that. “
As with so many events since the COVID-19 outbreak, things were a little different at this year’s lab coat ceremony, an annual celebration that marks the start of studies for first-year graduate students. in biosciences. Masks were worn. Family members and friends were not allowed to attend. Still, the excitement in the air was palpable. Last year’s ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic.
âLast year around this time the sky was orange, and everyone was in 2D,â said Antoine Ricci, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, referring to the atmospheric effect of smoke from forest fires in the Bay Area last fall. âIt’s a great way to start things off this year. I am very happy.”