2020 Vanderbilt MSTP Retreat
by Chris Wijers (G3)
In a year in which many events and meetings have been adapted to a virtual format due to the ongoing pandemic, the annual MSTP retreat was no exception. While the organizing committee (i.e. the rising G3 class and the Leadership Team – mostly Bryn) initially planned for a more traditional, in person retreat, we were forced to throw many of our plans overboard and start largely from scratch as we learned that all university sponsored gatherings would be suspended for the time being. Despite all that, I am incredibly pleased with how this year’s retreat turned out. This year’s scientific presentations, wellness discussions, and cocktail hours, while virtual, all met the overall goal of fostering a greater sense of community within our MSTP.
Looking back, I am incredibly grateful to have been able to work alongside my talented and diligent classmates as we put together this retreat. I am also thankful for our Leadership Team, an incredible resource that we could not have done without. Most of all, however, I am grateful for all of you – our larger MSTP community. Despite all of the changes to this year’s retreat, your participation in all sessions – both the serious and the lighthearted ones – was exceptional. Because of that, I have been able to hear thoughtful scientific questions, listen to powerful personal stories, and enjoy competing for the golden pipette alongside you.
Finally, I hope that this retreat will be unique in two ways. First, I hope that this will be the only virtual retreat we ever have. Second, I hope that both the keynote talk by Dr. Ranna Parekh and the subsequent discussions have made a unique and potentially unprecedented impact on you. I encourage you all to remember these sessions as we reconvene within the next few months to think of ways to improve the lives of our black and brown colleagues and fellow citizens.
On behalf of the rising G3 class,
Christiaan (Chris) Wijers