Seven weeks or so later…

All the hullabaloo leading to the thesis defense day and I don’t write anything about what happened…  I passed my thesis defense!!!  I am now a PhD and will officially become one on June 3rd, when I receive my diploma during the commencement.  I plan to write the days that were – retrospective blog entries, if you will – and I will begin by posting the acknowledgement section that I wrote in my dissertation.  This section sums up my appreciation and gratitude for the people who have been a part of my graduate school experience – may it be in the lab or outside of lab.  My deep and sincere “Thank You!”

———-

And I have come to the end of tunnel.  That was one long tunnel!

As I reflect on my training as a scientist and the time I spent in graduate school, I have come to realize that I am truly blessed!  I am surrounded by a bunch of wonderful people who have helped me throughout this journey and I appreciate everything that they have contributed to who I am today.

First of all, I would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Masanori Terajima for taking me on as a graduate student in his laboratory.  His zen-like approach to science is something I admire and wish to emulate.   I could not thank him enough for being patient with me and for being always available to answer questions, to give advice and to provide guidance, among others.

I thank Dr. Francis Ennis for his words of wisdom and for reminding us to always keep a big picture perspective.  His invaluable knowledge on influenza and his comments and suggestions helped mold this thesis project.  I also appreciate the faculty members of our group, past and present.  Big thank you’s go to Alan, Dan, Sharone, Mary and Anuja for your insightful comments during lab meetings.  I especially thank Dan for being a part of my TRAC committee for the last five years.

I would also like to acknowledge my TRAC committee members, Larry, Katherine and Ray.  Thank you for all the helpful discussions and directions during the TRAC meetings and for being a part of my dissertation committee.  I also thank Dr. Jason Kim and Dr. Loren Fast for taking the time to read and critique my dissertation.

John Cruz, Laura Orphin and Kim West have been instrumental in teaching me the necessary laboratory techniques for my thesis project.  To the CTL king and to the ELISPOT queens, I salute you!  John has also been an excellent resource for any lab-related issue and I thank him for always accommodating my requests and inquiries.  I thank Pamela Pazoles and Marcia Woda for teaching me how to “flow.”  ICS is not my favorite experiment to do, but it surely was tolerable because I knew a flow expert is just around the corner.

Labmate, deskmate, hoodmate – Anita Leporati.  Your cheerful demeanor and positive outlook (and of course, that infectious laughter!) kept me sane through this entire ride.  Thank you for listening to all my crazy stories.  You have become a dear friend to me.

I am very grateful to be a part of the group previously known as CIDVR, past and present members.  You will always have a special place in my happy memory vault.  My lab-life was a pleasant and enjoyable experience because everyone is always ready to help and give encouragement, not only in lab-related stuff but also in the finer things in life.  Special thanks to Laurie-Ann for helping me out during the final stretch of my thesis writing.

Massachusetts has become a home away from home because of the wonderful people I met through the years.  To my grad school “family” here in Worcester – Abby, Arlene, Freidrich, Judith, Krista, Lucy, Rachel and Reina, thank you for all the wonderful memories (mostly revolving around food) and for your friendship.  Thank you to Homer and Gen for being the ‘kuya’ and ‘ate’ of the family, helping us out (the newbies in MA) in so many ways.  To Arlene and Rachel, I don’t know how you were able to put up with a crazy roommate like me – thank you for all the little things and the big things and all things in between.  To my running buddy, Krista – thank you for going the miles with me, not only on the pavement but also in the road of life.  To my drinking buddy, Lucy – a “hydrated” being is a happy being; thanks for all the conversations over “hydration”.  I would also like to acknowledge my grad school classmates for their support and encouragement from the core course, to qualifying exams, to (failed) experiments – thank you Kristen, Joel, Zaida, Ermelinda and Bhavana.  To friends, old and new, especially the Boston Filipino community and Adrian – thank you for providing a place of familiarity and camaraderie.  I would also like to extend my gratitude to my very good friend Bing.  You are the constant variable in this ever-changing equation.  I am so glad that you are always a phone call away (or a 3-hour drive for that matter).  I don’t know how I could have gone through the last seven or so years without you.

Lastly, but certainly not the least, I am grateful for having a very supportive family – Der, Mer, Nengi, Reni and Dongi.  I especially would like to acknowledge my parents, who always believed in my dreams and supported my love for learning and for science.  I have been physically away from all of you for most of my life, but I know we are eternally bound by our love for each other.  Your prayers, words of encouragement, pep talks and helpful advice throughout the years have made me who I am today.  I could never ask for a better support system and I can certainly say that you have always been behind me every step of the way.  You are my inspiration!

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