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PhD Success for Saint Maur Student!

PhD Success for Saint Maur Student!

One of the benefits of teaching at Saint Maur for ‘quite a long time’ is that you can sometimes follow students for many miles along their educational path. It was with tremendous excitement therefore that at 2pm EST (3am Tokyo time!), I was able to log on to Zoom to observe the PhD Defense of Reina Iwase (Class of 2013).

It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Reina was successful in her defense and will formally be awarded her doctorate in Biochemistry on May 23rd, 2024 from Harvard University. Reina quickly established herself as a serious student from the moment I first met her in Grade 8, always striving to maintain the highest academic standards. In Grades 11 and 12 she studied both IB Biology and Chemistry and was one of the few brave souls who take on the challenge of an Extended Essay in Chemistry. It would be true to say that Reina was bitten by the research bug at this stage.

Reina Defense 1

A memorable moment was when she was 30 minutes late to the lesson of a much loved but conventionally strict ex-Saint Maur History teacher because she needed to incubate her samples for two days and being the last period on Friday, she did not want to lose the time provided by the weekend. The outstanding nature of her Extended Essay researching phosphate levels in river water was recognized by the IB and she received a top grade. It was not the grade that drove Reina however, but her hunger for knowledge and the need to understand. Upon graduation from Saint Maur she proceeded to study Biochemistry at Boston University and joined the PhD program in Biological and Biomedical Science at Harvard University in 2019. The respect with which she is held by her supervisor, Dr. Phil Cole, was apparent from the glowing introduction that he made for her at the start of the defense of her thesis entitled ‘Semisynthetic Approach to Explore the N-Terminal Regulation of Tumor Suppressor PTEN’. At the end of her presentation, Reina very expertly fielded questions from a variety of participants, making clear the high level of her research and the depth of her knowledge. Looking ahead, Reina hopes to find employment in the pharmaceutical sector. (We are sure that she will be snapped up quickly!)

Reina still maintains her Japanese roots, regularly practicing kendo with her friends and demonstrating that even at this top level she exemplifies the Saint Maur Essential Outcomes by being a Balanced and Life-Long Learner. She has kindly acknowledged the positive influence of her Saint Maur science education in setting her on her career path and as a final message, wants to wish all Saint Maur students 'Good Luck' as they take their exams. From all of us still here at Saint Maur, Congratulations Dr. Reina Iwase, Class of 2013!

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