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Meet the MS in Biotechnology Program’s Executive Board

The Biotechnology Master’s Program at Georgetown welcomed many new students this fall semester, comprising diverse backgrounds and interests in the biotechnology industry. The cohort spans all of the track options, including BioBusiness, BioScience, Cell & Gene Therapy, Drug Design & Discovery, Industrial Sciences and the Individualized track.

At the start of the fall semester, students interested in serving on the executive board gave speeches to fellow classmates detailing their backgrounds and qualifications and then a program election was held for students to vote for the members of the executive board. This year’s board is composed of 12 members, all looking forward to planning events for students to have opportunities to network, connect, and have memorable experiences throughout the upcoming year. 

Nick Gravina: Co-President

Nick Gravina joined the GU Biotechnology program in Fall 2023 and is on the BioBusiness track. As one of the program’s Presidents, his primary goal is to pave the way for current students by facilitating networking opportunities that can lead to valuable internships and employment prospects. He is committed to ensuring that this program is not only educational, but also a memorable experience for everyone. By fostering a culture of enjoyment, achievement, and motivation he hopes to lay a strong foundation for future cohorts, setting them on a path to continued success. He joined the GU Biotech program because of its efficient one-year duration, as well as the program’s widely recognized reputation. Additionally, the diverse tracks and program curriculum gave him an opportunity to delve into the business realm and enhance his scientific background.

Brandon Burton: Co-President

Brandon Burton is one of the program’s Presidents, and he joined the program in Spring 2023 on the BioBusiness track. He hopes to further enhance the students’ exposure to industry professionals, allowing for increased networking and understanding of the professional landscape. In addition, he aims to create a sense of comradery within the cohort that will transcend the time spent together on campus. Brandon chose the GU Biotech program due to its reputation, professional network, and one-year program duration. As an owner of two companies in the healthcare industry, the tailored track options and resources were well-suited for his professional growth goals.  

Nathan Drillings: Co-President

Nathan Drillings joined the program in Spring 2023 on the BioBusiness track and is one of the program’s Presidents. His main goal is to foster a highly collaborative and growth-focused environment where all students have immediate access to the resources they need to succeed. He plans to expand the program’s connection to industry professionals, campus resources, and events in the DC metropolitan area. Nathan enrolled in the GU Biotech program due to his desire to acquire a comprehensive education that integrates scientific knowledge with business principles, which he found at GU with its plentiful resources at the Medical Center and the McDonough Business School. Having already completed a semester in the program, he is appreciative of the friendships he has made, as well as the program directors and the program’s robust alumni network.

Deeksha Surisetty: Co-Vice President

Deeksha Surisetty is one of the program’s Vice Presidents and she is on the BioBusiness track. Her main goal is to be able to create an inclusive space where everyone can participate and be involved. She hopes to be the bridge between the student body and the executive board in order to communicate outreach events and opportunities for students to attend and enjoy. Deeksha chose the GU Biotech program because of its long-standing reputation and success of alumni who have graduated from the program. In speaking with professors and past students, she learned about their experiences and the plethora of opportunities available in the DC area, making the program a best-fit for her career development.

Olivia Atkins: Co-Vice President

Olivia (Liv) Atkins is one of the program’s Vice Presidents and she is on the Drug Design and Discovery track. She chose the GU Biotech program to expand her understanding of the drug development process beyond her experience in bench-side research. She found the tracks, classes and electives to be cutting-edge and unique to this program. Liv specifically appreciates the ability to take business classes that serve to broaden her skill set and makes her a more versatile and confident scientist and leader.

Romita Das: Co-Social Media and Design Chair

Romita Das is one of the Social Media and Design Chairs for this year’s class and she is on the Drug Design and Discovery track. She is excited to photograph and document cohort events both for capturing class memories and for outreach to prospective students who are interested in the program. Having had many lab-based research experiences during undergrad, Romita joined the GU Biotech program to gain a well-rounded understanding of the biotechnology industry and enhance her scientific background. The Drug Design track was a good fit for her to better understand the drug development processes through business, regulatory, and science perspectives. 

Hannah Leibowitz: Co-Social Media and Design Chair

Hannah Leibowitz is one of the Social Media and Design Chairs for this year’s class and she is on the BioBusiness track. She is looking forward to capturing cohort events and memories, as well as enhancing social media platforms and compiling the program yearbook, and to helping with the outreach to prospective students. Hannah came to this role with a wealth of social media experience and to this program with a science-based background. She chose the Biotechnology program at GU based on its reputation within the field and specifically because of the coursework within the BioBusiness track. She wanted the focus to be on learning the business side of the industry while still connecting back to the science that she is familiar with, and that is what this program provides for her.

Salma Mahfouz: Co-Community Outreach Chair

Salma Mahfouz, one of the Community Outreach Chairs for the cohort, is concentrating in Cell and Gene Therapy. Her goal in this role is to build and maintain positive and impactful relationships between the Biotechnology program and the larger community. our community and the Biotechnology program. She chose the Biotechnology program at GU based on its excellent reputation within the field. The Cell and Gene Therapy track aligned perfectly with her interests and the program directors were very helpful in guiding her through the process.

Christon Hill: Co-Community Outreach Chair

Christon Hill is one of the Community Outreach Chairs for the 2023-2024 class; he is on the Individualized track. His goal is to provide opportunities to cultivate a sense of purpose through selfless service and to foster a stronger sense of community among diverse groups of individuals. Christon came to the GU Biotechnology program in order to impact positive environmental and societal change by leveraging GU’s location and reputation as influential assets.

Brendan Huckabee: Co-Program Representative

Brendan Huckabee is one of the Program Representatives and is on the BioBusiness track. His goals as a program representative are to bring outside opportunities at Georgetown to the students, make connections with the other graduate programs, and to make sure that the program’s needs are represented. He chose the Georgetown Biotech Program because it had a good balance academically between science and business, and it has a lot of opportunities available to students. He is grateful to be a part of such a motivated class and he is excited to see what the board accomplishes over the course of the program.

Kyra Hoskin: Co-Program Representative

Kyra Hoskin is one of the program’s Representatives and is on the BioBusiness track. As a Program Representative, she hopes to communicate the needs of the program to the University governing boards and also to bring external opportunities to the students in the program. She chose this program because of its emphasis on professional development and academic engagement. She stated that she is excited to be here this year and to work with so many amazing, talented individuals and that she hopes to contribute towards the continued success of the biotech program here at Georgetown.

Seep Varma: International Student Representative

Seep Varma is a second-semester student in the Biotechnology Program, concentrating in Drug Design and Discovery. As the International Representative, Seep’s main goal is to help ease the transition into academic studies here at Georgetown for international students, and also to be a valuable resource for the often complicated F-1 Status and CPT/OPT process. The variety of courses and tracks offered by the GU Biotech program is what attracted her the most to this program. She feels that it is always good to have options, and that this program does a good job of offering them.

Written by: Romita Das and Hannah Leibowitz (MS Candidates)
Contributions from: Nick Gravina; Brandon Burton, MS; Nathan Drillings, MS; Olivia Atkins; Deeksha Surisetty; Romita Das; Hannah Leibowitz; Salma Mahfouz; Christon Hill; Brendan Huckabee; Kyla Hoskin; Seep Varma (MS Candidates)
Edits by: Kyle DiVito, PhD
January 2024