Mar 2, 2022

Meet the MedGen Reps: Milcah and Sornnujah!

Medical Genomics
Milcah Sutanto and Sornnujah Kathirgamanathan

Milcah Sutanto and Sornnujah Kathirgamanathan have been elected to the Department of Molecular Genetics Graduate Student Association (GSA) and have begun their new roles as Medical Genomics Cohort Representatives, better known as MedGen reps. Taking up these roles from the previous reps, Daniel Kiss and David Di Iorio, Milcah and Sornnujah address the academic and social concerns of the first-year class, plan events aimed to deepen a sense of belonging and coordinate the peer-to-peer mentorship program. When asked why they chose to take on the role, Sornnujah explained: “university is what you make it – few people get the opportunity to complete a master’s degree in a program that’s so tight-kit, we hope to continue making the MedGen program a great experience for students”.

One of the main objectives of the MedGen reps is to help keep the MedGen program integrated with the broader Department of Molecular Genetics, which is comprised primarily of students in research-based MSc and Ph.D. programs. Since the cohort-based MedGen program functions relatively independently from the research programming in the department, it’s up to the MedGen reps to help the MedGen students connected to their MSc / Ph.D. counterparts in the rest of the department. Milcah and Sornnujah aim to facilitate interactions between MedGen and MoGen students by planning activities open to all. In particular, given the focus on professional development is a strength of the MedGen program, they hope to host professional development workshops open to all MoGen students, offering guidance in portfolio development, networking, and services like professional headshots.

In addition, Milcah and Sornnujah hope to continue Dan and Dave’s top-tier efforts to foster a strong sense of community within the MedGen program by planning orientation events, holiday parties, and bonding activities (where they promise to provide lots of food).

Milcah and Sornnujah are enthusiastic proponents of the Medical Genomics program and are excited to welcome incoming students. They agree that the program creates an exceptional environment for learning by facilitating collaboration among students and by allowing students to learn from each other – especially given MedGen students come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. As Milcah explained, “you won’t always know the answers, that’s okay, learning to collaborate with others, learning from their experiences and contributing your own can help in professional development and problem-solving”. They encourage students to reach out for support, emphasizing how everyone in the MedGen program – students, faculty, and the MedGen reps are welcoming and supportive.