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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

CDC director calls on Milken graduates to use data to take action

Jordyn Bailer | Assistant Photo Editor
CDC Director Mandy K. Cohen speaks to the Milken Graduates

The Milken Institute School of Public Health honored graduating undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students at its Commencement ceremony Thursday.

Mandy Cohen, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, delivered the keynote speech and congratulated 1,200 graduates for choosing to enter the public health field after the pandemic. She called on graduates who are embarking on a career in public health to use the tools and data at their disposal to take action, tell stories and work collaboratively with their peers.

Cohen also said trust is the base of a healthy society and advised graduates to “think intentionally” about how to nurture trust throughout their work with patients and coworkers.

“To GW’s Public Health Class of 2024, future leaders in building a healthier country, a healthier world: run towards those challenges,” Cohen said. “Embrace the new tools and platforms. Invest in yourself and your core capabilities for your future.”

Milken Dean Lynne Goldman said the graduates have made “enormous” contributions to the GW community and Milken’s educational process throughout their time at GW and said all graduates share a commitment to excellence and truth.

“You are a future, and today that future looks incredibly hopeful, diverse and brilliant,” Goldman said.

Imani Featherson, the student speaker and a Master of Public Health candidate, said she “blossomed” personally, academically and professionally at GW and is grateful for the Milken faculty who work “tirelessly” to help students grow. She said many students share stories of how Milken faculty have provided the necessary guidance and encouragement to explore their passions and shape their futures.

“It is through the support and dedicated faculty and staff and the friendships we have cultivated along the way that many of us discovered our passion and true purpose in public health, and for others this program solidified our motivation and understanding of our purpose,” Featherson said.

Zachary Love, a candidate for a Master of Public Health, presented Milken professors Zoe Beckerman, Jon Kim Andrus and Karen McDonnell with the excellence in teaching awards. Goldman also presented students Radha Vakkalagadda and Caylee Chan with the Milken Dean’s award and Milken distinguished scholar award, respectively.

Students from Milken pose for a photo after walking across the stage (Jordyn Bailer)
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About the Contributor
Hannah Marr, News Editor
Hannah Marr, a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communication and history from New York, New York, leads the Administration and Finance beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-25 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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