Van Andel Institute Graduate School Celebrates Students’ Graduation

Two students complete five-year research Ph.D. Program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 13, 2018) – Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) is celebrating the graduation of two students, Alexis Bergsma of Grandville and Abigail Solitro of Holt. The students join an elite group of 17 alumni who have completed the school’s research-focused Ph.D. program in cell and molecular genetics. Following graduation, Bergsma plans to apply her education in a Grand Rapids-based research position. Solitro accepted a teaching position with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

“Alexis and Abigail have grown tremendously during their time at Van Andel Institute Graduate School,” said Steven Triezenberg, Ph.D., president and dean of VAIGS. “We have enjoyed supporting and investing in their talents as scientists and look forward to seeing how they employ their knowledge in the future, both locally and beyond.”

VAIGS was founded in 2005, with its first students beginning classes in 2007. The program takes a little over five years, and offers students a rigorous, problem-focused curriculum, which includes research in the labs of Van Andel Research Institute scientists. The school is one way the Institute seeks to support and train the next generation of scientists while also investing in the Grand Rapids community. Previous graduates have pursued careers in fields such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, veterinary medicine and agriculture.