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Cheers to the CowLife McGill (Virtual) Graduates of the Class of 2020!

This blog post was written by Gabriel M. Dallago.


Graduation is a special moment in the educational journey of any student as it is the culmination of years of intense work. It cannot be emphasized enough how important such ceremonies are that mark the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. It gives a feeling of pride and honour to be able to complete a given level of studies, but it also renew the energies to embark in the new projects to come in the next chapter of life.


Convocation ceremonies at McGill University and across the globe were done in an unconventional format this year given the unprecedented circumstances we are living. The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our “normal” and it has also affected the spring graduation ceremonies this year. The traditional in-person ceremony was replaced by a virtual format, which by the way has become the new “normal” these days. The ceremony is available in the following link if you would like to watch it. Our 2020 graduates will have a unique opportunity to be the first McGill class to ‘walk the stage’ twice, both virtually and in-person during the Spring 2021 ceremonies, conditional on legal authorities allowing for safe gathering at that time.


So many of our CowLife McGill team members have graduated this spring and we could not be more proud (picture bellow)!! We celebrated the first official PhD graduation of a CowLife member under the Industrial Research Chair in the Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle! Congratulations to Elise Shepley for the completion of her PhD in Animal Science. We are equally excited to celebrate the Master’s graduation of FOUR CowLife members! Congratulations to Maria Antonieta Puerto, Sarah McPherson, Stephanie Bélanger-Naud, and Verónique Boyer for obtaining your Masters in Animal Science. Currently, Elise Shepley, PhD; Stephanie Bélanger-Naud, MSc; and Verónique Boyer, MSc, continue to be part of the CowLife McGill team as research assistants.


CowLife McGill team members who graduated in the 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony. From top left to bottom right: Elise Shepley, PhD; Maria Antonieta Puerto, MSc; Sarah McPherson, MSc; Stephanie Bélanger-Naud, MSc; Verónique Boyer, MSc

We also extend our congratulations to Mazen Bahadi (picture bellow), who obtained his PhD degree at McGill University. Mazen Bahadi, PhD, was co-supervised by Dr. Vasseur during his PhD studies and was an “associate” to our team through his involvement in a number of our research activities. During his PhD, he evaluated a novel angle to study animal welfare by looking for biomarkers in milk Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra data, which is routinely recorded by dairy herd improvement agencies to quantify milk components such as fat and protein. Currently, he is working on multiple projects with Lactanet Inc. and McGill University as a postdoc. These projects aim at developing novel prediction and classification models that will extract new traits from milk FTIR data related to milk quality and dairy cow’s health and welfare.


Mazen Bahadi, PhD, who graduated in the 2020 Spring Convocation Ceremony and was co-supervised by Dr. Vasseur

Even though it was not possible to have a traditional in-person graduation ceremony this year, we hope for better circumstances in the future and to seeing everybody together in the 2021 Spring graduation ceremony. In the meantime, we wish you all the success in your next projects in life!

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