2013 Richard Gilder Graduate School Doctoral Graduates

On Monday, September 30, 2013, the Museum conferred seven Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Comparative Biology to the first candidates to complete the program, which is the first Ph.D.-granting program for a museum in the Western Hemisphere.

The seven graduates entered the program in 2008 and 2009, completing their degrees in an average of about four years, with research specializations ranging across geochemical reconstructions of ancient environments and paleoecology from fossil teeth and eggshell, analyses of bioluminescent deep-sea fishes called lantern fishes, and the creation of the first timed phylogeny of scale insects. 

Read more about the graduates below—and congratulations to all! 

The Museum expresses its utmost appreciation to Richard Gilder, a steadfast and most generous benefactor and friend whose visionary philanthropy enabled the Museum to establish the Gilder Graduate School.  

Additional support for the Richard Gilder Graduate School has been generously provided by the Hess Foundation, Inc.; an anonymous Museum Trustee; the City of New York; Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Gerstner Family Foundation; and the Annette Kade Charitable Trust.

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Milestone for Richard Gilder Graduate School

On September 30, 2013, the first group of graduates from Richard Gilder Graduate School will receive their Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the inaugural commencement for the graduate school—a banner day in the history of the Museum and of the graduate school.

Sebastian Kvist

Sebastian Kvist

Growing up in the seaside city of Helsingborg, Sweden, Sebastian Kvist was fascinated by water—and the living organisms in it.

Shaena Montanari in Paleo collections

Shaena Montanari

Growing up in nearby Connecticut, Shaena Montanari loved visiting the Museum. But when she returned years later as a graduate student, her research took her much farther from home—including to Mongolia’s Gobi desert.

John Denton Trawling image RGGS

John Denton

Though John Denton grew up in Gainesville, in north central Florida—“about as far as you can get from the beach” in that seaside state—he’s always been interested in marine life.

Antonia Florio

Antonia Florio

Antonia Florio spent her childhood in Queens, New York, “saving” flies that flew into her apartment; wanting to be a veterinarian; and just generally adoring living things. 

Isabelle Vea

Isabelle Vea

Isabelle Vea grew up and attended college in Paris, but she has spent the past four years in Manhattan, analyzing scale insects at the Museum.

Bryan Falk in Dominican Republic (RGGS)

Bryan Falk

 By the time he graduated high school, Bryan Falk kept a substantial reptile and amphibian collection and had plans to attend veterinary school. But during college, a study-abroad course in Costa Rica on tropical ecology redirected his career path toward scientific research.

Ed Stanley with Smaug giganteus

Edward Stanley

There are only 12 species of reptiles and amphibians native to Great Britain. Edward Stanley did his best to catch them all during his childhood in the Dorset countryside.