BSPS Valedictorian is ‘Amazing Student’

“A pharmaceutical sciences student from Suwanee, Ransom Jones always knew he wanted to work in medicine and be a medical inventor. His brother was born with severe cerebral palsy, which has been instrumental in Jones’ commitment to eradicate diseases and improve the overall quality of life through new medicines.”

If this story lead feels as if you’re having a déjà vu experience, you’re right. This intro kicked off an Amazing Student feature, published by UGA in September 2021, which spotlighted Ransom Jones, a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences candidate for graduation, who will be the valedictorian speaker at the program’s convocation ceremony this Friday at 2pm at the College of Pharmacy. The good news for the PharmDawg Nation is that Ransom will be around for another year; he’s staying at CoP to complete his Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences!

Ransom provided an update on his life since the story was published more than nine months ago, his plans ahead, and what it means to be selected Valedictorian of the BSPS Class of 2022. No question about it; Ransom continues to be “amazing!”

As you reflect on your Amazing Student article, what has changed since it was published?

I have continued to work on my research and even presented my undergraduate work at the UGA CURO (Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities) symposium in April. Much of the original Amazing Student article holds true – as I go into my full graduate studies, I have been doubling down on my work, and I have initiated a new novel scheme to embolden my graduate thesis. In addition, I have started working on learning modules in molecular modeling to expand my career possibilities. Through our coursework, I have done capstone projects in drug formulations, which has piqued my interest in the field of formulation and product development.

You’ve received many awards and recognitions during your undergraduate years. How does being selected Valedictorian rank?

Valedictorian is a major honor. There are many smart and well-qualified individuals in my graduating class. Some have received presidential awards and blue key scholarships, so I feel humbled to have been chosen as Valedictorian. I have received other awards, scholarships, and honors, but being chosen as a class representative certainly has the most meaning to me. Funny enough, I do not have a 4.0! I lost my chance at a 4.0 my first semester of college in a French course! I have managed to maintain straight A’s ever since; I currently have a 3.99 GPA.

What message do you hope to convey to your fellow classmates during your Valedictorian speech?
I hope they understand how much they have learned and how vital it is to the future of health and medicine. In addition, I really want them to remember the good times they had in college but be excited for what the future has to offer.

What has been your best experience in the College of Pharmacy?

The best part has been the close relationships I have made with professors. I would often go and talk to Dr. Wided Missaoui or Dr. Singh Rekhi whenever I felt like I needed help, had a question, or just wanted to talk. I also enjoyed the events and merch that the College of Pharmacy set up, such as the PharmDawg t-shirts and the pizza parties.

What are your future plans? 

I will transition fully into my Master’s in Pharmacy, continuing research as well as participating in a summer internship as a Process R&D Intern at Purisys over the summer. Afterwards, I am ready to jump into industry and start my career. 

Who have been your mentors and biggest supporters at the College?

Without a doubt Dr. Uma Singh, Dr. Wided Missaoui, and Dr. Singh Rekhi. The leader in the drug discovery lab with Dr. David Chu, Dr. Uma has been instrumental in my success and has given me great confidence in my abilities. He also always wants me to thrive, and it is evident in how he teaches and leads. It is not just about doing well for the sake of results, but doing well so that I understand what is happening. Dr. Missaoui really gave me an understanding and appreciation for Pharm Sci and got me hooked on the subject. In addition, she is always someone to talk to about serious or personal matters, and her opinions and thoughts have been very critical to me during my time here. Dr. Rekhi is the main guy in Pharmaceuticals, no arguments about it. His industrial knowledge and real-world applicability have helped me understand concepts, and he is always available to discuss projects or questions I have had. In addition, he was able to form a connection to help me get my internship.

Final comment?

I wish more people knew about this BSPS program. Biology is well known, as is chemistry and biochemistry. But the applicable nature of Pharmaceutical Sciences cannot be beat, and it offers an incredibly strong background to be used in the Pharmaceutical career field.

Quotes from mentors: 

Dr. Uma Singh – I personally found Ransom to have profound knowledge of the subject of his specialization through his presentations, professionalism, and mannerism. He has consistently proven that he is a steadfast learner of science. I have always seen him as a knowledge scavenger; he tries to apply his basic ideas to solve the tricky problem of organic synthesis and drug discovery research. During his undergraduate research, I was very impressed with his sensible approach to solving problems and commitment to study and research. I found him to be an intelligent, conscientious, and diligent scholar. There are few scholars of his kind that anyone would wish to have in their organization. Within a short time, he performed an excellent job and produced significant primary results in drug discovery. I am impressed by his dedication to antiviral research. I am sure that he will be a good research scholar in searching for new clinical candidates that may benefit human life in the future.

Dr. Wided Missaoui:  Ransom is without a doubt one of the best students we have had in our BSPS program. He is very curious and intellectual, two main criteria of a successful scientist.

This is just the beginning of Ransom’s great accomplishments. I know that with his outstanding work ethic, diligence, and dedication, he is going to accomplish much more and continue exceeding our expectations.

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