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Office of Neuroscience Research > WUSTL Neuroscience News > Finding strength in challenging times

Finding strength in challenging times



From the WashU Newsroom...

Brown School PhD candidate Donald Gerke to deliver grad student Commencement address

“I think it’s vitally important that we view our work after graduation through a social justice lens.”

That is part of the message that graduate student speaker Donald Gerke will share with the Class of 2018 at Washington University in St. Louis’ 157th Commencement May 18.

Gerke, who will receive a doctorate degree in social work from the Brown School, has focused his research on HIV risk and prevention and associated psychosocial and environmental factors, including mental health, substance use and violence in vulnerable populations.

“My dissertation examined the relationships between different types of violence exposure and HIV risk behaviors,” Gerke said, “and the roles that substance use and mental health play in that relationship, in black and white, young, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.”

Broadly, Gerke’s speech will focus on the importance of perseverance, finding strength to continue working in challenging times, and the importance of continuing to push for social justice throughout students’ lives.

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