Graduate leaves Tulane with Peery Society honor

Recent Tulane University graduate Maria Gomez-Roas received the 2018 William Wallace Peery Medal for Academic Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by Newcomb-Tulane College. Gomez-Roas earned a bachelor of science degree after double majoring in cell and molecular biology and French.

The Peery Medal is given to a senior whose academic achievements exemplify breadth and depth of learning in their Tulane career.

“The Peery Medal is an incredible honor and the culmination of a rewarding undergraduate education,” Gomez-Roas said. “Receiving the Peery Medal shows me that I was able to succeed in different disciplines, that all my hard work paid off, and that my professors and mentors valued my work.”

“The Peery Medal is an incredible honor and the culmination of a rewarding undergraduate education.”

Maria Gomez-Roas, Peery Medal recipient

Gomez-Roas moved to the United States from Venezuela in 2011 as a result of her parents’ desire to provide her with a better opportunity for education. She said she was grateful for their investment in her future and noted that Tulane offered the chance to pursue a course of study based on all of her interests, which included architecture and other subjects outside of science.

Her professors praised her work ethic in their nomination letters.

“Maria is also a wonderfully collaborative thinker; it was a joy to watch her engage her classmates in analyses of the materials we had read and watched together, challenging and drawing out other students’ points, reconsidering and refining her own,” wrote Kate Adams, associate professor of English in the School of Liberal Arts.

Newcomb-Tulane College Dean James MacLaren, who also taught Gomez-Roas in General Physics, described her as an “amazing” student.

In October, Gomez-Roas will begin a primary-school teaching assistant job in Créteil, France, for seven months. After she returns to the United States, she plans to attend Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Gomez-Roas added that she hopes to work with Doctors Without Borders someday, possibly in a Francophone country.

“I am extremely excited to pursue both goals and to integrate two disciplines that seem completely separate in my career as a doctor,” she said.