This year's graduating class has much to be proud of as they reflect on years of challenging work and colorful memories at UC San Francisco.
More than 900 students are earning degrees across the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, as well as the Graduate Division and Global Health Sciences.
Members of the Class of 2015 also achieved a range of accomplishments in their time at UCSF: some were the first to go to graduate school in their families; some won national competitions and awards; others studied and worked in English for the first time; still others helped develop new health care procedures in local hospitals. Many credited the mentoring from faculty and staff members as a key to their success.
Before they embark on their new careers, we spoke with several students about their time at UCSF.
What’s the funniest memory you have from your time here?
"My matriculating class was a delightful assortment of adorable, creative, and endearing weirdos, so there are many memories to choose from! I'd say the decision to start dressing up for our tests in themed costumes made first and second year well worth the strife of learning all that information in such a short amount of time.
There's definitely a picture of the entire class dressed as a 150-person segmented tapeworm attacking our infectious disease professor."
School of Medicine
"A large group of us went to Tampa, Florida, in Spring 2014 to support our student pharmacists who made it to Nationals for the Annual Pharmacy & Therapeutics Competition. UCSF ended up winning for a second consecutive year – unheard of in the history of the competition.
We went out to celebrate, and by the end of the evening, we’d made up dance moves to mimic the mechanisms of action for the drugs featured in the competition: bevacizumab, ranibizumab and aflibercept. This is when I knew: you may take the pharmacist away from UCSF, but you can never take UCSF out of the pharmacist!"
Amanda Lauren Sugay
School of Pharmacy
What was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
"Studying at UCSF was my first educational experience outside of my native country. Our profession demands extensive interpersonal interaction. Overcoming the cultural barrier and relating to people was a little hard in the beginning. It took me some time to understand the country's economic structure, cultural foundation and values. I feel very comfortable interacting with others now."
School of Dentistry
"During my 3rd year, my girlfriend (now fiancée), was involved in a serious car accident rendering her wheelchair- and crutches-bound for months. I went from being a student balancing class work, an internship, and other extracurricular activities to now deciding how to reorganize my life to ensure that I could be there for her as her primary caregiver. While we all strive to be the very best students, it is hurdles like these that serve to redirect us and remind us what is truly important in life."
School of Pharmacy
Aside from your education, what’s the most important thing you’re taking with you?
"The most important thing I am leaving with is a sense of community. I have been educated by some of the greatest thought leaders in the field, and I have rapidly become part of a group of Bay Area clinicians who have committed their lives to providing care for people living with HIV.
Acceptance is something that I believe we all yearn for throughout our lives and I’m keenly aware that being accepted into this community, thereby provided with the opportunity to excel and serve, is the realization of my lifelong dream."
School of Nursing
"Enduring and lasting relationships, exemplary mentors and models of top-of-the-line mentorship, and some really sweet memories. This program has some of the most encouraging, supportive, and thoughtful faculty that have been vital to boosting my confidence, reminding me of the unique perspective I bring to my work, all while lovingly demanding the best and fine-tuning the areas that need adjustment."
Graduate Division, Medical Anthropology
Photos by Susan Merrell