University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry – Class of 2015 Profile
By John Hansen, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Admissions
Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
The class profile is a Rochester tradition and is an effort to help you “connect” with each other, especially during this first week of medical school when everything is so new, exciting and daunting, all at the same time. Each year’s class looks like the best class to ever matriculate at Rochester and your class is no exception.
This year we had over 4,900 applications from AMCAS and reviewed 4,476 applicants who completed our supplemental application, a slight increase over last year. Of the completed supplemental applications, 2,095 were from female and 2,381 were from male applicants. About 25 percent of the applications were from New York State residents and the remainder from out-of-state. The admissions committee, faculty and students interviewed 627 applicants this year for our 104 places in the class. Your class includes 51 women, 53 men and ranges in age from 21 to 32. The average age of your class is 23.5 years and about 45% of your class is 24 years old or older.
You have four Katherines, and four Michaels in your class, followed by three Benjamins and three Josephs, and two Alexanders, Amandas, Caitlins, Jeremys, Joshuas, Kellys and Stephens. Popular middle names included Ann, Marie, Michael, Matthew, and Nicole. Alas, to my personal chagrin, not a single John, but at least a one Jonathan.
About 35 percent of you identify as non-Caucasian. All but one of you are citizens or permanent residents of the United States, but 13 of you were born outside the United States. Places of birth include: Belarus, Canada, China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Somalia, South Korea, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
Forty-four members of your class are New York state residents, although many of you attended colleges outside of New York State. Eight hail from Pennsylvania, seven from California, four from Massachusetts and Maryland, three each from Louisiana, Missouri and New Jersey, and two each from Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Twenty-seven different states are represented in your class, and other states of residence include: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Vermont.
About 46 of you majored in Biology or some variation of that major, including Physiology, Human Biology, Human Development, Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Biology, or Bacteriology, 12 majored in Neuroscience, 11 in Biochemistry, 10 in Psychology, seven majored in Chemistry, six in Economics, five in Health and Society or Community Health, three in Physics, and two each in Biomedical Engineering, History, Math and Music. Other majors included Accounting, Biomedical Technology, Chicano Studies, Classics, Elementary Education, English, Exercise Science, Finance, French, German, Linguistics, Peace and Conflict Studies, Philosophy, Physical Therapy, and Political Science. Many of you double majored or had a major and a minor. The most common disciplines included 15 supporting degrees in Chemistry, four in Psychology, three each in Biology and Spanish, and two in Philosophy. Seven of you have Master’s degrees, several in Public Health, two in Elementary or Adolescent Education, two in Global Health, and one in Health and Pharmaceutical Economics. One of you has your doctorate in Physical Therapy.
Among our special matriculation programs, eight of you entered under our Rochester Early Medical Scholars Program, nine as Bryn Mawr, Johns Hopkins or Associated Medical Schools of New York Post-Baccalaureate Programs, eight are part of our Early Assurance Program, and six are MD/PhD matriculants in our Medical Scientist Training Program. Another member of your MSTP class has completed his first two years of medical school and is beginning his graduate work. And last year, three of you deferred admission for one year and now join your class. Nine of you have alumni or faculty affiliations and 18 of you are members of groups that are underrepresented in medicine. For the fifth consecutive year, Rochester is in the top 15 percent of all U.S. medical schools in the percentage of underrepresented students in its first-year class.
You attended 62 different colleges and universities as undergraduates. Fourteen of you attended the University of Rochester as undergraduates, five attended Cornell, and four each attended Canisius College and Xavier University. Three each attended Amherst, BYU, Lehigh, Swarthmore and Michigan. Two each attended Franklin and Marshall, Johns Hopkins, Brown, Colgate, UCLA, SUNY Geneseo, and Williams. Other schools attended included Alfred, Yale, Brandeis, Tulsa, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wesleyan, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Missouri, Notre Dame, Penn, Mount St. Vincent, Mercy College, Columbia, Bucknell, Hunter, Lehman, Dartmouth, Elon, Barnard, Bennington, Boston College, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western Reserve, Cedar Crest, Colby, DePaul, Juniata, Harvard, Haverford, SUNY Buffalo, Berkeley, UC-Davis, Maryville, Millikin, Nazareth, Northeastern, Oberlin, Princeton, Providence, Rhodes, San Diego State, Southern Utah, and Stanford. Most of you graduated with Latin Honors and many in your class graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi and/or with departmental or University Honors. Congratulations to all of you.
In addition to personal or family travel experiences, many of you held volunteer or work positions overseas. Forty of you participated in volunteer mission, health and/or research experiences in 26 different countries, from Albania to Tanzania and almost everywhere in between. The most common destinations were Costa Rica, Kenya, Nicaragua, India, China, Tanzania, South Africa, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Four of you served as AmeriCorps volunteers, several were Teach for America participants, and two of you were Peace Corps volunteers, one in the Ukraine and one in Ghana. Countless others volunteered in various outreach or medical mission trips here and abroad. I hope many of you will take advantage of our International Medicine programs over the next four years and continue to expand your horizons while lending a hand to those most in need.
You've participated in many of the standard volunteer experiences, both in clinical settings and community outreach, which we've come to expect of our medical students. Hospice, Habitat for Humanity, volunteer ambulance service, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, camps for the disabled and, of course, numerous hospital, shadowing, and ambulatory clinic experiences, some rural and many in underserved inner cities. Many of you are EMT, CPR or Wilderness Training certified, and you’ve volunteered in the PICU, NICU, SICU, ICU and have accumulated some large IOUs, most in the form of student loans.
Interestingly, you've been bridge and poker players, dog-sitters, a creator of greeting cards, dancers, veterinarian assistants, Eagle Scouts, tri-athletes, Drum and Bugle Corps members, a member of the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band, actors, choreographers, photographers, bird watchers, and an Infantry Officer who reached the final rank of Captain and served three tours of duty, one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. Last, but certainly not least, you received an Army Commendation for Valor in Afghanistan and were awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
One of you was an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist, another a certified nursing assistant, and many of you enjoy dancing, cooking, art, yoga, rock climbing, hiking, boating, and horseback riding. Most of you are musical, with the majority of those playing the piano, violin, guitar, and drums or singing professionally, and others singing just for the pure joy of being on stage, in a choir or singing a cappella.
Of course, almost all of you have done research in some capacity or another, most in the natural sciences but many others in the social sciences and humanities. Equally impressive are the number of you with published peer-reviewed articles and meeting abstracts. Outside of the lab, 14 of you were college varsity athletes. Finally, most of you are at least bilingual, with some of you fluent in four languages.
Twenty-two of your parents are physicians, 13 are lawyers, 13 are Ph.D.s, two are dentists, and one is a veterinarian, and at least six are registered nurses. For many of you, your parents are truly an inspiration, if for no other reason than they were always there for you. It is truly remarkable and inspiring to see all that you have achieved in such a short period of time and, for many of you, against all odds. A number of you are the first in your family to graduate from college and many have held work-study jobs throughout college just so you could attend. And, you've excelled; as students, as volunteers, as young parents, and as humanists, ready to begin careers in academic medicine, teaching and research, or private practice, and hopefully always as advocates for your patients.
I think it is best to end here. You are truly a diverse medical school class and an interesting group of young people. You've done so much and time only permits me to capture a superficial glimpse of who you really are. I hope during the weeks ahead that you will take the time to seek each other out, get to really know each other, support one another, and establish friendships that will last a lifetime. Be nice to the person sitting next to you because there is a fair chance that some of you will form lasting partnerships, professional and personal. You are in medical school, so RELAX, LEARN, and ENJOY. To paraphrase a cartoon in last week’s New Yorker magazine, you may view the next four years as attending medical school, but your parents may view it as raising the debt-ceiling! Regardless, ultimately our hope is that you will marshal all of your unique talents and interests for the benefit of your patients and for the profession of medicine. Welcome and congratulations!
Praising and sustaining the Rochester model
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Bilal Ahmed, M.D. Commencement Speech
Eric J. Topol, M.D. Commencement Speech
Class of 2015 - A Profile