Volume 2 | Number 2 | January 2022
Initiative to Maximize Student Development |
From D'Anne...
Welcome back!

In 2022, we are forging ahead in a new year amid all of the uncertainty that our society continues to be exposed to and engage in. I am continuously in awe of how our IMSD community shows up to support fellow students in your scientific advancements and celebratory milestones.

This year, I am coming into 2022 with a renewed sense of wanting to reset and connect more with all of you, our wonderful IMSD students. It is my hope that we are able to engage more seamlessly – I miss you and want us to be in community, laughing and uplifting one another, which is what we do best. I love the IMSD community and the collective investment that we have in the success, safety, and well-being of our students and dedicated mentors.

For me, I always remember that IMSD is a powerful community, and we have been and will always be a family.

Hugs and smiles,

UCSF So Far: Reflections from 1st-year Fellows...
Alvince Pongos
Alvincé Pongos | first-year student | Bioengineering

What has been the best part of your experience at UCSF so far?
My best experience at UCSF is tied between taking the GRAD202: Racism in Science course and taking advantage of the UCSF Outdoor Recreation Pass. In the course, I gained knowledge and tools towards being anti-racist in science. I also gained community and solidarity with my classmates. With the outdoor recreation pass, I kayaked through sea caves and camped in Yosemite with the beautiful fall foliage!

What is one thing that surprised you about the fall rotations?
Since the Bioengineering program is supported by the BioEngineering Association of STudents (BEAST), I was fortunately provided with peer-mentorship and a comprehensive student manual that left me feeling prepared and not surprised.
Andrea Sanders
Andrea Sanders | first-year student | Neuroscience

What has been the best part of your experience at UCSF so far?
The best part of my experience at UCSF has been the people I have been so fortunate to meet and get to know. Between classes, laboratory rotations, seminars, fellowships, internships, and campus groups, I am almost overwhelmed by the genuine, intelligent, creative, and kind people I am surrounded by each day. I feel a rich sense of connectedness at UCSF, and I owe this, in large part, to IMSD. Not only has IMSD introduced me to much of my community, but it has given me the tools necessary to transition smoothly into my graduate studies. I am well-equipped to manage my academic responsibilities while building community and establishing a supportive network.

What is one thing that surprised you about fall rotations? 
One thing that surprised me about my fall rotation was the tremendous power a transdisciplinary approach to two of the nation’s greatest public health challenges ‒ chronic pain and addiction ‒ can have. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Elyssa Margolis, a member of UCSF Pain and Addiction Research Center (PARC). Therefore, throughout the course of my rotation, I attended PARC seminars where I learned from clinicians and scientists. As much of my training has been in basic science, to hear from clinicians was relatively new to me. In doing so, I gained perspective on the same challenges that my rotation project aimed to better understand. I hope to be able to leverage this perspective ‒ and any others that may present themselves ‒ throughout my scientific career.
Student Publication
Yessica Gomez
Congratulations to Yessica Gomez, fifth-year student in Biophysics, on her recent publication! Check it out:

Journal of Computational Chemistry: 18 December 2021