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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

    Mini medical conference held at City College

    Tyler Heberle | Staff Writer | [email protected]

    Student Center hosts conference with UC Davis

    A four-step presentation was held Tuesday at noon in the Student Center. One by one students signed in and sat with rows and columns of seats separating them from each other. Though the number of young attendees only just exceeded 20, their consistent yet thoughtfully paced barrage of questions to the panelists practically filled the 80 or so empty seats. This vocal synergy made one thing clear: these students were passionate to learn how to get into medical school.

    As students were grabbing at ranch-drizzled vegetables, the first speaker began at noon. Karlos Carter, UC Davis TAG Counselor for Consumnes River and City Colleges, has plenty of experience advising community college students, and he proved this right out of the gate.

    “The first thing is, when you walk into a UC environment, you always sit in the front,” Carter said, following his statement with a dramatic pause. “Hint, hint!”

    As students took his hint and shuffled up to the first three rows, Carter delivered a speech explaining how to compile the proper credits for a med-school approved transfer to UC Davis. He stressed repeatedly that one must “look beneath the surface” when choosing classes for a major, deeming it necessary to stand out from other 4.0 students by having a uniquely versatile skillset.

    “You are the architect of your plan, not us,” Carter said. “There’s no reason for us to be choosing your classes for you.”

    Carter finished his address by reminding future UC Davis students they can find him in the counseling office once a week. At 1:00 p.m. the conference transitioned into a panel with students currently enrolled at UC Davis.

    At first there were three students taking turns speaking: Francisco Mendoza, a first-year med student from Los Angeles who was “blessed enough to be accepted by UC Davis;” Tiffany Clark, another who was inspired by stories from Student Doctor Network to pursue a medical profession against all odds; and Melody Tran, a fourth year student who recently graduated from medical school. All three came to the consensus that students should focus on finding classes and careers based on the things they truly love.

    “Do what you’re passionate about,” Mendoza said. “In the end, you’re gonna have to write an essay about it.”

    Three more student panelists funneled in, starting with Ngabo Nzigira, who expressed that his interest in medicine came from a quarter abroad in Mexico after “seeing health care delivery in the context of a rural hospital.” Gerardo Canedo, dressed in his official medical uniform, came in last of the group. A third year UC Davis student, he has experience as an Emergency Medical Technician with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
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    “Try to get some hands-on clinical experience and see how much you actually like working with patients,” Canedo advised.

    A panel by the UCD Admissions Department was held following the student panel. Assistant Lanina Sanders, coordinator Charrise Torres and manager Joanna Garcia joined a professor of Internal Medicine, Francis J. Sousa, M.D.

    Torres explained that biology, organic chemistry, general chemistry and physics are necessary to transfer into UC Davis’s medical program. Sanders stressed the importance of being well rounded aside from a “dedication to medication,” while Dr. Sousa assured students that no outside jobs would be required for medical students to maintain reasonable finances while studying. Torres had a simple response to all students wondering what could set them apart from the pack.

    “It’s often our answer,” Torres said. “It’s passion.”

    A panel with currently working doctors of the region closed the conference. Cardiologists Luis Godoy, M.D. and Sandhya Venugopal, M.D., FACC, told stories of their work hour duties. Godoy deals with 30-hour work-days in general surgery, while Dr. Venugopal focuses on image-related studies like ultrasound.

    Dr. Tonya Fancher explained that the meetings she attends “ensure that medical students like Luis get to the place they need to be.” She even disclosed the topic of one such recent meeting.

    “When you’re a medical student, you get burnt out, and that can come out on patients,” Dr. Fancher said. “How do we prevent that from happening?”

    City College’s Mini Medical Conference, organized by the Transfer Center, gave many varied answers to this question, but all came right back to Charrise Torres’ choice word: passion.

    For more information on how to begin an academic journey toward UC Davis and its medical programs, students may start an account on

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