By now, the Class of 2012 has no doubt heard the classic question “What are your plans after graduation?” ad nauseum. Though many respond to the query with blank stares, some do in fact have an answer. Read on to discover what three graduates have lined up post-commencement.
Wilson To, doctorate in comparative pathology
While some of UC Davis’ Class of 2012 will graduate this year and wonder “What happens next?” Wilson To will be receiving a doctorate for his studies in comparative pathology and continuing his work with cellular phone technology that can detect life-threatening illness.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego in 2009, To came to UC Davis to pursue a doctorate in comparative pathology. He said that one of the most interesting parts of his studies at UC Davis has been working alongside veterinary students.
“One day we’re looking at diabetes in a human, the next day we’ll look at it in an animal. Veterinary and human medicine are two very different approaches, but it’s cool to see the similarities,” To said.
To has also been a Microsoft student partner for four years, educating students and faculty on how they can seamlessly integrate Microsoft’s technology into a classroom setting. In addition, To and a team of friends developed Lifelens, diagnostic technology that utilizes an augmented Windows 7 phone application to detect malaria.
The team entered the project in Microsoft’s 2011 Imagine Cup, a worldwide competition in which student innovations, created to address difficult global issues, are judged. After placing third in the international competition, To’s team became recipients of the Imagine Cup Grant program. Microsoft introduced the three-year, $3 million grant initiative in order to help teams like To’s continue developing their prototypes into accessible pieces of technology.
To said that he hopes more students will follow in his footsteps, working to develop technology that combat the spread of disease and other seemingly insurmountable problems.
“Not that many people are excited by research. It’s discouraging. You run into problems that make you feel stupid. But you’re rightfully stupid. No one has done this before. And as long as you’re trying, you’re helping to change the world,” To said.
To also said that he would advise any aspiring researchers to humble themselves when it comes to personal honors and to focus on helping the world at large.
“Don’t judge yourself on professional accomplishments alone; rather, how you have worked to address the world’s biggest problems,” he said.
Deborah Schrimmer, bachelor of arts in community and regional development
It’s no secret that Davis is home to many biking enthusiasts; however, UC Davis senior Deborah Schrimmer is taking her passion to the maximum this summer — she is biking 3,757 miles from New Hampshire to Vancouver, Canada.
The community and regional development major will be flying to the East Coast two days after graduation to participate in a two-and-a-half-month-long cross-country bike ride. The purpose of the ride is to raise money for Bike & Build, a non-profit organization that strives to provide affordable housing.
On the days that Schrimmer is not riding, she will be helping to build houses with the local Habitat for Humanity.
In addition to the adventure of a cross-country bike ride and building houses along the way, Schrimmer and the 20 other riders in her group will be camping for the majority of the trip.
“Some nights will be spent in community centers, churches and with families that have agreed to house us. Otherwise, we will be camping. We’re not staying at any hotels, motels or hostels. It’s the ultimate adventure,” Schrimmer said.
As she is expected to average around 70 miles per day, Schrimmer said she has been training. She also said that she is more nervous about making friends than her ability to finish the ride.
“I’m really determined. A lot of it is mental. I think that if you can see yourself doing it, that’s half of it. I think the more intimidating thing is going to be making friends. You’re spending all of this time with 20 strangers. But they’re all young adults, and we all self-selected to participate in this ride, so I think we’ll find that we have things in common,” Schrimmer said.
After the summer, Schrimmer hopes to land a position in urban planning or at an architectural firm. Her goal is to focus on sustainable living. She said that she doesn’t see her lack of a concrete plan as a negative thing.
“Being OK with the uncertainty in your life and not knowing where your life is going can be an opportunity for yourself and others if you let it,” Schrimmer said.
Cameron Brown, bachelor of arts in economics
Senior economics major Cameron Brown is eagerly anticipating summer, as he will be participating in a residential pre-law program called Trials at New York University. The program is five weeks long and is sponsored by both NYU and Harvard.
Following the summer program, Brown will be moving to Los Angeles to begin a year-long position at Munger, Tolles, and Olson LLP in preparation for law school.
Brown hopes that the year following his time spent working at Munger, Tolles, and Olson LLP will bring an acceptance to Yale, Harvard or NYU’s law schools. He is interested in eventually working in corporate law, more specifically entertainment law.
Brown said that his background in economics will be an important tool to his success in the legal world.
“Being an economics major trains you to think a certain way, which I think will definitely help me as a lawyer. You are taught to recognize the different aspects of a problem, and analyze the solutions. Entertainment law also involves contracts and financial gains and losses, so my knowledge of economics is really applicable,” Brown said.
While the graduating senior says his years at UC Davis are filled with memories, his most memorable moment was singing with his a cappella group at last year’s Picnic Day.
“We were singing ‘Everybody Knows’ and I had a solo. The Quad was packed with people. It was the biggest crowd I had ever sung in front of, but it was a lot of fun,” Brown said.
Brown’s best advice for someone who is just entering college is to keep your eyes open, follow your intuition and always try.
“To me, this means not closing the door on yourself. People constantly stop themselves from doing things and they don’t really know what they can accomplish,” Brown said. “Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Put forth your best efforts, and if a door is going to be closed on an opportunity, don’t be the one to close it for yourself.”
KELSEY SMOOT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.