UCLA students conquer unlikely odds to earn their medical degrees


More than 175 medical students from UCLA and the Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program will be hailed as "doctor" for the first time when they graduate from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in a moving ceremony marked by pageantry, awards and heartfelt student speeches. Some 2,400 family members are expected to be on hand to celebrate the graduates' hard-won achievements.


The following students will be available for interviews prior to commencement:

  • Shauna Blake Collins (Winnetka), 41, dropped out of high school at 15 and spent 12 years working dead-end jobs in South Los Angeles before reclaiming her dream of attending college and becoming a doctor. Her medical education was unexpectedly interrupted when she took time off to give birth to two sons, now 3 and 1. She will launch her career in family medicine next month at the Kaiser facility in Woodland Hills.
  • Joel Ramirez (Montebello), 28, was born to migrant farmworkers from Mexico. He was honored with the 2005 Chancellor's Award from the Latino Medical Student Association for mentoring disadvantaged college students who were later accepted to medical school. He hopes to serve as a role model for other low-income youth by returning to California's Central Valley to practice family medicine.
  • Steve Rad (Encino), 23, went straight from ninth grade to college, starting medical school in the joint Drew/UCLA program at 19. After completing his residency in gynecology-obstetrics at Cedars-Sinai, he aims to pursue specialty training in oncology and volunteer as a surgeon in Africa and South America, where poor women cannot afford surgery for gynecological cancers.


5 p.m., Friday, May 30 (Cameras must be in place by 4:15 p.m.)


Dickson Court North, the grassy quad just south of Perloff Hall. Enter the campus on Westholme Avenue or Wyton Drive, off of Hilgard Avenue. (Campus map: http://maps.ucla.edu/campus)


Please R.S.V.P. to media contact by noon on Friday, May 30.


Elaine Schmidt, Health Sciences Media Relations, (310) 794-2272 (office), (310) 794-2272 (cell)

[email protected].


Parking will be available for passenger vehicles in Lot 2. For oversized news vans, call in advance to reserve a space by the quad. Please allow at least 30 minutes to park and set up your equipment.

Media Contact:
Elaine Schmidt
(310) 794-2272
[email protected]

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Media Contact

Elaine Schmidt
(310) 794-2272
[email protected]