Big City Moves: Congratulations are in order for Manny Yekutiel, MS ’07, who has been appointed to the seven-person San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Board of Directors. Manny is one of two new members of the board and is the small business owner of Manny’s. The goal of his restaurant, coffee bar, bookstore, and civic gathering space, is to “create a central and affordable place to become a better informed and more involved citizen.” He will continue this goal as a citizen leader helping to address San Francisco’s public transportation needs.
Inauguration Highlight: One of the highlights of the presidential inauguration was delivered at the podium by National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States and Milken Scholar, Amanda Gorman, MS ’16, as she recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” before tens of millions of viewers and history. Amanda became the youngest poet laureate to speak at a presidential inauguration and her words will echo for many years to come.
Marshaling a Future in Neuroscience and Global Health: Please join us in giving Evelyn Wong, MS ’17, a much-deserved round of applause for her selection as a Marshall Scholar! The scholarship is vied for across the country, and Evelyn joins a class of only 50 soon-to-be graduates. Receiving a fully-funded master’s degree at the University College London, she will be studying neuroscience among the best in the world. Inspired by her East LA roots, she hopes to become a physician and scientist with a focus on health outcomes for refugees worldwide. Let us all celebrate Evelyn’s extraordinary achievement.
Developing Global Solutions: Congratulations to Namra Zulfiqar, MS ‘17, for being awarded the Yale University Kerry Fellowship! Along with 21 graduate students and only 4 other Yale undergrads, Namra will work in a team to creatively find answers for international issues like climate change and authoritarian populism. Under the head of former Secretary of State John Kerry, the Fellows will have freedom to conduct their own research, oriented toward global diplomacy and large-scale change. You can find more information about the Fellowship and its 2020 awardees here.
Public Health and Racial Equity: Tresha Gibbs, MS ’98, authored a study outlining the vast health disparities experienced by Black Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Psychiatric Times paper, she dives into how deep-seated economic and social inequalities have created dangerous conditions for the country’s black individuals and families. Discussing mental illness stigmatization and barriers to health care, Tresha lays out the most viable opportunities to intervene: Build trust and social support, balance risk, and open access to services. Read the eye-opening article in its entirety here!
Empathy and Social Justice: Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard, MS '89, was recently interviewed by the Columbia College Alumni Association for her work pushing productive civil discourse and social action amid this period of racial tensions. As a leader in the CCAA, as well as current president of Columbia College Women, Khadijah describes how her educational journey laid an important basis for the critical thinking and empathy needed to address everyday injustice. Helping with the alumni-student Odyssey Mentoring Program, she emphasizes the responsibility of using one’s influence to make necessary change. The full interview can be found here.
Building Community: Jorge Campos, MS '17, was recognized as one of just two 2020 Aloian Memorial Scholars by Harvard for his dedication to making Currier House a more welcome, accessible, and supportive place for all students. Jorge's enthusiasm and brightness has been key in forging bonds across class years and diverse groups and he helped to establish House Cinema, Tea Time, and Study Nights.
Waste Management: Sarah Hsu, MS '13, published the first ever waste and carbon footprint audit of U.S. Emergency Department waste in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine! She found that in one day, a single ED produced 1,481 pounds of waste, the carbon footprint equivalent of driving a car 7,700 miles. Read "Dumpster Diving in the Emergency Department: Quantity and Characteristics of Waste at a Level I Trauma Center" here.
Making Education Accessible: Evelyn Wong, MS '17, was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative and Foundation with the COVID-19 Student Action Fund for her work running CovEd, a virtual platform that pairs underserved K-12 students with undergraduates/postgrads from higher education institutions across the U.S., providing them with 1-on-1 mentorship, web-based educational resources, and offline content. In addition to receiving seed funding for CovEd, Evelyn and the other awardees will receive invitations to participate in the CGI U 2021 program, including an invitation to attend the CGI U 2021 annual event at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Stepping Up: Dr. Joelle Simpson, MS '95, was promoted to Interim Chief of Emergency Medicine at Children's National Hospital in Washington D.C.. In her new role, she oversees the daily operations of the pediatric emergency medicine department, spread across 3 locations that see an annual of 130K visits, and 350 full-time-employees, including physicians, nursing practitioners, advanced practice providers, and other staff. She also recently co-authored a study on the Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Children.