Inside UCSF Pt. I: People

Inside UCSF was a really great experience! I am proud to be apart of the 2017 Inside UCSF cohort! In order to get 100% of the content out, I will break up Inside UCSF into categories based off of nouns: People, Places, Things, and Ideas.

The Dynamic Duo

The admin, staff, and volunteers really made the program what it was. From the moment we got accepted a month ago, Angel-Max Guerrero (AM) made all 100-something of us feel like we were already at the program. Through constant Facebook posting, AM showed us he cared about each and every one of us. He was constantly asking if we had questions and treated all questions as equal. He also did the job of introducing each one of us personally on the Facebook page, as well as the interns and other staff members. When we arrived to AM, he made it his job to connect with everyone and connect everyone with each other. He was like the glue and the oil and all the metaphors that speak on how to keep a program running smoothly. I know one thing, AM is definitely the White Rabbit–always checking his watch and pointing at the time, reminding people of the time, and maybe even controlled it a few times. AM is definitely one of the most memorable person in front of the room, behind the screen, and behind the scenes.

Speaking of behind the scenes, AM’s boss, Donald Woodson, is the main man behind the scenes. I asked him: “why do you stay back when you are the boss?”. His answer was simple: “I hire the talent and let them do what they do. They run it by me and, if I have no problems with it, then I go with it”. I’d say that he was a great boss because everyone whether intern or staff had a lot of say in how the program should be run and it was amazing. Besides his job as the boss, he did as AM did when we got to UCSF. He was the first person to welcome us to San Francisco beginning with our arrival to the airport. His smile, laugh, and voice are definitely his most memorable traits. His laugh can make anyone smile–only because it is just as funny to laugh at the joke as well as with him. Donald operated the well-oiled machine that is Inside UCSF; even if he made his job seem as simple as pushing a button. One thing I noticed about Donald: he has an analogy or anecdote for everything. This man is full of stories and captivates an audience with his jokes, imagery, and mesmerizing charisma. Along with AM, Donald is another memorable face from Inside UCSF and one of the key factors that made this memorable.

I just decided to call them the Dynamic Duo. According to Donald, he and AM have been working together for 20-something years. To me, they were like two best-friends hosting a kickback at their pad. They made sure everyone was okay at all times, open to questions, joined in on discussions (even those that did not have to do with Inside UCSF–more on that later), and herded us like sheep to the next item on the agenda. They were the first and last faces we encountered at Inside UCSF; and I would not have had it any other way.

 School of Pharmacy

There are three groups of people from the School of Pharmacy: the staff, the students, and the pre-pharmacy students (including me).

The staff made the pre-pharm students feel welcome and special through the entire program. Beginning with the luncheon, Leslie Mach, a fellow Bruin and the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator for UCSF School of Pharmacy, grabbed the pre-pharm students and put us in another room where four current pharmacy students awaited to take our questions. This gave us a personal session with a few of the students over lunch; which was great since we got to see them later in the day, but more on that later. Leslie was great at being there for the pre-pharm students and getting to know us. During another private pharmacy session, he let us talk among ourselves to share our stories about “why pharmacy?”; a question not many people have the answer to. My favorite moment with Leslie was when he allowed us to tour the back of the Walgreen’s/UCSF pharmacy; which was my first time behind a pharmacy! Everything moved so quickly and precisely. He truly got us inside UCSF.

There were multiple experiences I had with the pharmacy students that I believed got better as the program continued. The first few encounters were generic “what was your GPA?”, “what was your major?”, “is it hard?”, etc. These questions I can get from any pharmacy student at the pre-pharmacy society. I know that not all students have that opportunity, but something about those questions bore me. As the program continued, I began to ask and hear other questions such as “why pharmacy?”, “what do you like/dislike about the school?”, and “where do you want to go in the field of pharmacy?”. These questions are a lot more open-ended and personal; which I find a lot more interesting. This is where we got to know the pharm students as people as opposed to humans spitting out knowledge I could get from a brochure. When it got around to the reception, students were hovering around the pharmacy students telling stories about “why pharmacy?”. (hmm I might just make a post about “why pharmacy?”…)

The pre-pharm students were the highlight of the trip. The ones that I got to hang out with were great people overall and I am glad to have met them! When it came to nerdy science-y jokes we all got them and when it came down to pharmacy law, drugs, and careers, we could all finish each other’s sentences. These are the things that we concluded from the pharmacy group (not saying that the other schools didn’t come to these same conclusions):

  • Pharmacy is the last line of defense and/or patient interaction with a doctor
  • Physicians and Pharmacists are both Doctors (let that sink in…)
  • Pharmacy is the best school at UCSF

So there you have it! The greatest group of people on the planet got together and learned about our future school. I will probably see a majority of them in a few years!


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