UC Davis Today: From conference to medical school

Physician performing surgery

From conference to medical school

When Luis Godoy first attended the UC Davis premed conference, in 2006, he was one of hundreds of participants. The conference has since grown by leaps and bounds: This weekend’s event, the 11th annual, is expected to draw upwards of 7,000 high school and college students from all over the country.

And Godoy? He’s a fourth-year student in the UC Davis School of Medicine and a participant in panel discussions at the UC Davis Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions National Conference. Read the UC Davis news release.

The UC Davis Pre-Health Student Alliance runs the conference from start to finish — peers helping peers along the road to educational and career opportunities in the health professions.

The program features some 200 workshops and panel discussions, several with medical school deans and admissions officers. Representatives from more than 400 programs are due to participate in a professions fair.

The conference, Godoy says, is especially helpful to people like him who may not take the traditional path from high school to medical school. “That doesn't work for everyone,” he says.

In fact, while the conference welcomes all students, it has a special focus on those from underrepresented populations in health care.

Godoy, the son of California farmworkers, struggled in high school and, at one point, dropped out to avoid the gang activity. He became a father during his senior year, and after graduation he got married and worked as an X-ray technician. 

In his mid-20s, Godoy decided to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. He attended community college, transferred to UC Davis where he earned a degree in biology — and then got accepted to the School of Medicine.

“For those of us with different stories than the typical medical student, the conference is ideal,” he said. “There is no better opportunity to get the advice and resources you need to make decisions about your future and craft the path to getting there.”

Now, he gives advice to others. His is an inspiring tale, especially for those in the audience who are considering medical school but haven’t really envisioned themselves there yet.

“The mentorship from peers who were doing exactly what I wanted to do was the best part of the conference for me,” said Godoy, who hopes to be a surgeon. “I want to be that example for others now.” 

Luis Godoy, left, fourth-year student in the UC Davis School of Medicine, assists during an interventional radiology procedure, as part of one of his required rotations. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

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