Alumni Testimonials

“The GPPA community changed my college experience. Through it I found some of my closest college friends, was spurred on academically and found opportunities that would change my life. Most notably, Dr. Chambers and Dr. Cohen became mentors and close friends. They helped me become a critical thinker as well as opened up the door of academic pursuits and scientific research into my life. After finishing my undergraduate degree early, Dr. Chambers ushered me over to Oxford University where I completed a Masters degree. Subsequently, I returned to UIC for medical school. Since completing my medical degree in 2008, I've been an internal medicine resident at Rush University Medical Center, and afterward, aspire to continue on to a cardiology fellowship.”

-Michael Shih
B.S. in Biochemistry
GPPA Class of 2003
UIC College of Medicine - Class of 2008


“My experience in the GPPA program was nothing short of extraordinary. Knowing that I could claim a seat in medical school allowed me to explore well beyond my areas of background and comfort. With the encouragement of many of the outstanding GPPA faculty, I found new interests in the spheres of social science and began to explore various ways to use these disciplines to formulate my future career in academic medicine. To that end, I simultaneously completed a MPH focused in Health Policy along with my MD, and I am now pursuing a PhD in Health Policy and Economics at Yale University. Although I cannot know what new adventures and learning opportunities await, I am confident that the experiences and foundations I obtained within the GPPA program have helped to place me on a promising trajectory.”

-Michael Richards
B.S. in Biological Sciences
GPPA Class of 2006
UIC College of Medicine - Class of 2010
UIC School of Public Health - Class of 2010


“I definitely feel that the GPPA experience was one that served as the stepping stone for my future accomplishments in academic medicine. Entering my undergraduate career with a guaranteed admission to medical school allowed me ease and flexibility in my undergraduate experience. I finished my undergraduate degree in two years and chose to pursue a Master's degree at Oxford University in the United Kingdom during my third year. This experience was a unique one that was afforded by my being a member of the undergraduate community at UIC. It allowed me to learn principles of basic science and research that I still put to practice today. Medical school at UIC was an experience that I will cherish forever. The curriculum was designed with rigor and excellent practical training that put me in a position to confidently embrace residency training. I started training in Internal Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis is July of 2005. I completed my three years of residency training and went on to stay on for a fourth year, serving as one of the chief residents of the Medicine program. I stayed at Washington University to pursue further training in Hematology/Oncology and am currently in my second year of my Hematology/Oncology fellowship. I have a special interest in malignant hematology and am structuring my current training such that I gain broad exposure to the fields of lymphoma, leukemia and bone marrow transplant.”

-Sagun Goyal
B.S. in Biological Sciences
GPPA Class of 2000
UIC College of Medicine - Class of 2005


“The GPPA program is directly responsible for the wide range of opportunities I was able to take advantage of as a UIC undergraduate. Without the flexibility that GPPA allowed due to the guarantee of medical school acceptance, I might have had a narrower undergraduate path with a view to applying for a graduate program. Instead, I studied neuroscience and history, and also took courses in medical ethics, cultural anthropology, and philosophy. I participated in scientific research programs at UIC and the National Institutes of Health, but also had the opportunity to contribute to non-medically-related organizations and interest groups, such as OneWorld, the student-published social issues magazine, and the Honors College Admissions Policy Taskforce. Participating in GPPA provided the opportunity to explore both international and local cultures and interact with a wide range of people - from my fellow students who shared my interest in medicine, to professors eager to share their knowledge, to community leaders working toward improving conditions for impoverished local residents. I am currently a medical student at Northwestern University in the joint MD/MPH (Master of Public Health) program, but credit the GPPA Medicine program at UIC for providing a solid foundation for my medical school years and career as a physician.”

-Nilay Shah
B.S. in Neuroscience
GPPA Class of 2009


“UIC, in general, provided me with a plethora of opportunities throughout the years with respect to school activities, work, recreation, leadership, research, scholarship, travel, ... the list goes on and on. The GPPA Medicine program and the Honors College were particularly instrumental in my education and scholastic maturation. I worked with Dr. Chambers and Dr. Cohen during my undergraduate years, doing some basic science research in their laboratories, however their influence on me has involved much more than scholastic mentorship. They have been great influences on me academically, encouraging me always to expand my horizons with respect to both academics and life experiences in general. Through the influence of the GPPA and Honors College programs, I was able to earn academic scholarships and research stipends; work with and mentor students as well as serve on academic boards; publish in UIC-sponsored publications and academic journals; and forge meaningful relationships with both mentors and colleagues that I still cherish today (Dr. Madia, Joey Volpe, Beth Powers, Jennifer Kosco, to name a few...). I continued keeping in touch with many of these people throughout medical school at UIC, and stayed involved in various activities and leadership roles at the graduate school level. Ultimately, after medical school, I elected to pursue a residency training program at the University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. I am currently a second-year resident in this five-year program, throughout which I will operate at various hospitals, including UIC, the Jesse Brown VA, Cook County, Mercy, and Children's Memorial, as well as Drs. Dean Toriumi and J. Regan Thomas' Facial Plastic Surgery center in the Bloomingdale's building downtown.”

-Tara Brennan
B.S. in Biological Sciences
B.A. in Psychology
GPPA Class of 2005
UIC College of Medicine - Class of 2009


“The GPPA program connected me to wonderful mentors who encouraged me to be creative, confident and curious. The faculty met with me regularly to make sure that I was not getting lost in the adjustment to university life and rigorous academia. I always felt that they were interested in me as both a student and a person. The program allowed me a lot of flexibility to combine my interests into independent studies with notable professors and the faculty always promoted students for awards, internships and international opportunities.

After graduating from UIC, I spent a year in Israel on a Fulbright Fellowship and then returned to the US to begin medical school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I am beginning my third year of medical school now and doing research in maternal mortality in Ghana. I am planning to do residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology.”

-Julia Geynisman
B.S. in Biological Sciences
GPPA Class of 2007