Graduate Studies Archives

Environmental Law via CRS

After graduation (CRS, '99), I worked for Governor Davis for a year doing environmental legislation and land use work. Realizing that I enjoyed working with environmental issues at the state government level but that I was too far from my own native state, I returned to New York for law school at Pace Law School. Pace has one of the best environmental law programs in the country, and it was a great fit for me. Surprisingly, I was the first Cal grad to come through the school.

I've been with the New York State Attorney General's office for four years now, in the Environmental Protection Bureau. My job pulls on my science background, as I work with hazardous waste remediation issues, and also the policy background which was part of my curriculum in CRS. If anyone out there is considering a career in environmental law, I'd be happy to chat about it!

Janice Dean
posted June 13, 2009 8:33 PM

From ES to Oxford

Hello interested blog readers. I was asked to give a quick profile of what I've done since graduating.


continue reading "From ES to Oxford" »

Josh Fisher
posted June 9, 2009 11:46 AM

well being

It's a bit hard to believe that the first year of medical school is beginning to draw to a close, but it definitely is. I am currently in the midst of studying for a series of final exams for the neurology system, which will cover neuroanatomy, psychiatry, gross anatomy, pharmacology, and a whole hodgepodge of pathways and tracts within our bodies. It's an intriguing subject for sure, but also one of the most difficult.

Medical school ultimately trains doctors who will take care of patients, but the training is without a doubt intense that many medical students put their own health and well-being aside to focus on classes and become the best and most successful doctor that one can be. It's especially apparent around an exam, when students stay up until dawn memorizing just one more neuro pathway, or one more drug name and its mechanism of action. It seems like a small price to pay when that knowledge may come back to help you save a life a few years down the line.

It's also painfully ironic when I've studied blood pressure medications while munching on calorie-dense vending machine food or reading about how lack of sleep can affect our lifestyles while burning the midnight oil.

With that in mind, I hope to be able to invest more time into diet and exercise. I do believe that living the lifestyle that one preaches to patients is important. I'll get around to that, once I memorize this list of sympatholytic drugs.

Alex Lau
posted April 26, 2009 9:25 PM

1/2 a year down!...and about 7 1/2 more to go

Happy new year bloggers! What an awesome game yesterday at the Emerald Bowl.

It's hard to believe, but half a year of medical school has already flown by. And it's been busy. I've never had to study such a large volume of material at one time, and occasionally it has been overwhelming. On the other hand, come exam time, the course material actually starts becoming more cohesive and making sense, and that's when all the hours of studying really pay off.

There really isn't a typical day for a medical student, especially not at Keck, where classes are scheduled differently every single week. For the past few months, we have been covering the "Core" curriculum, which is a (very) broad survey of different topics aimed at placing everyone on the same page. Starting in the spring, we will be moving on to a "systems" curriculum, where we will study dermatology, cardio, neuro, and musculoskeletal individually. Hopefully, that will make the material more cohesive than Core.

What I love most about about med school is the clinical experience we have from day one. Even as complete newbies, we get to meet with patients in LAC+USC Hospital and take histories. Unlike residents and nurses--whose schedules are overloaded and overbooked--we have more time to find out about our patients' experiences and lives. Many patients also welcome med students to the bedside because they enjoy playing a part in educating future doctors. Being able to interact with patients helps me keep in mind the reasons why I decided to go into medicine, reasons which are sometimes difficult to keep sight of when med students are so busy.

I have also been looking at starting research again and have been meeting on and off with a faculty member performing research on gut bacteria over at Caltech. Hopefully I'll find time to become more involved with that. More updates to come. Good luck with the spring semester bloggers and GO BEARS!

Alex Lau
posted January 2, 2009 11:31 AM

37 years at Cal and Still Chasing Bugs

Most of my youth was spent is Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, I also have roots in California; my mother was born in Los Angeles. I remember those long train rides back and forth during summer to visit grand parents. Yes, I spent many summers in Fresno, and winters in Minneapolis. Now you can appreciate why I live in the Bay Area, great weather!

In 1968, a high school counselor in Minneapolis told me I was not good enough to go to college. Never being one to blindly accept a single opinion, I asked what was the best university in the country. I was told Berkeley! I had no idea where Berkeley was, but defiantly said, “I will go there.”

continue reading "37 years at Cal and Still Chasing Bugs" »

Vernard Lewis
posted October 22, 2008 3:25 PM

work this past summer


Hey blog readers! Before I jump into describing my first few weeks of medical school, I wanted to share with you guys my experiences this past summer as a faculty advisor with the National Youth Leadership Forum program at UCLA. I spent June through August with three separate groups of 22-23 high school students, all of whom were attending a program designed to expose them to the field of medicine.

I had a whole classroom-sized group of high schoolers to be responsible for at all times! Pretty challenging for a soft-spoken recent college grad. My job entailed three basic duties: 1) teach a curriculum that would introduce many key concepts and processes that are integral to medical education and the profession itself (i.e. med school admissions, traits and character, ethics), 2) supervise and chaperone students to different site visits and 3) manage and discipline students when necessary. This was how my room looked like at the end of every forum:


Yes, that's a lot of bleached flipchart paper. Don't worry, it was all recycled.


Believe it or not, I had a blast with this job. It was very rewarding working with high schoolers. Though there were times when I wondered what the heck I got myself into, it was great to get a glimpse of what the next generation of teenagers think, feel, and value. I worked with a diverse set of students--each with different backgrounds and beliefs--who broadened my perspectives on just how mixed our country really is. I also had a lot of fun with my co-workers.,,


For any college grads with a free summer, I'd highly recommend this program. It requires a college degree, lots of energy, and a willingness to work with super-hyper high school students. Check it out!

Alex Lau
posted September 2, 2008 9:46 PM