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Alumni Profile: Secret to success for alumni-turned-med-students? It’s chemistry

After connecting to UCF from Seminole State College, alumni Juliana Rodriguez Bohoquez and Edward Ramos now attend the Howard University College of Medicine.

At Seminole State, chemistry (the course) brought them together, and then chemistry (the attraction) happened. Now their united educational journey has taken them from Seminole State to UCF to Howard University College of Medicine. 

They come from backgrounds almost as different as Romeo and Juliet themselves. He, a first-generation college graduate who was never sure about the prospect of higher education in his life, and she, with parents and a brother who helped pave the way for her to realize her dreams of becoming a doctor. And yet somehow, over the topic of chemistry (the course), their paths crossed and chemistry (the attraction) happened.

Juliana Rodriguez Bohorquez, a Seminole High School Health Academy graduate, followed her older brother to Seminole State College of Florida after seeing the benefits of a top-notch education at an affordable price. At Seminole State, Juliana fulfilled her prerequisites before transferring to the University of Central Florida to finish her bachelor’s degree. While at Seminole State, Rodriguez Bohorquez became a part of the Grindle Honors Institute; she served as an officer for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; and helped to launch the College’s STEM Club. And with the help of some professors, Rodriguez Bohorquez went on to be awarded a lucrative transfer scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which funded her education at UCF.

Edward Ramos grew up unsure of whether he’d even pursue a college education. His parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, where they both stopped their pursuit of education in middle school to work and help provide for their families. A Lake Brantley High School graduate, Ramos eventually came to realize that if he wanted to create the kind of life that he envisioned for his future family, he’d need to buckle down and start to explore the many opportunities that a college education would afford him. He soon found himself engrossed in a chemistry course at Seminole State, and something inside him ignited.

“We feel so strongly about the education that we received at Seminole State College that we know – someday, somehow – we’re going to give back in some way. We’d like to see other students benefit from the foundational start that we did, and it would be an honor to be a part of that.” 
                                                                             - Edward Ramos

Fortunately, he had the courage to ask his classmate, Rodriguez Bohorquez, to study together, and that’s where the rest of their story begins to unfold.

Both spent two years at Seminole State, working hard to earn their Associate in Arts (A.A.) degrees before taking advantage of the DirectConnect to UCF program. Rodriguez Bohorquez graduated earlier this year from UCF with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science. Ramos graduated at the same time with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry.

Continuing their quests to become physicians, both started at the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC, this summer, where they were thrust into the fast-paced curriculum of medical students.

Both agree that it was their start at Seminole State that best prepared them for this stage in their education. In fact, Juliana and Edward stated (separately) that the foundation they received at Seminole State– particularly in chemistry – was so exemplary that even some of their fellow university students hadn’t been as well prepared when they entered the more advanced courses leading to graduation.

Rodriguez Bohorquez and Ramos recognized Professor Deborah Mead, an organic chemistry professor at Seminole State, for the huge impact she made on the trajectory of their lives. They noted her ability to clearly convey basic concepts of what most consider a very difficult subject, laying the foundation for knowledge that they would come to need nearly every day since then. Fortunately, they stay in touch, so Professor Mead remains well-aware of the places they’re going and lives they’re going to impact. 

Today, in their first semester of medical school, both can often be found with their heads in books, studying for the rigorous coursework that medical school requires. But they also hold those heads up high as they look to the future.

“We were just talking about this the other day,” Ramos said. “We feel so strongly about the education that we received at Seminole State College that we know – someday, somehow – we’re going to give back in some way. We’d like to see other students benefit from the foundational start that we did, and it would be an honor to be a part of that.”

 

Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.

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