Class of 2012 at a Glance

May 14, 2012


Sculptor. Olympic swimmer.  Class president. Cancer survivor. 

At this year's commencement, 158 P&S students – 54 percent men and 46 percent women – will receive an M.D. degree. Each student has a compelling story.

We spoke with four representatives of the remarkable Class of 2012 about what drew them to medicine, events during school that transformed their lives, and their hopes for the future.

Click on each student's name to read their stories in their own words.

Nick Colacchio


Tempted by a career as an artist, Nick discovered his calling during stints as an ER tech in the U.S. and as an HIV educator in Botswana.







Valeria Silva Merea


After years of training as an Olympic athlete, Valeria applied her skills in perseverance to swim through medical school.







Jason Dukes


For Jason, one patient during medical school changed his definition of an effective clinician.







PJ Lukac


Not many medical students experience medicine from the patient's perspective; PJ's bout with a life-threatening illness changed his outlook on his future career.

  • Find Columbia Doctors