Graduates invite UF professors to share life’s big moments
Mike Edelbrock, professor of biology, received his share of phone calls from former student Emory Winship, while Winship was attending medical school.
“I think Emory wanted to vent,” remembered Edelbrock. “Since I was the one who talked him into pursuing a medical career, he called me whenever he felt overwhelmed with work. There was a lot of humor in his calls, but he also liked to lay a guilt trip on me.”
All was forgiven, however, when Winship received his D.O. degree from Western University in Pomona, California. The new physician invited his mentor to participate in his hooding ceremony on May 17th of this year.
“I was really flattered,” said Edelbrock. “It’s traditional to invite someone influential to the ceremony, so I guess I was a pretty big influence on Emory.”
Hailing from the San Francisco area, Winship initially came to UF for equestrian studies and literally fell in love with biology. He approached Edelbrock about participating in some undergraduate research and changed majors. That started an academic relationship as well as a friendship. (Winship is currently stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.)
“Emory graduated from UF in 2009 and was one of the first students to use the Davis Street Building lab facilities,” added Edelbrock. “I think his story shows that students can develop a passion for a certain subject and, as faculty members, we can help them develop that passion into a new course of study and even a career.”
“She Looked a Little Lost”
Linda Peck, DVM, chair of UF’s animal science program, was similarly honored late last year when a former student extended an invitation to attend her “white coat” ceremony.
“Veterinary students receive a white lab coat when they finish their classroom work and are beginning their clinicals,” added Peck. “They must pass a huge exam before they start their clinical training.”
Iwana Popkowski’s white coat ceremony was held at Cornell University in December 2012. Attending veterinary school at Cornell was a dream that Papkowski brought with her to UF.
“I first met Iwana and her mother at student orientation,” remembered Dr. Peck. “They were from Brooklyn, New York and looked a little lost. I introduced myself and wound up helping Iwana move in.”
According to Peck, Popkowski was an excellent student who wanted a 4.0 in every class. She would visit Peck and other professors in their offices to ask for extra help. Her tactics must have worked as she was accepted into three “selective” veterinary schools; Cornell, The Ohio State University, and The University of Pennsylvania.
Peck’s visit to Cornell turned out to be beneficial in more than one way. Not only did she get to share the success of a former student, but also managed to meet with admissions representatives to discuss UF’s pre-veterinary program.
“I’ve become very close to a lot of my students over the years,” added Peck, “but being asked to a white coat ceremony was really an honor. Sharing in Iwana’s success reminded me of just how many really good students we have in our program.”