Meet the 2023 Scholars

Get to know the hopes, dreams, and talents of this year's winners.

Jacob G.

Graduate Recipient

"Write a letter to your younger self during a key moment in your life addressing one or more of the following: words of encouragement, lessons you have learned and/or challenges you have overcome."

Dear Jacob, On the evening of April 13th, 2015, Grandma drove you and Sister to visit Dad in the hospital. Earlier that afternoon, he had suffered a heart attack while exercising at the gym. At the hospital, Dad's physician discussed with the family that while the heart attack was severe, he was promptly treated and expected to recover. Later that night, you told Dad that you loved him and then Grandma drove you and Sister home to sleep. One day later, while eating lunch with friends at high school, you got a call from your school's front desk. They told you that your uncle was here to pick you and Sister up. You were confused because you were planning to go visit him in a few short hours once school ended for the day. "Do I have to go right now?", you asked Uncle. Deep down you knew the answer. "Yes," Uncle responded. In the car, Uncle drove one block, parked the car, and turned to you and Sister. "There is no easy way to say this. Your dad is brain dead." In the immediate aftermath of Dad's death, there is no way for you to know how your short-term and long-term futures would be affected. In addition to the sadness of having lost Dad, who was also the family's primary breadwinner, Mom is now solely responsible for raising two children with cystic fibrosis. There is nothing that I, nor anyone else, can say to make the pain, sadness, and anxiety go away. But I want to leave with you three messages.

  1. Dad loved you. You loved Dad. That is an incredible gift.
  2. Time heals all wounds. Do the best you can to take care of Mom, Sister, and yourself. And know that, in time, the acuity of the pain associated with Dad's death will subside. You will always love Dad and will never forget his loss, but the sharpness of the pain you are feeling will go away.
  3. Finally, everything will be okay. Mom and Sister will be okay. You will be okay. While you do not know it yet, this experience combined with your life with cystic fibrosis will motivate you to become a physician. And as a physician, you will care for others in a way that honors Dad's life.

Jacob G.'s Artwork

Jacob G.'s Achievements

  • Medical student at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine (2022-2023)
  • Graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science with Honors - Biology major (2021)
  • Co-author of 3 peer-reviewed publications in the journals Cell, Neuron, and Glia (2019, 2019, 2023)
  • Research Associate II at Genentech in the Department of Neuroscience developing drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis (2021-2022)
  • Member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Compass Advisory Board (2022-2023)
  • Elected to be UCSF School of Medicine's voting student delegate to the American Medical Association (2022-2023)
  • Coordinator of HealthLink - a year-long educational and mentorship program for 80 San Francisco high school students interested in health care careers. Awarded "UCSF Outstanding Student Organization of the Year” (2023)
  • Medical student volunteer for Mabuhay Health Center - a free UCSF medical clinic for underserved patients in San Francisco (2023)
  • Research in the lab of Dr. Jonathan Pan at UCSF to develop a blood diagnostic test for spinal cord injury (2023)
  • Stanford University "Hoefer Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Writing" winner, which is awarded for best undergraduate writing in eligible natural science courses at Stanford (2021)