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UCF college of medicine dean tells pre-med Students to dream big

Katelynn Martin sells candy bags to a UCF pre-med student at the Last Fall General Body Meeting event on Tuesday. Each bag sold for $2 and funds went to Knight-Thon, which fundraises for the Children’s Miracle Network, which involves celebrating the Miracle Children.

Dr. Deborah German, the vice president for health affairs and dean of UCF College of Medicine, inspired UCF pre-med students to dream big during National Career Development Month.

The Dean spoke to students Tuesday about her journey and founding the College of Medicine at UCF.

“If someone had come to me and said, ‘You are going to be the dean of a medical school,’ I would have said, ‘I can’t do that,'” German said. “And if someone came to me and said, ‘You are going to build a medical school; you are going to build a city,’ I would’ve thought they needed to be admitted to mental.”

German got selected to be the founding dean of UCF’s College of Medicine in December 2006. German was offered to lead a medical school at Lake Nona among four men who were finalists for her position. She saw the opportunity to transform health care, contribute to health education and boost research in Central Florida. She said she dreamed bigger than she ever thought she would.

On Monday, German said the school has 33 programs with currently 545 residents and fellows in training, and the program has graduated 956 doctors. Their goal is to create an entire campus with all the medical specialists. She also said a new addition to the Lake Nona campus will be a space for the College of Nursing, which will come out in 2025.

“We still have a long long way to go, but we are the fastest growing creator of residency opportunities among all the medical schools in the states,” German said.

She said she wants students to see their challenges as adventures.

“My job is to dream out loud, and if I dream out loud to enough people, someone who can make my dream come true will hear it — will get with me, and the dream happens,” German said.

German also encouraged students to think of the impact they can make in their field. 

“I am telling you that because each one of you has the capacity to dream big, and as you do that, because I know you are interested in health care,” German said.” Your dreams will make the world a better place.”

UCF college of medicine dean tells pre-med Students to dream big

Dr. Deborah German, vice president for Health Affairs and dean of UCF College of Medicine, shared her big dreams and career obstacles at the Last Fall General Body Meeting event Tuesday.

Harshitha Uppada, a junior biomedical sciences major and the secretary of pre-med AMSA, said she is an immigrant from India and a first generation student who will attend medical school and have an education in America. She said hearing German’s mindset and how to think differently was inspirational as a pre-med student aspiring to get into medical school.

“It was really great to have her come out and show, like, a different perspective on how to think and how to dream, not only big, but kind of beyond of what you can actually imagine,” Uppada said.

Asheria Foster is a director of Knight-Thon in the pre-med AMSA. She said Knight-Thon fundraises for the Children’s Miracle Network, which involves celebrating the Miracle Children in the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. She went to the event because she wanted to hear about German’s career path and how she overcame many challenges in her medical career.

“I do believe what she said; you have to dream big, and if you want the moon, you have to go for the sun,” Foster said.

Foster said she believes in German because she is a big dreamer herself and wants to open her own clinic when she graduates from medical school, and just the thought that German opened a hospital inspires her to believe in her dreams.

“She shot for Venus out of everything,” Foster said. “I want to open my own pediatric clinic one day, so I was like, if she could do it, I can do it, and I know there are ways I can do that.”

Foster said that as a Black woman and a minority, she knows it is more complicated for her to do that. She said she liked that German could overcome challenges as an Italian immigrant and the first generation to attend college in her family.

Katelynn Martin, a student majoring in biomedical sciences, said German inspired her.

“I am the first to go to college, so seeing someone who is an immigrant — a woman — going to medical school and going for her dreams was inspiring,” Martin said.

Martin said she got inspired when German shared a moment in her life when she was not allowed in a room full of male physicians, but German did not fight or complain about it. Instead, German nicely walked out of the room full of men and knew there needed to be a change.

“Just being able to hear her and show that issue made me angry, but I also want to change the future,” Martin said.

Parth Changan, a senior biomedical sciences major and the president of AMSA, said that he liked that German talked about dreaming big, not limiting your dream and not settling for anything less. He shared his insight on dreaming big with students going into their medical careers.

“Like Dean German said to dream big; your goals are not going to happen overnight, and if that means failing a couple of times, that means that is going to be leading you into success,” Changan said. “One door closes means another door is going to be opening for a student.”