Welcoming our new graduate students 2017

Dec. 13, 2017

The OHSU School of Medicine welcomed 327 new Graduate Studies students at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. There are currently a total of 784 students enrolled in graduate programs.

The incoming total represents the number of applicants accepted to the Ph.D., master's, Physician Assistant (PA) and certificate programs in the School of Medicine. Of these, 55 percent are women and nearly 12 percent are underrepresented minorities. The average age of all incoming students is 32.

The numbers of incoming students per program are:

  • 42 Ph.D.
  • 46 M.P.A.S. (PA program)
  • 115 master's
  • 123 certificate or non-degree

Crystal Hayes

Crystal Hayes in Ethiopia summer 2017

Crystal Hayes is a student in the Graduate Programs in Human Nutrition (GPHN) paired dietetic internship and master's program. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended undergrad at Seattle Pacific University. She completed a Bachelor of Science in dietetics, and then went to Ethiopia to visit her sister—a former OHSU research intern now volunteering with the Peace Corps.

It was during that trip that Hayes found out she'd been accepted at OHSU. She also had an opportunity to visit a clinic in Hosanna, a town in southern Ethiopia, and talk with one of the doctors about common diseases he treated that were caused by nutrient deficiencies.

Hayes chose OHSU and the GPHN program because "the core values of transparency, diversity, quality and service excellence align with my own. I have a variety of interests and a passion to serve."

Hayes has been happy with her choice. "Within the first few months at OHSU, I was surprised at how integrated our school is within the community. OHSU is widely known and respected, and I look forward to further interprofessional collaborations."

Beyond professional collaborations, Hayes enjoys playing OHSU intramural soccer, dancing swing and salsa, and rock climbing. She still takes a global view with her hobbies, adding "cooking and soccer are two things I love most that translate across all cultures."

Courtney Bouchet

Ph.D. student Courtney Bouchet

Courtney Bouchet is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP). She completed her undergraduate studies at University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in molecular biology and neuroscience. She then moved to University of Colorado Denver for her master's degree in biology.

She chose OHSU based on the graduate program's connections and reputation in neuroscience. "I was so impressed when I met with the professors during my interview, and how friendly they all were. There were two professors I reached out to before even applying, and both of them emailed back within a day. … I was amazed at how much they seemed to care about students."

Bouchet was struck by the unique beauty of the OHSU campus, but more than the location she was "just blown away by the program."

After having a chance to settle in at the Vollum Institute, Bouchet says "I've been really impressed with how good it is in real life. When you're in your interview, everyone is on their best behavior—but when you come to a program and they actually are as supportive as they seemed in the interview, that's impressive."

She has been especially impressed by the amount of translational research done at OHSU, with clinicians working with basic scientists to understand disease.

Bouchet is an avid runner who has qualified for and plans to run the Boston Marathon in April. Long-distance running helps her reduce stress and break down challenges –like getting a Ph.D. "There are a lot of things that seem unattainable when you think of them in the big picture—how am I possibly going to do a whole Ph.D., or how am I going to run 12, or 20, miles?" she says. "But when you think about it in small steps, if you make it more attainable, it's all reasonable."

Alexander Krach

Graduate student Alexander Krach

Alexander Krach is in the Master of Science in Healthcare Management program. The program introduces students to a broad curriculum, but Krach focuses his projects on "patient safety, health care policy and becoming the best future manager I can be."

Originally from Los Angeles, Krach has worked in healthcare since 1994 and has undergraduate degrees from Southern Oregon University and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. He chose OHSU because of the academic community with "unparalleled resources and amazing faculty. I also knew I wanted to be in a program that was small enough to offer individualized attention but large enough to offer experiences I would find nowhere else."

With his experience and training, Krach has set his sights high: "As I enter my final year in the program I am looking forward to working with the faculty to develop an international experience, perhaps with OHSU Global, and also to work within the health system to bring the medical humanities into the academic curriculum and patient care at OHSU."

Krach's experience at OHSU so far has surpassed his expectations. He notes that OHSU is a large and diverse institution, but he's still had a very personal academic experience. "When you join this program, you become part of a community of learners, and there is nothing better than that!"

Beyond the clinic and the classroom, Krach says "I'm an architecture buff and love to travel to new cities to explore. I like to hike and ride my mountain bike, and I watch way too many films on Netflix." He continues, "I absolutely love Portland but wish it were a lot sunnier."

Abinaya Ravisankar

Ph.D. student Abinaya Ravisankar

Abinaya Ravisankar is also a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

She is originally from India, born and raised in Chennai. In addition to studying bioengineering at Sastra University, she trained in Indian classical vocal music and performed at concerts.

Ravisankar came to Boston to work on her bachelor thesis project at MIT-Harvard HST division in the Khademhosseini lab, followed by a second research internship at Brigham and Women's hospital in the Bonventre lab, Renal division. "During this time I developed an interest in neuroscience and received an Erasmus mundus scholarship from the European Union to pursue a European master's degree as part of the Neurasmus program."

She graduated with a joint master's degree from three universities, after taking courses from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Charite Medical School Berlin, and completing two research dissertations: one from working at Dr. Daniel Choquet's lab at the University of Bordeaux, France, and a second project with Dr. Hilde Lavreyson at the neuroscience research group at Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Belgium.

She came back to the U.S. when she moved to San Francisco, spending two years working in Dr. Steve Finkbeiner's lab at University of California, San Francisco.

Broadly, her scientific interests tend toward understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurological diseases. "I chose OHSU because I was really impressed with the quality of research in neuroscience and graduate training opportunities provided by the Vollum Institute."

"Now in my spare time," she adds, "I enjoy traveling and exploring new places with my husband, in addition to experimenting with new cooking recipes."