four students from Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Student Stories from the Class of 2023

Columbia University Irving Medical Center celebrates all of our students graduating this month. We spoke to a few graduates from our four schools—Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, School of Nursing, Mailman School of Public Health, and College of Dental Medicine—about why they chose to pursue careers in health care, and how their time at Columbia made an impact on them. Read on below to meet a few of our graduates.

Nią Josiah presenting her research at a conference

Nia Josiah, DNP

School of Nursing

“I have devoted my life to service, and I take great pride in being an advocate for social justice. The School of Nursing’s mission and commitment to support health and well-being as a human right aligns with my values. Also, its location in Washington Heights fosters an awareness of underserved and underrepresented minority populations.”

Alejandro Salcedo, Columbia College of Dental Medicine

Alejandro Salcedo, DDS

College of Dental Medicine

“As graduation approaches, I am excited for this great achievement but also saddened by a chapter coming to a close. Dental school is a journey, and I couldn’t have done it without all the friends and faculty that I have encountered along the way.”

Hueyjong Shih, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Hueyjong Shih, MD

Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

“Competent clinicians should prepare for conversations with patients as if they were preparing for any other procedure, including gathering all the relevant medical facts, planning for unexpected turns in the conversation, and knowing all the alternative options that they can offer patients. I feel better equipped to handle these important conversations because of my palliative care rotation.”

Olivia TenHarmsel, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Olivia TenHarmsel, MHA

Mailman School of Public Health

“I was drawn to the Department of Health Policy and Management in particular because it exposes students to a wide range of areas of health care, such as hospital administration, long-term care, digital health, and venture capital, just to name a few. And it gives students the necessary skills to understand the complexities of health policies and regulations of the health care system.”