My name is Ashley Jackson, and it is truly an honor to be the very first undergraduate student at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center awarded an NIH Diversity Supplement to work as a Student Intern. This incredible opportunity would not have been possible if UCSF, Dr. Bruce Miller, and Dr. Winston Chiong had not made it a high priority to create the position and pursue diverse candidates such as myself. It has been heartwarming and rewarding to become a part of the UCSF family. I am grateful to have been exposed to the innovative science, medicine, and clinical research occurring at the MAC. Everyone has been very welcoming and immensely helpful to me in the onboarding process.
Coming from a background as a world-traveling Professional Ballerina, I am in a career transition on the path to applying to medical school. It is essential that the medical community be able to reflect the population they are serving, which is one reason why initiatives such as the NIH Diversity Supplement is crucial for the future of medicine. Representation truly matters. During my time as a Student Intern, I observed family conferences, shadowed physicians, viewed educational brain dissections, listened to world-renowned scholars give seminars and talks about their research, and even administered cognitive assessments to patients with dementia. These are just a few of the reasons why this has been an invaluable opportunity and experience.
One of the things that I have also immensely appreciated about my time here has been getting to know the lab members of the Decision Lab and the Program Project Grant lab. Learning and being immersed in the lab culture has been such a wonderful and fun experience. Upon graduation and completion of the NIH Diversity Supplement, I am excited to announce that I have plans to join Dr. Winston Chiong’s Decision Lab on a full-time basis. I am thrilled that this is just the beginning of my journey here at UCSF.