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When Silicon Valley resident Sarah Zarrin headed to the east coast for college, she knew she wanted to major in the humanities because she thought she might want to become a professor. By her junior year at Princeton, Sarah became interested in pursuing medicine because she saw it as a way to continue her humanistic work while helping people at the same time. She began to look for a post-baccalaureate course on the east and west coast.

Having grown up in the Boston area, Alex began working in its Dorchester neighborhood as an English teacher after graduating from Harvard University. She loved teaching children, especially adolescents, as they are not only unpredictable; they provided her with a different perspective with which to view the world.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine, 2019-expected
University of Pennsylvania, Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health Programs, 2014
The University of Chicago, Master of Arts, Public Policy Studies and Master of Arts, Social Sciences, 2006
University of California, Berkeley, Political Science and Legal Studies, 2004

Growing up in a close-knit family in Rockville, Maryland, Sapna Khemka thought of her first cousins as her older brothers. When one went to medical school, Sapna wanted to follow. She began her undergraduate work at the University of Maryland and was in a pre-med track. When she was preparing to graduate, Sapna didn’t think her grades accurately reflected her capabilities.

Aida Rodriguez immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her family when she was 6 years old. Her family started a new life in south Florida where Aida completed her elementary and secondary education. Aida then enrolled in Palm Beach State College and with her excellent academic performance quickly became eligible for the national two-year honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. Upon learning of Aida’s accomplishment, the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) reached out to congratulate her on her academic achievement.

When Rashan Prailow graduated from high school, he was not among the top students in his class and did not think college was in his future plans. However, one year after he graduated from high school, Rashan set out to earn his associate degree. He encountered some isolating challenges as a commuting student and lost focus when cost became an issue. Rashan left and began to work on home remodeling for his uncle’s business. Although he was earning wages, Rashan didn’t see himself working in the field long-term.

The patient idealist

An environmentalist is making big waves with small initiatives

Julian Goresko (Master of Environmental Studies ’14) understands the importance of small wins.

As Sustainability Outreach Manager at the University of Pennsylvania, Julian works every day to shift the behaviors of thousands of employees and students. To do so, he says, “It’s really important to put personal beliefs aside and look for the places where the institution is ready to grow.”

After attending Philadelphia’s Central High School for two years, a public high school that consistently ranks as one of the finest in the state, Julian Scott moved to Virginia. After he graduated from high school there, he returned to Philadelphia and went right into the working world. When he was laid off from his job, he explored all of his options, including whether to go to college or find another job. Julian decided to enroll in Community College of Philadelphia. He excelled at his coursework.

When Cate Revak decided to make a career change, after 15 years in the financial industry, she transferred into Penn to earn her bachelor’s degree. Hear about the camaraderie Cate found with fellow students and how campus resources continue to sustain her as she pursues graduate studies at Penn.


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