PharmTox graduates continue legacy of the degree

Pharmacology & Toxicology Class of 2017 Left-right, back row: Thomas Kotsonis, Lauren Stippich, Nicole Bednarz, Andrew Elton, Alex Hall, Sean McSweeney, Kishan Patel, Anders Lindstedt; Middle row: Yang Zhang, Jennifer Ross, Kookjoo Kim, Laura Josephson, Alex Koo, Tyler Jessel, Madeline Gallo, Srikar Adibhatla; Front row: Nick Yan, Jessica Smoko, Ling Zhou, Claire Olsen, Joann Huynh, Alyssa Eisold, Madison Wolters.

Pharmacology and Toxicology Class of 2017, Left-right, back row: Thomas Kotsonis, Lauren Stippich, Nicole Bednarz, Andrew Elton, Alex Hall, Sean McSweeney, Kishan Patel, Anders Lindstedt; Middle row: Yang Zhang, Jennifer Ross, Kookjoo Kim, Laura Josephson, Alex Koo, Tyler Jessel, Madeline Gallo, Srikar Adibhatla; Front row: Nick Yan, Jessica Smoko, Ling Zhou, Claire Olsen, Joann Huynh, Alyssa Eisold, Madison Wolters.

A review of post-graduation plans of the 23 members of the Pharmacology & Toxicology class of 2017 reinforces the accomplishment, rigor, and standard of this bachelor of science program. From entering medical school to beginning a PharmD program at Wisconsin to pursuing a career in forensic sciences with a master’s degree in toxicology and working in industry prior to pursuing a PhD in pharmacology or neuroscience, these graduates represent the future frontiers of the health sciences.

Students celebrated the milestone with family, friends, faculty, and staff at a breakfast in Heritage Hall at Camp Randall Stadium preceding the campus commencement ceremony. Professor Jeff Johnson, the student-selected faculty speaker and Pharmacology-Toxicology Instructor of the Year, shared his thoughts on the importance of taking initiative in life. His lifetime success rate, when taking a major personal initiative led to greater opportunities, is low—he cited a “2 in 100” average, but he further explained how those two instances, that launched his research career trajectory and, eventually, his marriage, were both life-changing.

Thomas Kotsonis, 2017 graduate and student speaker, challenged graduates to take a “means justify the ends” approach to life. That is, he argued that “the path to a result does indeed matter.  Some of us here will (become) healthcare practitioners: Does it matter how you treat your patients to cure their ailment?  Others here will be scientists: Does it matter how you conduct your assays to draw your conclusions”… “your decisions matter, your conduct matters, your path truly matters.” Kotsonis, who has a strong passion for classical studies, included references to Demosthenes, Ovid, and Horace in remarks. Kotsonis anticipates entering medical school in 2018.