The first time they join the debate club or their school orchestra, some middle school students immediately know they want to be a lawyer or a musician.
When she was in middle school, Sarasota resident Ashley Cubillos was very interested in the active ingredients contained in everything from medicines to cosmetics to skin and hair care products.
“I wanted to know how they all worked and whether they were safe and effective,” Cubillos, now 24, said of her passion to know how certain elements interact with each other, which, she realized as she got older, was really a love for chemistry.
Cubillos’ zeal for the periodic table progressed to the point where, on Sunday, she was presented the School of Pharmacy Dean’s Award from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Lakewood Ranch, also known as LECOM.
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Cubillos was one of 426 School of Pharmacy, School of Dental Medicine and College of Medicine graduates and Master’s Degree candidates who participated in the school’s 2016 commencement before an arena-packed crowd of 5,000 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto.
The School of Dental Medicine’s graduation was the first at the school. The program began in 2012.
“This is always the path I knew I would go, and it has been a great ride so far,” said Cubillos who has been selected for a post graduate pharmacy residency which begins June 27 at Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers.
School of Dental Medicine graduates first-ever class
While Cubillos loves mixing things, Adam Rose of Pittsburgh said he loves making things, like dental bridges and crowns.
Rose, who received the School of Dental Medicine’s Academic Achievement Award, was on campus the day in 2012 when 99 other would-be dentists had the honor of being LECOM-Bradenton’s first dental school class.
Amazingly, every one of the 100 graduated Sunday.
“We were a close-knit class,” Rose said Sunday. “We were the only dental students on campus for a full year. Everyone wanted to be a dentist, and everyone worked hard.”
Rose is heading to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he has been accepted into a maxillofacial surgical residency. He has made lifelong friends, like Joe Rodriguez and Patrick Trad.
“Dr. Kirk Zeller was an amazing teacher and mentor,” Rose said.
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)-Lakewood Ranch
- School began: Sept. 13, 2004
- 2016 local graduates: 426
- Speakers: Cassandra Beck and Justin Frisenda, College of Osteopathic Medicine; Neha Chakravarti and Nathan Janowicz, School of Dental Medicine and Ashley Cubillos and Alicia Fischer, School of Pharmacy.
- Interesting fact: Out of the 100 original members of first graduating class of the School of Dental Medicine who started together in 2012, all 100 graduated Sunday. Two marriages were also cemented out of the group. Students Ryan and Katherine Rose and Denis and Ana Monzin each formed a bridge with each other.
- Best quote: “LECOM is an immersive experience. We have everything going on there. We have the academics, we have opportunities to work with faculty to do research and we have a plethora of extracurricular activities.” — Ashley Cubillos.