Monica Mejia, a 20-year-old senior whose college career began five years ago, will receive the Outstanding Senior Award at USF’s commencement.
Jene Bell, director of societies and administrator of student awards for the Alumni Association, said award recipients are chosen based on certain criteria, including leadership, achievement, scholarship, work experience, school spirit and community service.
“Mejia,” Bell said, “More than fulfilled these requirements by maintaining the required 3.5 G.PA. and working with hospice patients.”
Mejia said she spent time patients who were terminally ill, and most were affected with cancer or emphysema. The experience, she said, wasn’t always cheerful, but that was the point.
“I want to go to medical school but until this I had only seen the happy-go-lucky side of medicine – like recovery or people just coming in for check ups,” she said. “I wanted to see if I could handle death, which is very important in the medical field.”Bell said it was impressive that Mejia maintained a professional attitude during her hospice work.
“She was able to move from case to case,” Bell said. “She showed a great deal of empathy to the patients and their families, but she was able to distance herself.”
Mejia said she hasn’t decided where she’ll attend medical school but named USF as her top choice.
Mejia said it wouldn’t be until her schoolwork subsides that she can truly appreciate this honor.
“I’m so excited, but I haven t had time to think about it,” she said.
“I have tons of schoolwork.”
As outstanding senior, Mejia will receive a certificate and a class ring from the bookstore.
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