<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=799546403794687&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Talent and Tenacity Push These Graduates to the Finish Line

In these stressful times, take a moment to be inspired by a few stories from the Class of 2020

minute read.

Written by Staff on May 21, 2020

This year hit us with a whopper of a surprise, but SARS-CoV-2 watch out: the CU Anschutz Class of 2020, brimming with brilliant minds, relentless determination and acute resilience, is coming for you.

As the pandemic continues to ripple through our lives, leaving a sense of anxiety and uncertainty in its wake, take a moment to be inspired by these graduates. Each student faced various obstacles, but intelligence, fortitude and purpose propelled them to graduation and beyond. They also acknowledge they couldn’t have reached this plateau without considerable support from friends and family, as well as faculty members.


Francesca Gutierrez

Every student has a story, and this year – of all years – we wish we could share them all. We hope you get the chance to experience their hard-earned reward through virtual commencements or, at the very least, social media feeds that promise to overflow with creative posts celebrating the moment. 

With great pride, we share some of the uplifting stories of CU Anschutz’s Class of 2020.

CU Nursing Graduate: ‘You Are Not Just a Nurse’

Nurse Kelley Johnson became a dynamic spokesperson for the field of nursing when women on The View criticized the monologue she delivered on the Miss America Pageant. Johnson, who lives in Los Angeles, where she hosts a television show, grew up in Colorado. She will graduate from the Nurse Practitioner program, College of Nursing.

Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Sets Sights on ‘Refreshing and Learning Constantly’

Francesca Gutierrez is a student who has a unique international perspective. She is originally from Chile and plans to pursue a pharmacy career abroad upon graduation. As a student, she has been heavily involved the international exchange program for CU Pharmacy’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association. PharmD, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

School of Medicine Grad Overcomes Adversity, Heads to Stanford Residency

Mario Hernandez embarked on the path to medicine by accidentally stabbing his leg with a yard aerating tool when he was 9. He still remembers the wound bleeding everywhere and being aware he needed to go to the hospital. He especially recalls the look of fear on his parents’ faces. Both parents were undocumented immigrants, and Hernandez knew they were afraid they would get deported. “People shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when they are sick or hurt.” MD, School of Medicine


Mario Hernandez

ColoradoSPH Graduate Sets Sights on Ending Human Trafficking

A former Marine, Jessica Stubblefield was one of six women on a base with 2,000 men. She became a voice for women during her service. Her professional career objective is to disrupt human trafficking through epidemiological surveillance and research. She also started a Student Veteran’s group on campus. MPH, Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health

AmeriCorps, Mentors Shape Soon-to-be Grad’s Next Mission

As a Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA) on the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming, Rachel Steinberg found her career path: working with indigenous populations with a focus on cultural and social health issues and differences. Currently project manager for Tribal Turning Point study. MPH, Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health



Note to our Class of 2020 graduates: Want to stay up to date on news and feature stories about CU Anschutz, one of the most innovative health sciences campuses in the nation? Be sure to subscribe to the CU Anschutz Today eNewsletter. Click here to subscribe.