Postbac Premed Class Day Virtual Ceremony

April 27, 2021, 11 a.m. ET

Students who are completing the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program in 2021 are cordially invited to a virtual ceremony honoring their accomplishments.

Postbac Premed Class Day 2021 



Postbac Class Day participants will receive invitations in the coming weeks to provide name pronunciations and create personalized slides to be included in the virtual ceremony.

Grad Week Gatherings & Class Day Watch Gatherings

Students completing the Program are invited to enter a lottery to join Dean Rosen-Metsch at one of two outdoor watch gatherings on campus on Class Day to view the virtual event together to celebrate this accomplishment on Tuesday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m. ET. Students are invited to register for a watch gathering as soon as possible, but no later than 12 p.m. ET on Friday, April 16.

The watch gatherings will feature gifting of GS swag, a step and repeat for photo opportunities, a professional photographer to capture this special event, and more. Given the limited capacity of these events, students who would like to attend must fill out the form below and will be chosen by lottery. We will do our best to ensure that every interested student has an opportunity to attend at least one in-person event. Additionally, I ask that you not register for an event unless you are certain that you can and will attend, helping us ensure that these opportunities are utilized to their fullest. 

Graduates will also be able to enter a lottery to attend an outdoor Postbac Premed Grad Week Gathering after the official Postbac Class Day on Tuesday, April 27 from 5-6 p.m. ET. This gathering will also feature gifting of GS swag, a step and repeat for photo opportunities, and a professional photographer to capture the event.

Register for the Class Day Watch Gatherings and Grad Week Gatherings
Registration Deadline: Friday, April 16 at 12 p.m. ET

Additional Information

To make these events possible, students will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times, adhere to the socially distanced seating accommodations, maintain 6’ of social distancing between all other people at all times at these events, and not congregate on campus outside of the designated gatherings. Please note that in order to invite as many graduates as possible, we are not able to accommodate guests at any of these events due to gathering limitations determined by the state of New York and the University.

Please note that for access to campus for all three of these opportunities, all Columbia students must be gateway tested for COVID-19, complete the daily attestation, and be able to produce a CU Green Pass. Learn more:

If you have any questions about graduation, these in person events, or regarding campus access please email

Following the Postbac Class Day ceremony, members of the GS community will be hosting various Zoom receptions to give students and their guests the opportunity to drop in and share a moment of celebration with GS offices, alumni, and more. 

Additional information forthcoming. 

Students who are eligible to receive a Certificate in Premedical or Prehealth Sciences should update their address in SSOL, as certificates will be mailed within two months after completion of the Postbac Premed Program. 

Postbac Premed Class Day Speakers

Dr. Ashley Paige Oliver

Dr. Oliver is a chief resident in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. She is pursuing a career in adult cardiothoracic surgery anesthesia and her research interests lie in education, health disparities among heart and lung transplant populations, and medicine and social justice movements.

Dr. Oliver is a 2018 graduate of the Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons where she served as a curricular class representative and on medical education committees, as well as the president of the Black and Latino Student Organization. She is also a 2014 alumna of the Columbia Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, where she served as the president of the Postbac Premedical Association (now the Postbac Premed Student Council [PPSC]).

Prior to her career in medicine, Dr. Oliver worked at human rights and educational not-for-profits including Human Rights Watch and Facing History and Ourselves. She graduated from The University of Chicago in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in cinema and media studies and also studied film and media studies at The University of California, Berkeley.

She is the partner to an audio engineer, whose work includes The Nocturnists, a podcast that elevates the human stories in healthcare and which feeds Dr. Oliver’s continued interest in narrative medicine. Their lively children include Julian, age three, and Marcus, seven months.

Chelsia Melendez

This year's student speaker will be Postbac Premed graduate Chelsia Melendez. Chelsia was raised in New Jersey by a single mom and her grandma. She is a second-generation daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and identifies as an Afro-Latina. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and international studies from American University in Washington, D.C.

Before entering the Postbac Premed Program, she worked as a sustainability and social responsibility analyst for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and volunteered as a doula in Southeast D.C. In both these roles, she advocated for the economic empowerment of the communities the businesses served, and she advocated for the reproductive care of underserved single moms.

During her undergraduate studies, she worked with Cuban asylum seekers and bilingual janitorial staff at her university to help them obtain their citizenship and feel welcomed in their new homes. Through her community work and advocacy for the immigrant, refugee, and asylum communities, she received a Latino Engagement Award from American University. Chelsia decided to pursue a career in medicine because she wanted her career to focus on people’s wellbeing. Her interest continues to be centered on immigrant and refugee health and working with historically underserved populations.

During her time in the Postbac Premed Program, Chelsia volunteered as a health educator for Project STAY, a community clinic that serves justice-involved youth, LGBTQ, homeless, and underserved adolescents in NYC. Additionally, Chelsia is the co-president of the Social Justice Medicine organization and serves on the PPSC as vice president of community relations. Most notably, she co-created the School of General Studies’ first Underrepresented in Medicine Summer Program to help underserved students transition into Columbia’s rigorous program. Chelsia was recently accepted to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai through linkage and will be starting medical school in the fall.


Students are welcome to share the ceremony link with as many guests as possible so that family, friends, and loved ones can celebrate with you.