Winners, Take A Bow


The results are in! Today, 12 of UCSF’s most talented writers and photographers are taking home the top prizes in the Synapse Storytelling Contest. Be sure to go to the Synapse website to enjoy the winning entries, which will be uploaded weekly when the publication resumes on Sept. 9.

First place:

  • Matthew Klope, first year chemistry and chemical biologygraduate student for his poem, “Transcardial Perfusion.” Evocative, chilling, and revelatory, a mesmerizing and inspiring admission of vulnerability.
  • Victoria Turner, third year neuroscience graduate student for her short story, “Determined,” an incredible piece of fiction that takes readers on the rollercoaster ride of life with a mentally ill parent.
  • Sikai Song, a fourth year School of Medicine student for her personal essay, “The First Time,” which throws readers into the middle of the writer’s tension, self-doubt and fear while we root for her success.
  • Jeremie Joffre, a fifth year School of Medicine graduate student in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care for his photo, “Ain’t No Fish,” an exhilarating action shot captured at precisely the right moment to convey the full effect of an amazing marine mammal’s grace and colossal majesty.

Second Place:

  • Ninad Bhat, a first year student in the School of Medicine, for his poem “Patience,” a sparse and fragmented composition that is perfectly complemented by the claustrophobic sensations expressed throughout.
  • Victor Lam, a second year graduate student in the Tetrad program, for his short fiction work, “Trio for the Ages,” which creates a visually cinematic scene while conveying the emotionality of playing with — and sometimes against — follow musicians.
  • Le Wen Chiu, a first year School of Medicine student for her personal essay, “Working with Patients Experiencing Homelessness,” a great lesson in compassion and a reminder that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.
  • Victoria Turnertakes another prize for her photo “Appointment at Tank Hill,” a juxtaposition of a sprawling city with the soothing colors of sunset and immense moon.

Third Place:

  • Lena Alazzeh, a second year physical therapy student, for her poem, “More Than a Disease,” a powerful example of how society treats people with ailments and disabilities.
  • Janice Goh, a first year graduate student in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics for her short story, “Crazy Grad Story,” a tragically wry piece of fiction that creates a world where a simple solution provides hope.
  • Hansen Deng, a fourth year School of Medicine student, for his personal essay, “Closing the Cut,” an excellent meditation on the healthcare system from personal experience, and a powerful reminder that we can and must do better.
  • Lena Alazzehtakes another prize for her photo “My Best Friend,” about the relationship between the photographer and her subject, all captured in a single frame.

Other entries in each category that judges wished to honor will also appear in the Synapse newsletter when publication resumes in the fall.

Honorable mentions:

  • “Choices” and “Paused” by Ninad Bhat, poetry
  • “Patient Report” by Abel Rivas, poetry
  • “Ode to Code Blue” by Kate Arriola, poetry