Chancellor Gary S. May said he used to think he was “hot stuff” for skipping third grade, until he met a pair of students who started at UC Davis when they were 14 and 12.
“Now I'm a lot more humble, having met both of you,” he joked to this month’s guests on Face to Face With Chancellor May, Tiara and Tanishq Abraham.
Tiara Abraham, now 16, graduated in June with a Bachelor of Arts in music focusing on vocal performance, and is now pursuing a master’s in music at Indiana University. Tanishq Abraham graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering in 2018 and stayed here for graduate work. Today he is 19 and a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering, working to develop artificial intelligences that will work with specialized microscopes to speed medical diagnoses.
The two talked with May about their accelerated academic journeys, their time at UC Davis, their next steps and more.
“One of the really nice things that I like about UC Davis is kind of the interdisciplinary nature when it comes to the research over here at Davis,” Tanishq Abraham said. “I'm doing my research in the medical center, and that's been a really great opportunity to have that medical center where we can work closely with clinicians and work more closely on having a positive impact on patient lives.”
His sister discussed what it was like transferring to UC Davis in 2020, performing her junior recital amid the pandemic in an empty Ann E. Pitzer Center.
“I was taking voice lessons online via Zoom,” she said.
The teens also discussed reaction to their early accomplishments.
“I hear a lot of messages from many students saying that they've heard my story and it's inspired them to reach their goals,” Tanishq Abraham said. “It's been very humbling to hear all these amazing stories, and I think that's one of my biggest accomplishments: how I've been able to impact the world and inspire many other students.”
They asked Chancellor May about his thoughts on their own fields of interest, asking him to discuss UC Davis’ prominence as a place to study artificial intelligence and asking him to choose a song to be his personal “theme song.”
Watch the full video above to hear the song he chose, along with the rest of the conversation.
Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.