Billie Ryman Pensader Ocampo, the class valedictorian of Mt. Carmel School’s Class of 2012, is off to fulfill his dream of becoming a physician someday.
Early last month, Ocampo moved from Saipan to Hawaii to start school at the prestigious John A. Burns School of Medicine at University of Hawaii, ranked as one of the top 20 medical schools in the United States.
“I hope to spend the next four years leaning the art and science of medicine, with humility and acknowledgement of the immense privilege that I hold being here,” Ocampo said in his social media page. “I hope to become a physician who is compassionate and who reflects the spirits of aloha and inafa’ maolek.” he added.
Inafa’maolek is the Chamorro term for “restoring ‘harmony’ or ‘order.’”
Ocampo finished his Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in 2016 at the University of Washington, with cum laude honors. He came back to Saipan and worked at the FHP Clinic, Medical Associates of the Pacific under the mentorship of Dra. Norma Ada, and at the CNMI community hospital, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
He is also the first recipient of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Professional Student Exchange Program on Saipan that enables him to enroll in selected out-of-state professional health care programs and pay reduced tuition.
“It was definitely not easy getting to this point but I would not be here without the guidance of my mentors—practicing physicians who have allowed me to pry into their examination and operating rooms, researchers who have allowed me to meddle in their projects, and my peers,” he said. “I would not be here without the support of my family and friends, especially my mother who has [stayed with me] through some of the most trying times.”
Last July 20, Ocampo, together with the other students at John A. Burns School of Medicine, had their white coat ceremony, a tradition where the medical school welcomes first year students as colleagues dedicated to patient care. The “white coat” is a symbol of clinical service and care.
Ocampo shares his success with his peers who, like him, are dedicated to the betterment of the Marianas. “To the bright group of young men and women who continue to inspire me with their love and dedication to our islands, I know the Marianas is in good hands with the waves that you will make,” he said. “…During the most difficult nights, I will remember why I do what I do and the island that I have been lucky to call home for 24 years,” he added.