A crash course in adaptability at UCSF Breast Care Center

Nick Dreher ’17, Project 55 Fellow at UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center

Nick Dreher is from northern California, where he lived in a small city right on the edge of the Sacramento Valley. He has five sisters, all still living nearby, and is excited to be returning home through Project 55. He was premed at Princeton and particularly passionate about is-sues of healthcare access. As a result, he concentrated in the Woodrow Wilson school and focused on health policy, also getting involved with the Center for Health and Wellbeing as a Global Health Scholar. He worked with the low-income mentorship program SIFP, Princeton Disability Awareness, and several other service groups on campus as well. In his free time, Nick enjoyed playing Rugby and serving as the overly-enthusiastic IM chair of Tiger Inn.


I’ve spent the past year at the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, working on various clinical and epidemiological research projects. In this time, I’ve gotten to build studies from the ground up, develop new research skills, and form relationships with patients at various stages of their cancer treatment.

As the culmination of this experience, I was invited to present at one of the largest educational and scientific events in the oncology community. I was going to share my findings with hundreds of doctors, researchers, and patient advocates. I was nervous, but also extremely excited to present my work and make a real contribution to breast cancer research.

Nick giving his presentation, impromptu changes included!

The days leading up to the presentation were filled with last-minute updates and edits, but I felt prepared as I awoke the morning of my presentation. I met with my mentor in the speaker lounge hours before my presentation to run through it once more. Instead, she upheaved my plans and completely changed the structure just two hours before it was time for me to take the podium. I was flustered, but kept my composure – it’s the same material, just portrayed differently! I was reassuring myself with the fact that there was still time to rehearse when the director of our program arrived and introduced new talking points she thought would enhance the presentation. An hour before it started, I was scrambling to incorporate new material and fresh edits.

Ultimately, the presentation went without a hitch, and I got a crash course in adaptability. The nerves and doubt I felt in the minutes leading up to my presentation melted away as I started speaking. Even as I look at this picture now, I feel the same sense of relief and amusement as when I stepped down from the stand.


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