Larissa Miyachi earned the 2012 University Medal as UC Davis’ top graduating senior, joining a select group that includes the U.S. Treasury Department’s former chief economist. But she credits her two years at Yuba College in Marysville as the genesis of her collegiate success.

Miyachi is now at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

At 17, Miyachi graduated from high school and began studying at Yuba College. Although Miyachi was schooled at home, she said her transition to Yuba College was remarkably smooth. Supportive instructors and small class sizes made her feel comfortable as a college student, she said, and as Miyachi walked the campus each day, her love of the natural world transformed into a drive to study science.

She engaged in a research project developing a nanoparticle-based system for site-specific chemotherapy delivery immediately after transferring to UC Davis. Miyachi said she loves investigating the submicroscopic world of nanoscience, but the experience sharpened her awareness of health and disease and made her realize that she wanted to work personally with those in need of medical care.

“Looking back, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to begin my journey at Yuba College,” Miyachi said. “Although I am still learning how to fly, Yuba College was the first wind that caught my wings when I took to the sky.”