Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there are relationships that accompany you through every stage of life. This has been true for Oregon State Honors College graduates Brandon Togioka and Bory Kea. Friends when they were kids and now colleagues at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), they have remained close through experiences both shared and unique.
Brandon and Bory both grew up in Salem, where they attended the same middle school and high school, and they then continued their education at the Oregon State Honors College as bioengineering students. There, their friendship was sustained and strengthened by their honors experience.
Brandon knew he would be going to the Honors College and Oregon State as soon as he received his early acceptance.
“Once I got in, I didn’t look anywhere else.”
At the time, McNary Hall was the honors residence, and when Brandon moved in at the start of his first year, it became the foundation of his experience. As a freshman, he cultivated new friendships there; as a sophomore, he became program assistant of the hall; and as a junior, he became assistant hall director. His senior year, Brandon was a resident assistant on campus at another hall, but he remained connected to McNary and honors residential life.
Many of Brandon’s fondest memories are associated with on-campus life and community, such as the mud football matches the residence halls used to hold on Saturdays before football games and when McNary participated in – and won – Greek Life’s annual All University Sing competition.
Brandon enjoyed the Honors College classes he took as much as the honors community. “[The classes] help you feel like you’re in a small college atmosphere, but you’re part of a bigger community. It’s the best of both worlds.”
However, when asked what the absolute best aspect of the Honors College experience was, Brandon doesn’t hesitate: “The connections.”
Particularly, with Bory, Brandon felt a sense of confidence and reassurance about his career path. The two of them both went through honors science classes and even lived together at one point while pursuing their bioengineering degrees.
Attending Oregon State was also a no-brainer for Bory. Beaver is in her blood – a long line of her relatives have attended OSU, and it has become something of a family tradition. Beyond her legacy ties, though, Bory was attracted to the many opportunities Oregon State and the Honors College provide.
She states that being a part of the HC made her college experience feel more “special,” and the program helped her to grow as a student and as a person.
Her fondest memories within the Honors College involve the trips she participated in as an honors student, including days at Sunriver fly-fishing and skiing. The HC took her even further when she spent three months in Argentina to perform research and explore a different culture.
Bory agrees with Brandon that the smaller classes available through the HC were a big part of her college experience: “They were more accessible [than other classes] and made learning easier.”
Some of their favorite memories at OSU were ones they shared together, like studying in the basement of Gleeson Hall and attending football games with each other.
After Brandon and Bory completed their undergraduate degrees, they both went on to prestigious medical schools, at John Hopkins University and Stanford University, respectively. Now, they each hold positions at OHSU – Brandon as an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the School of Medicine and Bory as an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Trials in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the School of Medicine.
Bory recalls that after her arrival at OHSU in August 2012, she began trying to convince Brandon to join her. By happy coincidence, he arrived only a year later, in November 2013.
The two have grown up together, through the awkwardness of middle school, the trials of high school, the challenges of undergrad and now to the successes of professional careers. It’s been a long journey that’s ended up close to where it started, living only three blocks from each other.
While their relationship has the longest history, Bory and Brandon developed other connections as honors students that have ended up standing the test of time. In fact, Bory is now married to another Honors College graduate, Yosuke Yamamoto, who received a degree in chemical engineering and now works as an engineer in Portland. Patrick Lew, another HC graduate, also remains in Brandon and Bory’s shared circle of friends; like them, he graduated in bioengineering and went to medical school. He now works in internal medicine and pediatrics in Portland.
When asked about friendships through the Honors College, both Brandon and Bory agree that cultivating relationships is essential to the experience.
“You get most of the positive benefits through the connections and the relationships,” Brandon says.
Bory states that if you invest in friendships and work hard to maintain them, “They can be long-lasting relationships.”
They might even last a lifetime.