Student of the Month
Every month, one student is nominated by their peers from each class for altruistic spirit and commitment to service. We extend our warmest congratulations to:
Juliette Ferdschneider, OMS-III
Misleydi Rios Rodriguez, OMS-II
Eboni Skerrit, OMS-I
Veroneka Mikhail, OMS-IV
Yasmine Hemida, OMS-III
Linda Trujillo, OMS-II
Victoria Wilkins, OMS-I
Vanshika Arora, MS
Lyndsey Sbarro, OMS-III
Sonia Nemani, OMS-II
Oluwasegun Odukoya, OMS-I
Dayanna Zuluaga, MS
Peter Dunn, OMS-III
Jenna LaColla, OMS-II
Justin Prusinski, MS
Melissa Zahl, OMS-III
Megha Nadig, OMS II
Tegan Gallina, OMS-I
Gia Nguyen, MS
November/ December 2022
Negar Heidarpour Bardei, OMS-III
Paola Arteaga, OMS-II
Rika Kaneshige, OMS-I
Sohail Khan, MS
Danielle Savastano, OMS-III
Khadija Malik, OMS-II
Dan Pekker, OMS-I
Jake Singh, MS
Leizer Steppa, OMS-IV
Tyler Gopee, OMS-II
Megan Worthington, OMS-I
Nigora Jurabaeva, MS
Nicholas Gatto, OMS-III
Hometown: Warwick, NY
Destiney Taylor, OMS-II
Kush Patel, OMS-I
Justin Peter Rosales, MS
Leizer Streppa, OMS-III
Nomination Quote: "He is an all around great guy and will be a skilled and caring pediatrician in the near future. Apart from easily being one of the smartest people in our class, Leizer is an outgoing and dedicated student. He was class representative for clinical systems and fostered an excellent relationship with the student body and faculty. He is funny, always around to help out his friends in a pinch, and just generally a well-rounded individual..."
Lindsay Hock, OMS-II
Hometown: Wethersfield, CT
Nomination Quote: "Lindsay Hock is an outstanding student. She puts her heart into everything she does for the school, her peers and the community. Lindsay is immersed in this school in so many ways including but not limited to having been a MedAchieve mentor for two years in a row, putting in extra hours as a TA, holding leadership positions in more than one club, participating in research, being an active member of SSP and finding the time to volunteer as a part of the Orange County Medical Reserve Corp all while being an academically excellent student.
Lindsay inspires people to dream big and reach their full potential. Her unyielding support has been a beacon of light to many of her friends when the exam schedule had gotten challenging over the past two years. On top of all of her extracurricular work, she is always willing to help review material or go over a topic that a friend might be having a hard time with even if it means sacrificing her own time. Best of all, she’s happy to do it and never complains.
She has been a fantastic President for SOMA, through her leadership and encouragement the members of the eboard were able to accomplish over an impressive amount of events this year including but not limited to: the equipment drive to help students be prepared for PD while also looking out for the student budget, encouraged attendance to local legislator events, held an apple picking event to support a local orchard and remind students to take care of themselves, hosted many educational lectures, co-hosted the TouroCOM Research Symposium, established a sub-division of our SOMA chapter to encompass Pre-SOMA membership including electing Pre-SOMA liaisons, rallied significant attendance for the national SOMA event, Words of Affirmation for FreeArts and then held a TouroCOM event to create additional support for the FreeArts. Lindsay also collaborated to host a Trivia event that raised money for the Warming Station, then had a table at a health fair held there a week later! She is even helping as an associate instructor for a Stop the Bleed event. The list goes on and a page is not enough space as it is hard to eliminate anything.
The class of 2024 has so many wonderful students but I urge you to consider voting for this spectacular student as she is very modest but deserving of recognition for all that she does. No doubt that she will continue to be a model student here at TouroCOM and motivate those around her! Thank you for your time and consideration."
Shayan Nossrati, OMS-I
Hometown: Bayside, Queens, NY
Nomination Quote: "If people struggle with material, he comes up with really good ways of memorizing it."
Thomas Richter, OMS-IV
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Nomination Quote: "Tom has been incredibly helpful to myself and other 3rd years. He has spent many hours giving us tips on how to best approach 4th year and prepare ourselves to be strong candidates for residency. He pulled no punches in using his resources to help us out. He personally set me up with a childhood friend of his who is at a residency program I am looking at. Tom has been a phenomenal mentor and friend the entire time I've been at Touro. He helps a lot of his peers and underclassmen feel much better about the daunting nature of medical school. He is a selfless mentor who goes above and beyond to help others out. Thank you for your time and consideration."
Krista Rounds, OMS-III
Hometown: Whitesboro, NY
Nomination Quote: "I am currently rotating at Oneida Hospital with Student Doctor Rounds. I had a meeting with a hospital administrator who raved about how professional, courteous, and hard-working Krista has been with all of her preceptors. She has received amazing evaluations and has gone above and beyond to help her colleagues. She was very helpful in helping some students decide where to go for their 3rd year rotations, and has been a constant source of support for many of her friends. She is one of the few students who are consistently present for student didactics, and shows respect for all members of the hospital staff. Nominating Student Dr. Rounds for student of the month is long overdue. She has my full endorsement for this recognition, and I hope your committee feels the same."
Melissa Zahl, OMS-II
Hometown: Point Pleasant, NJ
Nomination Quote: "Melissa has been an absolute Allstar in the Touro Community. She organized a number of phenomenal events as the President of ACOS as well as several others including charitable organizations like ORSI. She has always excelled at organizing community events whether it be for charity, education, or fun, but fortunately they are usually all of the above. Bake sales, bowling, surgeon guided dissections, trivia, raising awareness and funds for charity, she has found a way to bring the students of our school together in so many ways. This has been especially important considering how scattered and isolating many of the years of our education has been. Not to mention that she's just an incredibly nice, smart and helpful person. I'm honestly surprised she hasn't gotten SOTM before."
Kimberly Brafi, OMS-I
Hometown: Highland Mills, NY
Nomination Quote: "Kim is one of the most incredible people I've ever met. The passion and spirit she brings to the classroom is contagious and inspiring. When beginning my time at Touro, I was nervous to raise my hand an ask questions, daunted by the expectations of medical school and what other students and faculty might perceive as silly. Maybe without realizing it, Kim set an example for the entire class that there is no shame in asking questions and even after an explanation, admitting that you are still confused. It made me open up as a student to participate by both asking questions and contributing answers. My learning experience and hunger for knowledge was immensely heightened by realizing the friendly and supportive environment I was in, thanks to students like Kim. She taught me to make the most out of my education and never sit back when I know I need more assistance. Not only is Kim so determined to succeed, she is determined to help others do the same. A quality I so wrongly did not expect from my peers amidst the medical school admissions process. Each day Kim sits amongst the class helping others understand concepts and work through tough problems. I am so in awe of her undying drive and kindness that this nomination was a no brainer..."
Jennifer Rose, MS
Hometown: I grew up in Las Vegas, NV but moved to South Florida in high school. My family now lives in Lake Worth, FL
Nomination Quote: "Jenn is an outstanding student and friend! Even when she is dealing with so much she always finds the time to check in on her friends. She has helped numerous people in her class with difficult physio topics, serving as sort of a pseudo TA. She also always goes to class in person and is an active participant with both the professors and fellow students. She is truly a ray of sunshine and a dedicated student."
Giftty Obadan, OMS-II
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Nomination Quote: "Giftty always goes out of her way to help others; I have seen her countless of times helping students in the anatomy lab. She is patient, flexible, assertive and humble. She sacrifices so much of her personal time to put Power Point together for TA review. She is always willing to go over materials and help find ways to enjoy our journey at Touro. She has a great passion for anatomy and does an amazing job at sharing her knowledge.
Furthermore, she is the best mentor one can ask for always a text or a phone call away always ready to help or find the best approach to take moving forward. Giftty possess the many qualities a mentor should have. An enthusiastic and empathetic person, she provided honest feedback and take time to support when necessary. She is truly invested in the success of her mentee and I appreciate having her as a mentor."
James Goldin, OMS-I
Hometown: Monroe NY
Nomination Quote: "James has SAVED our class many times with technical issues. Whenever the a professor (or student) has a technical issue, James jumps out of his seat and is always willing to help. He stays with the professor until the problem is fixed. With our transition to Zoom/hybrid lectures, there have been many challenges. James has attended every class in person to make sure that our classes are running smoothly. He has helped almost every professor in one way or another- from setting up the clickers, to helping Dr Braun get Zoom to recorded and helping just about every professor with the notorious mic issues. He has been doing this since the fall semester and has really been an asset to everyone during remote learning. We are very thankful for James and his willingness to help with any tech issues. He is ALWAYS willing to help, goes above and beyond to make sure our classes are successful. You will often hear students calling out for "JAMES" whenever their is a technical issue and James always helps with a smile! THANK YOU JAMES FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP and keeping us going during these challenging time!"
Emily Bueti, MS
Hometown: Brewster, New York
Nomination Quote: "Emily is always kind and willing to help everyone. She's always full of enthusiasm for everything we do and always has a super positive attitude. She is a true joy and ray of sunshine. We can always count on her to find ways to make us smile and encourage us the best way she can."
Santino Patrizi, OMS-III
Hometown: New Hyde Park, NY
Nomination Quote: "You cant go wrong choosing Santino for student of the month. Former President of ortho club and VP of SSP, [he] is out there saving lives everyday with the ambition of becoming the best ER doc..."
Simal Ali, OMS-II
Hometown: Horsham, PA aka “just outside of Philly”
Nomination Quote: "Simal is such a passionate advocate of lifestyle medicine. She is an outstanding leader for our new LMIG and has worked so hard to establish a brand new club that we have been recognized by the national American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) - our national parent organization as an outstanding new chapter. She is a pioneer in establishing a club with new structure that allows all our student leaders to follow their unique passions in lifestyle medicine and I truly believe she will make a difference at our school and in our local community."
Rachel Madore, OMS-I
Hometown: Milford, CT
Nomination Quote: "Rachel is an inspirational student to work and learn beside. Her warmth and charisma reach far beyond just the OMS - I class. She is a mentor for both MedAchieve and AMWA, as well as a volunteer for the Warming Station. Her determination and passion for social justice drive her work ethic and will be the key pillars of her career as a patient-centered physician. She is involved in research on campus which focuses on women’s health and is a proponent for inclusion and diversity - most importantly she puts these values into practice during each interaction with professors, colleagues, and peers. I know my medical journey thus far would not be filled with the same amount of laughs if it weren’t for her friendship (and her adorable puppy Herbert, who is basically the therapy dog for Touro COM)!"
Hannah Forman, MS
Hometown: Washington, DC
Nomination Quote: "Hannah is one of the most hardworking people I know. You can always find her in the library for some quiet studying together, and she is always happy to talk through confusions with you."
Nicholas Lupano, OMS-III
Hometown: Waldwick, NJ
Jonah Duran, OMS-II
Tegan Gallina, MS
Christian Rafla, OMS-III
Nomination Quote: "..is incredibly humble...and is the best candidate for this honor and I'm sure he would appreciate the recognition for all of his hard work."
Herisha Shah, OMS-II
Nomination Quote: "Herisha organized the rotations panel for 2nd year students and helped organize the Warming Station holiday decoration. She did a phenomenal job with both initiatives that benefit Touro students and the Middletown community."
Imanni Welcome-Laing, OMS-I
Nomination Quote: "I believe Imani should receive student of the month because she is a kind soul. She makes each and every student feel like they are family by embracing them with hugs and smiles. She is currently speaking on behalf of student’s mental health. She is working with Ms. Lenora in figuring out different activities and outlets for students to improve the mental health of our student body. I believe she should receive the student of the month award because she had helped many students during their hardest time in this semester by offering support and quality time."
"She’s always positive and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met!"
"She is a very kind person and I always see her making sure that everyone is doing okay. She really lights up my day!"
Shaikh Wahid, MS
Nomination Quote: "Each time I see him in the hallways of the library he always is smiling and is so friendly to everyone in the class. He’s always offering to help, and that is something that I appreciate in this tough program."
Angela Ho, OMS-III
Nomination Quote: "Angela Ho has been an advocate and an example for first generation students interested in medicine. She has been a presence in the online community that continues to inspire others to pursue their path in medicine. She is very easy to talk to and is very responsive despite her busy schedule."
Andrew Bertollo, OMS-II
Nomination Quote: "Andrew has been an amazing TA in both Physio and OMM not only working with first years in group TA reviews, but dedicating significant time to working with students individually and in small groups to aid our understanding of the material. He is incredibly patient and thorough in his explanations, even when balancing his own academics. Thank you Andrew!!"
Benjamin Rourke, OMS-I
Nomination Quote: "Goes out of his way to help out his community. Always friendly."
Desiree Raymond, MS
Nomination Quote: "She has shown great leadership abilities."
Hemaxi Desai, OMS-IV
Nomination Quote: "She has always gone out of her way to help others whether it be her peers or patients more than any other student I have seen. As medical student liaison at GHMC this past year, she always made sure that students felt heard and were getting the most optimal education during clinical years as well as preclinical years as a TA to immunology and OMM."
Jolie Brustein Cotler, OMS-II
Nomination Quote: "... [Jolie] is doing everything that she can to use her knowledge to help other students succeed during their time at Touro. She has gone above and beyond in her newfound role as a a TA in Anatomy by meeting with students over zoom, over the phone, in Z space, or in any other way that she can...
Beyond that, Jolie also worked tirelessly to hand match so many of the OMS-I and Master’s students to their mentors. She put so much time and effort into matching individuals with the hopes that the mentoring program would allow for individuals feel connect to the community at Touro...
Jolie ...has done so much to help students within the LGBTQIA+ community feel not only welcomed, but has allowed them to begin to recognize that they are crucial members of the community at TouroCOM and that they have a safe space to be their true selves as they pursue their passions for medicine....she was so excited to get to talk to first years during their orientation about pronouns. This served as a major jumping off points for many students to learn about being an open and accepting physician and community member, and it was the first time that a talk like this was ever given to incoming students during orientation!.."
Mohammad Farooq, OMS-I
Nomination Quote: "He has gone above and beyond to make sure that their classmates accommodated the best they could to their new lives as med students. He always answers questions with a smile and sacrifices free time to help others. He was on top of his responsibilities as class rep for anatomy and made sure there was no stone left unturned as far as exam info we needed and requests/questions from fellow students."
Jacob Sonnenklar, MS
Nomination Quote: "Always polite, always reminds everyone when quizzes are due, when we are off for classes, etc... Very nice person, love to have him around."
"Jacob is always providing resources whether it be videos, mnemonics, pics, etc that are beneficial to our classes. He's always sending encouraging or motivational messages to keep everyone in our class going!"
"He is always sharing resources and motivating our class!"
"His good morning text and almost daily reminders really help the class out! Always send out resources and lending a hand to class documents and sharing."
Chidumebi Nwokolo, OMS-IV
Nomination Quote: "she has worked tirelessly with organizing this year's Match Day, graduation, and for helping her fellow students through the SOAP and scramble. She has advocated for her fellow students, speaking on our behalf to the Dean's and Provost in order to obtain a graduation gift. She has also been working extensively to create SOAP & scramble guides so that following years will have the advising necessary to meet these challenges. While she did not act alone in these endeavors, and the work of her fellow students both here at Middletown and Harlem has been extensive, I think that her breadth of participation makes her shine above and beyond the rest."
Brenten Marshall, OMS-III
Nomination Quote: "Brenten is one of the most selfless and humble students in our class. He takes the time to help everyone in our subgroup and other groups as much as he possibly could. He has great work ethics, and I learn a lot from his interactions with physicians, residents, and patients. He is always willing to carry the load of work and he does it well with a good spirit. Working with him in rotations is always an absolute pleasure."
Ubaidat Abdul-Rahman, OMS-II
Brittany Zaita, OMS-I
Aaminah Jamal, MS
Shreya Prashar, OMS-IV
Nomination Quote: "She is a fantastic future family doctor. Very caring and attentive to her patients. Always ready to help those around her even while juggling lots of things in her personal life. She is an example of humanism in medicine."
Shriraj Patel, OMS-III
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Life Before Touro: Prior to coming to Touro, I was an undergraduate student at the University of Richmond. Here, I explored the Civil Right’s movement’s origins and the lasting social implications of the freedom struggle of the mid-20th century in Richmond, Virginia. I understand that this history has had reverberations in the field of medicine; NEJM calls “race and medicine” a public health and human rights crisis. I am dedicated to using this understanding to influence the way I practice medicine in a positive manner as a future physician.
Favorite Quote: “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
Childhood Dreams: I learned quickly that professional basketball was not possible.
Hobbies: After entering medical school, I have a newfound appreciation for free time that I can spend with friends and family; I enjoy spending time with these loved ones traveling, hiking, playing sports, and all other outdoor activities under the sun.
Fun Fact: I was disc jockey in college who went by the name DJ Spindian.
Nomination Quote: "He goes above and beyond what is expected of him as a classmate and student doctor. Every week he reminds his colleagues if they need to present during morning report....He acts as a spokesperson, and is willing to speak up about ways to improve the rotations... All of the attendings hold him in high regard and take his comments seriously... He is a great representation of Touro and receives high remarks not only from attendings, but from patients as well. While on his IM rotation, he had 4 patients list him as the provider who made their stay most enjoyable...."
"He goes out of his way to help his fellow classmates. He also started helping all the second years that got Oneida rotations site.... and has been also helping with vaccination clinic there. I follow him in the Oneida in our schedule site and most patients have great things to say about him."
Tina Anjali Jagtiani, OMS-II
Nomination Quote: "Tina strives to always be active and supportive to all community and club events. She plays a major role as the SSP president - organizing and leading several service and club events while always being a mentor and supportive classmate to others. She is selfless, caring, and understanding. She always puts 110% into everything she is doing."
"Tina is extremely hard working and dedicated. As president of SSP, she engages in countless activities to better the community!"
"Tina is so selfless, smart, and an all-around amazing student. She is very involved in school and the community."
"She is a leader, an excellent student and a wonderful peer. She goes above and beyond with everything she does. Not only is she the president of SSP, but she is also a TA for biochemistry and physical diagnosis. On top of her extracurriculars, she is a fantastic student that excels in the classroom. She is truly one of a kind and absolutely deserves to get Student of the Month."
"Tina always goes above and beyond to put others first."
Negar Heidarpour, OMS-I
Hometown: Laguna Niguel, CA
Life Before Touro: I am a proud daughter of two amazing Persian American immigrant parents. I was born and raised in Iran. When I was 12 years old, my parents packed their bags and moved across the world to give me and my brother the opportunity to have a better life and the chance to make our dreams reality. Fast forwarding a couple years… I completed my undergrad at University of California Irvine. After graduation I worked as a tutor at the community college near my house all while volunteering at the hospital at Newport Beach. Shortly after I became the Department Coordinator for the Emergency Department where I worked with our team of volunteers to assist the hospital staff and the patients.
Favorite Quote: “I stand on the sacrifice of a million women before me thinking what can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther” – Rupi Kaur
Childhood Dreams: To be a violinist at the Philharmonic Orchestra.
Hobbies: Painting, reading Persian poetry with my dad, hiking and trying different sour candies.
Fun Fact: I started threading eyebrows when I was 16 years old and I took it as a professional job throughout my college to pay for my college expenses.
Nomination Quote: "Negar is always willing to help and support anyone. She has a thirst for knowledge and efficiency that is like none other. She is charitable, kind and present. I admire her ability to support and advise any and every person she comes in contact with. She always says, “if you aren’t helping people, what are you doing.” She embodies what it means to be a physician and friend.
"She is so helpful and always willing to lend a hand! She is sacrificial and always willing to give encouragement and kindness!"
Tru Huynh, MS
Hometown: Hoai an, Vietnam/ Dallas, Texas.
Life Before Touro: I worked at Walmart pharmacy for 14 years and have been busy with family and community as usual. It was nothing special for me until Touro College accepted me into the Master's program.
Favorite Quote: "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill.
Childhood Dreams: To be a gardener or a farmer.
Hobbies: Play guitar, drum, and sing, tender the garden, play soccer, watch cartoons, and play chess.
Fun Fact: I am a 55 year old student at Touro College in Middletown, NY.
Nomination Quote: "He is always enthusiastic and unfailingly optimistic about what we are learning and about life in general. He always has a smile on his face, and he has the most generous heart. He will not hesitate to offer his help to a struggling peer, and will do so for no other reason than wanting to be of service to another individual. He truly embodies all of the qualities of a fantastic future physician."
Brittany Kramer, OMS-IV
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea/New York City, NY
Life Before Touro: Prior to Touro, I was a psychology major and studio art minor at NYU. I love art and wanted to make it a part of my college education. I was also an ROTC cadet and then commissioned as a Army Medical Service Corps Officer. I also worked a phase 1 clinical research assistance in immunotherapy at MSKCC. On the weekends, I worked as a brunch bartender for a French restaurant in Williamsburg.
Favorite Quote: "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucius
Childhood Dreams: I really wanted to fly
Hobbies: photography, reading, video games
Fun Fact: I co-founded a literacy nonprofit organization, Start Lighthouse in response to widespread school and library closures last March. It’s been incredible to see my passion project come to life.
Faraz Eshaghi, OMS-III
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Life Before Touro: Before Touro, I faced continual discrimination in my birth country, which denied us educational opportunities because of our religion. After years of mistreatment, my family fled the country. I was grateful for the chance to live and study in a free society that respects people of all races, backgrounds, and religions. I graduated UCLA in 2013. After I graduated undergrad, I started working multiple jobs to help my family with the rent until I started Touro’s Master’s program in 2017.
Favorite Quote: “Do you know why front windshield is so large and the rear-view mirror is so small? because our past is not as important as our future, so look ahead and move on.”
Childhood Dreams: When I was a child, felt sad about the fact that I would not be able to live my dreams, so I wanted to be ninja turtle (Michelangelo) to get freedom we deserved, but that didn’t go as planned.
Hobbies: I enjoy playing basketball and surfing. I also love learning new languages.
Fun Fact: I'm a great dancer or at least I think I am.
Elizabeth Price, OMS-II
Hometown: Elmhurst, IL
Life Before Touro: I was born and raised on deep dish pizza (it is NOT pie!) in the Chicago suburbs. I attended college in Ithaca, NY, where I fell in love with rural New York for the first time. I moved back home for my gap year to work at Northwestern and got engaged, and was ecstatic when NY took me back again for medical school!
Favorite Quote: "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." -Christopher Robin
Childhood Dreams: I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. When I was 10, I underwent a series of surgeries at the Chicago children's hospital, and have wanted to be a pediatrician ever since!
Hobbies: I love to hike, volunteer, make puzzles and travel.
Fun Fact: I am Disney obsessed, so I always name my pets after Disney characters. I currently have a fish named Hercules and a cat named Simba!
Andrew Bertollo, OMS-I
Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ
Life Before Touro: I completed my undergrad at Rutgers while working in EMS and primary care community health programs in multiple hospital systems around New Jersey.
Favorite Quote: "If you always worry about falling off your bike, you’ll never get on in the first place” -Lance Armstrong
“Homer has a question…” -Dr. Binstock
Childhood Dreams: To cycle across the country from coast to coast and to visit every national park in the country.
Hobbies: Woodworking, pyrography, hiking, camping, cycling.
Fun Fact: I have 10 siblings and live on a little farm on a Girl Scout Camp.
Khadija Malik, MS
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Life Before Touro: Graduated from CUNY Brooklyn College & then was a senior scribe at an urgent care for over a year.
Favorite Quote: “Too many people spent their lives performing a role they thought they were supposed to play as opposed to simply being who they were” - Nicholas Sparks
Childhood Dreams: To be a doctor (boring, but factual haha).
Hobbies: Mainly reading
Fun Fact: I'm an adventure junkie and absolutely love diving into new sports/ activities and traveling, but I recently realized that without knowing how to swim, my options for adventures are limited. So I finally signed up for swimming classes with my friend and will begin learning how to swim next week. No more drowning experiences for me (hopefully).
Stephens Griner, OMS-III
Hometown: Valdosta, GA
Life Before Touro: After graduating from undergraduate, I worked as a cook in a nice restaurant and also a tech at a mental health hospital. These jobs instilled a great work ethic, and I met many great people that I still call friends today. Working at the mental health hospital was the first time I experienced healthcare firsthand, and I count it as a very formative time.
Favorite Quote: “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitous” - Michael Scott
Childhood Dreams: Currently living it, I was always interested in science and am so grateful I have the opportunity to be a physician.
Hobbies: I enjoy playing and watching soccer, attempting to learn how to play the guitar, and more recently, I found that I enjoy playing chess.
Fun Fact: Something people may not know is that I am half Italian. My mom is from Naples, Italy, and I enjoy visiting my family there when I can.
Anh Pham, OMS-II
Hometown: Winnetka, California
Life Before Touro: My biggest dream growing up was to be a pediatrician, so I spent much of my time working with children before coming to Touro. In college, I worked at a daycare and tutored first graders. I taught small groups of ninth-grade students at City Year. I also really enjoyed volunteering and shadowing at a pediatric hospital for five years.
Favorite Quote: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” - Walt Disney
Childhood Dreams: kindergarten teacher, ballerina, pianist, writer
Hobbies: Traveling, running, playing the piano, reading, baking, writing short stories
Fun Fact: When I was 9, I wore a pink outfit instead of the allowed uniform to my first violin concert, where I played in the first row of the string section.
Nikoloz Gvetadze, OMS-I
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia
Life Before Touro: I graduated from Kennesaw State University with Bachelor's in Exercise Science in 2017. I worked as an EMT until I was accepted to Touro's Master's Program.
Favorite Quote: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Childhood Dreams: To be a Maiar overseeing MiddleEarthTown.
Hobbies: I enjoy baking. I started with cheesecakes mainly and then proceeded to cookies and pies. Hopefully, I will open up a bakery one day. I am also an avid fan of Lord of the Rings, and I am looking forward to The Silmarillion story being adapted into a TV show.
Fun Fact: I broke only one bone in my entire life: the zygomatic bone.
Serena Young, Masters
Hometown: Aberdeen, NJ
Life Before Touro: I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2020 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. All 4 years, I helped organize arts and crafts for the children at the local Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Hospital. I absolutely adored the children there and got some pretty big hugs too. I didn’t get to end my senior year as planned, but onto new adventures :)
Favorite Quote: “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain.” Although a cliché quote, I live by it wholeheartedly
Childhood Dreams: I wanted to be an orthodontist because I thought braces were exciting with all the color options to choose from. It is safe to say, braces were not as fun as I thought, and I changed my career path accordingly. Oops
Hobbies: weightlifting, hiking, trying new recipes, and dancing around the house
Fun Fact: I have visited 39 out of the 50 states, and my goal is to hit all 50
Soma Deall-Williams, OMS-II
Hometown: Queens, NY
Life Before Touro: Life before Touro was centered around my career as a Registered Nurse for 5 years within the health systems of U-Penn and Jefferson Health engaging in cancer research, working in a Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and caring for individuals in a medical surgical setting. There is a certain sense of exhilaration that flows through me when I enter a hospital, as odd as that may sound, I feel content knowing that this is the environment for which I need to serve a purpose. These experiences and my desire to expand upon my educational foundation fueled my decision to pursue becoming a physician.
Favorite Quote: I have 2 of them - "Play by the rules, but be ferocious." "Don't let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning."
Childhood Dreams: To have a big happy family of my own, to be in the medical field, to give back to and take care of the best parents a kid could have
Hobbies: Shopping, bonding with my husband, cooking, baking, playing with makeup, pampering myself, relaxing at the beach
Fun Fact: I've been learning how to tattoo for the past 4 years through the teachings of my husband :)
Nicholas Gatto, OMS-I
Hometown: Warwick, NY
Life Before Touro: I've had a long and winding road on my path to medicine, but it was all worth it to get where I am now. I was born in Ohio, but I've lived in Brooklyn, Boston, and Jersey City and now I've never been so glad to be back home in Orange County, NY. My background is mainly Biotech and IT, but I've dabbled in all sorts of things.
Favorite Quote: "There's nothing on my horizon except everything. Everything is on my horizon." Dwight K. Schrute
Childhood Dreams: Video game tester (or really anything involving video games)
Hobbies: Technology, Film/Television, Video Games, Cooking, Travel (once upon a time), Gardening, Hiking, and Spending time with my cat Keiko, dog Nacho and especially my wife Keri. I love tinkering with technology, I built my desktop computer, and love experimenting with new hardware and software. Shoutout to the 3D Printing Club, let's make something incredible!!!
Fun Fact: I was an extra in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (A soldier in Season 3 Episode 1, get a magnifying glass and don't blink). It was a crazy experience to see what goes into even a short scene. They took a whole day of production to amount to about 5 minutes of usable footage. Every scene you see on screen is probably the most usable take out of 20+ shots. Something as small as a car alarm or a sneeze is enough to make the shot unusable. So much of the audio is added in post production that they ask people to pretend to clap on set instead of actually clapping.
Kacper Bury, Masters
Hometown: Valley Stream, NY
Life Before Touro: I got a B.S. in Biology with minors in Gerontology and Chemistry at SUNY Oneonta in 2019. During my time at SUNY Oneonta, I had the opportunity to scribe in the local E.R. while also being the President of the E.M.S. department. During my gap year, I scribed in an orthopedic office for a knee and shoulder surgeon and ironically tore my ACL in the first couple of months of working there.
Favorite Quote: "It ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!" -Rocky Balboa
Childhood Dreams: My dream was to work in the sanitation department as a garbage man. I was fascinated about how the trucks were able to pack everything into their storage units (I still am if we're being honest) and I found it super cool when the workers held on to the back of the truck going from bin to bin.
Hobbies: Videogames, snowboarding, and soccer. I love the adrenaline rush that comes with all of these hobbies whether it’s trying to win Warzone, racing down a snowy mountain, or going one on one with the last defender.
Fun Fact: Growing up, my first language was Polish. While my parents were teaching me this language, I would teach my parents the English that I learned in pre-school. In high school, I was an assistant teacher in a Polish school and taught younger kids how to speak Polish fluently.
Mark Wesolowskyj, OMS-III
Hometown: Downers Grove, IL
Life Before Touro: I graduated from Loyola University Chicago and then went on to work as a simulation technician for Loyola University’s nursing and medical schools.
Favorite Quote: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”-Theodore Roosevelt
Childhood Dreams: I wanted to become a doctor.
Hobbies: Playing golf and other sports, watching movies, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Fun Fact: I speak Ukrainian fluently and growing up I went to Ukrainian school in Chicago every Saturday, graduating at the top of my class.
Alexa Walsh, OMS-II
Hometown: Washingtonville, NY
Life Before Touro: I graduated Mount Saint Mary College in 2018 and joined the MS program the following fall!