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:

November 2022

Negar Heidarpour Bardei, OMS-III

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.

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

“Determined to find it… Destined to reach it…”

“Dont let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game" - OG: A cinderella story

Childhood Dreams: To be a violinist at the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Hobbies: Painting, eating ice cream with sprinkles, listening to Persian music, salsa dancing, watching the moon at night while listening to the waves at the beach.

Fun Fact: I love exploring the world and I’ve visited over 11 countries

Paola Arteaga, OMS-II

Hometown: Linden, NJ

Life Before Touro: Before coming to Touro, I was an SAT Program Coordinator for Office of Diversity and Academic Successes (ODASIS) which sparked my interest in mentoring the next generation of minority youth. While volunteering as an EMT at Freehold EMS squad, working as an ophthalmology technician, I enjoyed taking care of others not just medically but putting their mind at ease in times of distress.

Favorite Quote: “What defines us is how well we rise after we fall.”

Childhood dream: I dreamed of giving my dad a day off from work because he is one the hardest working people I know. Now I would like to give my family more than a day off but a nice vacation to their dream spot.

Hobbies: I enjoy singing alone on long car rides, dancing with friends, and going to the gym.

Fun Fact: In high school I was part of a modeling agency and was an extra in two music videos. Although I did not get much camera footage, my friend got a picture with Enrique Iglesias and my best friend got a close up on camera during the video. Haha.

Rika Kaneshige, OMS-I

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

Life Before Touro: Received my Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience '21 and Masters of Public Health '22 from the George Washington University, in Washington DC.

Favorite Quote: "You are exactly where you are meant to be" - unknown

Childhood Dreams: Disney Imagineer

Hobbies: Running, Hiking

Fun Fact: I was an extra for NCIS Hawaii (Season 2, Episode 1). Look out for me on the USS Arizona at the Pearl Harbor Memorial!

Sohail Khan, MS

Hometown: Jersey City + Philly

Life Before Touro: Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Business + United States Marine Corps (still doing it)

Favorite Quote: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Childhood Dreams: Become a Marine, practice critical care and/or cardiothoracic surgery, and launch a global pharmaceutical supply chain management startup 🚀 no cap

Hobbies: Painting with oil/acrylics, drawing with charcoal/graphite, cooking different cultural foods 360° with the wrist motion, and intense workouts/hikes

Fun Fact: I’m a polyglot — I speak about thirteen languages & another four coding languages. Other than that, I’m into CIA, GOT, LOTR, HP movies

October 2022

Danielle Savastano, OMS-III

Hometown: Wayne, NJ

Life Before Touro: I was born and raised in New Jersey and my family moved to Dallas, Texas junior year of highschool, getting the best of both worlds. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2020 and majored in biology. You can bet I attended every home football game during their glory days of championship playoffs and Heisman winners. Junior year I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona. Shortly after an online quarantine graduation, I began studies at Touro.

Favorite Quote: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right." -Henry Ford

Childhood Dreams: I was convinced I was going to be a huge fashion designer, learned how to sew and had my stuffed animals absolutely styling.

Hobbies: Spending time in nature, hiking, hot yoga, reading. I travel as often as I can- I love seeing the way people live in other parts of the world & getting acquainted with new cultures.

Fun Fact: I have a twin sister! Everyone always asks if she's also in the medical field, but she actually faints at the sight of blood.

Nomination Quote: "First, Danielle is a kind and warm person and an amazing mentor to younger students and peers alike. She takes the time to recommend study tools and strategies, offers to explain difficult concepts, and provides positivity and encouragement to those around her! As an OMS-III on rotations, Danielle also goes above and beyond for her patients at the VA. She takes extra time to provide comfort and a listening ear, and explains diagnoses and treatments; this makes a big difference to those who need it most. Danielle embodies compassion and dedication to the values of our profession and I can't think of anyone more deserving of Student of the Month! "

Khadija Malik, OMS-II

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Life Before Touro: I was a Senior Scribe at an Urgent Care before matriculating into the Master’s Program at Touro & then getting admitted into the DO program.

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”

Childhood Dreams: I wish I had something more interesting to say, but I’ve always wanted to be a doctor haha

Hobbies: Driving home on the weekends

Fun fact: My first week of medical school I was hospitalized with appendicitis & told I needed an emergency appendectomy. But it was a Wednesday night so I told the doctors that I had classes the next day & I couldn’t get the surgery done… the doctors were definitely very patient with me. Also shout out to Sayma for taking me to the hospital & not letting me die <3.

Nomination Quote: "Khadija is such a warm and hard-working soul. She balances being the president of one of the most active clubs on campus, going to multiple conferences and bettering herself as an osteopathic medical student, all the while studying for our own classes and still making time for things that she likes to do. Aside from her being an amazing student, she's the first person to offer someone food, a cup of tea, or somewhere to sit if you don't have anywhere to go for the hour between classes. I'm so grateful to have Khadija as a friend and a peer."

Dan Pekker, OMS-I

Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA

Life Before Touro: I was born in Haifa, Israel, but I spent my whole conscious life in California. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz (go slugs!) in 2019 with a BS in Cognitive Science and a concentration in facial perception and mate choice. I then worked 2.5 years as a Critical Care EMT and another year as a COVID Health Coordinator at a preK-12 school!

Favorite Quote: “Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings." - Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Childhood Dreams: When my first family dog passed away, my mom told me that he became a star. Accordingly, my first career ambition was to become an astronaut and retrieve him from the cosmos.

Hobbies: My interests are diverse and erratic, but my core hobbies include hiking, reading and writing poetry, birdwatching, gardening, and doodling.

Fun Fact: I’m really passionate about pediatric ethics! One question I’m particularly interested in exploring is autonomy: how much say children of varying ages and maturity levels should have in their treatment plan, especially in terminal cases where the child’s wishes contradict that of their parents.

Nomination Quote: "I would like to nominate Dan Pekker due to his absolute sincerity and dedication for creating a positive, welcoming and friendly environment for the class of 2026. Since being on campus Dan has sent positive messages with funny and remarkable factoids to help us remember details for exams and encourages supporting and bolstering each and every single one of us in class. Dan is active in the classroom to ask questions and create discussions with students. You can never have a dull or hollow conversation with someone so passionate about medicine, people, and interests all around. Dan does not shy to be active and a friend to all of our class and make sure we are all striving for our best health and education here. I truly hope to see Dan do incredible things here and is much deserving of student of the month.


Jake Singh, MS

Hometown: Palo Alto, CA

Life Before Touro: Tech & Research. I also did extensive volunteering with the unhoused community in Berkeley, CA.

Favorite Quote: "WINE!"- Robert Baratheon

Childhood Dreams: I wanted to own a two-story house and work as an anesthesiologist. Not a whole lot has changed.

Hobbies: Lifting, dancing, chinups, singing country songs (especially Toby Keith), traveling through the National Parks. On a more serious note, my biggest passion is investing heavily in the success of my friends.

Fun Fact: I used to own ducks and chickens & I have an MS in Computer Engineering.

Nomination Quote: "Jake has been an amazing class rep and has gone above and beyond to share resources for physio exams. Additionally, he does a great job keeping the MS class informed about physiology schedule changes and overall maintaining a solid line of communication with the class. He bridges the professors and students and overall has been a great professional."

"Jake is our class representative for Physiology and he takes his role seriously. He is always on top of his game getting our concerns addressed, working hard to provide his peers with resources, and helping them in any way possible. Jake has not only taken his role as the CR seriously but he also looks out for his peers. When he sends out resources and long emails updating us of all class info he always leaves us with a positive note whether it is just a picture of his dogs. I am nominating Jake because not only has he been working really hard but he has also been very kind and motivating to his peers during this rigorous program by always checking in on us after an exam, addressing our concerns, and by always being there willing to help. Thank you Jake for all you do to help us in stressful times."

September 2022

Leizer Steppa, OMS-IV

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Brandeis University in 2019 with a BA in Psychology. Prior to Brandeis, I lived in Israel for a year and volunteered with the local ambulance corps.

Favorite Quote: "Whatever you do, always give 100%. Unless you’re donating blood.” -Bill Murray

Childhood Dreams: Be a Baseball Player and part-time Zoologist

Hobbies: Making pizza with homemade sourdough crust, listening to music, spending time with family and friends

Fun Fact: My name is pronounced Laser.

Nomination Quote: "Extremely smart, hardworking student. He’s currently rotating all over the country pursuing his dream of becoming a pediatrician. He was an excellent class rep during our second year Clinical Systems course and deserves some recognition. "

Tyler Gopee, OMS-II

Hometown: Wallkill, NY

Life Before Touro: Born and raised in Ulster County, NY. Went to Wallkill Senior High School, then SUNY New Paltz for undergrad. After undergrad I took a gap year and applied to med school.

Favorite Quote: “You are what you believe in. You become that which you believe you can become.” -Lord Krishna

Childhood Dreams: As early as I can remember, I really wanted to become a fisherman. Eventually, I realized I wanted to make people feel better, and I became interested in healthcare.

Hobbies: If I get the day off, I guarantee you I am fishing or planning where next to go fishing. I enjoy cooking (baking especially), as well as trying new cuisines.

Fun Fact: When I was around 12, my parents bought me a portable massage table just in case I wanted to become a chiropractor or physical therapist. They knew I liked working with my hands and wanted to go into healthcare. I now use that table to practice OMM.

Nomination Quote: "Tyler always has the best interest of his fellow students at heart. He provides advice to Master students he sees that are struggling and checks up on them periodically. He possesses a wealth of knowledge as he holds three TA positions: BioChem, Physiology and OMM. You can sometimes catch him outside of Classroom 3 helping OMS-1 students on OMM techniques in between his breaks. "

Megan Worthington, OMS-I

Hometown: Maryville, MO

Life Before Touro: I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Missouri, attended college in Southwestern Missouri where I played division two college basketball and majored in Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish. I moved out to NY last year for Touro’s masters program and now they just cannot get rid of me.

Favorite Quote: “She was powerful. Not because she wasn’t scared but because she went on so strongly despite the fear.” - Harper Lee

Childhood Dreams: When I was younger I always thought that I would grow up to be a mechanic like my dad.

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time outside -hiking, biking, wishing my cat liked going on walks…the usual.

Fun Fact: My high school had a drive your tractor to school day, and an annual cow tongue toss- the middle of nowhere version of egg toss.

Nomination Quote: "Megan is always willing to go above and beyond for her fellow cohort and other students of TCOMM. She is constantly helping others who are struggling whether it be academically or personally. Megan is a sounding board to some and a valuable resource to others"

"I want to nominate Megan because from my first day here at Touro, Megan has been a fantastic help to me. I met Megan during orientation in the bathroom she adopted me as a mentee from that day. Megan let me know she was once in my shoes in the Master's program and encouraged me that I could do it. I asked her a few questions, and she gave me her phone number to talk to her that weekend without even knowing me. Megan walked me through how to prepare for each class, introduced me to her friends, had a friend help set up my Anki, and shared her resources with me. Megan always checks in and is willing to help. She has been the best Mentor and friend. "

"Megan has been an absolutely wonderful friend and study partner. She wants to see her classmates do well so she creates a ton of study materials to share with them. I have seen her hard at work, using her free time to help and mentor current first year and MS students. I, personally, would not be here if it was not for her willingness to help. With some people, you can just tell that they have your best interest in mind and Megan is one of those people. She has wonderful leadership skills and fights for what is right. I would love to see her run for SGA because I know she has our best interest in mind and will continue to work hard to help her classmates. She really deserves this."

Nigora Jurabaeva, MS

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Life Before Touro: I attended Brooklyn College where I majored in Psychology and minored in Chemistry. After graduating in 2021, I worked as an EMT during

my gap year which was one of the best experiences and made me want to pursue medicine even more. I also worked as a barista and enjoyed making latte

art. I still go back to my old job from time to time to make myself the perfect cup

of coffee.

Favorite Quote: “Nothing without great effort."

Motto of Brooklyn College

Childhood Dreams: I wanted to become a singer, but I have absolutely no artistic talent.

Hobbies: I enjoy hiking, lifting, and tennis. A good book or a show is also amazing on a rainy day.

Fun Fact: I speak two other languages which are Russian and Tajik (Farsi)

Nomination Quote: "Nigora was outstanding in her role as the MS Biochem Class Rep this month by addressing student concerns and questions as soon as they came up, especially around exam time. Even in her absence, she made sure to keep the class notified of any updates. She came up with the idea to consolidate notifications and updates into a specialized group so fellow students can find subject related content. This made updating the class more streamlined, to which the other MS Class Reps emulated this idea for their corresponding classes. Effective communication is important for the success of the class, and that is where Nigora thrives."

"Nigora is the Biochemistry Class Representative for the MS class. She is constantly meeting with Dr. Bagh and Dr. Kamath about the class concerns, finding ways to improve our course, and updating the class accordingly. Nigora initiated a separate GroupMe for Biochemistry-related topics, so the class can have easy access to all Biochemistry updates that she provides several times a week. Most recently, Nigora worked with Dr. Bagh to organize a weekly 30-minute review session in order to refresh the material from the past week! I found this session to be extremely helpful in keeping the information current, while also reiterating the most important topics of the course material. In addition to the aforementioned reasons, I am nominating Nigora Jurabaeva as the SOTM for September because she is always looking out for others and making sure we are effectively coping with this rigorous program. She is truly a wonderful person and, consequently, an amazing class representative. Thank you, Nigora, for all you do inside and outside of the Biochemistry classroom."

August 2022

Nicholas Gatto, OMS-III

Hometown: Warwick, NY

Life Before Touro: I was born in Ohio, but grew up right around the corner in Warwick, NY. I went to undergrad in Boston at Northeastern University, and l lived in Brooklyn and Jersey City. My background is in biotech, but I guess that just wasn't close enough to the medicine for me.

Favorite Quote: "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, "Would an idiot do that?" And if they would, I do not do that thing." -Dwight K. Schrute

Childhood Dreams: Any occupation that could allow me to play Video Games. Although I'm pretty sure designing or professionally playing games probably sucks all the fun out of them by the end. Not that I think the latter was a viable option for me as a career path.

Hobbies: Film/Television, Video Games, Cooking, tinkering with new technology, travelling, Nature. And more recently I've been getting into Peek-a-boo (with Griffin!). My dog Nacho and cat Keiko are definitely getting jealous of the attention he's been getting from my wife Keri and me.

Fun Fact: My favorite study buddy is my 8 month old son Griffin. He doesn't actually help me focus or explain any concepts to me, but we're more or less on the same sleep schedule and he thinks I'm hilarious. I was told that the best way to learn the childhood developmental milestones was to have a child. I can confirm it makes it more memorable, but there's probably easier and faster methods out there.

Nomination Quote: "Nick is an outstanding person. Not only did he hold a leadership position for SGA, volunteer, attend club activities, study for class and boards but all while being a new dad! He brightened online class time by with lighthearted jokes and having his son in his lap. Now Nick is in clinical rotations for Family Medicine. He is doing his very best to support his patients and learn from his preceptors. Nick always has such a warm presence that while certainly make a fantastic bedside manner. "

Destiney Taylor, OMS-II

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Lincoln University in 2019 with a bachelor's of science in biochemistry and molecular biology. I immediately started working as a medical scribe at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Spring 2019 while simultaneously studying for the MCAT. In 2020, I was admitted to the Masters's program at Touro COM- Middletown, which I completed in May 2021, and was directly admitted into the DO program.

Favorite Quote: Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you." declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Childhood Dreams: Professional basketball player in WNBA

Hobbies: I enjoy cooking, exercising, spending time with my family, and living my best life ALWAYS.

Fun Fact: I played basketball for over 12 years. In high school, I was recognized for scoring over 1000 points from 9th-12th grade.

Nomination Quote: "Besides continuously showing up and participating in every class, Destiney motivates every single student she encounters. She has personally helped me find the confidence in my studying and motivated me every day to be the best version of myself that I can be. Her faith and positivity is absolutely inspiring, and it has been a huge privilege to have her as a classmate and friend. She is also an anatomy TA and I got to see her give advice and knowledge to first years. She is extremely involved in her own studies and doesn’t let her grades falter while being involved in research, clubs, and being a TA. Her essence inspires me to continue to work hard because the one thing I’ve learned from her, is that we are strong enough to handle anything that is thrown at you."

Kush Patel, OMS-I

Hometown: New City, NY in Rockland county

Life Before Touro: Went to Stony Brook University graduated in 2019 with a Major in health science and minor in Biology. Then I worked at CITYMD urgent care in Rockland county as Senior Medical Scribe for the past 3 years. I enjoyed teaching new scribes the basics of HPI Documentation and urgent care Medicine.

Favorite Quote: "The only thing standing between you and your goal is the story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it" - Jordan Belfort

Childhood Dreams: I want to be a Veterinarian for exotic animals.

Hobbies: Weightlifting, Volleyball, Soccer, Cooking, Watching Anime :)

Fun Fact: In the 3rd grade, I sustained a nice abrasion on my nose while playing in recess. The next day was picture day and I still have that photo to this day. Also my fashion sense has not changed at all since then. I didn't choose the floral patterned life, it chose me.

Nomination Quote: "Kush has been a leader since day 1. He has single-handedly created a google drive to allow students to share their study materials. He has also been a main contributor of these materials. Kush is eager to help other students and always had an enthusiastic attitude."

"Kush has gone above and beyond to help his classmates acclimate and start school off on the right foot. He has made and shared anki decks and is always available to explain difficult topics."

"Going above and beyond to answer questions from peers and to help them understand the material at greater depths. Kush is always there to help us learn and committed to having all of us succeed."

Justin Peter Rosales, MS

Hometown: Lake in the Hills, IL

Life Before Touro: I have recently completed my Bachelor's of Science majoring in Biomedical Sciences with minors in Chemistry, Psychology, and Perspectives in Science, Technology, and Medicine at SIUE in the Spring 2022. I was previously a Behavioral Technician at Hope Autism Clinic, a Patient Care Associate in Mercy Hospital - St. Louis, and an Organic Chemistry TA.

Favorite Quote: "purrrr" - Gen Z

Childhood Dreams: I was planning to make it on Broadway in middle school but I found Medicine cooler.

Hobbies: K-pop Dancing, Classical Vocal Performance, writing Fanfiction, and an avid Simmer.

Fun Fact: I was the top player of Glee Trivia in Illinois in October of 2013.

Nomination Quote: "Justin went above and beyond to ensure his fellow students had all the proper resources to prepare for the 1st Anatomy exam. He even reached out to our Harlem Campus counterparts to share study materials and resources as well. He provided external videos of anatomy lab dissections that are similar to our labs to enable students to review anatomy lab material if they had missed Open Lab hours. Justin also maintains a positive learning environment among his peers."

April 2022

Leizer Streppa, OMS-III

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Brandeis University in 2019 with a BA in Psychology. Prior to Brandeis, I lived in Israel for a year and volunteered with the local ambulance corps.

Favorite Quote: "There are big ships, there are little ships, there are ships that sail the seven seas, but the best ships are friendships, forever shall they be."

Childhood Dreams: Be a Baseball Player or a Zookeeper

Hobbies: Making pizza with homemade sourdough crust, listening to music, playing and watching sports, spending time with family and friends, reading graphic novels

Fun Fact: I used to figure skate and I am named after a beam of light.

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

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and moved to Boston shortly after. I already loved Boston sports, but living in the city made me fall in love with the area even more; I really miss going to weekly Red Sox or Bruins games! In Boston, I worked as an engineer in the biotech industry, leading a team to make monoclonal antibodies and viral vectored therapeutics. It was awesome! Unpopular opinion, but I love cell culture!

Favorite Quote: "Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason" - Albert Schweitzer

"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky" – Michael Scott

Childhood Dreams: To be a pro soccer player like Mia Hamm…or a doctor or lawyer (aka like I wrote in my 6th grade year book lol)

Hobbies: Playing sports (especially field hockey and golf), watching Boston pro sports, going to the beach, finding new breweries, and playing with my adorable puppy

Fun Fact: I learned how to row a gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice during my study abroad semester!

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

Life Before Touro: I attended CUNY Queens College, where I receive a B.A. in

Biology. While attending college I was very active in my community. I was an

EMT at Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance Service, part of the FDNY’s 911

Network. It was here that I saw how medicine could help change peoples lives

and my love for the field grew. I also was a tutor at the Queens Public Library

and worked at the rectory of my local church.

Favorite Quote: "Happiness comes to them who bring happiness to others." Zoroaster

Childhood Dreams: As a child I wanted to be either a physician or a firefighter.

Hobbies: I love being active. I love playing team sports, especially soccer and

basketball. I love hiking and riding my bike.

Fun Fact: My favorite animal is a seal.

Nomination Quote: "If people struggle with material, he comes up with really good ways of memorizing it."

March 2022

Thomas Richter, OMS-IV

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Allegheny College in 2015 with a BS in Biology and BA in Music. I spent a couple of years after college doing multiple part time jobs like wedding gigs, working at a dry cleaners, and coaching soccer as I tried to figure out what career path was best for me. I realized I loved medicine after taking up a scribe position at a small ED in my local area. I did a post-bacc in pre-medicine at VCU as a result, and then came to Touro the following year.

Favorite Quote: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

Childhood Dreams: I always wanted to be a drummer in a rock band.

Hobbies: Soccer (supporting FC Barcelona), golf, piano, drums, guitar, traveling, video games, and doing escape rooms!

Fun Fact: My parents and two older sisters were all born in Bratislava, Slovakia before I was born here in the US.

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

Life Before Touro: After receiving my BS in Biology from SUNY Geneseo in 2018, I moved back home. I’ll always look back and cherish that extra year I had to spend with my friends and loved ones (and of course, the local Utica, NY food!). During this time, I was also hired as a medical assistant. I started out in a Family Medicine office before taking on a position in a Neurology office for the remainder of the year. It was a great experience that I’ll always hold near and dear to my heart!

Favorite Quote: “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” - Anne Frank

Childhood Dreams: As a child I had dreams of making it on American Idol and becoming an Olympic swimmer!

Hobbies: I usually spend my leisure time creating new recipes. A recent favorite is my chewy caramel carrot cake.

Fun Fact: I’ve run in Utica, NY’s annual Boilermaker 15K road race 9 times & counting.

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

Life Before Touro: I grew up less than 2 miles from the beach. The real Jersey Shore is a truly wonderful area that is nothing like the show. Beautiful beaches with a very laid back lifestyle. September is actually one of the best times of year to go as a local, the water is so warm and the crowds are gone. After high school, I attended Rutgers University for undergrad - home of the original "fat sandwich" sold from the Grease Trucks formerly on College Ave. Quite the experience. PSA - to anyone else from NJ, it is called pork roll not taylor ham! Only Bennys call it taylor ham. After graduation, I had a career as an oncology dietitian before deciding to pursue med school. Attending TouroCOM is actually the first time that I've lived outside of NJ.

Favorite Quote: "You're stronger than you think. You'll always be stronger than you think. Feel with your heart and do what you want." -Corey Taylor

Childhood Dreams: Live in Hawai'i

Hobbies: Going to concerts is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Outside of that, travel and thrill seeking by completing bucket list adventures like skydiving in Hawai'i, snowmobiling on a glacier in Iceland, riding a camel in Dubai or scuba diving in Jamaica, etc. Otherwise, I am an avid snowboarder, proud dog mom, enjoy hikes, love the beach and spending time with friends/family.

Fun Fact: I went to the last Vans Warped Tour 8 days post operative for my second back surgery. It was a rock festival that hosted about 30,000 people on the Atlantic City beach. My neurosurgeon was not pleased with me but it was worth it!

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

Life Before Touro: Medical scribe at City MD and a Mentor for Underrepresented minorities

Favorite Quote: 1st John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Childhood Dreams: Actress and a WNBA basketball player

Hobbies: Playing the flute and kickboxing

Fun Fact: I have an Identical Twin sister!

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

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Florida State University in 2018 with a B.S. in Sociology and a minor in Chemistry. During college, I worked in a research lab examining the jaw muscles of Florida Carpenter Ants, which also meant learning how to perform microdissections on ant heads for tissue extractions! I also worked as a Food Service Manager and loved having the opportunity to expand my culinary skills. After college, I traded my chef’s hat for scrubs and worked as a medical scribe for two years in Family Medicine and Cardiology. I also held a managerial role with the scribing company, where I helped train new scribes, in addition to other responsibilities.

Favorite Quote: “Just when we think we figured things out, the universe throws us a curveball. So, we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find ourselves back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.” -Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy)

Childhood Dreams: I always dreamed of becoming a physician. I still remember in Kindergarten we had to dress up a paper doll as what we aspired to become when we grew up, and I dressed mine up as “Future Dr. Jen.”

Hobbies: I love cooking. I also enjoy staying active in the gym and dancing (mostly ballet).

Fun Fact: I have two middle names.

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."

February 2022

Giftty Obadan, OMS-II

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Life Before Touro: I am Nigerian by origin. I was born in Houston, Texas and moved to a French speaking West African country called Togo when I was about 2 years old. Soon after, my family moved to the Republic of Benin. I spent most of my childhood in Benin where I learned how to speak French, and moved back to the United States when I was 14 years old. I went to Texas A&M University in College Station where I got my degree in Biomedical Science. After graduation, I worked as medical scribe at the Houston Methodist Hospital Willowbrook during my gap year.

Favorite Quote: "God is within her, she will not fall;God will help her at break of day."- Psalm 46:5

Childhood Dreams: I had a dream of becoming a dancer with the hopes of being a back up dancer for Beyonce! My African mom told me to take the letter D in dancer and change it to D for doctor. I haven’t looked back since then. Studying medicine has been the best thing that has happened to me, and I am so glad to be a part of making people feel better. Unfortunately, my mom passed away when I was 8 years old, she won’t be physically present to see me accomplish my dream, but I really hope that I make her proud.

Hobbies: I love to dance, sing, and I like to make videos occasionally. By the way I have a Youtube channel (but I haven’t been posting recently due to school). My channel name is Golden Ese.

Fun Fact: I have twin siblings Angel & Angela (a boy & a girl) that are just 2 years old and they are so adorable. They will be turning 3 years old in a couple of days and I’m so excited for them.

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

Life Before Touro: Colgate University Undergrad, Columbia University Masters in Public Health

Favorite Quote: "I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night" The Old Astronomer to His Pupil -Sarah Williams

Childhood Dreams: To be a pediatrician!

Hobbies: Avid reader, hiking, and trivia

Fun Fact: I am utterly incapable of whistling

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

Life Before Touro: I have been in EMS for the past thirteen years, starting when I was sixteen years old. I have been working as a paramedic in both Putnam and Westchester Counties for the past five years up until arriving at TouroCOM. During that time, I also taught and mentored students who were interested in medicine and EMS by guiding them through skill-based training and ride alongs.

Favorite Quote: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” - Dolly Parton

Childhood Dreams: My mother would say that my earliest childhood dream was to be a purple cow. Though my earliest recollection was to be an orca and dolphin trainer, which lead to my dream as an adult of running an animal shelter.

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with my family, my loved ones and my two cats as often as I can. In my free time, I enjoy yoga, hiking, music and reading. My favorite genres are poetry and fantasy.

Fun Fact: I love musical theater and was very involved in local theater during high school and during my undergrad years. My favorite Broadway musical is Hadestown, which I have seen three times.

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."

January 2022

Santino Patrizi, OMS-III

Hometown: New Hyde Park, NY

Life Before Touro: Before attending Touro, I had gone to SUNY Old Westbury for my undergraduate degree in Biology. I had taken two gap years where I worked as a medical scribe and at Gino's Pizzeria (best pizza on Long Island) before arriving in Middletown. The rest of my time was spent traveling and hanging out with my friends and family!

Favorite Quote: Believe it - Naruto Uzumaki

Childhood Dreams: To be a mechanic

Hobbies: Bringing old motorcycles back to life and traveling

Fun Fact: I've traveled to 10 countries!

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”

Life Before Touro: Ahh life before med school, a time when I actually knew what the sun looked like…okay just kidding!!!

Before Touro, I attended Drexel University as a Bio major where I also worked as a clinical research assistant at the Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Science Center (WELL). I did my co-op in the Neurosurgery Clinical Research Department at Penn Medicine and also worked as a medical scribe in a hematology/oncology office. I also always tried to stay involved with my local mosque whether it was as a student or youth group advisor.

Favorite Quote: “Most people live their life looking forward to Friday because it means the workweek is over. We spend most of our lives at work, so do something you love and make your life so you look forward to your Mondays” - Dad

Childhood Dreams: By the grace of God, living the dream :)

Hobbies: I love getting some sun, being in nature, eating dessert (my fav meal), painting, and podcasts like The Genius Life, As a Woman, and Yaqeen Institute.

Fun Fact: In college, I took entrepreneurship classes to develop a medical hijab for patients and providers who wear one to wear in the OR and clinic. It had hooks for masks and ear slits for stethoscope access!

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

Life Before Touro: I attended St. Lawrence University and graduated with dual degrees in Biology and English Literature. After graduation, I took a few gap years to try and figure my life out! I did research at Yale constructing a novel artificial heart device for a non-invasive surgical procedure for aortic dissections. I was also a research assistant for a retrospective chart review studying determinants of preeclampsia in pregnant patients. After that I became a Histological Technician (whoohoo histo!!) for Yale Surgical Dermatology where I cut and stained tissue sections from Mohs surgeries. I even worked as a bartender and sales associate for Banana Republic to supplement my income and pay for my med school applications!

Favorite Quote: "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light." - Albus Dumbledore

Childhood Dreams: What I really wanted was my Hogwarts letter but that never came :( so I dreamt of being a doctor one day instead and here I am!

Hobbies: In my free time I love to go on hikes and walks with my dog (Herbert is the love of my life), hang out with friends and family, religiously watch Law and Order SVU, and try to solve cold (unsolved) true crime cases!

Fun Fact: I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years and then throughout college, as well as a ballet dancer for 10 years! Don't ask me to go on a run though, it's not gonna happen.

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

Life Before Touro: I graduated Skidmore college in 2019 with a degree in Chemistry and a minor in anthropology. Soon after graduation I moved to San Diego to work in neuroscience research at the Salk Institute.

Favorite Quote: "If you will it, it is no dream" - Theordor Herzl

Childhood Dreams: Before deciding to go into medicine I wanted to work in physics and work at NASA like my grandfather. After getting to college I realized was not nearly as good as physics as I thought I could be and that I didn’t enjoy it, but I still wanted to be in the field of science. I switched to studying biochemistry and became an EMT and both these things made me realize I wanted to go into medicine.

Hobbies: Hiking, climbing, and listening to audiobooks.

Fun Fact: My middle name comes from a movie from the 90s.

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."

December 2021

Nicholas Lupano, OMS-III

Hometown: Waldwick, NJ

Life Before Touro: As an undergraduate at VCU, I majored in biomedical engineering with a minor in chemistry. I chose the road less traveled with engineering because I felt understanding medical equipment and the human body on a technical level would provide me with a unique perspective most medical students had not considered. In turn, I am able to take this perspective with me into the field, hopefully leading to noteworthy care for the patients I will serve. Following graduation, I worked in an ER in Newark, NJ. I was hired as a medical scribe, and also built databases for the research department's data collection. My time in Newark provided me the opportunity to work with very diverse populations. I gained firsthand experience with how the healthcare industry handles underserved communities, inspiring me to be part of the next generation of doctors tending to these patients. While working, I applied to medical schools until I was invited into the Master's Program at Touro, an opportunity which I accepted most contentedly.

Favorite Quote: "Do. Or do not. There is no try"

Childhood Dreams: My passion for the medical field dates further back than I can even remember. Growing up, I always felt my purpose on this earth was to help others by becoming a doctor. It felt, and still feels, as though it was my duty to do so. My calling. While other children asked Santa for toys and bicycles and candy, I asked for an anatomy textbook so I could study the human body. I found the efficiency of the body absolutely fascinating in comparison to man-made objects like cars and machinery. My interests only strengthened over the years, leading me to pursue my biomedical engineering degree.

Hobbies: I enjoy working on projects with my family, such as building/renovating multiple areas of our house and on our property. During my free time I also engage in creative writing and spend time with friends. Often, I try to partake in activities that I believe will help me improve different skills to become a more well-rounded person.

Fun Fact: One time a fellow student and I beatboxed in front of our histology class. Our performance was almost as entertaining as the lecture that followed!

Nomination Quote:

Jonah Duran, OMS-II

Hometown: Sandusky, MI

Life Before Touro: I received my BS from Grand Valley State University near Grand Rapids, MI where I majored in Biomedical Sciences and minored in Chemistry. I then received my MS from Case Western Reserve University in Applied Anatomy. Afterwards, I did a service year through AmeriCorps in Cleveland, OH where I provided support to high school students.

Favorite Quote: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford

Childhood Dreams: To either be a professional hockey player or mailman like my father.

Hobbies: Hockey, football, and golf

Fun Fact: I met ice hockey Hall of Famer, Gordie Howe, and I am mentioned in his book called, “Mr. Hockey” for cutting the ribbon to the grand opening of the ice hockey rink in my hometown. His wife, Colleen J. Howe, was from my hometown so the rink is named in tribute to her.

Nomination Quote:

Tegan Gallina, MS

Hometown: I grew up near Ann Arbor, MI, but moved for high school and have been in Brooklyn ever since.

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Brooklyn College in 2020 with a BS in Biology. Throughout my undergrad, I worked in the food industry for a few years before spending 3 years working as a senior scribe in urgent care. I had the honor of working with many great providers, including one who graduated from this Master's program in its early years and pushed me to apply here.

Favorite Quote: "Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." -Ginny Weasley

Childhood Dreams: Before medicine, I wanted to go into environmental research! I worked in a lab at Columbia's LDEO campus from my sophomore year of high school until mid-freshman year of undergrad studying phytoplankton and carbon cycling. I left when I realized that while I loved the work, I was talking to my cultures in the lab, and went off in search of an equally interesting discipline where I would be able to have conversations with actual people.

Hobbies: I have played the trumpet since I was 9, and most recently played in a community concert band in Brooklyn. I also really love cooking.

Fun Fact: I'm really terrible at ball sports, so instead over the years I picked up fencing, inline speed skating, rock climbing, and lion dance.

Nomination Quote:

November 2021

Christian Rafla, OMS-III

Hometown: Newport, CA

Life Before Touro: I attended Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles, where I pursued a degree in Financial Economics. At the time, my career ambitions were set for Wall Street as an investment banker and/or being a financial engineer for a Fortune 500 company. It wasn’t until my senior year that I decided my true calling was in the hospital, and I wanted to help make a difference in the world instead of wasting my life away behind an office desk. I enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania to finish up pre-med courses with my current roommate (Harrison Rhee @djmistrhee)…and the rest is history!

Childhood Dreams: An international supermodel - it’s a work in progress.

Hobbies: Beach Volleyball, surfing, and fishing

Fun Fact: I was regionally ranked in Settlers of Catan.

Nomination Quote: " 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

Hometown: Parsippany, NJ

Life Before Touro: I went to Rutgers University-New Brunswick for Undergrad where I majored in Biological Sciences and Exercise Physiology, and minored in Nutrition. On campus, I volunteered at an elementary school and tutored children from underprivileged neighborhoods, worked at a recreation center and as a writing tutor, and served as the president of Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA). This organization allowed me to compete in international competitions where I won first place twice, in Medical Terminology and in HOSA Bowl. A few months after graduating from Rutgers, I continued my education in the Masters program here at TouroCOM.

Favorite Quote: "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." – Mahatma Gandhi

Childhood Dreams: When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an ice-cream truck lady so I could eat all the ice-cream for free. My dreams were shattered when I realized I would have to pay for the ice-cream and there was no employee discount. Then on, since I was in 5th grade, I have always wanted to be a doctor.

Hobbies: I love dancing! I have been dancing since I was in kindergarten, and I trained for 13 years in Kathak (classical Indian dance form). I enjoy doing other styles as well (I’m always down for Zumba or Salsa). I also love hiking, working out at the gym, and playing field hockey, along with baking, doing puzzles, and watching movies.

Fun Fact: In high school, I broke the record for doing the most push-ups out of all the girls in my school. I did 54 push-ups!

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

Hometown: I am of Jamaican and Guyanese descent and from Fort Lauderdale Florida.

Life Before Touro: Before starting at Touro, I medically volunteered both locally and internationally for several years while also working as a Medical Scribe.

Favorite Quote: One of my favorite quotes is taken from Romans 8:28 which states, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."

Childhood Dreams: Growing up, I dreamt of becoming a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Sparks prior to falling in love with medicine.

Hobbies: I enjoy traveling and exploring different countries with both my family and friends. I've had the opportunity to visit eighteen countries. I also enjoy cooking, dancing and playing basketball.

Fun Fact: One thing off of my bucket list that I would like to accomplish is to travel to Antarctica next year.

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

Hometown: Queens, NY/Montgomery, AL

Life Before Touro: I graduated with a biology major, along with a minor in Spanish, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2014. After completing my undergraduate studies, I decided to pursue a Master’s in Biotechnology. Along with keeping up with graduate school courses, I worked as a student researcher for Parkinson’s Disease at UAB’s Neurology Department. I also tutored part-time math and science subjects at the Birmingham Tutoring Club for high risk inner city students. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I started volunteering as a medical assistant at an urgent/family care clinic in order to help the community, while continuing working as a teaching assistant, a lab facilitator, and a research leader for the Biotechnology Covid-19 project at UAB Biotechnology Master’s Program.

Favorite Quote: “Accept the things you cannot change. Have the courage to change the things you can. And, have the wisdom to know the difference.”- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

Childhood Dreams: I always wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives. It is why I am here today.

Hobbies: I love to spend time with my friends and family. I enjoy playing billiards. I love anything fitness related and my favorite sport is basketball (#MambaForever). Cooking is a hobby I started very recently that the pandemic forced me to rely on and it is truly one of my most favorite activities now. I love music too! Anything I do will usually have something playing in the background. I am also a comic book nerd; I prefer DC over Marvel :)

Fun Fact: I am a dad of two adorable cats, one of which I named MCAT.

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."

October 2021

Angela Ho, OMS-III

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Life Before Touro: I was born and raised in southern California and completed my B.S. in Human Biology at the University of California, Irvine. Following graduation, I took 2 gaps years where I worked as a clinical research coordinator at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, lived in Vietnam to teach English and work on a medical mission. I also worked as a caregiver for geriatric patients and provided respite care for hospice patients. Aside from medical-related activities, I took some time to explore the world and feed my travel bug.

Favorite Quote: "If you need something to believe in, start with yourself."

Childhood Dreams: To be a queen and rule my own kingdom.

Hobbies: hiking, painting, spa and anything that gets my adrenaline pumping.

Fun Fact: I started an initiative called Diversity In Medicine in hopes of sharing our struggles so that it can be a part of someone else’s survival guide.

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

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: “Success is not measured by titles, money, or fame...but rather by the people whose lives you change.

Childhood Dreams: I’ve always wanted to build a log cabin by hand…preferably in Alaska. It’s still one of my bucket list dreams so I’ll make it happen someday!

Hobbies: Cycling, camping, hiking, and woodworking

Fun Fact: I have ten siblings and used to live with eight of them in the same house…needless to say, it was a bit crowded and there was certainly never a dull moment.

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

Hometown: Lansing, NY

Life Before Touro: I graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2018 with a B.S. in Exercise Science. I played football there, until injuries made me realize that I was better off playing volleyball. My senior year, I led our team to the national tournament as the president, which was an unforgettable experience. I spent a few years working on an inpatient surgical floor, then transitioned to an outpatient Primary Care/Internal Medicine practice. I began counseling for a crisis line in undergraduate school and have been volunteering for them since. I briefly lived in Guatemala, served with a PCP in various geriatric clinics, and also delved into a sea turtle conservation project for some time. Additionally, I’ve worked for the NYSDOH as a Contact Tracer up until this past September. It’s been a wild ride to get here, and I don’t anticipate letting up anytime soon.

Favorite Quote: “Try harder!” -my mother

Childhood Dreams: Growing up, I always thought I was going to be a professional athlete, but once reality took hold and I learned the game of numbers, my dream transitioned to marine biology. I was fascinated by marine life and still am today, especially the potentially new therapeutics that the sea has to offer.

Hobbies: I’m an exercise fanatic, so you can catch me at the YMCA. I enjoy water sports, hiking and fishing during the summer, and snowboarding during the winter. I look forward to traveling to beach towns with my girlfriend, so we can indulge in our favorite cuisine- seafood. Our destination next month is one of our favorites- Delray Beach.

Fun Fact: I did a PBSC donation this past July through Be The Match. I swabbed for this registry over 7 years ago, and it was a 1 in 30 million chance of matching. My donation went to a young man with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and could potentially save his life.

Nomination Quote: "Goes out of his way to help out his community. Always friendly."

Desiree Raymond, MS

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Life Before Touro: Before Touro, I received my Bachelors of Science in Health Science with a Public Health Concentration from THE Spelman College, the #1 HBCU, in 2019. While at Spelman, I had the opportunity to conduct and publish research while also working as a Scribe in the ER. After matriculation, I earned my Masters in Medical Science at Hampton University where I first learned about osteopathic medicine and was able to shadow a D.O, who then turned my attention to Touro (:

Favorite Quote: "Waterfalls wouldn't sound so melodious if rocks weren't in the way."

"Purpose is an essential element of you. it is the reason you are on this planet at this particular time in history. your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill." - Chadwick Boseman

Childhood Dreams: Amazingly, I'm manifesting my childhood dreams of becoming a doctor. I've tried doing other things but nothing sparks my inner child more than knowing one day I'll be Dr. Raymond.

Hobbies: I'm vegan so I love love loveeeee trying new vegan dishes. Like food makes my soul smile. I also enjoy travelling internationally, graphic design, playing my flute, reading, and running (never in a million years did I think I would be saying this)

Fun Fact: I'm Haitian but I don't know how to cook rice 😅

Nomination Quote: "She has shown great leadership abilities."

September 2021

Hemaxi Desai, OMS-IV

Hometown: Moorpark, CA

Life Before Touro: I’m originally from southern California and went to UC Berkeley for a bachelor’s in Integrative Biology. I was involved with nonprofits that aimed to improve health education and access, and it fueled my passion for medicine. After getting my master’s in Biomedical Sciences, I moved to NY for medical school. I’ve always loved teaching and worked as a tutor throughout college, and I love that I get to incorporate that every day into patient care!

Favorite Quote: "Everyone on Earth is carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserves some tolerance." -Michelle Obama

Childhood Dreams: To be a teacher...and be able to teleport.

Hobbies: Pilates, baking, watching Friends and Gilmore Girls (over and over)

Fun Fact: I love to skydive in new places when I travel!

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

Hometown: Sloatsburg, NY

Life Before Touro: Before Touro I attended SUNY Oswego where I studied biology and health science. I was an EMT and conducted a small research study in diabetes treatment for my Honors Thesis. Following graduation, I came to Touro for the Masters program, after which I took a gap year and tutored students at SUNY Orange Community College in Middletown, NY. It was there that I fell in love with teaching, and now, as a second year, I am a Teaching Assistant for three classes!

Favorite Quote:

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." - Bertrand Russell

Childhood Dreams: As a child, I wanted to do whatever was right in front of me! My goals jumped from a pet groomer, to a veterinarian, to a social worker, and finally a physician!

Hobbies: I have always been a dancer and I still love to dance for fun. I also love podcasts and puzzles (in my limited free time)!

Fun Fact: I can solve a Rubik's Cube in under 2 minutes!

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

Hometown: Bensalem, PA

Life Before Touro: Before Touro, I spent 6 years in West Chester, PA studying at West Chester University. I earned my Biology degree with a minor in Political Science in 2017, and then my Masters In Public Health in 2019. I’ve worked various jobs in health care, from a pharmacy tech, a hospice consultant, and a scribe, but always knew that becoming a doctor was my true calling. After completing the MS program here at TouroCOM, I happily matriculated into the DO program. I’m very thankful to be here!

Favorite Quote:

“Bran thought about it, ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’

Childhood Dreams: To be the number 1 Pokémon master.

Hobbies: I absolutely love cooking. I believe it’s the perfect hobby that shows you how small, little, incremental improvements make a difference over time. It also allows me to flex my creative juices, especially when I’m taking a study break. Plus, who doesn’t like food?

Fun Fact: I was a competitive martial artist from 12-20, and earned my second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do at the age of 17.

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

Hometown: Roslyn Heights, NY

Life Before Touro: I graduated undergrad at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA majoring in Music within a Pre-Med track. After graduating, I worked as a Medical Scribe at ScribeAmerica in Internal Medicine.

Favorite Quote:

"Do or do not, there is no try"- Yoda

Childhood Dreams: To one day become a pediatrician.

Hobbies: Playing classical/jazz/pop/rock piano, watching sports.

Fun Fact: I once was asked by a concert master to play piano with his blues band on a cruise ship. A pianist from the dueling pianos show on the ship was in the audience and asked me to play in his show with him the following night.

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."

April 2021

Chidumebi Nwokolo, OMS-IV

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Life Before Touro: Before Touro, I got my Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering, worked for a year as an ED scribe then went on to get my MPH with a concentration in community health and development. The journey helped concentrate my passion for health equity and led me here where I have met some of the most amazing people!

Favorite Quote:

What has been will be again,

what has been done will be done again;

there is nothing new under the sun.

Childhood Dreams: I remember desperately wanting to be a Powerpuff girl.

Hobbies: Puzzles, Fiction reading, Prose writing, Bargain shopping, Karaoke, Cooking and Eating (especially brunch!)

Fun Fact: A group of porcupines is called a prickle and I think that is just so cute.

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

Hometown: Stuart, Florida

Life Before Touro: Before Touro I lived in South Florida with my beautiful wife, Sam, and our Golden Retriever, Luna. I worked as an engineer for a lightning protection contractor and was lucky enough to work in an office that allowed dog visits for lunch. I had always assumed that I would want to move back to Florida after medical school but unlike almost everyone in NY, I've really enjoyed snow!

Favorite Quote:

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky" - Michael Scott

Childhood Dreams: Live in NYC as a veterinarian

Hobbies: Hiking, reading history books, holding my wife's shopping bags at the mall

Fun Fact: For one of my undergraduate engineering courses, I built a baseball pitching machine and accidentally launched a baseball into a university employee's office while demonstrating it.

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

Hometown: Clifton Park, New York

Life before Touro: I was born in Accra, Ghana. I am the eldest of five siblings. I came to the United States at the age of 4. My family and I lived in Maryland for a couple of years, then moved to Clifton Park, NY. I went to SUNY Albany where I completed my BS in biology and a minor in psychology and neuroscience. I was a phlebotomist for a year and conducted breast cancer research at GEN*NY*SIS center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics until I was accepted to TOURO’s Master’s program in 2019.

Favorite Quote:

The world you desire can be won. It exists... it is is’s yours.”

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.

“It is what it is.”

Childhood dreams: Honestly, I wanted to be everything from an astronaut to a forensic scientist, but throughout my childhood being a doctor was always my dream.

Hobbies: I love to read, go on hikes and bake.

Fun Fact: When I was on the plane coming to the US the flight attendant gave me the small butter packets, I didn’t know what it was back then, so I ate it thinking it was candy.

Nomination Quote: "She is a kind, dedicated person and is always willing to hear out and help others!"

Brittany Zaita, OMS-I

Hometown: Howard Beach, NY/ Mahwah, NJ

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Fordham University with a degree in neuroscience and minor in philosophy (Go Rams!). I worked in clinical neuroscience research providing interventional therapies to children with unilateral cerebral palsy. The feeling of seeing two young girls that I helped to reach goals such as eating and brushing their hair with their affected limb reminded me of why I wanted to become a physician. I also worked as a medical assistant in a pediatric office where the kids liked me much less since I was the one doing their finger stick.

Favorite Quote: “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” - Rumi

“So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit - It’s when things go wrong that you must not quit.” - John Greenleaf Whitter

Childhood Dreams: I was a very practical child and I wanted to be a lawyer!

Hobbies: Anything art related, spending time with my family, exercise, cooking, baking, traveling.

Fun Fact: My favorite study buddy is my Pomeranian husky named Atlas!

Nomination Quote:

"Brittany continues to strive for excellence, but is also dedicated to helping and empowering her classmates to do their best. She has maintained a positive attitude through the difficult exam schedule...I am thankful to have her as a classmate and a friend."

"Brittany is one of the most helpful and supportive classmates I’ve ever had. She works harder than most other people and always puts others needs ahead of her own. She helps other students study by running through review questions and working through problem areas with them. She always has a smile on her face and is more than willing to sit down to make sure her fellow classmates are doing okay. She continues to work hard every single days and inspires the rest of us to improve our own work habits."

"Brittany is one of the most hard working and ambitious people I know - she is kind and always willing to help others."

"Brittany is always excited to super her fellow classmates. Whether it's being encouraging in OMM or PD lab or trying to help make study guides, Britt is always putting her best foot forward to support the people around her..."

Aaminah Jamal, MS

Hometown: Washingtonville, NY/ New City, NY

Life Before Touro: I graduated from Binghamton University in 2018 with a BA in Linguistics. I grew up bilingual at home, speaking both Urdu and English, so I was really interested in studying the origins and the different aspects of language. After graduation, I worked as an ER scribe here in Middletown at Garnet Health, and then began outpatient work as well. I also work at a summer day camp for pediatric oncology patients in the New York Metropolitan Area, as the Wellness Coordinator, and just recently got promoted to be the Director of Health and Safety for this upcoming summer!

Favorite Quote: “Know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease.”

Childhood Dreams: When I was around 4, someone gifted me a book about Archaeology so I went around telling everyone I was going to become an “anesthesiologist,” instead of an “archaeologist.”

Hobbies: Spinning! One of my favorite ways of letting go of stress and getting in a

solid workout. My goal is to become a certified spin instructor one day. I love

learning new languages, and am currently attempting to teach myself Albanian. I also enjoy reading in my spare time, and playing tennis.

Fun Fact: Pandas are my spirit animals.

Nomination Quote: "Aaminah has been so helpful and encouraging as a class rep. She goes above and beyond to make sure everyone understands what’s going on and what’s due. And she’s constantly showing how much she genuinely cares for everyone."

March 2021

Shreya Prashar, OMS-IV

Hometown: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Life Before Touro: I was born and raised in India and I was 12 years old when I immigrated to Canada with my family. I went to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario where I completed my B.Sc. in Biology and Psychology, followed by an M.Sc. in Neuroscience. In my free time, I fell in love with that beautiful city while exploring countless waterfalls and hiking trails.

Favorite Quote: “If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.” - Nora Roberts

Childhood Dreams: To become a teacher or a social worker, and most importantly learn how to fly.

Hobbies: Zumba, cooking, hiking, and watching reruns of Friends & The Office.

Fun Fact: One of my next goals is to learn how to swim! Even though I worked at a waterpark (not as a lifeguard) for 6 summers before medical school, and I have gone white water rafting, I somehow managed without learning how to swim. However, I have learned how to float over the last few years!

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

Hometown: Closter, New Jersey

Life Before Touro: Before Touro, I attended undergrad at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ as a Chemical Biology major, with a minor in Social Sciences. Stevens offered me many invaluable experiences ranging from anti-cancer research to leadership opportunities in clubs on campus. After graduation, I worked as a scribe at University Hospital, which is the sole level I trauma center in northern New Jersey. Having a closer glimpse of medicine as a scribe, I became all the more excited to start my own journey in the field. As ready as I was to start medical school, I still made sure to spend time with family and friends, vacation and just catch my breath a bit.

Favorite Quote: “This too shall pass”

Childhood Dreams: If you asked me my dream career in the second grade, I would have said “when I grow up, I want to be a pediatrician.” While I am not so sure about pediatrics anymore, becoming a physician has always been my dream and the perfect way to mend together my love for science and caring for other human beings.

Hobbies: I love photography, especially capturing landscapes and sunsets. I also enjoy collecting and building Lego modular building sets, each with over 2000 pieces!

Fun Fact: I only drink iced coffee, never hot, all year round. Waking up and getting an iced coffee is my favorite part of the day.

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

“Determined to find it… Destined to reach it…”

“Goodmorning everyone! Welcome to Neuroanatomy” – Dr. Moorman

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."

February 2021

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).

January 2021

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

November 2020

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.

October 2020

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!

Favorite Quote: “Real Gs move in silence like lasagna” -Lil Wayne circa 2010

Childhood Dreams: Always wanted to be a narcotics investigator like my to say that didn’t work out.

Hobbies: I love to draw!

Fun Fact: I live on a farm here in Orange County, NY.

Kathryn Munson, OMS-I

Hometown: Centreville, VA

Life Before Touro: I was a registered nurse on active duty in the Navy for 10 years where I worked mainly trauma and emergency room. I was assigned to multiple duty stations all over the US. I also was stationed in southern Spain for 2 years. In addition, I deployed to Afghanistan from 2009-2010, working with mainly British and Danish health staff at a level 2 trauma hospital. I was selected for LCDR but left active duty in 2017. After that, I worked for a year as a clinical research nurse at the National Institutes of Health in support of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. I then went back to ER nursing so I could work shifts around my classes at Georgetown as I worked toward an MS in Epidemiology.

Favorite Quote: Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

Childhood Dreams: To become a Tornado chaser (heavily influenced by the movie Twister).

Hobbies: true crime podcasts and spoiling my cat

Fun Fact: I've donated over 40 inches of hair to Children With Hair Loss

Sheeva Bahrampour, Masters

Hometown: Franklin Lakes, NJ

Life Before Touro: I studied Kinesiology and Chemistry at Temple University in Philadelphia and graduated May 2020.

Favorite Quote: "Anyone can cook." -Ratatouille

Childhood Dreams: My childhood dream was to become a doctor (unsurprisingly), and briefly, to become a paleontologist.

Hobbies: I love to bake and cook, and I've begun to teach myself how to knit, as well.

Fun Fact: I can and will pick out the perfect watermelon from the grocery store every time.

September 2020

Megan Crants, OMS-IV

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Life Before Touro: I double majored in cognitive science (with concentrations in neuroscience and philosophy of the mind) and creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, then did a post-baccalaureate premedical program at University of Rochester for one year, then worked at an addiction treatment center in Chicago for two years. It's been a long journey and I've loved every minute of it!

Favorite Quote: "Dwell in possibility," - Emily Dickinson

Childhood Dreams: : I love creative writing so I always wanted to be an author as a child. I still hope to pursue writing throughout my medical career.

Hobbies: Creative writing and science writing, electric guitar, piano, photography, recreational volleyball, rock climbing, and tennis.

Fun Fact: When I was young my family had a big fish tank that HGTV filmed for a feature on home aquariums. I spent hours and hours studying about all the coral and fish so that I could give educated TV interview answers, but the only footage of me that they chose to air was a clip in which I was imitating a cleaner shrimp happy-dancing while eating his breakfast.

Anthony Song, OMS-II

Hometown: Midlothian, VA

Life Before Touro: Prior to Touro, I had the pleasure of living/working in Silicon Valley and exploring a bit of the West Coast. During the application process, I came back home to be a full-time nanny to my newborn niece and had the honor of being with her for the first 8 months of her life.

Favorite Quote: "Keep your head up in failure and your head down in success." - Jerry Seinfeld

Childhood Dreams: To be a paper salesman.

Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, eating, playing sports, and watching Messi play soccer.

Fun Fact: Cookie Monster's real name is Sid.

Troy Moody, OMS-I

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY

Life Before Touro: BS in Biochemistry and Philosophy Minor at SUNY New Paltz. Attended Roy C. Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls, NY where I was very active in their theater club, Masque and Mime. Trained for 10 years in TaeKwonDo, earning my 2nd degree blackbelt at age 14 and taught for 4 years.

Favorite Quote: “Luck is when hard work meets opportunity.” - David Foster

Childhood Dreams: To be an astronaut or to be a super spy. To be 007 in space was ideal. Also to teleport - all the travel with no waiting.

Hobbies: Hiking, Yoga, Weight Lifting, Video Gaming, Reading, Running, Cooking

Fun Fact: I broke my left foot when I was 13 years old just proximal to my growth plate. If I was an adult I would have needed surgery. Luckily I only had a cast, then a brace for 8 months. Called a Lisfranc injury, it was common in the Revolutionary/Civil War when soldiers fell off their horse with their foot caught in the stirrup. Now my left foot is a full size smaller than my right.

Athena Masi, Masters

Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Life Before Touro: I was living in Philadelphia, PA working for Charles River Labs as a Formulations Technician for about a year before I moved here to Middletown, NY. I loved every second of my job and even got to help with a few of the Covid-19 drugs.

Favorite Quote: If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want will become sacrificed.”

Childhood Dreams: To become a pediatrician and focus closely on children with special needs.

Hobbies: I love to run and snowboard. When I need to de-stress I prefer to deep clean my whole apartment. I also love to cook and I bake amazing breads. I believe I have perfected banana bread and pumpkin cheesecake bread.

Fun Fact: I love to travel! I lived in Peru for a few months and also have traveled to Guatemala and Haiti to help communities in need and hope to always be able to do this.

August 2020

Mackenzie Kimball, OMS-II

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan. Go blue!!

Life Before Touro: Before my life at Touro, I attended NYU and proceeded to transfer to and graduate from the University of Michigan with a degree in Neuroscience. When I wasn’t in the library, I spent most of my free time working as a print fashion editor for an all student-run fashion and pop culture publication at the University of Michigan, called SHEI Magazine; creating photo shoots and comfortable spaces where I could help make all types of people feel and look beautiful, added a healthy, creative balance to my science-heavy course load. I also worked as a scribe, which gave me loads of experience writing SOAP notes!

Favorite Quote: My favorite quote might initially sound cliché, but my grandma used to sign every card with “Peace. Love. Laughter.” It is simple, but something I strive to live by each and every day. (The quote also has 17 letters, which is crazy to me... stay tuned and read my fun fact to find out why!)

Childhood Dreams: For as long as I can remember, I told my mom I wanted to be just like Dr. Green-Lee, my pediatrician, because she is so kind, smart and comforting. I yearned to exude that type of excellence one day and help people like she helped me grow into the woman I am today. Let’s just say, it was very difficult for me to switch to an adult primary care physician! Although, I did always dream of becoming an actress or fashion designer... maybe I'll tackle those after medical school!

Hobbies: I enjoy hiking, attending sporting events, visiting museums, making fun mnemonics for all the things we have to remember, dissecting in anatomy lab, listening to crime podcasts and dressing up to visit fancy restaurants around town.

Fun Fact: My maternal grandma gave birth to 17 kids in 20 years!!

Livingston Graham, OMS-I

Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida

Life Before Touro: I worked as a research assistant for Florida Atlantic University. I helped develop Raman-based experiments designed to teach undergraduate students’ fundamental chemical concepts. I also worked as a pharmacy technician for 4 years while taking care of my brothers and sisters.

Favorite Quote: "When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor."- Elon Musk

Childhood Dreams: Biomedical Engineer! I wanted to design medical devices to help improve lives then I decided to become a doctor.

Hobbies: Building computers, Watching TV, Hiking, and Cooking.

Fun Fact: I enjoy the ketogenic diet!

Mohammad Farooq, Masters

Hometown: I was raised in Bensalem, PA

Life Before Touro: I completed my Masters of Public Health from West Chester University during the summer of 2019, and went on to work for a hospice company. Unfortunately, after the COVID pandemic struck, the company was forced to shut down. I was able to find work as scribe in the Emergency Department for Nazareth Hospital, where I saw just how badly COVID was hitting greater Philadelphia. It only helped solidify my commitment to medicine.

Favorite Quote: "Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad"

Childhood Dreams: I wanted to be a Pokémon master, but being a doctor is the next best thing.

Hobbies: I love cooking. Give me a recipe and I'll make it happen.

Fun Fact: I made a spontaneous trip out to California last year to see a friend where we rented a car to Yosemite the next morning

May 2020

Trent Williams, OMS-III

Hometown: Washingtonville, New York

Life before Touro: I worked at Regeneron pharmaceuticals making drugs (monoclonal antibodies) for Phase I, II and III clinical trials.

Favorite Quote: "Test by test, patient by patient, you’ll do your best to help others"- Conor Moloney

Childhood Dreams: I wanted to become a doctor or a pro snowboarder.

Hobbies: Golf, soccer, snowboarding

Fun Fact: I grew up twenty minutes from Touro and have three sisters.

Rochenarda Joseph, OMS-II

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Life before Touro: Living my best life somewhere on South Beach. Actually I was busy working towards my goal of gaining admission into medical school. After obtaining my bachelor's degree, my resilience led to me completing two masters degrees. I am passionate about health disparities that plague minority communities and knew that I could make an impact as a minority physician.

Favorite Quote: "Beware of destination addiction: The idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, or even with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are."

Childhood Dreams: Krusty Krab manager

Hobbies: Supporting my friends/family as they pursue their goals, sleeping, makeup, shopping, interior decorating, reading, and of course studying for boards.

Fun Fact: If I am eating dry food and it gets wet, then I can't eat it. Example: my sandwich has too much mayo or my taco becomes moist. Game over.

Dajana Borova, OMS-I

Hometown: Cliffside Park, New Jersey

Life Before Touro: Before Touro, I worked as a research coordinator at Weill Cornell Medicine. This was one of my favorite jobs because not only did I learn so much about research and medicine, I had the opportunity to meet some really great people.

Favorite Quote: “When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Childhood Dreams: As a child, I dreamed of being an actress, but I also had a huge passion for medicine and science. I pursued the more realistic dream, given my lack of acting skills. Maybe one day I can become a medical advisor for a television show to realize both of my dreams!

Hobbies: Yoga, watching Netflix, going on long walks, hanging out with my nephews.

Fun Fact: I learned how to ride a bike when I was 22 years old!

April 2020

Anna Tran, OMS-III

Hometown: Frederick, Maryland / Northern California

Life before Touro: I have a degree in agriculture and I worked for the USDA for a few years counting cows as a statistician. I've since been a teacher, doula, and stay-at-home mom.

Favorite Quote: I believe it was Sir Issac Newton who said, "If I have seen further, It is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." This is a good reminder to me that we don't function alone. Everything that we accomplish is due in part to someone else's work. I can say the same about medical school. I am very grateful for those at Touro, both faculty and fellow students, who supported me when I needed it, enabling me to progress as a person and a future physician.

Childhood Dreams: I never wanted to be a doctor or astronaut like most others in medical school. When I was a child I always wanted to be one of those people who guided airplanes on the tarmac with what looked like at the time to be giant "glow sticks". In reality, the job as a ramp agent is very demanding and the airlines are very lucky that I didn't become one, because I have a hard enough time parking my car at times!

Hobbies: Making pizza (I have a wood burning oven), gardening, spending time with family, collecting books

Fun Fact: I belonged to a ghost hunting team before coming to Touro. I joined the team on a whim thinking it would be a good way to meet new people. The team leaders were very serious about their craft, buying thousands of dollars worth of monitoring equipment. We didn't catch anything too wild but enough happened that left me scratching my head.

Karolina Bezdickova, OMS-II

Hometown: Central Valley, New York

Life before Touro: 2018 Stony Brook graduate. Go Seawolves!

Favorite Quote: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Albus Dumbledore

Childhood Dreams: Visit all 7 Wonders of the World- I have been to 3 so far!

Hobbies: I enjoy skiing and hiking in my spare times

Fun Fact: I am fluent in Czech.

Philip Eber, MS

Hometown: Manalapan, New Jersey

Life before Touro: I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology, from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. During my time there I was a member of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society. I was a volunteer in the Emergency Department at Morristown Medical Center. I was also a brother of the Sigma Chi Fraternity where I served on the executive board acting as the Fundraising & Philanthropy Chair, helping to raise thousands of dollars for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. I also had the privilege to serve a 2nd term on the executive board as the Alumni-Relations Chair.

Favorite Quote: "Sometimes all you need is just for somebody to believe in you in order to be able to accomplish maybe what you never thought you could" - Drew Brees

Childhood Dreams: I grew up playing football and swimming. Initially, my childhood dream was to become an Athletic Trainer for a professional sports organization. Through volunteering and shadowing, I found medicine to be my true passion and began to aim my focus towards a career in medicine.

Hobbies: When I am not studying my hobbies include just relaxing with my family and friends down by the shore. I enjoy playing video games and listening to music.

Fun Fact: A fun fact is that I used to be a College Swimmer at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

March 2020

Alex Heglin, OMS-II

Hometown: Yankton, South Dakota

Life before Touro: I got my degrees in Medical Biology and Finance at the University of South Dakota and my master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I was a bioinformatics researcher at USD, mostly focusing on medulloblastoma.

Favorite Quote: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Childhood Dreams: Since my mom is a radiologic technologist, I have always wanted to become a radiologist (although my kindergarten time capsule said I wanted to be a “racecar”).

Hobbies: Hiking, cooking, camping, music, knitting, assembling IKEA furniture.

Fun Fact: I play 13 instruments. I played piano in a jazz concert with Bob Mintzer, percussion in a concert with Frank Zappa’s bassist, and trombone and bass for 10 musicals throughout high school and college.

Andrew Bell, OMS-I

Hometown: Marlboro, New Jersey

Life before Touro: After graduating from Monmouth University, I worked as a behavioral therapist for children with developmental disabilities and I created a 3-D printing business that made inexpensive devices to help children with ADHD. During this time, I also worked at Ocean Medical Center in NJ as a scribe and I suffered from a very complicated GI illness that I struggled with for years. I was unable to apply to medical school for a while because of this, but after a little help from my friends and physician mentors, I recovered. I began working as a music therapist for adults struggling with addiction and a tutor for anatomy/physiology while I finally had the chance to prepare my application

Favorite Quote: “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu, Tao De Ching

Childhood Dreams: I wanted to be a hero and save the world from disaster.

Hobbies: Philosophy, playing guitar, cooking, research, tabletop Dungeons and Dragons

Fun Fact: Growing up, I was in a hardcore metal band that played about 40 shows around the northeast.

Jessica Kroner, Masters

Hometown: Tomkins Cove, NY

Life before Touro: Ever since being diagnosed at the age of 5 I have been actively involved in JDRF, an organization on the forefront of research, and a community for those living with Type 1 Diabetes. This is where my passion for healthcare and helping others (especially children) began. I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Biology from Franklin & Marshall College. During my time in undergrad I worked as an EMT, taught second graders science, worked in a research lab, and was actively involved in Jewish Life on campus.

Favorite Quote: "Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light" - Albus Dumbledore

Childhood Dreams: My dreams to become a physician started with a strong desire to become a pediatric endocrinologist to help cure Type 1 Diabetes. As I have explored the field of medicine and gained new experiences my passion for the pediatric field has remained strong, although my interest in a particular specialty continues to evolve.

Hobbies: Traveling, family time, baking and taking naps.

Fun Fact: The furthest place I've traveled is Okinawa, Japan, where I stayed on a U.S. military base for 4 weeks

February 2020