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Meet our AHEC Scholars!

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NAWARA ABUFARES

I am a medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am a first-generation Libyan-American and grew up in a small town outside of Indianapolis, IN. I graduated from Purdue University with my bachelor’s and master’s in Biology and double minor in Chemistry and Neuroscience. Before medical school, I worked as a program coordinator for the IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship program in Indianapolis, IN.

 

As a future physician, I aspire to use my love of learning and teaching to actively be engaged with Milwaukee communities to better understand and address the unique healthcare needs and disparities we face. As an AHEC Scholar, I hope to collaborate with other rising healthcare professionals in learning about and creating a diverse and welcoming healthcare environment focused on patient advocacy, health policy, improving health literacy, and provider cultural humility. In my free time, I enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or gardening as well as exploring new places and its history while connecting with people.

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CATRINA BANKS

I am a medical assistant, training to be a nurse at Milwaukee Area Technical College.  I am the proud mother of three amazing children.  A fun fact about me is that I am a part-time Scentsy consultant.

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MATIDA BOJANG

I am a 2nd year medical student at MCW and graduated in 2021 from UW-Milwaukee with a BS in Biochemistry. While an undergraduate, I founded the Mbama Care Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in response to the growing issues of maternal and infant mortality in The Gambia. I aspire to practice both abroad and within the US, using my platform to raise funds for clinics in The Gambia and conduct research on ways to reduce unnecessary mortality, such as the number of deaths during childbirth.

 

My interests include global health disparities and women’s health, many of which stemmed from my upbringing in The Gambia. As a medical student, I served as co-president of the Student National Medical Association, and recently received a grant to educate medical students on building cultural humility. Additionally, I completed a global health research fellowship in Uganda last year investigating the impact of COVID-19 on cancer control and prevention.

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LAURA CARRILLO

I am a medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I grew up in several states across the U.S. and call the San Francisco Bay Area home. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in Molecular and Cell Biology and Cognitive Science, and a double minor in Chicano Studies and Linguistics. Before starting medical school, I worked as a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.

 

As an aspiring pediatrician, I hope to serve as a teacher, researcher, mentor, and active community member working to understand and address health disparities and increase the diversity of future physicians and scientists. I am excited to have joined AHEC and look forward to developing my skills of cultural humility, community partnership, advocacy, and health education, while also gaining an understanding of the challenges faced by rural and underserved populations in Wisconsin. In my free time, I enjoy getting outdoors with my husband, son, and dog.

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LIANA DAWSON

I am a medical student at UW Madison in the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health program (TRIUMPH). I am from St. Paul, MN and I did my undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Minnesota. I went into medicine after learning more about the complex history of the medical field and areas that led to distrust between healthcare and marginalized communities. I am interested in doing my residency in Family Medicine because I love building long- term relationships and want to also be an advocate for the future patients I serve. 

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OYINDA FAWOLE

I am a medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) Program. I'm from Philadelphia, PA and graduated from UW-Madison in 2019 with a degree in Psychology. Prior to medical school, I worked as a scribe at primary care clinics in Philly where I was part of a multidisciplinary team that managed the complex care of patients from underserved neighborhoods. I plan to specialize in Psychiatry and work on reducing stigma around mental health and improving access to mental health care in underserved communities. I'm looking forward to being an AHEC Scholar and learning from my peers how to use skills and knowledge gained in our respective disciplines to improve the health of the communities we hope to serve. In my spare time you can find me doing yoga, reading, or binge watching tv/movies!

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LILIANA GALVAN

 I am a pharmacy student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I have an undergrad background in public health and currently am in a population health concentration at my pharmacy school. I am looking forward to learning about more ways that pharmacy can intertwine with community health. When I am not studying, I enjoy building puzzles and dressing my dog Pablo in sweaters and taking him for walks. 

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SARAH GOODMAN

 I am currently a pharmacy student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I received my Bachelor of Science from Alverno College in 2023 through the 3+3 Dual degree program. While in pharmacy school, I am pursuing an academic concentration in specialty pharmacy practice with a longitudinal focus on pediatrics with a goal of helping children in underserved communities. One fun fact about me is that I have three cats and enjoy kayaking!

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KENNEDY KEY

I am a 3rd year medical student at MCW. I was born and raised in the northern Milwaukee area, and I am appreciative that I get to learn about medicine within my own community. I received my BA in History from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Before starting medical school, I worked for three years as an emergency medicine scribe where I gained invaluable patient-facing experience.

 

When I grow up, I want to be an emergency medicine physician. I am passionate about the social issues that our community faces and working to address them as one of the first line health care providers. I am ecstatic to join the AHEC cohort because I not only want to continue to engage with the members of my community who are most in need, but I am also excited to grow into a better clinician through the opportunities afforded to me with this experience. In my free time, I love listening to true crime podcasts, reading, baking, and spending time with my family!

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JESSIEKA KNAZZE

I was born and raised in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area in Minnesota and also obtained my BA in Physiology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I am currently a dual degree MD/MPH student at UW Madison. Through exploring specialities in medical school, I have come to love the field of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. I am currently completing my MPH year and have found several unique and interesting intersections between public health and plastic surgery research. I love that these two passions comprise different elements of quality of life and unique opportunities to improve quality of life on varying scales. When I’m not studying or buried in a research project, I enjoy movement of all kinds including dancing, walking, running, roller blading, strength training, and kickboxing. I also love cooking and trying new foods.

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BRIDGET NELSON

I am currently a pharmacy student at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  My goal is to use my public health knowledge to expand the breadth of my pharmaceutical career by applying clinical experience to community-based agendas. After graduating from this program, I would like to use both my pharmacy and public health backgrounds to commit to helping underserved populations.  I believe the AHEC scholars’ program will be immensely beneficial in allowing me to expand my understanding and commitment to underserved populations in Wisconsin.

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VANESSA RAMIREZ

I am a current graduate student at UW-Milwaukee Zilber College of Public Health. My focus is on Community Behavioral Health Promotion. In May of 2020, I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Alverno College. I decided to go into public health because I saw the inequality of health care access and quality through my community and other marginalized communities. I’m eager to help individuals connect with science and health in a space that is supportive and gives them the power they need to further advocate for their health and wellbeing. I look forward to applying my education and experience in the community. In my free time you can find me going for walks, listening to music, or spending time with family and friends.

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PAOLA RIVERA

I am a medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am from Salisbury, NC and completed my undergraduate degree in Biology with minors in genetics and psychology at North Carolina State University. I grew up as an only child and spent every summer visiting family in Puerto Rico until my high school years. I am interested in pursuing primary care, specifically family medicine, as this specialty combines my love for both pediatrics and geriatrics as well as community medicine. 

 

I am a strong advocate for working alongside communities to highlight the importance of improving one’s cultural humility, recognizing barriers to healthcare, and addressing social determinants of health needs when caring for patients. I am excited to join AHEC to learn more about specific vulnerable populations found here in Wisconsin, including the ways I can help make healthcare more accessible for them and for all. In my free time, I enjoy the visual arts, attending theater productions/concerts/other cool artsy events in town, and watching movies, specifically 80’s classics and horror films.

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SONIA RODRIGUEZ

I am currently in the Masters of Nursing program at Marquette University. I was born in Honduras and came to the United States as a teen. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Science from Florida International University. I have worked as a Certified Medical Assistant for 10 years in underserved communities in South Florida. I am excited to join AHEC, to learn more about our communities, and connect with various healthcare professionals in Wisconsin. I am passionate about providing the best quality healthcare to every individual in need. 

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EMILY SCHLITZ

I am a graduate student in the PA program at Carroll University. I graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in May 2021 with degrees in Exercise Science and Psychology and a minor in Biology. Prior to PA school, I worked as a CNA in a nursing home and as a medical scribe in a pediatric mental health clinic. In my free time, I love to crochet, read, and enjoy hiking and exploring the outdoors. I am passionate about giving back to the community and hope to work to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to many populations.

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MADISON SEGRIN

I am currently a first-year student at Carroll University's Physican Assistant program. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Kinesiology and a certificate in Athletic Healthcare. Prior to attending Carroll, I worked in the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine clinic at Children's Wisconsin. In my free time, I enjoy staying active, spending time with loved ones, and all things Wisconsin sports! I look forward to being a member of AHEC Scholars for the next two years and building connections with a diverse community of health professionals within the state of Wisconsin. 

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JENNIFER STAMOS

I am a third-year dental student at Marquette University School of Dentistry. I grew up in a  southwest suburb of Chicago and have always had a passion for service. I attended DePaul University for undergrad, where I had the opportunity to volunteer in underserved communities at food banks, community centers, and free dental clinics. After dental school, I hope to work in an underserved, under- resourced, urban community. I am very excited to be part of AHEC, to become better connected with like-minded individuals, and learn more about the communities I will hopefully serve one day. 

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LOGAN STIEGMAN

I am a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater.  I am a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Biology and Plant Pathology. In my clinical work, I am interested in working with LGBTQ+ individuals, grief, and group counseling settings. I am passionate about advocating for services for underserved communities and developing solutions to these issues. In my personal time, I enjoy playing board games, trying new foods, and seeing the latest movies. 

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RAQUEL VALDEZ

I am currently a third-year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am originally from Northern Mexico and I received a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College, CA. Upon receiving my medical degree, I hope to become an OB/GYN and to serve minorities in urban communities. I am excited to have joined AHEC and hope to develop my ties to Milwaukee, WI as well as meet other healthcare students in the area. I am passionate about women's rights and health education. During my free time, I like to exercise and read!

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