Cleveland Biosketches Class of 2018

Jaclyn Alatrash

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Born in Cleveland, I graduated with my BS in chemistry from Cleveland State University. I honestly did not know what I wanted to pursue as my career after graduating from CSU. I initially chose chemistry to eventually study pharmacy. After several shadowing experiences, I realized that pharmacy was not the right career choice for me! I ended up hearing about the MSA program in line at a craft store, and eventually did my research. After actually shadowing a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant in the program, I realized that this was the future for me! Case Western Reserve University has an excellent reputation, and I know that I am going to enjoy this career path as a CAA. Outside of school, a big hobby of mine is weight lifting! I think it is a sport that more females should definitely take up. I am honored to be a part of this program, and am really looking forward to these next two years at CWRU!

Ovidiu Breahna

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I was born in Romania and moved to the United States in 2003 at the age of ten. I graduated from John Carroll University in 2016 with a degree in biology and Spanish. From a young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field after watching my mother work as a nurse for so many years. After extensive research and numerous shadowing opportunities, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career as a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant by the time I entered my second year of college. With its emphasis on hands-on learning, CWRU's MSA Program stood out among others. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this program, knowing that it will best prepare me for my chosen career. I hope to use my communication skills in Spanish and Romanian to connect with my patients on a more personal level and most importantly, to continue John Carroll University's legacy of being a man for others.

Christine Culver

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I am from Canton, OH. I graduated from the University of Mount Union with a BS in biochemistry with a minor in psychology. While pursuing my degree at Mount Union I also worked as a nursing assistant at a retirement home. I spent the majority of my time in college hoping to become a physician assistant. However, after shadowing I realized it was not the job for me. Fortunately, I was informed about CWRU’s Master of Science in Anesthesia Program and after spending a day shadowing in the OR, I fell in love with the CAA profession. Pharmacology was one of my favorite classes in undergrad. While I was shadowing I was able to see medications I had learned about in the classroom being used in the OR and I was delighted to be able to discuss them with the CAA. I am so excited to begin the MSA program and eager to begin my career as an anesthetist.

James Czernicki

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I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, OH, and spent my undergraduate time at Ohio State University majoring in biology. I always appreciated medicine and the study of the human body, so I knew wanted to become a medical professional. During college I volunteered for two years in the medical intensive care unit at the Wexner Medical Center. This gave me insight in to the working environment of a hospital and many different medical professions. This changed my mind from pursuing medical school as I had originally intended. Once I moved back to Cleveland, I discovered the MSA program. When I shadowed, I saw that being a CAA is the perfect balance of teamwork, patient interaction, and skill. I am confident that this is the best profession for me, and I’m excited to be a part of the growing field.

Zachary Dillon

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When I was in high school I decided that I wanted to have a career in medicine. I followed this desire by attending the University of Toledo where I graduated with a degree in bioengineering, focusing in pre-med and minoring in chemistry and international business. Following graduation, I took a job in engineering at a medical device company, Midmark Corporation. While in this role, I was given the opportunity to lead a major project. Although I enjoyed the work, my life was missing something, and I realized that God was calling me to pursue the Master of Science in Anesthesia program at Case. I consider myself truly blessed to have been accepted into such a prestigious program, and I look forward to continuing my education to make an even greater, positive difference in healthcare.

Rachel Dummermuth

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When I started my undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences at The Ohio State University, I had intentions of attending pharmacy school. After realizing I wanted more patient interaction, I decided to follow the pre-med track; however, I recognized the lifestyle of a physician was not the best fit for me. I learned of CWRU’s MSA program in a Pre-Med Club meeting, and everything about the profession appealed to me—I could balance an ideal lifestyle with the patient interaction I desired in my career. I then shadowed a CAA, and I knew in an instant that this was the career for me. I could not be more ecstatic to be a part of this program and to begin a career as a CAA.

Nelson Essiet

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I graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 with a BS in nutritional biochemistry & metabolism. Throughout my undergraduate career I knew I wanted to work in medicine but I was not sure which specialty I should choose. During my junior year, I had a great experience shadowing a CAA and began to inquire more about profession. I was very impressed with the MSA program and intrigued with the idea of being able to receive a hands-on learning experience. I look forward to interacting with patients in a clinical setting and I am eager to begin my training as a CAA.

Elizabeth Grubb

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I am from Canton, OH, and I graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in neuroscience. I have always had an interest in medicine and healthcare but I was never sure about pursuing a career as a doctor. Through my studies, I fell in love with pharmacology and physiology, which confirmed my desire to work in healthcare. Still unsure about how to achieve the ideal career for me, I shadowed many different health care professions. After shadowing a CAA though, I immediately realized I wanted to work as an anesthetist. I am very honored and excited to be attending Case Western Reserve!

Michael Hegarty

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I earned a BS in microbiology and classics from Ohio State in 2013 and a MS in physiology from Georgetown University in 2015. I decided to pursue a career in medicine later in my undergraduate career after shadowing cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists, working as a research assistant at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and volunteering at OSU hospitals. While shadowing in the OR, I was enthralled by the surgical teams’ hands-on application of medical knowledge and the direct impact they had on patients’ health. I first learned of the CWRU MSA program after shadowing anesthesiologists at Southwest General Hospital. After shadowing and speaking with different CAAs, I realized the CAA profession was the perfect fit for me. A career as a CAA will allow me to have a direct and significant impact on patients’ lives without sacrificing a balanced lifestyle. In my spare time I enjoy working out, watching Cleveland sports, and hanging out with family and friends. It is a privilege to be a part of the best CAA program in the country, right here in my hometown!

Steven Hofacker

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Upon graduating high school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, I had an idea of what I wanted to do post-undergrad, but I did not have any definitive plans. What I did know was that I wanted to get a quality college education while also playing basketball, so I decided to enroll at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. After playing Division III basketball for four years, I graduated in 2015 with a BS in biology with a biomedical sciences concentration. Although I was looking into different programs throughout my studies, it wasn't until the night before graduation when I discovered the CAA profession upon talking with a friend's father who happened to be an anesthesiologist. That summer, I shadowed a CAA who was a graduate of CWRU's MSA program and he highly recommended it. The flexibility and the job outlook were very important factors in me ultimately deciding to apply, interview, and thus, accept my position in the Class of 2018.

Lance Kong

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I was born and raised in New York City and graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BS in biochemistry. Ever since my freshman year in high school, I aspired to become a physician and had several opportunities to shadow doctors in different departments of the hospital. It was through these experiences that I became fascinated with the OR environment. At the conclusion of my undergraduate career, I took the MCAT and applied to medical school. However throughout the application cycle, I began to question my ambitions for pursuing medical school and what I really wanted to do with my life, which ultimately led me to search for other health professions out there. This was when I learned of the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession. I wasted no time researching more about a career as a CAA and eagerly traveled to CWRU for a shadowing experience. This was easily one of the smartest decisions I have made in my life because after my time at CWRU I was thoroughly persuaded that becoming a CAA was a much better fit for me than becoming a physician. I can say, without hesitation, that I am honored to attend this prestigious CAA program, and that the dynamic nature of the clinical work, and the balanced lifestyle as a CAA will be a wonderful culmination of my career goals and my studies in the sciences.

Matthew Muller

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I grew up in Toledo, OH, and received a football scholarship to attend Kent State University (2004-2007). I majored in exercise science and took all of the required courses to attend medical school but during my senior year I fell in love with human physiology research and decided to obtain a PhD in exercise and thermal physiology (2007-2009). After completing postdoctoral training in autonomic cardiovascular physiology (2010-2012), I became a research faculty member at Penn State College of Medicine (2013-2016) and conducted several grant-funded clinical and translational studies in healthy and diseased humans. In order to better understand pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of cardiovascular medications, I purchased Morgan and Mikhail’s Clinical Anesthesiology textbook and became interested in the practice of anesthesia. After shadowing four times in the operating rooms at UH Case Medical Center and talking to many physician anesthesiologists, I decided to apply to the MSA program. I am convinced that becoming a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant best enables me to reach my personal and professional goals. I am eager to learn more about human physiology and pharmacology and apply this knowledge directly to patient care. I currently live in Wickliffe Ohio with my wife (Annie) and kids: Cecilia (born June 2013), David (born January 2015), and baby #3 (due August 2016).

J. Cole Mumpower

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I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. I studied biology and chemistry at the University of South Carolina with the intent of one day becoming an anesthesiologist. During my senior year I began to search for alternate career options that would allow someone with my academic background to become an integral part of the Anesthesia Care Team without becoming a physician. I first learned about the CAA profession via an academic advisor and, through extensive research, found it to be the perfect career choice for me. After graduation, I moved back home for a year. In addition to working a full-time job, I attended night classes at a community college in Charlotte and became certified as an EMT-Basic in the state of NC. I spent much of my remaining time applying to CAA programs and trying to get as many shadowing hours in as possible. When I learned how much of an emphasis the CWRU MSA program places on clinical exposure, it quickly became my top choice, as I felt that this, among other factors, set it apart from other programs. I was overwhelmed by how incredibly welcoming the faculty and students were during my interview process, and I am very excited to have been accepted into the class of 2018!

Taylor Paden

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I am from Simpsonville, Kentucky, and I graduated in 2012 from Franklin College in Indiana with a BA in biology. After graduating I intended to gain acceptance into medical school so I started shadowing in the Emergency Department in Indianapolis as well as studying for the MCAT. I applied to many Osteopathic Medical schools and received an interview at one of them for which I was placed on the wait-list. After remaining on the wait-list I came across an email from CWRU introducing me to the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession. I immediately arranged a time to shadow at University Hospitals in Cleveland with the help and guidance of the Cleveland staff. I was drawn to the relationships the CAAs formed with their patients, as well as the advanced science and technology that transcends the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession. The CWRU MSA program's emphasis on simulation and clinical experience will ultimately prepare me for a successful career in the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession. I am honored to be a student at Case Western Reserve and eager to spend two years in wonderful Cleveland!

Olesya Rabosyuk

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I was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016 with a BS in biology. I began college with the intention of pursuing a career in the medical field. As I began to shadow various doctors and nurses, I was exposed to “the other side of the surgical drape” and learned about Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants. After doing some research about the profession, it was evident that the career of a CAA and the lifestyle associated with it were the right fit for me and my future. I am very excited to be a part of Case Western Reserve University's MSA Class of 2018 in Cleveland!

Leah Snyder

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I graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina State University in 2013, double majoring in human biology and microbiology with a minor in genetics. As an undergraduate my main research focus was in microbial genomics, but I also completed research rotations in the fields of applied ecology and developmental biology. While working as a microbiologist after graduation, I decided that I needed to reconnect with the university and began working as an organic chemistry teaching assistant. Knowing that my “life’s calling” wasn’t at the research bench, I refocused my post-baccalaureate studies back to medicine. After shadowing several physicians, I fell in love with the atmosphere of the operating room and the field of anesthesiology. Knowing that I wanted to focus my graduate studies in anesthesia, I decided to begin my perioperative training by working as an anesthesia technician. Working in the anesthesia care team model solidified my desire to become a CAA.

Alex Solt

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I grew up in Avon Lake, OH, and graduated from Cleveland State University with a BS in biology and chemistry. I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field but after I took pharmacology I was completely enthralled with the mechanisms by which different drugs work in the human body. I wasn’t completely sure of what profession I wanted to pursue but after a family friend told me about the MSA program at Case Western Reserve, I decided to take a closer look by shadowing a CAA. After a few shadowing experiences I realized that this profession offered the chance to help patients and to be hands-on in the operating room. Being from Cleveland, I was well aware of the prestigious reputation of CWRU and I am very excited and honored to be a part of the best MSA program in the country!

Connor Sullivan

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I graduated from The Ohio State University with a BS in biochemistry and a minor in neuroscience. I was very interested in joining the medical field because of the great opportunity for human-to-human interaction. Wanting to continue my education beyond undergraduate, I gravitated toward staying in Ohio because of my family and connections I had built here. When I came across the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant program at Case Western Reserve, I was so excited to discover that a profession existed where I would directly incorporate my passion for physiology and pharmacology. After shadowing at University Hospitals, I knew hands-down that I would fit in with the profession and that my abilities would allow me to succeed in the field. I am ecstatic to start the program in May at CWRU and I am motivated to continue spreading the word about CAAs.

Aleksander Thomas

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I was born in West Carrollton, OH, and graduated from Wilmington College of Ohio with a BS in biology and chemistry. In my undergraduate years I was heavily involved on campus as an RA, a member and Vice President of Lambda Chi Alpha national fraternity, and in pursuing research in both biology and chemistry. I was first exposed to the CAA profession when I received an email from my advisor. I, like many students, had believed my destination to be medical school, but after a shadowing experience at University Hospitals, I felt drawn to the anesthetist profession. My favorite areas of study are pharmacology and physiology, which this profession allows me to focus on.

Justine Westover

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I was born in the small town of Copley outside of Akron, OH. Then I moved to North Carolina right before high school. In 2013 I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in biology and a minor in medical anthropology. I had intended to go to medical school, but after meeting with advisors and shadowing several anesthesiologist assistants after graduation, I quickly fell in love with the CAA profession and changed career paths. My grandfather attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University in the 1950s, which is initially what made me want to be a part of their MSA program. After researching the program further, I affirmed that this was the program I wanted to be a part of. I applied to CWRU's MSA program in the fall of 2014 and was put on a wait list and ultimately was not accepted. I reapplied in the fall of 2015 and was then offered a position here at Cleveland for the Class of 2018. I am beyond thrilled to begin not only the program in May but also this new chapter in my life.