Houston Biosketches Class of 2018

Nadine Aboumerhi

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I graduated from the University of Akron in 2015 with a BS in natural sciences. Originally, I had been accepted into the BS/MD program at NEOMED where my intent was to complete my BS and attend medical school. As my college career progressed, I began to find medical school and a doctor's lifestyle less appealing. My interest in the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant program began after my brother began his residency in anesthesia. I explored the topic further and thus began my love for anesthesia and my interest in this incredible program. I look forward to the challenges ahead and eagerly await the start of class.

Faisil Ali

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Meredith Andrews

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I grew up in Bellevue, OH, and was always intrigued by the medical field. I not only enjoy helping people, but my favorite subject has always been anatomy and physiology. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I discovered the MSA program and was instantly intrigued. I shadowed at CWRU in Cleveland and knew this was the career for me. I graduated from Bowling Green State University with a BS in applied health science. However, I did not apply right away to the MSA program, and have been working in a pharmacy as a technician for the last year and a half. I retook my organic chemistry classes and the MCAT until I felt confident enough to apply this last October. I am excited to begin this new journey in anesthesia.

Adlai Arandela

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I am a graduate from The University of Texas Pan American where I completed a BS in biology and psychology in 2013. Throughout my early education and college years, I tailored my learning and volunteering towards a medical career knowing that I wanted to become a healthcare professional. Following my undergraduate years, I worked on a Master’s degree in biomedical health informatics from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. This program combined the two things that I love: healthcare and technological innovation. After successfully completing the program in the summer of 2015, I applied to the Case Western Reserve MSA Program after doing my own research and asking countless questions to both current students and faculty. I knew that this program would be able to fulfill my desire to work in the healthcare field, specifically in the anesthesia care team, while also helping to maintain a balanced and rewarding lifestyle for my family and I. I am honored and grateful to CWRU for providing me the opportunity to learn and grow in one of the best CAA programs in the country.

Sabin Dolino

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Jason East

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I was born and raised in The Woodlands, TX, and graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in kinesiology. During my time as an undergraduate and post-graduation, I worked as a scribe at St. Joseph's Emergency Room. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare field, but I didn't feel that medical school was the right fit for me. After researching the role of anesthesiologist assistant and the job outlook for this career path, I decided it was a great match for my personal and professional aspirations. I am thrilled to begin my studies at Case Western Reserve and I know that the knowledge and experiences I gain here will help me to succeed in all aspects of life.

Alexander France

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I graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge with a BS in kinesiology. I had originally intended to go to physical therapy school, but after shadowing and volunteering in various outpatient clinics and hospitals my interests began to shift. A career in health care was what I wanted, but I also wanted to be more involved in the medical field. I contemplated the idea of applying to medical school until a relative introduced me to the CAA profession. After doing some research of my own and later shadowing a CAA, I became very interested and I knew that this was the career for me. Being both an avid sports fan and participant for most of my life, the team-oriented mentality was something I could easily relate to. To be able to combine this approach with hands-on patient care and interaction was also very appealing to me. I am extremely thankful to have the opportunity to pursue this challenging and rewarding career through the Case Western Reserve MSA program.

Mason Gibson

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I graduated from the University of Houston with a BS in biology, and then went on to receive my BS in nursing from Texas Christian University. For the last two years, I have practiced as an OR nurse at Memorial Hermann in The Texas Medical Center. My time there was spent mainly as a trauma OR nurse and I worked side by side with CAAs and CAA students from Case Western Reserve every day. This is where I began to develop a real interest in the CAA program and was able to acquire firsthand knowledge of the field and of the school at Case Western Reserve.

Lindsay Guillory

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I received my BS from Louisiana State University in kinesiology - human movement science concentration, with minors in biology and chemistry. Ever since I can remember, biology has been my favorite subject. I have always been particularly fascinated by the physiologic processes of the human body, and subsequently the field of medicine. My interest in medicine spans two extremes: preventative medicine and critical care. I was lucky to have gained a bit of experience in both of these areas prior to making a final decision about my career. While employed at ConocoPhillips, I enjoyed the opportunity to promote and facilitate healthy lifestyles in the corporate wellness setting. However, working in hospitals alongside physicians in various emergency departments is what really made me feel alive. I learned constantly from each patient interaction, and was always most intrigued by the difficult cases requiring critical care procedures. These experiences revealed to me that I wanted a career requiring critical thought and medical decision-making on a daily basis, but also led me to discover that being a physician was ultimately not the best fit for the lifestyle I envisioned for myself. This was a necessary disappointment, as it opened my eyes to other options such as Case Western Reserve’s MSA program. After learning about the program from a friend, I knew immediately that it was the right fit for me. Anesthesiology is a multi-faceted and challenging specialty, demanding diligent focus and significant skill from each of its practitioners. I am honored and excited to be a part of Case Western Reserve’s MSA program, and look forward to the opportunity to train as an anesthetist in the world’s largest and most renowned medical center.

Kyleen Lee

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I graduated from Emory University in 2015 with a degree in biology. I did not always want to be a CAA. Thanks to the lab manager who I worked with for about three years during my college career, I was introduced to this wonderful career. After looking more into the profession, I came to the decision that this career choice will provide me with a more balanced lifestyle than becoming a physician. I am very excited to start the program with my fellow classmates!

Shirley Li

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After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in biochemistry, I was unsure of whether or not I wished to go into the research science field or into the medical professions. As a stepping-stone, I pursued a MS in biotechnology. Upon completion, I felt unsatisfied with research and wanted to work in the medical field instead. An alumnus suggested this program and after shadowing an anesthesiologist, I decided that this is what I want to do as my future career. I look forward to the program!

Kelsey Ohlman

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I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 with a degree in human development and family sciences. During my time at UT, I also took the pre-med prerequisites with a plan to become a doctor (an anesthesiologist, in particular). A close family friend of mine works as a CAA, and after talking with her and shadowing I was very intrigued. I realized that the more balanced lifestyle of a CAA was a better fit for the long-term goals that I have. Once I graduated, I moved back to Houston and worked as an orthodontist assistant and gained experience in patient care and hands-on treatment. I am thrilled to be continuing my education at CWRU in Houston close to my family and friends and pursuing my dream career.

Charlie Phung

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My interest in anesthesia began when I was waiting in line at a bakery at Memorial Herman TMC to buy a cookie for a fellow volunteer’s last day, and a man behind me in scrubs equipped with a fanny pack asked if I wanted to follow him into the OR to observe a surgery. I seized the opportunity and it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the profession and the type of people involved in the process of anesthesia care. I attended the University of Houston and graduated in 2014 with a BS in kinesiology and minors in biology and chemistry. While following my passion for medicine, I waited tables for six years at various restaurants all over Houston while working as a medical scribe and interning as a research assistant in diabetes research in underserved areas. As time passed, I was fortunate enough to meet more people involved with the MSA program here in Houston, where I realized that the program’s focus on patient/physician behaviorism set this program apart from the rest of the nation and consequently it became my number one choice in education, as well as career choice. I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to be a part of such a great institution for learning in the city that I grew up in and love.

Sean Ramirez

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Rex Rodriguez

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Eric Rydalch

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I was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho, and my experiences as a pediatric GI patient sparked my interest in pursuing medicine. At Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, I received excellent, patient-centered care from my physician and her team members. After a period of full-time missionary service, I graduated from Brigham Young University Idaho with a BS in healthcare administration and a focus on pre-medical coursework. I continued my pre-medical studies in the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s MS in medical sciences program. Following that program, I moved with my wife and children to Houston where I met a CAA who told me about CWRU’s MSA program. After my own research into the profession, I took him up on his offer of a shadowing experience. That solidified my desire to pursue the MSA program in Houston. A specialized, patient-centered career has been my goal for a long time and I am grateful to have this opportunity to become a CAA.

Gianna SanGennaro

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I began my undergraduate studies with the intent of pursuing a career in medicine. I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BS in human biology. Toward the end of my studies, I began to question my desire to attend medical school and decided not to apply. Instead, I took a job working at an orthopedic clinic where I was first introduced to the CAA profession. After researching the career and shadowing a CAA, I realized that this field would allow me to have that hands-on patient care experience that I desired. I was also enticed by the OR environment and the teamwork involved. I am excited to be a part of Case Western Reserve’s MSA program and look forward to a rewarding career as a CAA.

Philip Secrist

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I am an ultra-non-traditional student. I have worked as a beekeeper, in the shearing sheds in New Zealand (to earn money during my undergraduate studies there), in door-to-door sales, and twice on a cruise ship. I graduated overseas in a totally unrelated field - video production. After traveling the globe, filming, editing, and meeting some pretty famous people, I realized video would be better suited as a hobby, not a profession. I decided to return to school and pursue something in the medical field, initially looking to become a medical doctor, specifically an anesthesiologist, not solely because of pay (although that wasn’t something to shy away from), but because of the ability to manage pain in a variety of clinical procedures. As luck would have it I broke my collarbone a month before finals. Dumb luck, but great luck, because before surgery, I met two CAAs - a career I had never heard of prior. Talking with the anesthesiologist in charge of my surgery, I asked him what he would do if he had to do it all over again, and he said, “I’d do what those two are doing, the Anesthesiologist Assistant route.” After looking into the profession, I decided this was the medical career I had always been after - working with anesthesiologists in a care team environment providing pain management to people in an array of medical procedures. The Houston location was my first choice out of the three CWRU locations, due to the sheer clinical experience that would be received in the program being in such close proximity to the biggest medical complex in the world. Case Western Reserve has set a high precedent of having an exceptional learning environment and excellent graduates. I feel honored to be able to learn here, joining an elite group of health care professionals, and working alongside the best physicians in the world. Although the weather will be something to get used to in contrast to my home state of Colorado, I can’t wait to begin my journey into this career I had no idea about five years ago.

Sandra Shin

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I graduated in 2015 from Emory University with a BS in neuroscience and behavioral biology. As an undergraduate, I knew that I wanted to lead a life serving others through their medical needs, thus I pursued various volunteering opportunities at local hospitals. During my third year of college, I discovered the career of CAAs and immediately became interested in the field. After shadowing CAAs, I knew that this career would be rewarding and more than fulfilling. When I learned about the MSA program at Case Western Reserve University, I knew that I had found the best program that would train me to become a trustworthy and dependable CAA. I am grateful and excited to become a student in Case Western Reserve University's MSA program!

Amy Song

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I graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2015 with a degree in biology. I had always been fascinated by the application of science through medicine and patient-centered healthcare as a whole, and it had been my intention to pursue medical school upon graduation. Having grown up in New Jersey, I had never heard of the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession; it wasn't until I had considered roles outside of physician that I had discovered CAA. Shadowing anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists helped me to realize that the CAA profession would be a great fit. Incorporating and utilizing a wide range of disciplines, the profession is intellectually demanding, and the perioperative setting allows both patient contact and a challenging OR environment. Working as an anesthesia technician since graduating has only furthered my motivation to pursue anesthesia as a profession, and has helped me gain additional experience in the field. Personally, I am also excited to experience all that a diverse city such as Houston has to offer, especially in the visual and culinary arts. In short, I am extremely grateful to continue my educational and professional journey here at Case Western Reserve University’s MSA program, and I look forward to a fulfilling future as a CAA.

Kathryn Toole

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I was born and raised in Houston, TX. As a pre-veterinary student at Texas A&M University, I graduated in 2014 with a BS in animal science. Upon graduation, I began working as a veterinary technician while I awaited the start of veterinary school, and came to the conclusion that a career in veterinary medicine was no longer what I wanted. I knew that I wanted a career in the healthcare field and began to research my potential choices. Fortunately, a family friend informed me of the Case Western Reserve MSA program. After several shadowing experiences, I decided that a career as a CAA was the perfect fit for me. I am so grateful to be a part of this program and look forward to this opportunity.

Mi Chelle Wang

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I graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a BS in biology. I am determined to be part of a healthcare team after my family was painfully impacted by cancer. I wish I could help other people through the hardest times in their lives just like those who offered us help and comfort. I learned about the field of Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants through a friend who is working as a registered nurse. His ultimate goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Due to a different academic pathway, I decided to look into the CAA profession. After some thorough research, I was intrigued by it. I knew I would enjoy a rewarding career that will provide me with a balanced lifestyle and the satisfaction of helping people in need. I am honored to be part of this wonderful program and I am eager to learn everything about being a CAA at CWRU!

Nina Yu

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I am from Jacksonville, FL, and graduated from Emory University with a BS in biology and a BA in music. I spent the next few years in research, receiving a Master's in biology and working at MD Anderson and Baylor College of Medicine. However, I knew I craved a career with patient interaction, and looked for alternative options. I first learned about the MSA program from a family friend. Upon further research, I realized that a career as a CAA satisfied my passion for service, healthcare, and patient interaction. My shadowing experience taught me that the most effective CAA serves as an advocate for the patient, especially when they are under anesthesia. Being able to combine my passion for service with my clinical experience has solidified my desire to become a CAA. I am grateful to have discovered a program that allows me to pursue my interests, and I am prepared for the next step.