Class of 2024 Biographies

Nicole Ackerman l Cleveland

I grew up in a small farm town in Northern Illinois and graduated from Marquette University class of 2021. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences. I have always had a passion for healthcare and initially thought I was going to attend PA school, but it didn’t quite seem to be my calling. I spent my sophomore year reflecting on my past experiences, figuring out what I valued in a future career, and seeking out opportunities to shadow different health care occupations. I shadowed two different CAAs and immediately fell in love with the profession. It was the culmination of all my favorite experiences I had had to date. All of my favorite college courses and subjects were the foundation of anesthesia, CAAs work within an awesome team, and I love being in the operating room (it is such a unique setting). I chose Case Western Reserve University because of its long-standing history of training great CAAs, vast connections, and early clinical exposure. I am very excited to begin gaining experience in the operating room and studying everything there is to know about anesthesia!

Anthony Baldridge l Cleveland

I graduated from Juniata College with a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics. Shortly after graduation, I enrolled in Case Western Reserve University’s Graduate program for physics where my research was focused in the area of theoretical condensed matter physics. After completing a master’s in physics, I began teaching at Notre Dame College and two years later transitioned to an independent high school in Northeast Ohio where I have been a math and physics instructor for the last 13 years. While I immensely enjoyed my time in the classroom, I always felt a pull to work in healthcare. I completed my prerequisites during my summers and was planning to apply to medical school. By chance, I discovered the field of certified anesthesiologist assistant and was immediately drawn to the team dynamic and the ability to work with patients directly. Having already attended Case Western Reserve University for graduate school, I knew that Case Western Reserve University was where I wanted to be. Case Western Reserve University's history of effectively preparing its graduates to excel in the profession and their history of being at the forefront of this field was an additional plus to me. Though this is a career change for me, I look forward to applying my experience working with the team in the operating rooms and helping patients feel at ease.

Armando Barron l Cleveland

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI where I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received my bachelor’s degree in Biology. In undergrad, I spent time volunteering and working in different clinical settings, which showed me the importance of teamwork in healthcare and confirmed my desire to work in a position with a patient-facing role. I then continued my education at the Medical College of Wisconsin where I earned my master’s in Medical Physiology. Growing up, I was always fascinated with the operating room, but I never really knew if there was a role in the OR that best suited me. During my master’s program, I was introduced to the CAA career path by one of my classmates who was going to enroll at CWRU after the completion of our program. After doing some research on the profession and spending some time shadowing, I fell in love with everything I learned and was able to cement this as the career path I want to pursue. I am excited to begin at CWRU because of the strong core and specialty rotations as well as the early access to clinical training at some of the top medical facilities. I am thrilled to learn at CWRU, and soon, play a significant role on the anesthesia care team!

Christina Brown l Washington, D.C.

I received my bachelor’s degree in Radiography from York College of Pennsylvania in 2015. During my clinicals, I developed a passion for my rotations in the OR. I came to be most fascinated by the administration and maintenance of anesthesia which piqued my interest in pharmacology and the mechanisms by which these various medications worked. It was this precise interest that led me to my current work as a pharmacy technician. When I was finally introduced to the CAA profession, I was excited to find a career that would combine my experience in healthcare with my long-time dream of working as an anesthetist. To have the opportunity to be a part of this program, there truly are no words to describe my excitement. I can hardly wait to begin. 

Marcus Bryant l Austin

My vision to work in healthcare grew against the backdrop of frequent trips to the hospital that I endured as a child. This vision stuck with me throughout grade and high school and became a tangible reality upon entering college at a small liberal arts school called Blackburn College. At Blackburn, I developed a close-knit relationship with my health profession's advisor/mentor, who steered me towards discovering the ideal health profession that matched my particular skills and interests. Through lots of shadowing and a summer healthcare program, which enabled me to go behind the scenes of a medical school's program to gain valuable insight, I narrowed my career decision to the CAA profession. The CAA profession seemed to be the perfect cocktail of patient interaction, case involvement, and work-life balance. In addition, CWRU's promise for student success and fast-tracking its students into direct clinical learning made it the ideal MSA program for me.

Daniel Carrillo Gonzalez l Cleveland

I was born and raised in a small town called Santo Domingo de Los T'sachilas, Ecuador. During my childhood, I was exposed to folk medicine that has been carried on by my ancestors. My grandma, for example, was the healer of my small community. She was knowledgeable about a variety of medicinal plants, herbs, and traditional treatments for certain diseases. Perhaps this is how I first became interested in the medical field and set my goals to come to America and pursue a career in medicine! My dream came true when I was 20 and I was able to attend Brigham Young University in Idaho to earn my Bachelor's degree. During my sophomore year, I met a friend who was a CAA, and I immediately fell in love with this profession. One of the things I enjoy most about working with and for people is interacting with them and learning about them. I am eager to learn from the outstanding faculty at Case Western Reserve University and from all my classmates.

Iulia Ciesnik l Washington, D.C.

I was born and raised in Constanta, a city on the shores of the Black Sea, in southeastern Romania. I immigrated to the United States in 2006, and have lived in Denver, Colorado ever since. I graduated from the University of Denver with both a BSBA and a Post-Graduate Certification in Project Management. I first became aware of my strong interest in medicine when I was a junior, only to finally be able to follow my calling many years later, when I made the decision to go back to school, with a view to ultimately pursue an MD. I discovered the CAA profession after having worked in an endoscopy lab, where I was fortunate enough to interact with many physician anesthesiologists. After having shadowed in the OR on several occasions, I realized the CAA route was the perfect career path for me. Not only does it satisfy my interest in a more procedure-oriented field of medicine, but it also allows for high-level clinical reasoning through real-time applied physiology and pharmacology. It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to be associated with CWRU and continue a path of excellence in training the best anesthetists. 

Maria Correa l Houston

I was born in Colombia and moved to the United States at two years old where I was raised in the great city of Houston, Texas. From a young age, I remember having a special inclination toward the sciences, and as I grew older, so did my passion for healthcare. I attended Texas State University and earned my bachelor's degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry in 2019. My involvement in healthcare organizations and volunteer service throughout college allowed me to further explore the world of medicine from a closer perspective. Because of this, I discovered the CWRU MSA program and truly believe that my personality and skill set would be a perfect fit. The level of communication, attention to detail, and respect toward the patient in the operating room fascinates me and has led me to recognize that my personal and professional aspirations align well with the profession. During my free time, I enjoy trying fun restaurants and spending time with my loved ones. I feel blessed and excited to start this new journey of becoming a CAA and grateful to be able to do so in the city that watched me grow!

Alex Croes l Austin

I grew up in Houston, Texas, and received my Bachelor's Degree in Biology at the University of St. Thomas in 2022. Being so close to the Houston Medical Center, I developed a deep appreciation for medical professionals and this is the primary reason I chose to work in healthcare. While pursuing my degree, I worked as a teaching assistant, a tutor, and led a research group testing novel M.tuberculosis inhibitors. My time working in a lab that was associated with oral and intravenous drugs led to an interest in methods of administration and, in turn, the CWRU CAA program. Working as a CAA will fulfill my wish for some patient interaction with a significant amount of time in the OR administering drugs and monitoring vitals. The work-life balance offered by becoming a CAA is also something I seek in a medical-based profession. I am particularly excited about how quickly we will experience technical skills in a clinical setting through CWRU. 

Kylie Davis l Cleveland

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts and a major in Biology from The College of Wooster. In addition to my studies, I also played soccer and was a writing assistant. I initially began my journey on the pre-medical track, but soon realized that being a physician was not for me. I then began exploring other opportunities in the healthcare field. I discovered the CWRU MSA program when working at Southwest General Hospital as an intern. I got the opportunity to work in many different departments at the hospital during my internship, and quickly became interested in the CAA profession when shadowing. I was drawn to this profession because I enjoyed the idea that the CAAs got to see and experience a variety of different cases. I was particularly interested in the MSA program at CWRU because I like the idea of clinical teaching starting early on during the program. The CAA profession will allow me to build a large skill set in medicine while also working closely with patients. I am grateful for this opportunity to study anesthesia at Case Western Reserve University!

Morgan Davis l Washington, D.C.

I graduated from the University of Utah with bachelor’s degrees in Health, Society, and Policy and Psychology. Initially planning on attending medical school, I immersed myself in a variety of healthcare experiences. I was first exposed to the administration of anesthesia during my time as a veterinary technician on an in-patient care team. I became fascinated with the physiology of anesthesia as I learned how to administer, monitor, and recover patients. Moreso, I was inspired by the care-team model and the variety of cases within anesthesia. Upon shadowing an anesthesiologist in the OR, it was his ability to instill trust and confidence in his patients in such a short time that captivated me. Further looking into the practice of anesthesia, I discovered the CAA profession. For the first time, I felt as though I found an educational career path perfectly suited for me. The early integration of clinical education, diverse patient population, and opportunity to apply my undergraduate education by advocating for the profession in legislation is why I chose CWRU and Washington, D.C. to pursue my CAA education. I am thrilled to be a part of an institution at the forefront of the field, working alongside top professionals. The CWRU MSA program is often referred to as a family. I’ve felt at home since my first experience with the program and I am beyond excited to be a part of it as they train me to become a highly skilled anesthetist.

Elena Dean l Cleveland

I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in cellular and molecular neuroscience. I have worked in a veterinary clinic since I was 16 years old, and through the years, I found myself looking for any excuse to assist with surgery preparation and recovery. I was captivated by the technicality, team-oriented nature, and perceived “magical” quality that had defined my exposure to anesthesia. My undergraduate experience only reinforced my interest. While I initially had plans to attend medical school, I had continuously struggled to feel that the path to becoming a practicing physician, and the life that followed, aligned with my personal and professional goals. I happened to find out about the CAA profession on social media the summer before my last year of undergrad (thank you, TikTok), and following a quick Google search, I was introduced to the MSA Program at Case Western Reserve University. As a Cleveland native, I am no stranger to the prestige and excellence of CWRU, and immediately began the process of applying. While perhaps unorthodox, my background in veterinary medicine has exposed me to a number of the many facets of patient care, granting me the perspective to recognize the CAA profession as one that aligns with my personality and aspirations. I feel truly honored to be a part of the 2024 class and cannot wait to begin my journey toward becoming a CAA! 

Ruchi Desai l Washington, D.C.

I grew up in Columbia, SC, and graduated from the University of South Carolina with my degree in Public Health. Soon after, I started working as a Medical Assistant and quickly realized that I thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on aspect of healthcare, especially observing and assisting with minor procedures in the clinic. After working as a MA, I took on different opportunities such as volunteering with AmeriCorps and working in philanthropy but found myself missing the direct patient care and interaction as well as the fast-paced environment of medicine I thrived in. I spent time speaking to current and former CAAs as well as shadowing and found myself resonating with these experiences as they talked about how much patients trust and depend on their care and the ability to be both autonomous and work with the care team. I knew that being a certified anesthesiologist assistant is the career path I want to pursue. I am extremely excited to be pursuing my dream to become a CAA with CWRU in Washington, D.C. 

Nicole Doksa l Cleveland

I was born and raised (mostly) in the Cleveland suburbs. After high school, I decided to study biology and psychology to pursue my interest in science and medicine. I graduated from Cleveland State University in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Psychology. Being the oldest of three children in a single-parent household, I learned to appreciate the rewarding feelings that originate from caring for others. Throughout my time shadowing and volunteering in the hospital and surgery settings, I learned that every health care professional plays an essential role in providing optimal care and patient safety. In an effort to explore an intriguing career in the medical field, I began working as a pharmacy technician and later received my certification. I was introduced to the CAA profession by Dr. Chang, an anesthesiologist, who allowed me to observe a CAA. I was enthralled that the CAA was dedicated to providing the patient with comfort, as well as relieving their pain and stress every step of the way—before, during, and after the surgery. After learning about CWRU’s MSA program, I was immediately intrigued by the emphasis on early hands-on clinical training and the closeness to home. With my substantial number of hours spent shadowing and working as a pharmacy technician, I am confident that I am pursuing the pathway of my desired dream. Most importantly, I am eager to provide individualized support to my patients as a CAA at their most vulnerable time of need.

Jacob Ebright l Cleveland

I am originally from central Ohio but moved to Cleveland to complete my undergrad at Case Western Reserve University. While attending CWRU, I completed the education and training to become a firefighter, EMT, and paramedic. My education to become both an EMT and later a paramedic included completing clinicals. One of the clinical rotations that was most impactful was my OR clinical, where I spent most of my time with certified anesthesiologist assistants. The experience of being alongside certified anesthesiologist assistants gave me a firsthand look into the profession while completing hands-on skills. I was able to see the unique ability that these healthcare providers have in order to take care of patients who are unable to care for themselves through the combination of clinical skills and cognitive knowledge. The need to be effective in completing clinical skills while applying an understanding of physiology, which is what I enjoy about working as a paramedic, draws me towards the certified anesthesiologist assistant profession. CWRU MSA program is distinguished from others due to its clinical requirements beginning early in the program and the faculty who bring years of clinical and academia experience. For this reason, I look forward to the opportunity to return to CWRU to attend the Master of Science in Anesthesia program!

Tyler Eckel l Houston

I attended The University of Texas at Austin and obtained a degree in biology and Spanish. During the last few semesters of my bachelor’s degree, I also completed training to become a licensed paramedic. Following graduation, I began working full time as a paramedic providing 911 emergency medical services in the county that I grew up in. In 2020, I transitioned to a full-time position as a flight paramedic. In this position, I worked with a flight nurse partner and responded via helicopter to high acuity patients that were determined to need to be flown from the scene of their emergencies to major trauma hospitals and medical centers. We also performed interfacility transfers for critically ill patients requiring specialized care such as invasive hemodynamic monitoring and maintenance of specialized equipment such as intra-aortic balloon pumps. I was first exposed to the CAA profession while I was in the OR performing intubations to keep up with my required procedure numbers. The CAA that I was with was extremely intelligent and passionate about his profession. Some of the profession’s aspects that interested me most were the responsibility of the anesthetist to act as a patient advocate and the complex knowledge of physiology and pharmacology that is required. This experience ultimately led me to pursue the CAA profession as a career five years later. I am excited to continue to learn and work in an interdisciplinary healthcare setting and to continue to advocate for the patients I care for.  

Katie Emmert l Washington, D.C.

I enjoyed a wide range of classes during my undergraduate studies. I think exploring coursework in computational sciences helped to round out my interest in medicine and make important connections within the sciences. Getting to see the application of classes in medicine while working in the hospital was really encouraging. I found a lot of interest in the pharmacology side of medicine and the advancements in research at the level 1 surgical facility I worked in. This definitely sparked my interest in pursuing a career in anesthesia. Coming from a non-practicing state, Iowa, I was excited by the opportunities that being a CAA presented. This seemed like the perfect fit for me and all my interests, a career I could be passionate about and excited to grow in. I’m looking forward to starting my path at CWRU in Washington, D.C., and getting more involved in the operating room! 

Bouthiana Fathallah l Cleveland

Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, I graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia where I earned my Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and minors in Biology, Chemistry, and English. During my tenure, I attended a fellowship in Portugal at Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra and divulged my curiosity of the health system by shadowing multiple specialties. My favorite rotation was the Central Operating Block where I learned about the surgical team and anesthesia’s crucial role in preventing patients from feeling pain and distress, permitting operations to be completed safely. By the end of my fellowship, I knew I wanted to study anesthesia. Later on, I shadowed a certified anesthesiologist assistant at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s in Ohio where I learned a great deal about anesthesia, the history and expansion of the profession, and spoke to current and former CWRU MSA students, and noted the qualities that make up a CAA. By advocating for patients, CAAs play an essential role within the anesthesia care team. They mentor student AAs, sculpting the new generation and continuously bettering themselves with new information every day. Throughout my own schooling, I have led by being a voice for students as a Presidential and Social Media Ambassador, have been a team player with Alpha Chi Sigma, was a teaching assistant, and take pride in forever being a learner. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants wholly exhibit such united qualities that harmonize together in the making of a successful health provider, and I cannot wait to be a part of it as a CWRU MSA student.

Logan Fettig l Houston

Like many others, I started my undergraduate degree aspiring to become a Doctor of Medicine. It was as I continued my education at Western Michigan University, majoring in Biochemistry, that I started to question my ambitions of a career as an MD. Up to that point, I had spent time working as a Patient Care Technician (PCT) on an acute rehabilitation unit and as a Cardiology Scribe Ambassador. As a PCT, I spent numerous hours working one on one with patients and learned the joy of observing a patient's recovery. As a scribe, I worked directly with some of the best cardiologists in Michigan and gained a true appreciation for the work ethic of a physician. It was through these positions that I knew that I was destined for a career in the healthcare field, but I was not sure where. It was after completing my undergraduate degree and working at a contracted research organization in the immunochemistry department, that I discovered the profession of CAA. I was fortunate enough to spend some time shadowing anesthetists and was thoroughly fascinated by the work done in this field. In this profession, one enjoys a pleasant mixture of patient interaction and practicing anesthesia.  I had finally discovered a home in healthcare. I am beyond grateful and overly excited to begin my career as a CAA at CWRU, Houston

Carolina Fitzpatrick l Austin

I was born in South America but moved to Corpus Christi, Texas when I was eight years old. Having an inclination to become a physician, I was on a pre-med route in college and then graduated from Texas A&M in Corpus Christi with a Bachelor’s in Science (Biomedical Sciences). Living in a small town, I was not truly exposed to the variety of healthcare fields or pre-allied health professions in high school nor college, so I had no idea the CAA profession was even out there! After graduation, I moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and it was there that I discovered the role of CAAs (after I met two professionals in the anesthesia field). It soon became clear that the lifestyle and responsibilities of a CAA is one that is very fitting to my own goals and career aspirations and so I applied immediately to Case Western Reserve University Master of Science in Anesthesia program. With much excitement, I was accepted into the MSA program in Austin. As a Texas native, I am excited to be a pioneer in the Austin location and honor Case Western Reserve's rigor and excellence in preparing professionals for the medical field. 

Harsimran Gill l Houston

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I took a keen interest in studying the human body and its many functions throughout my academic journey. The rigors of this educational program pushed me out of my comfort zone as a student and helped me become more resilient. I was exposed to the field of healthcare by working as a Certified Nursing Assistant. I have had the privilege of caring for various populations through my work, including pediatrics, oncology, and senior patients. My passion for providing patient care and the biological sciences led me on a path to discover the career of Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant. The ability to help patients get through surgery safely and comfortably while also getting the opportunity to work in a collaborative care team environment is what excites me the most about this profession. I am looking forward to attending CWRU and becoming a competent provider who can change my patients' lives for the better. 

Megan Halloran l Cleveland

I am from Brunswick, Ohio which is a suburb of Cleveland. Since I was young, I have always had an interest in science and medicine. I attended college at The Ohio State University where I majored in microbiology and minored in public health with a specialization in epidemiology. I aspire to have a career where I can translate the fascinating concepts I learn in school to practical applications. I love that working as a certified anesthesiologist assistant will allow me to do just that. I have experience working as a pharmacy technician which sparked my interest in patient care and motivated me to pursue an advanced practice career. I was drawn to attend Case Western Reserve University because the program’s mission is to train the best anesthetists in the world. I am honored to have the privilege to learn here and look forward to living up to that mission. 

Caitlin Hatten l Washington, D.C.

I grew up in Cincinnati, OH, and graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I have always been interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. My passion for medical education and research has been fueled by my previous experiences as a research assistant in neurosurgery, and now it continues to flourish within the field of anesthesiology. Being a Clinical Research Assistant in the Department of Anesthesiology has been challenging but rewarding, as it allows me to contribute to research while also being on the forefront of innovation in patient care. It is hard to choose one specific experience that encapsulates my favorite moment; however, after spending most of my days in the OR and working directly with the anesthetists, I have witnessed the greatest level of professionalism and empathetic patient care in such a stressful environment and I knew that is what I wanted to be a part of. I am excited to translate the patient care, interpersonal, and communication skills I’ve learned as a research assistant into my new role as a CAA.

Alexander Herald l Cleveland

I started my undergraduate career at Grand Rapids Community College and finished with a degree in Human Biology at Michigan State University. I have always been interested in the sciences as they were courses that did not have a lot of essays like in English class. It was a culmination of events throughout my education that exposed and prepared me to pursue a career in healthcare as a certified anesthesiologist assistant. From volunteering at McLaren Hospital to studying abroad in Australia and taking part in multiple autopsies at Blodgett Hospital. Working as a nurse technician while at Spectrum Health Heart Center has given me an insight into patients in a hospital setting and it is an environment that I enjoy. Being a part of CWRU's Master of Science in Anesthesia program is an honor and I look forward to getting in the OR within the first few weeks. I am excited to meet my fellow classmates and professors. 

Emily Huang l Washington, D.C.

I was born and raised in Monroe, NC. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2021, where I majored in biology. During my undergraduate studies, I did research at several molecular biology labs and was strongly considering going to veterinary school. However, I realized that I was not well suited for animal care, so I started looking at other options in the human healthcare field. I took a class about exploring healthcare professions and learned about certified anesthesiologist assistants. With this curiosity in mind, I looked for shadowing opportunities with a CAA at a local hospital. Although shadowing was postponed because of COVID, the enthusiasm of all the CAAs I spoke to about their jobs motivated me to apply. When I was finally able to shadow, what I saw in the operating rooms confirmed that this profession fit into what I wanted to do and made me excited to start at CWRU. The rigorous didactic curriculum and clinical rotations are reasons why I’m thrilled to be attending the MSA program in Washington, D.C.

Epstein Jacob l Austin

I graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science- Kinesiology and a minor in Psychology. On campus, I was an Advancement Ambassador and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Throughout college, I worked as a Medical Assistant at Long Point Medical Center, Research Assistant at the Center for Neuromotor and Biomechanics Research, Toddlers’ Yoga instructor, Kumon Tutor, Apartment Leasing consultant, and a store associate for Aldi. During my days off, I enjoy calligraphy, drawing digital art, and working pro-bono as my dad's interior designer for his freelance construction company. Between my odd jobs and hobbies, I realized I loved connecting with people of various ages, acclimating to new situations, and learning from them. Like many, I stumbled onto this field by chance. I attended an Intubation lab conducted by Case Western Reserve University student AAs, at UH’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a premedical honor society. I shadowed at Memorial Hermann and on my first day, I knew I found a field that uniquely combined my love for art, science, and people and felt even more confident in being a future certified anesthesiologist assistant. It is a profession that requires artistic finesse for intubation, utilizes leading advances in medicine and science, and demands a genuine desire to connect with people to help ease any anxiety they may feel post or pre-surgery. I am excited and humbled to start the road to this journey at the prestigious CWRU MSA program, advocate for the profession at the state capital of Texas, and have hopes to share my love for learning and science as an MSA instructor in the future!

In-gyun Jung l Washington D.C.

As an Exercise Science and Kinesiology major at the University of Kansas, I was able to participate in numerous courses that emphasized anatomical and physiological concepts, particularly Clinical Exercise Physiology. Connecting what I have learned from the classrooms to my future career, I came to the conclusion that the field of Anesthesia suits both my interest and personality very well. As preparing myself to become a future CAA, I had a chance to shadow an anesthesiologist in St. Joseph, MO. During one of the pre-ops, I encountered a patient who was not able to converse in English at all. After this encounter, I was determined to enter this field to assist any Korean-speaking residents in the US who might have a hard time effectively communicating due to their limited English with my bilingualism. I am excited to continue my education at CWRU in Washington D.C. and am looking forward to being an essential part of the field of anesthesia!

Matthew Khuong l Austin

As an undergraduate at UT Dallas, my most significant experience was when I shadowed a certified anesthesiologist assistant. This young patient suffered from heart failure and before the operation, I vividly remember the patient’s father whispering words of encouragement in her ear. He was trying so hard to be strong for his daughter. When the patient was wheeled away, the sight of the father’s tears backed by an expressionless face burned a place in my memory. When we arrived at the OR, it took 3 different anesthetists to place the arterial line due to the multiple cysts around the insertion site. To make matters worse, the patient had a history of tolerating anesthesia poorly during surgery. I felt very anxious during the whole surgery. However, seeing the anesthesia care team function as a cohesive unit really amazed me. The entire anesthesia team was there to help during complex cases. Thankfully, the surgery was a success. When the patient woke up from anesthesia, words cannot describe how overjoyed her family was. This was when I knew that becoming a CAA was right for me. What excites me most about this profession is how hands-on and instant the results are. For me, doing procedures in the fast-paced environment of the OR while staying calm and composed is just so cool. I’m striving to become that cool one day. Lastly, I’m ecstatic to be part of the first class at CWRU Austin! It’ll be a thrilling adventure that will set the precedent for the following classes to come.

Colleen Kniely l Cleveland

I grew up in Westlake, Ohio which is a suburb of Cleveland. I attended the University of Dayton and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Science and a concentration in Integrative Physiology. Growing up, I did not have any family members that worked in healthcare, so the medical field was not something I was exposed to. I became interested in anesthesia after I took anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology classes and found that I was fascinated by the complexities of the human body and how its structures function together. This led me to seek out shadowing opportunities in healthcare where I was able to shadow a CAA. Being inside the operating room as well as on the labor and delivery floor was something I had no idea I would enjoy or become captivated by. During my first shadowing experience and others that followed, I was mesmerized by the abilities of modern medicine, particularly the role that anesthetics were able to play in life-changing procedures and the delivery of babies. My undergraduate college experience was rigorous and challenging, but I was able to develop strong study habits and close relationships with my professors which I believe have fully prepared me for the MSA program. I have always been an individual that loves to learn and prefers to work with others, therefore I am ecstatic to be a part of a care team that prides itself on continual learning as well as collaboration among doctors, nurses, CAAs, and more. I am grateful for the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skillset that will allow me to provide patients with the highest standard of care. It is an honor to be part of the MSA Program at Case Western Reserve University and I cannot wait for the experiences the coming years will bring. 

Maryna Kovalchuk l Houston 

I grew up in Ukraine and earned my Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from Dnipro State University of Chemical Technology. Despite my education being mostly related to chemistry, my work experience is in the banking field. I worked in several positions, including project manager, in a bank and I got the chance to cooperate with many people from different walks of life. Over the years of my work experience, I have built up skills in collaboration, time management, leadership, adaptability, and effective communication. In my personal life, I have experienced many medical procedures, several surgeries, as well as being under various types of anesthesia, which made its input into my genuine passion for inpatient care and acute cases in medicine. After having moved to the U.S. I decided to make a transition to the healthcare profession. Learning about the MSA program ignited my enthusiasm for the CAA profession, so I started to work on my application to CWRU, whose MSA program has a strong set of values in healthcare and medicine as well as caring about their students and alumni. The CAA program at CWRU provides extensive training with an unparalleled affiliate network that will prepare its students to serve patients in various cases. I love Houston for its diversity and kindness, and I'm excited about the opportunity to serve this amazing community by providing the highest level of healthcare. 

Michael LaForce l Houston

As a non-traditional student with prior service in the Navy, I'd say my undergraduate experience was a blast at both Lone Star College and the University of Saint Thomas located in Houston. I did a five-year tour as a hospital corpsman, where I worked in multiple medical departments. I always had an inquisitive nature for medicine, but my passion was enhanced while serving countless marines, sailors, and dependents. Through these experiences, I decided to pursue medicine as a career. I was initially planning to pursue an MD, but after the birth of my daughter, I decided I needed a medical career that could provide me with a work-life balance while still pursuing my passion for medicine. After consulting with my HPAC advisor, I was introduced to CWRU's MSA program and the anesthesiologist assistant field. With further research into multiple CAA programs, I knew CWRU's MSA structure would provide me with the best opportunities to leverage my inquisitive nature, passion for medicine, and military medical experience to aid my peers and support my professors. Furthermore, this program will foster the environment I need to elevate my understanding of anesthetic medicine. Coupling these factors together, I know I will become a competent and well-disciplined CAA, ready, willing, and able to support my future anesthesia team's patient-centered goals.

Un Chan (Sam) Lee l Austin

My undergraduate experience at the University of Texas at Dallas was solely focused on pursuing a profession in dentistry. Initially, serving patients as a registered dental assistant was fulfilling but it was not long before I noticed the repetitiveness of dentistry and ventured into other health care fields. Throughout my life, balancing work and school shaped a work ethic that I believe will help keep me accountable going forward in the MSA program. During my free time, I enjoy volunteering or connecting with others through sports, but there is a special place in my heart for medical missions. Thus, I hope to eventually reach underserved communities both at the local and global level through the skills I hone as a certified anesthesiologist assistant. Ultimately, I believe that through the many challenges, my opportunity at CWRU will further develop not only my character but also professionally as I continue to serve others.

Michael Leung I Austin

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry. During my time in Austin, I gained exposure to different facets of patient care: assisting the underserved population of downtown Austin as an undergraduate clinical director at the C.D. Doyle Clinic, working as a medical scribe, and shadowing different specialties at St. David's Medical Center and Dell Children Medical Center. Following my time in Austin, I attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Although I did not complete my medical school education, I am grateful to have discovered my interest in anesthesiology through several rotations at Clements University Hospital. I was fascinated by how every anesthesiologist and anesthetist diligently set up their monitors and meticulously lined up syringe after syringe of analgesics, paralytics, reversal agents, etc. With every case, I gained an increasing admiration for how they calmly navigated each procedure by precisely combining technical skills with applied pharmacology. I am excited to be a part of the CWRU MSA program in Austin because I strongly believe I will be able to effectively develop my clinical skills from day one, while also learning how to contribute to the CAA profession's growth within the state capitol.

Ethan Li l Austin

I am from Houston, Texas and I graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology. As an undergrad student, I followed a pre-med pathway, because I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but I didn't know what specialty I wanted to pursue. One summer I got the opportunity to shadow a CAA and decided anesthesia was the perfect fit for me. I believe that Anesthesia is a great field because there are a wide variety of cases and there is instant gratification when helping a patient. Case Western Reserve was my first choice to obtain my education in Anesthesia because of the many clinical rotations locations and the opportunity to get clinical experience earlier than other programs. As a CAA I am excited to use my knowledge obtained by CWRU and my passion for helping others to make a lasting impact on people's lives.

Derric Lutsko l Washington, D.C.

I was born in upstate New York, but moved frequently throughout my childhood due to my family's military background. Initially, I entered college clueless as to what career path to pursue, but quickly uncovered a passion for medicine and the human body. I graduated from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL with a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences. Through countless hours of volunteering and working as a certified phlebotomist, I learned how crucial teamwork, effective communication, and compassion are for effective patient care. I was able to observe several specialties during my internship in Zagreb, Croatia, including many surgical procedures. It was during my summer abroad that I fell in love with the OR environment and developed a strong connection with the specific role anesthetists provide. The experience ultimately helped me realize exactly which direction I wanted to take, and when I learned about certified anesthesiologist assistants, I knew this was how I wanted to pursue my love for medicine. Case Western Reserve was my first choice for MSA programs because students receive OR experience from the start and gain insight into the multiple subspecialties the field has to offer. I am grateful for this opportunity to further my education at CWRU, and look forward to becoming a valued member of a much larger patient care team.

Nicholas Ly l Austin

I was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio until I moved to Chongqing, China in 2012 where my eyes were truly opened to how large the world is. In 2016, I moved back to Ohio and soon after, began studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Biology at The Ohio State University. My undergraduate experience was a change to say the least. After moving back from China, I felt that I had retreated into my introverted shell for the rest of high school, but then came college. Undergrad allowed me to find what it is I am passionate about and take huge steps towards discovering who I really am inside. I believe these character developments in addition to the more rigorous academic conditions of college in comparison to high school have prepared me very well for the MSA program by improving my work ethic, communication, and problem solving skills among many other things. The aspect of the profession that excites me most would absolutely have to be the fact that I get to play a role in potentially changing someone's entire life. This and the multitude of procedures I will be allowed to observe have me thrilled to get started. However, when it comes to studying at CWRU MSA, I would say that I am most excited to finally learn something I am passionate about. My interest in fitness translates perfectly into this line of work as I will be expanding my abilities to help others improve their lives. Although quite different at first glance, fitness and anesthesia both allow one to improve their lives drastically.

Kayleigh Lyon l Houston

Being born and raised in Houston, Texas introduced me to the medical field early on, especially since my mother is a physician. I had the opportunity to shadow her and her colleagues, which inspired me to pursue a career in healthcare. I attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Society. During my undergrad, I continued to follow my passion for medicine by volunteering at the hospital and working as a behavior technician for children with autism. After graduating, I worked for a healthcare software company managing implementation projects for customers across various medical specialties. In this role, I solved complex problems by collaborating with my coworkers and customers. I was immersed in the business side of medicine but started to miss direct patient care. After doing some research, I came across the MSA program at CWRU and knew it was the perfect fit. I am excited about the hands-on learning that CWRU offers, the early OR exposure, and the chance to be back in the city where I grew up. I know the program will prepare me to employ creative solutions to challenging situations and work as a team to deliver the best patient care possible.

Evi Malone l Cleveland

I grew up in Effingham, Illinois, and studied Integrative Biology Honors and Chemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I knew that I wanted to work in healthcare ever since I became a CNA at a memory care facility. Through shadowing, pre-health organizations at UIUC, and other clinical experiences, anesthesia had always caught my interest. When I found out about the CAA program through research and speaking with other anesthetists, I knew that this would be the perfect path for me. The things that excite me most about this profession are working as a team in a surgical setting, work-life balance, and the variety of cases that anesthesiologist assistants work with. I am especially excited to study in Cleveland at CWRU because of their roots and success with this program. I want to help grow this profession through the MSA Program in Cleveland and I am very excited to be a part of the class of 2024! 

Lucas Martin l Washington, D.C.




I was born and raised in Colorado. Growing up, I thought the human body was absolutely fascinating. I also thoroughly enjoyed science and team sports. This led me to pursue a degree in Chemistry at the University of Northern Colorado. While in college, I was involved with a non-profit Christian organization where I was able to mentor other students through their college careers and lead various service trips. Through this, I learned how much I enjoy helping others. Through a few random encounters and jobs, I came across the CAA program and realized it was a perfect blend of chemistry, helping others, and working as a team. I look forward to being part of the anesthesia care team to provide the best patient care possible. I am excited to take my talents to CWRU in Washington, D.C., and be a part of this historic program!







Jasmine Marwan l Austin




I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After high school, I moved to San Antonio and earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I played on the women's soccer team for two years which taught me hard work and resilience. From my classes I gained so much knowledge and being a student athlete, I gained many valuable skills such as time management, teamwork, and responsibility. I believe with these skills, my knowledge, and shadowing I will have great success in the CWRU MSA program. I have always wanted to go into the medical field since I was little. I grew up surrounded by pharmacists in my family, I always enjoyed watching them help others and learning about pharmaceuticals. As I grew up, I realized I wanted something more hands-on and balanced with pharmaceuticals. I had never heard of the certified anesthesiologist assistant profession until my organic chemistry TA told me about it. I was very excited after learning about the program and began my own research, shadowing, and speaking to current CAA students. I quickly realized this was the profession I had been searching for my whole life and gave me that perfect balance I had been searching for. I think it is so fascinating to be able to make a patient feel safe, take their pain away, and be their protector in the operating room. I have always felt fulfilled when I can relieve others of pain, both emotionally or physically. I chose Case Western Reserve University MSA program because they are highly respected and their students are the best of the best, and this is exactly how I want to be considered as a CAA.







Angela McCluster l Austin




I am originally from the south side of Chicago. In this area, medical disparities are abundant. Growing up, I knew that the medical field would be my contribution to urban cities lacking medical resources. In order to complete this goal, I first enrolled at the University of North Texas (UNT), where I received a B.A. in psychology with minors in chemistry, biology, and Spanish. UNT allowed me to develop my personal goals, while also finalizing my core values and who I want to be. At the top of my list of values is relationships. My love for cultivating relationships and working in groups is what initially piqued my interest in the anesthesia care team. After attending the informational seminars with CWRU, it was immediately evident how much passion and devotion each student had towards the field and program. I knew that I wanted to feel this same way about the graduate school that I attended. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to grow at CWRU in Austin, TX. I am excited to learn from not only the professors and anesthesia providers but also my fellow classmates.







Marki Meadows l Cleveland




I was born, raised, and currently reside in northeast Ohio. I earned Associate of Art and Associate of Science degrees from Cuyahoga Community College in 2019 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science from Cleveland State University in 2020. I have worked in healthcare in some capacity since before starting university and throughout my undergraduate education. My first glimpse into the role of a CAA was during my hours shadowing in the operating room. After researching the profession, talking to current CAAs and students, and interviewing with the program staff, I felt an excitement and resonance I had yet to feel with any other program or prospective profession. I am truly honored to be attending the MSA program at CWRU. I look forward to a robust career as a CAA and plan to advocate for the profession far into the future.







Amanda Mekota l Cleveland







I am a native of Cleveland and grew up in a suburb 20 miles southeast of the city. After graduating high school and attending college for one year, I decided that life experiences would be a more productive way for me to gain knowledge. Over the last several years, I have had a career as a hairstylist. Despite all the wonderful experiences, community involvement, and amazing people I have encountered in my profession, I did not feel fulfilled as a stylist. I realized I wanted a career that would provide me and my son with financial stability, a good work-life balance, and interactions with others. I decided to go back to school and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Cleveland State University. After doing some research on the CAA profession and talking with friends and family who are in the medical field, I shadowed in the OR and couldn't get enough.  I love the environment of the OR and working collectively as a team. As a certified anesthesiologist assistant, I not only want to perform my job safely, effectively, and with excellence, but also to be a supportive and comforting presence to surgical patients in their vulnerable moments. I am truly honored to have been chosen to be a part of this program at CWRU and look forward to becoming a CAA as well as advocating for the profession!







Matthew Moen l Houston




Being an athlete, meant inevitably sustaining injuries along the way and being treated by different healthcare providers. These experiences made me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine to help guide patients and give them hope. This led me to major in biology and minor in analytical chemistry for my undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. After graduation, I worked as a medical technician for the next 3 years to gain medical experience. My passion for learning continued to grow, inspiring me to obtain my Master of Science in Biology degree at the University of Houston. My favorite classes were Integrative Anatomy & Physiology and Clinical Biochemistry because I learned how the body should function in a variety of conditions. These classes sparked my interest to pursue a career in anesthesiology and I'm excited to start studying at CWRU in Houston because of the early clinical exposure and the ability to learn from some of the best CAAs. I look forward to applying all that I have learned through my academics and experiences in my future career as a CAA.




Steve Nagy l Cleveland


I completed my undergraduate degree in Respiratory Therapy at The Ohio State University in 2018. Since then, I have been working as a respiratory therapist in a cardiovascular intensive care unit at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. My experience managing ventilators as well as my frequent trips back to the operating room is what introduced me to the role of an anesthetist and eventually led me to pursue a profession as  certified anesthesiologist assistant. I am excited to begin this journey at Case Western Reserve University and learn what it means to be part of the anesthesia care team. Learning about anesthesia will be a great way to build upon my knowledge of the cardiopulmonary system, as well as apply my skills with a ventilator in a new way. I have always been passionate about positively impacting the lives of others in a healthcare setting, and becoming a certified anesthesiologist assistant will advance my skills and enable me to continue to make a difference in helping others.




Teresa Nguygen l Houston


I graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor in Science in Biology and a Minor in Psychology. I published a research article as an undergraduate research assistant in a Behavioral Neuroscience lab and was an officer in Alpha Epsilon Delta National Pre-Medical Honor Society. Most of my time was spent volunteering and fulfilling my leadership duties as an officer while focusing on my academics. My vast undergraduate experience prepared me for the MSA program by developing my skills to excel in the rigorous curriculum. As a certified anesthesiologist assistant, I will implement these skills I developed to give the best hands-on, direct patient care that excites me about this profession. I'm thrilled to be studying at CWRU MSA, where they give their students exemplary didactic and clinical training to become the best anesthetists. 



Benjamin Nguygen l Washington, D.C.


My path through personal and professional development has taken many turns, but each facet of my journey has led me ever closer to anesthesia. My undergraduate experience at Virginia Commonwealth University allowed me to oversee student organizations that improved the quality of healthcare in the developing world and provide support to local communities while I furthered my interest in pharmacology through research on the blood-brain barrier. My bachelor's degrees in biomedical engineering and physics as well as my minors in chemistry and mathematics guided me through medical hardware engineering, patient care coordination, and healthcare patent prosecution roles. These varied phases of my life have not only provided me with a strong quantitative foundation but have also taught me lessons on compassion, improved my ability to make quick decisions under stressful circumstances, and expanded my perspective on the state of medicine. Combined with my strong interest in anesthesia science and an innate desire to provide relief to patients, I believe the traits I honed through my experiences have prepared me for the rigors of Case Western Reserve University's renowned MSA curriculum, and for the demanding but rewarding Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession that lies beyond.  I am excited about the direction my journey has taken, and am grateful to be a part of the CWRU family!  When I am not engaged in coursework, I can be found tinkering with electronics, playing the piano, or admiring the outdoors.



Osman Noueiry l Washington, D.C.


I'm a Lebanese-American that grew up in St. Louis, MO. I've been interested in chemistry since I was a kid, and knew I wanted to find a career that made use of chemistry knowledge for a long time. Following high school chemistry, I settled on majoring in the subject at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In addition to the chemistry degree, by May 2022 I will also receive a degree in music. Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I started taking piano lessons in early elementary school. Now I focus on flute performance for my degree, and have recently started exploring music production as a hobby. I'm looking forward to using my chemistry knowledge and communication skills from music to become an excellent anesthetist through CWRU's MSA program in Washington, D.C. 



Sabrina Oh l Washington, D.C.


Growing up in Reno, Nevada, I always had an innate desire for a career in healthcare, but I never saw myself as a doctor. My experiences shadowing nurses as a high school student and with my own physicians helped me realize how much I value quality care and patient advocacy. I chose to pursue a degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology while at the University of Nevada, Reno because I knew it would be rigorous and give me a strong understanding of the intricacies of bodily functions. During my tenure as a pharmacy technician, I got to see first-hand the effects and purposes of pain management. It wasn't until my senior year that I found out about the CAA profession. As someone who values pain management, patient advocacy, and contributing to positive patient experiences, applying to CWRU MSA was a no brainer. I am really looking forward to learning the clinical skills of the profession and becoming a member of this growing field!



Rebecca Oree l Washington, D.C.


I'm originally from New York but have lived in Florida for most of my life. I loved the Florida weather, beaches, and historical district so much that I decided to get my bachelor's at the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!). I majored in Biomedical Sciences and had two minors: one in Psychology and another in Humanities. During my time at USF from 2018-2022, I was able to participate in extracurriculars, my favorites were Boost and Bulls for Kids. One of my favorite pastimes is volunteering, and throughout my scholastic career, I've volunteered at Tampa General Hospital, The American Red Cross, LifePath Hospice Care, and for USF Health (at COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites). One of the most enriching professional experiences I've had would be my journey to becoming a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), and completing an externship at BayCare Health. My personal, scholastic, and professional experiences have led me to the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession, a field focused on care, collaboration, comfort, and connectivity. CWRU's vision of academic impact, innovation, collaboration, diversity, altruism, and stewardship has motivated me to apply, and I am excited to implement what I learn into my professional career. My goal in life has always been to help others, studying to be a CAA at CWRU will allow me to achieve this, whilst interacting with a diverse group of people and collaborating/learning from other medical professionals!




Benjamin Orr l Washington, D.C.


I started my undergraduate experience at a community college. At that time, I was interested in going to medical school to be a physician. I worked as a physical therapy technician to get clinical experience and started taking my prerequisite courses. After two years, I transferred to Madonna University. During the summer of my junior year in college, I began to study for the MCAT. During this time, I began to reflect more on the path I was going down. I didn't want to spend another eight or so years preparing for my career, and for some reason, I'd been telling myself it was something I had to do. As I was reevaluating, I got an email advertising the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at Case Western Reserve University. I investigated the career and quickly realized this was the better option for me. The program here at Case Western Reserve University is excellent, and I'm confident my education is in good hands. I'm very excited to be part of a team dedicated to saving and improving people's lives. I have a deep interest in human physiology that ties in closely with my interest in healthcare. What could be more interesting than the study of the organ systems that keep us alive and applying the related science in the operating room? For me, the answer is nothing, and I think a career as a certified anesthesiologist assistant will allow me to explore and be surrounded by this interest of mine.  





Jared Osei l Washington, D.C.


I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and since I was a young child I always had an interest in medicine and the human body. That passion led me to graduate from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor's degree in Pre-Med Health Sciences with a minor in Biology and Psychology. Like many others, I had the goal of attending medical school; however, after shadowing a few physicians and even applying, I realized that there could be other things out there for me. I began to work as a pharmacy technician for over four years. While working as an OR pharmacy technician at Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center, I came across a student AA. After speaking and shadowing her, I learned this could be the perfect profession for me, combining my love of medicine and pharmacology. With more research, I realized certified anesthesiologist assistant was the perfect career for me, especially with the wide range of cases that CAAs participate in as well as working with others in the anesthesia care team model. I am very excited to start this journey and to collaborate with my peers to provide the best possible care for our future patients! 





Michael Pasquale l Cleveland


Growing up in a suburb in Cleveland, Ohio, close to CWRU, I have always known what a prestigious school it was and have valued learning about their programs. After graduating high school, I followed in the footsteps of the rest of my family and attended The Ohio State University, where I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. By encountering rigorous coursework and many team projects while completing my undergraduate degree, I feel confident that I'm well prepared for my upcoming years in the CWRU MSA program. As I navigated through undergrad, I became open to learning about all the possibilities within the medical field. I began shadowing and talking to people in different fields to narrow down my options and I eventually concluded that the CAA profession was right for me. The quick timeline between completing school and being able to practice really drew me to this program. This profession allows me to work in a team setting which is something that I thrive in. I am very excited to start my journey in the field of anesthesia at Case Western Reserve University! 



Dhwani Patel l Washington, D.C.


Growing up, I always enjoyed helping those around me feel better whether it was physically, emotionally, or mentally. In high school, I shadowed and volunteered with different specialties which ultimately led me to pursue the pre-PA route in college. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Biology and a minor in Spanish, I began working as a medical assistant under a PA in dermatology. During this time, I found myself questioning my pursuit because of how quick and repetitive the patient interaction felt. However, I found myself gravitating towards the hands-on aspect of my job such as assisting in excisions and other procedures. Plagued by indecision, I turned to colleagues and family who encouraged me to look into the CAA profession. A little research showed me how closely this profession aligned with my personality and desire to serve others. Upon shadowing, I fell in love with the OR and the idea of being able to use my hands to make an observable impact on a patient during some of their most vulnerable moments. Not to mention, the diversity in cases I saw that day guaranteed a career with no boring days. I've learned about Case Western Reserve University's incredible reputation through colleagues and former students and I'm looking forward to training with the best! What excites me most about this profession is its novelty and our ability to mold and expand it, and I can't wait to explore this opportunity at CWRU! 



Dulari Patel l Washington, D.C.


I was born and raised in India, immigrated to the United States in 2017 and have lived in Atlanta, GA ever since. I graduated from Georgia Gwinnett College with a bachelor's in science, with a major in general biology. Being raised in a country with severe healthcare disparities, motivated me to work in healthcare. During my senior year as an undergrad, I got the opportunity to work in the ER as a medical scribe where I heard about the certified anesthesiologist assistant profession, which gave me a new perspective on healthcare. I interacted with multiple CAAs about their experiences and was amazed to learn about their role and how they work together in an anesthesia care team model. CWRU was my top choice as it provides early clinical exposure and hands-on experience. I am very thrilled to start the MSA program in Washington, D.C., and to learn from the best faculty and staff. By becoming a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant, I hope to help patients during their most vulnerable times.



Kajal Patel l Washington, D.C.


I graduated from East Carolina University in December of 2021 with a degree in Public Health and minors in Natural Science and Science. Going into college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare field. Taking public health classes really allowed me to strengthen my viewpoint on medicine and how immense and important it really is. When I came to know of the profession as a certified anesthesiologist assistant, I knew right away it was something that interested me. I knew that as a certified anesthesiologist assistant I wanted to gain the knowledge to make a clinical impact in the most vulnerable moments of life by helping those who cannot help themselves and breathing for those who cannot breathe on their own. Throughout college, shadowing and further research about the profession only solidified my decision that this was the career for me. Due to my ample healthcare experiences, research about the profession, many hours of shadowing, and passion for medicine, I was undoubtful that I was ready to dedicate my life to a career as a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant. I knew Case Western Reserve University MSA Program was the school for me when I heard about how respected they are and I knew that is how I wanted to be viewed when continuing my journey to become a healthcare professional.



Caitlin Phan l Washington, D.C.


I was born and raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from the University of Virginia in the winter of 2021, majoring in Biology. I have always found interest in the medical field because I saw firsthand how medical professionals helped my family through various health conditions. I wanted to be able to help people in a practical manner. I sifted through different potential jobs and was introduced to the CAA profession by my mom's friend. After substantial research about the career, I took interest in how as a CAA, I would be able to interact and help patients before, during, and after operations that may leave them feeling scared and vulnerable. Furthermore, I liked that I would be able to go into different specialties such as pediatrics, which is something I have a lot of passion in as well. The desire to become an anesthesiologist assistant became a motivating factor for me throughout my undergraduate career. I am incredibly excited to start this journey at Case Western Reserve University and be one step closer to my dream. 



Kenzie Poetzel l Cleveland


I was born and raised in Menomonee Falls, WI and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2022 with a degree in Genetics and Genomics and a certificate in Global Health. From a young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. I wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember, but as I proceeded through undergrad I realized that wasn't the path I wanted to take anymore. I decided to take a job during my last year of undergrad at UW Hospital as an anesthesia tech which is where I found out about the CAA profession. While working alongside CAAs, I realized this career encompassed everything I looked for in a profession. I am able to pursue my passion for medicine and patient care, while still being able to fulfill my personal and professional goals. Given CWRU's reputation for training the nation's best CAAs and the opportunities they provide to succeed, it was an easy decision. I think my academic experience at Madison and my brief exposure to the world of anesthesia will allow me to be successful in this program. I am so excited to begin my journey of becoming a CAA and am honored to be a member of the CWRU community.



Vineet Reddy l Cleveland


I was born in Dehradun, India where I lived for a few years before moving to Toronto, Minneapolis, and eventually Cleveland. In Cleveland, I earned my Bachelor's degree in Biology at John Carroll University. After graduation I joined the Masters in Bioinformatics program at the University of Toledo; during this time I was a research assistant in the Neuroscience department where I studied epilepsy using computational modeling techniques. This experience spurred an interest in neurobiology which is closely related to many anesthesiology procedures. Through volunteering and shadowing at hospitals, I enjoyed the fast-paced work environment and being able to comfort patients in a direct way. After shadowing a student anesthesiologist assistant from Case Western Reserve University, I knew that their clinical instruction was excellent and fit my learning style. I am grateful to have been accepted into the MSA program and am looking forward to these next 2 years!



Tyla Risucci l Washington, D.C.


From Watertown, Connecticut and going to Elms College for my undergrad, I always knew I had a passion for biology, but was unsure what to do with it. During my sophomore year I traveled to Pavia, Italy to shadow in the operating room, and it was there I fell in love with anesthesia. From there, I focused on finding a program that would push me to be the best I could be. During my time as an undergrad, I was a starting softball player and a team captain, which shined a light on my ability to work in a team setting and helped me discover my passion for leadership. These are skills I plan on carrying over to the MSA program at Case Western Reserve University and in the field as a CAA. I am most excited about the flexibility of working as a CAA, how each case differs greatly and how each body system is integrated into anesthesia. I look forward to different rotations to find my specific passion (currently I am leaning toward pediatrics). Lastly, I plan on integrating my passion for advocating for the underserved to increase their medical knowledge and provide every patient with equal treatment opportunities.





Lauren Rupe l Washington, D.C.


I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska but grew up in Seattle, Washington. After graduating high school, I moved to Maryland to attend the University of Maryland. I graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor's degree in neurobiology and a minor in Spanish. During my undergraduate career, I worked in an emergency room as a medical scribe. This was the first experience that made me certain I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. After I graduated, I worked as a medical assistant at a dermatology office for a year. During my time working in dermatology, I realized that I wanted to work in a more fast-paced and high acuity environment. I learned about the CAA profession from a college classmate and was instantly intrigued. I chose CWRU because of the outstanding curriculum and great location. I enjoyed spending time in DC during college and am excited to continue exploring the city. In my free time, I like working out, cooking, and trying new restaurants with friends. I also enjoy doing intramural sports like volleyball and kickball.



Shailu Savarimuthu l Houston


I grew up in California, Florida, and Tennessee before settling in Georgia at the start of sixth grade. From there I went on to graduate from UGA in May 2021 with a degree in Cellular Biology. While I did enjoy and learn immensely from my undergrad research, I knew that I did not like the constant trial and error that was required with doing research. And even though, it was mostly independent work, I did enjoy the teamwork we had while perfecting our procedure. So, I went back to medicine which at this point had always been on the back burner. I spent one summer shadowing an internal medicine specialist and an interventional cardiologist. I was surprised to say the least, that the two doctors I saw had very different lifestyles and journeys to get where they are now. And, unfortunately, neither careers were interesting nor appealing to me. After attending a health fair, I discovered the CAA profession, after much research I started on my application. But I really enjoyed what the profession entailed after shadowing one, the teamwork within the OR environment and anesthesiologist, amount of patient care, and quicker route to becoming a CAA really sealed the deal. And I knew CWRU was the right program for me with their emphasis on early OR exposure and didactic/clinical experience made me feel secure that CWRU students are well prepared for their careers. I am beyond excited to join and be a part of this growing profession!



Michael Scott l Austin


My move into medicine came late in the game after graduating from The University of Texas with a degree in Economics and Linguistics in 2019. After graduating I knew I wanted to pursue medicine but at the time was primarily interested in PA. I began working as an EMT while taking pre-req classes at community college. I learned about the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession from one of my colleagues and applied only a few months later. I was instantly drawn to the scope of practice and the type of work that CAA's engage in. I really enjoy technical work and love working in high stakes environments, which I expect to find in spades in this career. It's a great honor to be able to learn and practice among such an outstanding group of students and faculty. 


Mohina Singh l Cleveland

I am from Michigan and have lived there my entire life. I graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science in public health and university honors. After graduating, I took a gap year where I got to travel, spend more time with friends and family, and work in a pharmacy where I learned a lot about drugs/medications. I found out about the program and profession through social media and applied to CWRU's program because of its excellent reputation, being a part of a top medical school, students' early exposure to the OR, and the supportive and approachable faculty. I want to become a CAA because you get to work as a team to protect an individual during one of the scariest and most unpredictable times of their life. I also love the work-life balance being a CAA offers because it allows me to have time for my hobbies such as traveling, interior decorating, and having fun with friends and family. I am so excited to be a part of the CWRU MSA program and become an excellent CAA!

Hanna Siwik l Washington, D.C.

I graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in neuroscience and a minor in fashion & retail studies. During my time as an undergrad, I knew I wanted to work in the medical field but still have the opportunity to take on different roles in teaching and leadership. After shadowing during a few winter breaks, I decided that I really enjoyed the operating room setting and researched more about the certified anesthesiologist assistant profession. Anesthesia has been described to me as a balance of art and science, which I found intriguing because my previous job as a senior fashion stylist at Stitch Fix used both art (styling) and science (algorithms). Originally I am from a small town outside Cleveland, Ohio but I chose the CWRU in Washington, D.C. because I was super excited to learn more about contributing to the growth of the profession and wanted to explore outside Ohio. Looking forward to learning with my classmates to become CAAs that positively impact patients' lives and further the profession as a whole.




Rachel Smith l Washington, D.C.




I was born and raised in Chantilly, Virginia, a suburb outside of Washington, D.C. I graduated from Virginia Tech in December 2018 with two degrees, one in Biological Sciences and the other in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. Due to a chronic childhood illness, I was very familiar with the healthcare setting, and for the majority of my life, I believed I wanted to become a medical physician. After graduation, I began working as a Clinical Technician at INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital to gain patient care experience and see the world from the view of a healthcare provider. In early 2020, our first COVID-19 patients came through the door and my world turned upside down. The next year and half seemed like a complete blur and tested my capacities to an unimaginable level, but I am thankful for the experience and learning opportunities I had working on the frontline, especially those that pushed me to learn about the CAA profession. When I found that CWRU had an MSA program in Washington, D.C., everything "clicked" and fell into place. I am very excited to become a CAA; I am confident it will provide a great balance between the scientific and technical aspects of medicine that will keep me mentally stimulated and the direct patient care aspects of healthcare that I have a passion for. I feel very honored to take part in the next class in CWRU's MSA program! 



Matthew Snow l Washington, D.C.


When I heard about the certified anesthesiologist assistant career, I thought it was too good to be true! I am so excited to work in a team environment and focus on caring for patients in the perioperative setting. Through 4 years of Air Force ROTC at Baylor University, I was able to develop my passion for protecting people and being a part of something bigger than myself. I am eager to work with and support the other CWRU MSA students who share this passion as we all strive to learn and grow into the best CAAs we can be. I have heard there are many similarities between anesthesia and flying a plane, and I look forward to joining the amazing program at CWRU MSA as we get our wings!



Bryce Swift l Houston


I received my bachelor's degree in music education from Baylor University in 2015. After working for several years in public education in Houston, Texas, I knew I wanted to have a greater impact on my community. I went on to complete my premedical sciences at Columbia University in 2020, with the intention of entering a career in healthcare. Having learned about the CAA profession, I knew this was the career I wanted to dedicate myself to. I look forward to having an integral part in the care of my future patients while collaborating with my colleagues under the Anesthesia Care Team Model. I am excited to return to Houston and begin my training at Case Western Reserve University. Here, I will be able to learn at a well-established program and continue to impact the community in the Greater Houston area.



Sami Tabbara l Washington, D.C


I grew up in Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Business Administration. My interest in healthcare first started in high school when I had the opportunity to attend a summer program at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The program helped me gain a better understanding of the various careers in healthcare, as well as the chance to meet with a wide variety of healthcare professionals. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, I later learned about the profession of a certified anesthesiologist assistant and knew this would be the perfect choice for me. Being a CAA, as a part of the anesthesia care team, and working with patients while providing exceptional care are some of the things that excite me about working in this field. I am also extremely excited and looking forward to taking these next steps in my learning and training to become a CAA at Case Western Reserve University in Washington, D.C.



Michael To l Houston


I was born and raised in the sunny hills of Southern California, perfused with the breezy scent of citrus and surf. An adventurer at heart from my Scouting days, I took the path less-traveled to Fullerton Community College, before finishing my degree in Psychology with Honors at the University of California -- Los Angeles. These experiences endowed me with a servant-leader mindset; as I engaged with my community through a variety of service projects, I found both personal joy and satisfaction in helping others. I loved the immediacy of helping others in real-time, which naturally drew me to healthcare and then to the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession as my best fit. Through the pursuit of my interests, I crafted my multifaceted background as a teacher, eagle scout mentor, medical assistant, powerlifter, researcher, and student senator, which avails me with both the skills and resiliency requisite toward excelling in the MSA program and in the professional advocacy domain that lies beyond. I am incredibly excited to study and become a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant (CAA) through Case Western Reserve University -- an institution world-renowned for its rigor, research, and innovation -- because I am certain my MSA education is on the cutting-edge of anesthetic medicine.  It will eminently prepare me for the sacred privilege of being my patient's guardian angel, guiding them through the trauma of surgery, and protecting them in their most vulnerable moments, as was done for me.



Phi Tran l Houston


I was born in Vietnam where wars left behind an impoverished and backward country. I was raised in a countryside village in which most of the people were farmers. We worked hard from dawn to sunset, six days a week, in order to have enough food and be able to send kids to school. Because of hard labor, ignorance, the lack of basic knowledge about diseases, and poor living conditions, disease and illness were always a threat to us. We tried to cure illnesses with traditional methods. They did not always work. Without insurance and government support, one could easily die because of common illnesses. In June 2019, my one-month old nephew suddenly died because of delayed treatment for a common digestive problem. Furthermore, many Vietnamese people do not have the education or understanding that serious diseases and infections develop from bad habits and unhealthy practices. I came to understand the meaning and importance of medicine, which is to heal, save, and comfort fragile but precious lives. For this reason, I decided to go back to school to work in the medical field. I came to know about the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant program at Case Western Reserve University through a friend who was currently enrolling in the program. I believe the hands-on training and curriculum will help me to achieve my goal. 



Alyssa Truong l Washington, D.C.


I graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor's degree in behavioral neuroscience and a minor in chemistry. During my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to work in a neuroscience research lab where I worked closely with graduate students to analyze inflammatory responses from minocycline exposure. This experience helped me discover that I worked best in group settings where I am consistently engaged and learning simultaneously. Additionally, I became employed at an orthopedic clinic and a psychiatric hospital, where I learned to interact with new patients daily. My two healthcare experiences increased my desire to work in a career where I can provide immediate relief while being a patient care advocate at the same time. The job of an anesthesiologist assistant aligns with my personal goals. While shadowing those who specialized in anesthesia, I instantly became fascinated by the importance of anesthesia in contrasting healthcare settings. I am grateful to have the opportunity to become a certified anesthesiologist assistant at Case Western Reserve University in Washington D.C.



Hien Minh Truong Luu l Cleveland


I earned a B.A. degree for Neuroscience from University of California Riverside followed by the completion of 2 years of medical school at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. I had 3 years of experience in neuroscience/psychological research at Pennsylvania State University during my undergraduate years, as well as many hours working in several clinical settings as a medical student. My work in the clinical setting has reaffirmed my passion for patient care and patient health. I am especially passionate about anesthesiology, and I want to continue to work in the OR setting. My desire to work in the anesthesiology department has led me to master's degree in anesthesiology at Case Western Reserve University. I wish to hone my procedural skills and clinical judgmental skills. At CWRU MSA, I trust that the program can help me be the best anesthesiologist assistant as I can be. I have no doubt that under the care of highly trained and passionate professors, I will be given the best chance to explore the anesthesiology world. I can see my future at CWRU with its clinical support. On my interview day, I was so touched by every single interviewer's support and advice. The support from MSA strengthens my confidence in myself, and I cannot wait to start my future at CWRU. 



Alexandra Trykoff l Cleveland


I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, so I am very excited to be continuing my education in my hometown. I completed my undergrad at the University of Dayton where I received a bachelor's in Pre-Medicine. I initially became interested in the medical field from numerous encounters with medical professionals as a patient. After watching the healthcare team collaborate and work effortlessly together, I quickly realized that was an environment I wanted to be a part of. This then influenced early shadowing experiences with anesthesiologists, giving me the opportunity to observe the entire anesthesia care team in action. The particular member that stood out to me the most from this team of anesthetists was the certified anesthesiologist assistant due to their positive interactions with patients and extensive knowledge base. I am proud to be a part of CWRU's MSA program where I will be learning from talented individuals who will help me grow as a medical professional. I cannot wait to see how these next two years unfold.



Catherine Tsang l Washington, D.C.


As a violin performance major, I spent my undergraduate days practicing, analyzing orchestral scores, and sitting in rehearsals. Given my background, it is a valid question of how my training would translate into the medical field. To deliver a flawless performance, one must master the art of execution, precision, and adaptability: all essential skills a patient expects in an anesthesia provider. During my journey into medicine, I discovered a great love for organic chemistry, the human body, and the human connection. Thus, anesthesia became the natural choice where all my passions collided. It is a great blessing and privilege to learn in the nation's capital, where I can receive both exceptional training and opportunities to make an impact at the legislative level!



Jenna Vance l Cleveland


I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, and from a young age, I had a passion for science. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a vet. I attended Ohio University for my undergraduate education, during which time my interests shifted from veterinary to human medicine. I was unsure of which field of medicine to pursue, so I shadowed various medical professionals. During my shadowing experiences, I found myself drawn to anesthesia. The anesthetists I observed demonstrated not only impressive critical reasoning but also genuine compassion toward their patients. I knew I wanted to be a certified anesthesiologist assistant when I saw this unique interaction that they have with their patients; being with a patient throughout their entire anesthesia experience - that is what I love about this profession! After earning a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, I took a year off of school to work at a Cleveland-based hospital and to apply to programs. CWRU quickly stood out as a front-runner, and after speaking with MSA alumni, students, and faculty I knew that CWRU was the school for me. I am so excited to be a part of this program and to enter such a challenging, yet rewarding, profession!

Anica Winn l Houston

I was born and raised in College Station, Texas home to Texas A&M University. I graduated in May 2022 from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in Public Health- Pre-Medical. Throughout college I worked as an Emergency Room Medical Scribe at CHI St. Joseph Hospital, where I developed a passion for patient care, problem solving, and medicine in general. I also worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at Texas A&M Health Science Center in the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology. This experience enabled me to visualize a different side of medicine and healthcare in the laboratory, which affirmed my interest in pursuing a career that is patient oriented as a part of a healthcare team. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family, friends, and pets. I enjoy playing and coaching volleyball and also riding horses with my friends. When I discovered the CAA career path I was instantly intrigued. This career seemed to have everything I wanted with a direct patient care route, problem solving, and a great work/life balance. I began researching programs and CWRU stood out to me immediately, especially the Houston campus with the close ties to the highly respected Texas Medical Center. Overall, I am excited to start my journey as a future Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant.

Aaliyah Winters l Cleveland

I was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. Throughout my high school years, I found a fascination in healthcare and science. My senior year of high school I began working as a pharmacy technician to get a glimpse into the field. Once I graduated from high school, I began at Ball State University and found myself majoring in Biology, but I still wanted to work in healthcare. On a hunt to find answers, I shadowed at a small surgery center. My initial role was to shadow the surgeon but quickly at the beginning, I noticed a person at the head of the table. This person was an anesthetist, and he dedicated the next 6 procedures to explaining to me the ins and outs of anesthesia. Nine hours later I realized that anesthesiology is something that I am very interested in because I loved how intricate and complex it was. I like to think of anesthesiology as a perfect mixture of biology, chemistry, and healthcare. After intense research of the field, I decided to apply to become a CAA. I did not know much outside of Ball State, so I decided to take a deep dive into what this program has to offer. To say the least, I am hooked and excited to learn more about my passions and to fulfill my goal since high school. Case Western Reserve University's goal is to train the best CAAs, and I plan to strive for that goal every day. 

Joshua Zembles l Washington, D.C.

I grew up outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and graduated with a Biomedical Engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I knew I wanted to pursue something in the healthcare field but did not want to endure the extensive schooling to become a doctor. I started interning at biopharmaceutical companies but then decided that was not what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted more direct patient care. My older brother is a CAA so I knew about the profession. I then got a position as an anesthesia technician at the university hospital. As an anesthesia tech, I was able to understand what CAA's do on a regular basis and was fascinated by what they are able to do. After working for a year I have found that this career path matches my interests. The fact that CWRU's MSA program is only 24 months and to get an early start in the clinical setting was a big factor in my decision to go to CWRU.