Class of 2026 Biographies

Safa Ahmad

Hi CWRU! I grew up in Plano, Texas and graduated from UT Dallas with a Bachelor of Healthcare Studies. Although I enjoyed a variety of undergraduate experiences like studying abroad, working in clinical research, organic chemistry tutoring, and writing end-of-life memoirs for hospice patients, I struggled to find the right path in medicine that would offer the unique blend of science, technology, and human connection that I was looking for. I was introduced to the CAA career path by one of my classmates right before graduation and was instantly drawn to the profession. I spent some time shadowing an anesthesiologist in the OR and was captivated by his ability to instill trust and confidence in his patients in such a short time. I loved the diversity of cases, the opportunity to manage the comfort and safety of patients during the most critical moments of their lives, and the combination of procedural medicine with the intellectual challenge of real-time applied physiology and pharmacology. As a Texas native, I am so excited to study in Austin! CWRU has a long-standing reputation of training skilled anesthetists, and their hands-on and collaborative teaching style has me eager to learn and grow my clinical skills. It is an exciting time to join the profession and I feel beyond grateful to be a part of it.

Uzair Ahmad 

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and moved to the North Dallas suburbs when I was 16. Here, I attended the University of North Texas and graduated Summa Cum Laude with my BA in Biology and minor in chemistry. During this time, I discovered a passion for the biomedical sciences and decided to pursue a career in healthcare. My journey into healthcare began as a Medical Assistant, where I gained valuable hands-on experience in various medical procedures such as injections, IV administration, EKGs, and more. Outside of work and school, I enjoy participating in a range of team-based activities, whether that be coaching middle school kids in basketball or competing on a team in Esports. At CWRU, I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to build on the knowledge I've learned in undergrad, and being able to apply that knowledge to patients. The mix of hands-on skills and critical thinking are what excites me the most about this profession, especially since you are able to see the effects of your decisions immediately throughout the anesthesia process. I am looking forward to starting my CAA journey at CWRU in Austin and becoming a part of CWRU's rich history of quality CAAs!

Dominic Aramini 

I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada, and have always had a passion for learning and problem-solving. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 2019, I embarked on a career as a project engineer. But driven with my desire for a more fulfilling and impactful role in society, I made the courageous choice to pursue my Masters in Anesthesia at Case Western Reserve. Being able to shadow anesthesiologists introduced me to a new and exciting career that fits my strengths and character. I am determined to make a difference in the lives of others and excited about the opportunities that this new path will bring and the potential it holds for my personal and professional growth. I am eager to face the challenges and rewards that lie ahead and look forward to the career that awaits me in the field of anesthesia. 

Caitlin Baker 

I am from Savannah, Georgia, and I graduated from Mercer University with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Growing up, I was exposed to healthcare early through my mom who worked as a nurse at a surgery center that was a walking distance from my school. This is where I first discovered the anesthesiologist assistant career. I was fortunate to attend a college that offered a pre-AA track, which provided me with an outline of general prerequisite classes required by most programs. Taking these classes further bolstered my determination and excitement to pursue a career in anesthesia. Throughout college, I volunteered through my local humane society fostering animals, which allowed me the opportunity to administer medications and vaccines during the pandemic when shelters were short-staffed and aid in the delivery of puppies and kittens. After graduation, I worked for a year as an anesthesia tech in a hospital where I learned about the instruments and equipment used in anesthesia and gained useful skills, such as setting up an arterial line and performing a machine check on the anesthesia machine. Observing and helping CAAs practice on a daily basis offered additional assurance that I wanted to pursue a career in anesthesia. I am so incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to learn anesthesia at Case Western Reserve University in Washington, D.C., and I cannot wait to begin this journey to becoming an anesthesiologist assistant!

Megan Bartoszek

I was raised in Mentor, Ohio, a suburb just east of Cleveland. I attended The Ohio State University and received dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Molecular Genetics and Psychology in 2024. My mom and sister--a registered nurse and physician's assistant--were big inspirations for me to go into the healthcare field and devote my life's work to helping others in any way I could. Nevertheless, throughout my undergraduate studies, I still had a difficult time deciding between pursuing a future career directly in healthcare or in healthcare-related research. Upon learning about the CAA profession and feeling an immediate draw to the balanced lifestyle of the occupation and opportunity to help others within a patient care team, I sought out shadowing experiences that both consolidated and fueled my initial passion. I am incredibly lucky and honored to be able to attend the MSA program at CWRU, where I can learn from the best the CAA profession has to offer and remain close to my family. Throughout my studies and career as a CAA, I look forward to learning and improving my practice every day so I can serve those around me and contribute to the tradition of excellence set by past and present CWRU students.

Deniz Bislimi-Coban

I was born and raised in New York City, and achieved a B.S. in Biology at CUNY College of Staten Island. Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in the human body and wondered how muscles worked. As I grew older, my hunger for knowledge of the human body led me to majoring in Biology and pursuing jobs in healthcare. My passion for medicine grew stronger during my time working as a medical assistant and a scribe, as I aided in providing lifesaving care for patients. I learned that I wanted a career in healthcare where I worked with my hands and played a role during a crucial moment in patients' lives. I was intrigued, as all I ever wanted to do was anesthesia because of my interest in physiology and biochemistry. I later found out about the CAA profession. Shadowing a CAA working on complex cases like an awake craniotomy is what excited me about the profession, as that's what I wanted to do. I am excited to join CWRU as I believe this school will make me the best anesthetist possible. Starting clinical experience earlier than other schools and having a trauma rotation will make me adept in many stressful situations and prepared for any case. I am looking forward to the challenges I will face and the friends I will make along the way.

Isaac Braunstein 

I was born and raised in Mentor, Ohio, a city just outside of Cleveland. Growing up, I was exposed to the field of medicine by my mother, who has worked in the hospital my whole life. From her, I was able to develop an understanding of what being a healthcare professional meant, and my interest in pursuing a career in medicine was piqued. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology with a pre-professional track in Pre-medicine with a minor in Medical Pharmacology from The Ohio State University. While pursuing my degree, I was fortunate enough to work as a Patient Care Assistant at University Hospitals and work as a Home Health aide in Franklin County. From these experiences, along with shadowing CAAs, I was directed to Case Western Reserve University and its MSA program. In addition to the knowledge of CWRU I gained from living in the area, the ability to learn clinically early on further cemented my interest in the program. Not only will working as a CAA fulfill my passion to provide care to others, but it will also provide me with the opportunity to experience diverse medical scenarios within the OR. The CAA profession will allow me to build upon clinical skills while working directly with patients and their families. I am extremely grateful and eager to be a part of the CWRU MSA program class of 2026!

Regan Brown

I studied biology and statistics at the University of Alabama, while also participating in research pertaining to environmental stressors' effect on the endocrine system. This experience provided me with a strong foundation in subjects essential to the understanding of anesthesia. After graduation, I became an Anesthesia Technician at Norton Hospital where I learned about anesthesia equipment and how to deliver quality, compassionate patient care. I have also been working towards getting my pilot's license; flying has given me the ability to maintain composure and communicate clearly in high-stakes situations. I am excited to take full advantage of CWRU's extraordinary teaching and clinical experiences and learn how to be a great CAA that provides patients with comfort and outstanding care. Outside of my professional endeavors, I am passionate about travel- traveling to over 15 countries this year- and volunteerism. I aspire to integrate these passions with my profession as a CAA through participation in mission trips focused on providing anesthesia services to underserved communities after I complete my Master of Science in Anesthesia at CWRU.

Alexis Buske 

I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University as a Biomedical Sciences Major with a Minor in Neuroscience. From the start, my time at TAMU was focused on pursuing a path within medicine. Being the oldest sibling in my family, I've always had a nurturing heart. The medical field is a place where I felt most resonated with these attributes. I pursued my interest through shadowing multiple professions at CHI St. Joseph Hospital and volunteering in the V.O.O.M. Foundation medical mission trip to Nigeria. Anesthesia drew my greatest interest through the ability to presently visualize how medications work with the physiological components of the body, allowing patients to endure something as great as surgery. Not only that, but the CAA profession utilizes my personal strengths of attentiveness, communication, and my desire to have a beginning-to-end interaction with my patients. The Case Western Reserve MSA program excites me because the HTX location allows us to train within the prestigious Texas Medical Center. My interest in becoming the best healthcare professional will translate into being a CAA who makes an impact beyond hospital borders.

Sidney Butler 

I was born and raised in a city south of Atlanta called McDonough, GA. When I was a child, I had a strong interest in medicine because of my amazing pediatrician, Dr. Elaine Youngblood. With this interest in mind, I attended the University of Georgia and received my bachelor's degree in biology and psychology with the intent to go into medicine. During my time at UGA, I had many experiences that allowed me to develop the skills needed to be successful in medicine. I was a member of the cheer team, and this experience allowed me to travel across the country for games and interact with people from all walks of life.  It also developed my teamwork skills (there were 40 of us in the program). I was also a research assistant in an Industrial Organizational psychology lab. While pursuing my degrees I also volunteered at Piedmont where I was first exposed to anesthesia. I was later allowed to shadow an anesthesia team at Piedmont Atlanta where I discovered CAAs. I was drawn to the profession immediately, and after some research, I decided to pursue it. I ultimately decided on CWRU because I loved how early we gained clinical exposure and how there is a reputation for producing outstanding CAAs.

Daniel Byrnes 

After graduating high school from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to play Division I football at Fordham University. Balancing my passion for science with sports proved demanding yet vital in instilling a strong work ethic as well as time management skills. Teamwork, communication, and collaboration are the core values a team must possess to be successful; characteristics that are also valuable in the anesthesia care team. I found solace in learning difficult mechanisms in organic chemistry, which solidified my desire to seek a career that utilizes scientific principles as its foundation. My time as a pharmacy technician and volunteer EMT strengthened my desire to pursue a career in healthcare. I found comfort in easing the anxiety of patients as they received life-saving interventions or medications en route to the hospital. As someone who was always fascinated with anesthesia as it pairs the complexities of the human body with the intricacies of pharmacology, I knew the CAA pathway was the right choice for me. Case Western was a no-brainer as it is not only one of the most prestigious universities in the world, but also has an outstanding network of resources to make the best anesthetists in the field.

Thomas Cammerino

Growing up in the Catskills of New York has greatly facilitated my interest and curiosity to understand holistic health. After dabbling through multiple academic disciplines, it was a no brainer that my fascination most closely aligned with medicine. However, the tricky part was not deciding if medicine was right for me, but rather where in medicine. Throughout my undergraduate experience at Syracuse University, I tried my hardest to take on new experiences and delve into various sectors of medicine. Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I finally stepped foot into the OR on the anesthesia side. Throughout my time in the Anesthesia Department at SUNY Upstate Medical Hospital, I knew that anesthesia was the specialty for me. Discussions of pharmacology and drug dynamics with a focus on procedural work, mixed with instant gratification, I quickly understood that this specialty couldn't be beaten. Through careful self-reflections, I recognized that I wanted to enter a graduate program that focused specifically on the niche aspect of anesthesia along with integrating my medical background/knowledge. Hence, leading me to find the CWRU MSA program. Through my graduate search, it was clear to me that CWRU's MSA program was the most established with extensive resources, an intense curriculum, and a solid community. I am extremely excited and incredibly grateful to move to Washington, DC this spring and start my CAA journey at this phenomenal program. With this, I hope to one day inspire a future anesthesia provider the way previous anesthesia providers have done for me!

Karlee Capko

The path that led me to the CWRU MSA program began in Phoenix, Arizona where I grew up and completed my undergraduate degree. I began my studies at Arizona State University as a premedical student to pursue a career as a physician, but through numerous clinical experiences, research, and my personal journey within the healthcare system I redirected my pursuits towards becoming a CAA. My research that focused on the inflammatory response to exercise was fundamental in my path. I developed a deeper appreciation for physiology that I knew needed to be central in my future career. After completing my degree, I worked as an anesthesia tech for a major children's hospital which solidified my passion for anesthesia and my future career. After doing substantial research I decided CWRU's program was my priority because they offer a wide variety of clinical sites that cater to all specialties and a didactic approach that I feel will best prepare me for my career. I am proud to be a part of CWRU's MSA program in Austin due to their extensive history and involvement in anesthesia.

Daniel Carlson

I was born and raised in West Virginia and graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in mechanical engineering. After working in the engineering field for several years, I realized my passion lies in healthcare. I began working as an EMT and eventually learned about the anesthesia care team. Several experiences shadowing CAAs reinforced my admiration of their profession, and I was even able to draw many parallels between anesthesia care and the practices and principles I had developed as an engineer.  While speaking with the CAAs I shadowed and their colleagues, I regularly heard excellent praise about Case Western Reserve University's program. This quickly shot the program to the top of my application list, and I am so excited and honored to have been accepted! I look forward to developing my anesthesia knowledge and skill set in the diverse range of hospitals afforded by Washington, DC.

Ricardo Castellon

I'm a Houston native who had the pleasure of attending Rice University to pursue a Major in Biosciences with a concentration in Biochemistry. As part of my coursework, I found myself heavily involved in medical or research-focused classes, heavily leaned towards the advancements in disease treatments. Outside of my courses, I worked on-campus as a research assistant in both an entomology and marine biology lab, where I would propose, test, and write procedure manuals for future undergraduates. I also worked as a facility manager for the recreation center, handling patron concerns while working with the students on the Operations staff to ensure every task was being done on time. I volunteered at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in the emergency department, and it was during that time in which I realized that I wanted to pursue a career focused around patient care. After hearing about certified anesthesiologist assistants, I began looking into shadowing experiences. My research led me to learn about the CWRU MSA program. Learning that the work focused on team-communication, procedure-based decision making, and direct patient care that required me to have a cohesive understanding of multiple fields helped me realize it required the exact skills I had been garnering throughout my undergraduate experience. I've had the wonderful opportunity to shadow some CAA's and have confirmed that this was the path for me. I'm excited to be an MSA student in such a well-established program and look forward to the journey ahead!

Ai Che

I grew up in Vietnam and moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for college at 18. After graduating from University of Washington with a degree in Biochemistry, I worked as a clinical research assistant for a COVID lab in Seattle for 2 years. While I loved doing clinical research, I realized direct patient care is more fulfilling for someone who likes something more hands-on and a fast-paced environment. So, I got certified in phlebotomy and nursing assistance and started working at Tacoma General Hospital to gain more healthcare experience. When I found out about Anesthesiologist Assistant, I hopped on a plane to other states to shadow CAAs because Washington state didn't pass the bill for them to practice there yet. During shadowing, I was awed by how the CAAs were so in tune with the machines and responsive to the patient's altering needs that anesthesia seemed as much an art as it is a science. Since then, I knew I wanted to be behind the drapes and work in that collaborative setting with other healthcare professionals. I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend the next two years at CWRU in Washington, DC and look forward to learning from everyone, especially the patients I would have the privilege of providing care to.

Andy Chiu

After living almost all my life in Austin, I attended Texas A&M University to major in biomedical sciences. During my undergrad, my love for medicine continued to grow through classes as well as during my time as a research assistant at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. Being on the pre-medical track, I had gone through many of the steps on my way to become a physician. One of which included shadowing and I was thankful enough to have spent many hours in the OR. It was here where I found out about the CAA track and began to do some more research on it. I quickly realized that the CAA profession is what I had wanted out of a career. During my time shadowing, I loved the different types of cases as well as managing and providing the comfort and safety of the patient.I am incredibly excited and grateful to be studying at CWRU MSA Austin as a part of the class of 2026!

Priscilla Chun

Growing up between the U.S. and South Korea and living away from my family since high school, I learned firsthand the value of asking for and offering help with genuine care and attention. My gratitude for the support I received has naturally inspired me to extend the same kindness to others. While studying biochemistry at the University of Florida, I became fascinated by the crucial yet silent role of CAAs who offer foundational support to the patient and the surgical team. I have learned that helping others can take many forms, whether as a volunteer, photographer, friend, or even to strangers. However, it is the direct and lasting impact CAAs have on patient care that truly motivates me to pursue this profession. I look forward to learning and growing alongside my peers at the CWRU MSA program.

Gillian Cook 

I grew up in Akron, OH, where I attended Akron Early College High School and earned my associate's degree during high school. I then earned my bachelor's degree from Cleveland State University in Health Science with a minor in Philosophy. I've been passionate about having a career in healthcare since early on in high school. My goal and interest in the field has always been to be an advocate for patients in whatever way that I can. The CAA profession caught my attention due to its combination of chemistry, physiology, and pharmacology as well as having the opportunity to work in the operating room every day. Growing up in the area, I've always wanted to study at CWRU due to its reputation of prestige and I finally get to live out my dream of doing so. I became fascinated with the profession when I shadowed for the first time, I knew I would be a good fit. As a server, I came to realize I possess a natural ability to multitask, handle stressful situations, communicate, and pay attention to detail. I look forward to expanding on these qualities and using my experiences and applying them to anesthesia throughout my journey to becoming a CAA!

Ezekiel Coss

I did my undergraduate studies at Texas State University and also played collegiate football during my time there. I believe the student-athlete balance allowed me to juggle many responsibilities while keeping high standards both on and off the field. Sports has been deeply rooted into my learning, whether it be visualizing scenarios or constantly perfecting a craft through repetitions, I have always dedicated my efforts to being successful in things I am passionate about. Being able to work with many different people has allowed me to understand the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and trust in your peers. I believe all these qualities will allow me to be successful in the field of anesthesia and be a reliable teammate in the operating room. What excites me about this program is the immediate hands-on learning that we receive weeks into starting the program. I believe that the best way for me to learn is through experience and Case Western Reserve is able to provide that kind of training within the first semester of arriving on campus. I am an extremely task-oriented person, and the field of anesthesia lets you see all your hard work come to fruition with every patient. It's a blessing being entrusted with someone's well being throughout a surgery; although the job of an Anesthesiologist Assistant may be a high pressure profession, being able to see a patient successfully recover after an operation is one of the most rewarding things you can see.

Madeline Dalton

I grew up in Lorain, OH, and graduated from Amherst High School in 2019. I then pursued my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at The Ohio State University. Here, I found that I had many interests, including working directly with children and families as a patient care assistant in both physical and behavioral health and advocating for equal access to healthcare in the local community. After looking thoroughly at possible career choices, I accepted a position as an Anesthesia Technician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center to gain experience in anesthesia and the operating room. I quickly realized my love for anesthesia after witnessing other providers' passion for this career and the unique and challenging nature of being an anesthetist. I am most excited to become a CAA because I believe that direct patient care and advocacy is my true calling. Throughout my life, I have always heard that Case Western Reserve is a highly esteemed university and to say that I am excited and proud to be a part of this program is an understatement. I am looking forward to the extensive clinical experience and knowledge that I will gain from both the educators and other students in the MSA Program.

Eliane de Jong

My journey into the world of anesthesia was sparked by a personal experience in my freshman year of college. Just prior to undergoing my first hip surgery, I had the opportunity to engage in conversations with the anesthetists about their roles and responsibilities. These discussions ignited my interest in anesthesia, as I became captivated by the intricacies of their work and the critical role they played in my care. Additionally, my two and a half years as a teaching assistant for human physiology at the Ohio State University deepened my fascination with and knowledge of the complex mechanisms of the human body, further preparing me for the academic rigors of Case Western Reserve's Master of Science in Anesthesia program. With my blend of personal experience with anesthesia, a passion for patient care, and a keen interest in the inner workings of the human body, I am excited to embark on this journey at CWRU's MSA program. Studying at this program particularly excites me because of its esteemed reputation for excellence in education and clinical training. I am eager to learn from the amazing faculty and engage in hands-on clinical rotations that will further cultivate my ability to become a skilled and compassionate certified anesthesiologist assistant.

Matthew Desiderio

Hello! I am from Long Island, New York and obtained a B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics from SUNY Geneseo. My interest in the medical field and anesthesia stemmed from a school trip to the National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C. when I was in high school. Learning about the introduction and advancements of this field inspired me to immerse myself and see if it was a good fit for me. I was able to shadow an anesthesiologist for almost two weeks during my first summer break in college, which was all the confirmation I needed that anesthesia was what I'm passionate about. I was attracted to the CAA profession due to the work life balance while still being able to make a positive impact on others in some of their hardest times. On top of my studies, I volunteered as an EMT and played on the school's club hockey team during the last three years of undergrad, where I learned important time management and teamwork skills. After obtaining my degree I have worked for almost two years in an operating room as a perioperative assistant and spend as much extra time as I can learning everything I can about the profession from the anesthesiologists there. I am excited to study in Washington D.C. where I was introduced to the profession and use this background to become the best CAA that I can be.

Chelsea Djedi

I graduated from the University of South Florida where I majored in Biomedical Sciences and Behavioral Healthcare on the pre-med track. At USF, I gained significant research experience, clinical exposure, and a strong scientific foundation. After graduation, I decided to take a gap year to pursue additional professional and life experiences. I moved abroad to France and worked in education for a period of time. While living abroad, I developed a profound appreciation for careers that offer a healthy work-life balance, allowing for both career satisfaction and personal pursuits. Upon returning from my year abroad, I explored alternative career paths outside of becoming a physician. Since I was already interested in the field of anesthesia, I spent time observing at the UF Health Jacksonville Department of Anesthesia. The blend of physiological understanding and pharmacological knowledge showcased by the CAA while serving as a patient advocate and comforter left an indelible mark on me, confirming that this career path aligned perfectly with my aspirations. I am thrilled to attend Case Western Reserve University to pursue my master's in anesthesia. CWRU is renowned for its rich history and distinguished faculty. I am eager to learn and be part of an institution with a legacy of producing highly skilled CAAs.

Andrew Ewing 

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Throughout my undergraduate years, I had the wonderful opportunity of entering the medical field through optometry and surgical shadowing. These experiences allowed me to grow my leadership skills, problem-solve through teamwork, and strengthen my passion for personable and equitable medical treatment for all patients. My interest in anesthesia began when I shadowed a series of orthopedic surgeries in the summer of my sophomore year of college. Since then, my passion for anesthesia has only continued to grow. I believe that anesthesia is often misconstrued as a routine procedure that is the same for all patients. Rather, anesthesia is truly much more complex and fascinating as the care and needs of each individual patient are truly unique. Each patient requires precise attention to details and the utmost priority for wellbeing. I chose Case Western Reserve in Houston because I believe the faculty and students demonstrate this commitment to patient care. Entering the OR early, working in one of the largest and highest-rated medical centers in the country, and gaining experience across the specialties of the anesthesia field solidified my choice to attend CWRU. As a CAA, I will use my knowledge obtained at CWRU to employ my passion for providing the best care to each patient specific to their needs. 

Mia Franchville 

I was born in Brownsville but spent most of my childhood on the outskirts of Houston, Texas. I found my community within the city, where I enrolled at the University of Houston to study Biology for my undergraduate career. I helped teach the importance of community health to third ward high school students through my community service organization, Honors in Community Health (HICH), and worked as a medical scribe in the Emergency Room at Memorial Hermann. During this time, I spoke to physician assistants, surgeons, and pharmacists about the different specialties I could pursue in medicine. Although I have encountered CAAs through my family's surgical history and professional experiences, I had limited context of the lifestyle and responsibilities of the role. Through my research and discussions with my peers, I discovered the importance of certified anesthesiologist assistants within perioperative care. After I had the opportunity to shadow a CAA, and I knew that it was the career I have been looking for. The dynamic of the anesthesia care team and integration of my love for physiology seemed like a perfect fit. Case Western Reserve's early clinical exposure and welcoming faculty made me certain that the Houston campus would provide me with the best introduction to my future career. I am grateful to be granted this opportunity and am excited to be a part of CWRU Houston's Class of 2026!

Suhani Gadkari

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and completed my Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University -- College Station. I was drawn to the medical field at an early age but didn't know exactly what profession or specialty I wanted to pursue. To prepare myself to work in a clinical setting, I worked as a medical assistant where I performed tasks such as administering vaccinations, performing basic laboratory tests, and assisting in procedures. I also shadowed all different types of medical professionals but didn't feel like I truly clicked with a certain field until I shadowed an anesthesiologist. I loved the dynamic balance between the procedural focus and patient interaction of an anesthesia provider, as well as the individuality each case offered. I was introduced to the profession of a CAA from the anesthesiologist I was shadowing, and instantly felt that it ticked all my boxes. I am excited to be a part of the Case Western Reserve 2026 Houston Cohort, and look forward to the hands-on and clinical training this program will offer. I cannot wait to expand my knowledge and become a CAA to provide the best patient care possible!

Josue Gallegos

Being a native to Houston, I was very excited to know that there were opportunities to grow my knowledge in the medical field with so many hospitals and medical schools in the area. After having graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in neuroscience I wanted to continue my education in a field where I felt I could incorporate everything I have learned and apply it in a direct patient care setting. After shadowing several different physicians in different fields, I quickly began to grow fond of anesthesia and its care team model that included collaboration between specialists in their fields to provide the best care possible. Through further shadowing and volunteering I found the MSA program through CWRU and learned more about the CAA profession. The CAA profession was how I would be able to take everything I learn and apply it in an OR setting and be in direct contact with patients to be part of their treatment. I am excited to begin the MSA program at CWRU Houston because of its profound exposure to one of the biggest medical centers in the world and to give back to a community that has helped me become the person that I am today.

Adam Geary

As a child, I had always enjoyed learning about the sciences. After translating on a medical mission brigade in Honduras, my interest shifted towards medicine and the real impact it can have on bettering the lives of others. I took this insight with me as I started my undergrad at the University of Dayton majoring in Pre-Med. Initially, I had intended to go to medical school; however, after shadowing and volunteering in the hospital, I realized there were many other impactful roles in medicine I could pursue that better fit my larger goals in life. Specifically, I aim to be an excellent father to my future children, one who can be actively involved in their lives while offering them the financial stability to pursue whatever they desire. It was this, coupled with the urge to truly help people, that initially made the CAA track so appealing to me. After shadowing a CAA in action, I knew immediately that the career path was for me. Working hands-on, under pressure with a professional team to make a change in someone's life is both personally fulfilling and exhilarating. Naturally, my interest in the profession led me to research the educational requirements and top schools in the country that could provide such a certification. I set my sights on CWRU as it is considered the best of the best for CAAs and worked feverishly for three years to ensure I would be a worthy candidate come the time to apply. The rest is history.

Tasha Gilkison

I grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa as a neuroscience major and political science minor. For the past three years I have been a research assistant in a Neuroscience and Pharmacology lab, investigating sex-based differences in neurodevelopmental disorders. I also worked as a pediatric EKG technician and completed over 12 job shadows within the medical field, which highlighted my passion for clinical work and direct patient care. As the Marketing Chair for the University's Pre-Health Conference, and Communications Director for the student voter registration group, I developed an interest in public speaking and advocacy. I look forward to utilizing my interest in political advocacy to help further advance state legislation for CAA licensure. Together, my experiences, skills, and lifelong commitment to learning have led me to seek a career as a certified anesthesiologist assistant. Case Western Reserve is known for its strong reputation for preparing students with immediate clinical experiences and professional development opportunities, and I am beyond excited to take advantage of the amazing opportunities offered by Case Western Reserve and the city of Cleveland.

Hayley Guerra

I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, TX and graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University. I became interested in the field of medicine at an early age due to the frequent sports-related injuries that brought me to doctor's offices. Like many others, I envisioned myself pursuing medical school, so I began working as a medical scribe for an internist, gaining more medical knowledge and strengthening my patient interaction skills. After shadowing an anesthesiologist, I knew I needed to find a way to work in that profession, but I wasn't convinced medical school was still the path for me. I first discovered the CAA profession through social media, as many things are discovered today. After researching the profession, I was incredibly drawn to the hands-on aspect as well as the concept of being part of the anesthesia care team model. I have been part of a team for most of my life through sports, so continuing that stood out to me. I decided to attend the CWRU MSA program because of the early exposure to the operating room, as I know all too well how important practice is in working towards perfecting a skill. I can't wait to start this journey with the rest of the class of 2026!

Stanley Guo

I was born and raised in NYC, but graduated from Georgetown University with a BS in Human Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Medicine has always been a profession that I find fulfilling, providing healthcare professionals the opportunities to help patients directly and indirectly beyond the typical bedside environment. This passion is evident in my role as an organizer of Georgetown's Mutual Aid Network and my continuous research efforts in Neurofibromatosis Type II. After graduating, I worked as a lead ophthalmic technician for a practice, where I was quickly exposed to instant gratification of a career that is medicine. It was one thing to shadow physicians, but it was another to see the instant relief on patients' faces after working with them; witnessing patients' relief post-treatment was profoundly fulfilling. Admittedly, I didn't know about the CAA profession until I stumbled across a popular Tiktok one night. After learning about everything that it has to offer, I immediately sought out opportunities to shadow a local anesthesiologist in my area. It was during this experience that I realized my desire to play a pivotal role in patients' most vulnerable moments. I am passionate about becoming an anesthesiologist assistant and using my skills to contribute to actively engage with patients during a critical phase of their healthcare journey, ensuring their comfort and safety throughout surgical procedures. I am thrilled and honored to embark on this journey alongside the Class of 2026 at CWRU MSA in DC, eager to contribute to this remarkable profession!

Aliya Hadi

I am the friendly neighbour of the north, born and raised in Canada. For my undergraduate education, I initially completed a degree in Chemical Biology and followed it up by becoming a registered nurse. Medicine has always intertwined with my education and personal life. As a nursing student, I had rare glimpses into the operating room including observing a caesarean section and a laparoscopic sigmoid resection. Although I was attracted to the environment, I did not see myself in the role of the operating room nurse at the time. After I graduated, I started in a level III NICU at McMaster Children's Hospital and have worked there for the last 1.5 years. Being in level III, I have experience with patients with different airways (i.e. endotracheal tubes or tracheal tubes) and some of the medications used in anesthesia. I have worked closely in a team dynamic with respiratory therapists and physicians. Upon discovering CAAs, I was quickly intrigued and took time to research the profession. I loved the level of autonomy CAAs have under the ACT model and their scope of skills. I am honored to pursue my education at CWRU, as they are known for producing well-trained CAAs.

Jacqueline He

I grew up in the suburbs north of Tampa, Florida and majored in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Nutrition at the University of South Florida. While on a pre-medical track, I gained experience in the scientific subjects and clinical settings involved in medicine and healthcare. Through shadowing and volunteering in various healthcare settings, I realized that though my life goals weren't completely aligned with being a physician, there was another profession that would allow me to do what I loved and live the lifestyle I wanted. The immense diversity of cases certified anesthesiologist assistants participate in drew me in along with the practice of anesthesiology, which only a limited amount of professions practice. The lifestyle balance possible with the profession was also very appealing as it would allow me to grow into the person I want to be. I'm very excited to attend Case Western Reserve University because of the enthusiastic support of the faculty and the program's long history establishing itself as a leader in CAA education. Working with my classmates and professors, I hope to become a CAA that would be a great asset to any operating team.

Elizabeth Hoang

I was born and raised in Arlington, Texas, where I attended and graduated from the University
of Texas at Arlington. I received my Bachelor's of Science in Microbiology and double minored
in Biochemistry and Business Administration. As a pre-health student, I was constantly finding
opportunities to shadow and volunteer with different providers. My interest in healthcare led me to find employment as a medical secretary, medical scribe, and population health associate.
While these positions were within the scope of healthcare, I realized that I wanted to pursue my passion of directly impacting the health of others. I was introduced to the world of anesthesia and the CAA profession, which seemed to combine technical skills with patient interaction. As a CAA, I could follow my healthcare dreams while positively impacting the lives of other people. I am excited to further my education and learn all about anesthesia here at CWRU. I believe that my yearning and devotion to lifelong learning will help motivate me to continue down the road of becoming a great healthcare professional and certified anesthesiologist assistant.

Mason Hutchinson

I was born In Dallas, Texas, but grew up near St. Louis for most of my life. I attended the University of Alabama for my undergraduate where I majored in mathematics and minored in biology. During college I volunteered at the local hospital in many different departments and this was where I found out I wanted my future in healthcare. After graduating I was introduced to the profession by a nurse that I knew who helped me to set up a shadowing experience with a CAA. During the shadowing I grew more interested in the profession and wanted to pursue this as a career. I am excited to attend CWRU specifically because of the emphasis on job readiness by graduation. Further, I look forward to the great work-life balance as a CAA.

Felipe Joglar-Viera

For undergrad, I majored in Health and Exercise Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, with the initial goal of becoming a physical therapist. After taking physiology and exercise physiology in my junior year, my interests shifted more towards the pre-medical route and I quickly dove into shadowing, volunteer work, and research. I did well in my extracurriculars, noting a particular interest in anesthesia, but the life of a physician became less and less appealing. It was through a stranger's conversation at the gym that I heard about certified anesthesiologist assistants- a career not yet practiced in my home state. During the last three months of my undergraduate education, I researched as much as I could about CAAs- their responsibilities, medical cases, rigor of education, lifestyle, etc. I was even lucky enough to speak with a CWRU MSA student at the time, which resulted in CWRU being my first choice school. The caliber of professionals, complexity and diversity of cases, and the incredible network Case Western Reserve DC offers made it an easy choice for me, and I couldn't be more excited to become a part of that history.

Jeffrey Kaczor

I grew up in Denver, Colorado and graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a bachelor's degree in biology. My life in Denver has consisted of year-round sports including snowboarding in the winter. Science and healthcare became an integral part of my life when I suffered a traumatic back injury during my senior year of high school football. After overcoming this injury, I devoted my life to healthcare after seeing firsthand the impact good practice can have on someone's life. Being a patient myself and working in healthcare has taught me many things that school could never teach. I take a lot of pride in providing great bedside manner at my current position as a medical assistant and will continue this practice throughout my journey of being an anesthesiologist assistant. The joy I felt upon reading my acceptance email has still not passed; I am incredibly honored and excited to be part of this program.

Desiree Kibbee

Originally from a small Texas town, I earned my biology degree at The University of Texas at Austin. Undergoing surgery myself at a young age sparked my interest in healthcare, particularly anesthesia because of the reassuring guidance of my anesthesiologist. However, before fully committing, I ventured into the corporate world seeking different experiences. I quickly realized my true passion resided in healthcare. Discovering the role of an anesthesiologist assistant, I returned to school after two years to complete the necessary prerequisites. I found my place at Case Western Reserve University, recognizing it as the premiere MSA school in the country, and applied with enthusiasm. My journey from bartending to serving as a concierge has taught me valuable lessons in communication and empathy, crucial for comforting patients. Additionally, my background as a professional ballet dancer instilled discipline and grace, qualities essential in high-pressure medical environments. Each step in my path, from childhood surgery to exploring various career avenues, has uniquely prepared me for the challenges of the MSA program. I am genuinely excited to blend my scientific knowledge with my diverse experiences and bring this unique perspective to Case Western Reserve.

Millicent Kihiuria

I was born and raised in Salisbury, Maryland and later attended the University of Maryland, where I majored in Public Health Science. While at a clinic on a trip to visit family in Kenya, I witnessed extreme healthcare inequity, which fomented my early desire to be on the frontlines of healthcare, where I could enact tangible change. I saw patient advocacy as a means for me to support patients by promoting favorable health outcomes, with a focus on advocating for those with a diminished ability to advocate for themselves. It was at this point that I began searching for a career in which I could be an effective patient advocate. After shadowing a CAA, I realized that patient advocacy as a CAA extends far beyond caring for patients during surgery; it also includes providing compassionate care that makes patients feel comfortable during some of the most anxiety-ridden moments of their lives. Compassionate care encompasses the role of the provider as a comforter, supporter, listener, and advocate, inspiring me to pursue a career as a CAA where I can fulfill these roles for my patients and be a source of solace. I look forward to beginning my training and education at the MSA program in DC, where I am sure early clinical exposure, paired with support from faculty and staff, will more than adequately prepare me for a lifelong career as a CAA.

Amanda Kim

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, but attended Emory University in Atlanta, GA for a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I would say my interest in STEM started when I was young, as I can remember always being drawn to my science classes, especially biology. Going into high school and college, I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, though I was not sure which path. As a result, I spent much of my undergrad exploring the different aspects of STEM and healthcare. While at Emory, I worked as a part of a muscle research lab exploring potential treatments for muscular dystrophy diseases, volunteered at Emory's Winship Cancer Institute, and served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for Biology and Human Physiology classes. Through my experiences, I got the opportunity to shadow several different medical specialties, and eventually a CAA. Each one of the different exposures to healthcare I had not only showed me the depth of the field but also furthered my desire to pursue a career in healthcare. Coming from California, I had not had much exposure to the CAA profession, so being able to shadow opened my world to a whole new path in healthcare. After speaking to some of my professors and school advisors, I got to learn more about the program and decided to research it further. The more I learned about the program and profession, the more I fell in love with it. I am excited to enter this new chapter in my professional career surrounded by the amazing staff and students at Case Western Reserve University's MSA program!

Alyssa Kohler

I grew up in Arlington, Texas, then moved to Stephenville, Texas to complete my B.S. in
Biomedical Science at Tarleton State University. I started as a pre-med student, but quickly
realized becoming a physician was not the right path for me. I heard about the CAA profession
when a CWRU MSA student spoke to my seminar class; she had the exact same story I did, and her perspective sparked my interest in exploring the profession. I then started shadowing CAAs in the OR and genuinely realized this was a job I would be excited to wake up and go to every morning. Throughout my undergraduate education, I was on a research team testing non-toxic drug delivery systems and became fascinated with pharmacology and physiology and how interconnected they are. I am excited to become a CAA so I can use my education and passions to help people when they are oftentimes experiencing some of the scariest moments of their lives. Being the calm voice in someone's chaos and getting to use my education to serve others is a unique opportunity and privilege that the profession affords, and I am incredibly excited and grateful to start this journey!

Lalitha Lavanya Konda 

I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S in Biochemistry. While shadowing a perfusionist, I found myself more interested in what the CAA was doing which sparked my interest in the profession. I am so excited to participate in a wide variety of cases and be a source of comfort for patients who are experiencing heightened emotions before surgery. I really value the patient interactions I've had while working as a CNA and I'm happy that this will still be an aspect of my role as a CAA. I'm also thrilled to be attending CWRU thanks to their reputation of training highly competent CAAs!

Jason Kwon

I immigrated from South Korea when I was ten years old due to my father's occupation. Our family moved around frequently throughout the United States before finally settling in Alabama. I initially graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry, intending to attend medical school. During my gap year with doubts about going into medical school, I had the opportunity to work as a scribe at a pain management clinic with many exposures to patient care and the field of anesthesiology. It was during this time that I discovered the importance of anesthesiology in medicine and the occupation of CAA. After researching opportunities to shadow anesthesiologists and learning about the role of CAA, it became evident that this was the right career path for me. Apart from the well-known reputation of CWRU, the excellent quality and history of the didactic curriculum and clinical rotations offered by the MSA program convinced me to apply. I am very grateful for the opportunity to embark on a new journey towards becoming a CAA and excited to be part of the class of 2026 in Cleveland.

Sarah Landuyt

My undergraduate experiences are likely similar to my classmates -- I received my B.S. in Biology from Muskingum University (SE Ohio); however, I had no intention of pursuing a career in the medical field. At Muskingum University, I played soccer, became involved in Greek life, and pursued classwork and internships in wildlife biology/ research. Seven years after graduating, I've worked in STEM education and most recently, with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a lead State Park Ranger. I had always wanted to eventually return to school but could never find the right fit. After much deliberation, a couple of years ago I decided to play on my strengths in biology and pick up night classes to eventually get me into a medical program of some sort. It wasn't easy deciding to change careers, and a lot of research and shadowing led me to the CAA program. I love working with my hands and am fascinated with human physiology. Thus, I know that I am going to be completely fulfilled caring for others, applying the knowledge I will have learned to help those who can't help themselves and also use that knowledge to make better decisions for my own health and my family's. 

Amanda Le

I attended The University of Texas at Dallas, where I pursued a degree in psychology with a biology minor. During my undergraduate studies, I worked as a residential assistant, interned at various research labs, and mentored underclassmen at my university. These activities alongside my life experiences, have equipped me with a solid foundation in science and a deep understanding of human behavior. What excites me most about the profession of anesthesiology is the opportunity to provide compassionate care to patients during their most vulnerable moments. My experiences, including volunteering at an emergency department and working at a rape crisis center, have reinforced my passion for patient advocacy and support Studying at CWRU's MSA program in Austin is particularly thrilling because of its emphasis on hands-on experience. I am eager to learn and collaborate with peers who share my dedication to healthcare. My background in psychology and biology, coupled with my commitment to patient well-being, will be instrumental in my role as a certified anesthesiologist assistant, ensuring that patients receive the highest quality of care with empathy and compassion.

Anthony Lebbos

After growing up in the metro Detroit area, I studied at Michigan State University as a Human Biology and Physiology major and business minor. Throughout my time in undergrad, I gained a great interest in physiology and anatomy, took part in many different pre-medical clubs, was part of a research opportunity focusing on pathology, and volunteered in many settings. Additionally, I gained some experience interacting with patients as a phlebotomist in a hospital lab, learning how to communicate with care, and put patients at ease during uncomfortable procedures. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field early on, so I looked into the possibility of becoming a CAA after shadowing physicians during several trauma surgeries and learning about the profession from some close friends and family. I knew that becoming a CAA would become a goal of mine after seeing how anesthesia personnel were able to ease the anxiety of patients when they felt most vulnerable and communicate with others in the OR to work collaboratively. I look forward to starting my career in anesthesia at the CWRU Washington D.C. program and becoming a passionate, and caring healthcare provider.

Priscilla Ledezma

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas in a loving Mexican household. While visiting my family's homeland, I was able to witness firsthand the healthcare disparities between developed and developing countries which sparked my interest in science and healthcare. This led me to pursue a degree in biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin where I also earned a certificate in Spanish for the Medical Professions, becoming the first in my family to graduate college. From there I discovered the CAA profession and knew it was the career path for me. It was important for me to continue my education in a diverse setting with early clinical exposure to begin building the skills and confidence required to be a CAA, and CWRU Houston allowed me to do just that. I am beyond excited to embark on this journey and immerse myself in the challenges and rewards of the CAA profession!

Andrew Lee 

I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and a minor in Business. Throughout my years as an undergraduate student, I worked as a personal care assistant and as an EMT-B student. I was able to strengthen my patient interaction skills, learn to monitor vital signs and drug dosages with constant precision, remain unflustered in demanding situations, and learn many more skills that would prepare me for the MSA program. From being exposed to anesthesiology at such a young age due to surgery would go on to change the course of my entire life. I have so much excitement and passion going into this profession as it allows me to directly provide consolation to patients with anxiety and pain. Creating a comfortable environment to help ease the stress of patients before the surgery can go a very long way. After discovering the CWRU MSA program, I was immediately drawn into the early emphasis on clinical exposure through its didactic instruction. As a hands-on learner, being able to experience the operating room almost immediately will help me significantly on this journey to becoming a CAA. My passion for making a positive impact on the health and wellness of diverse communities will serve as my drive to help all patients to my fullest capability. I am honored to have this opportunity to study at Case Western Reserve's MSA program where I can continue to grow and acquire the skills to become a successful future CAA!

Austin Lee 

I was born and raised in the great city of San Antonio, TX before moving to Mitchell, SD to complete my undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Dakota Wesleyan University. During this
time, I also played quarterback on the football team and was a certified medication assistant at
the local assisted living facility. Throughout college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in
medicine, specifically in the operating room. I discovered the CAA profession in my junior year
from a friend. After researching the profession, I loved everything about the anesthesia team and the role of a CAA. Since I was currently in a state where CAAs do not practice, I had the ability to shadow an anesthesiologist and his CRNAs to get their input and see what it was all about. I specifically was interested in CWRU as it provides its students with early clinical experiences and would allow me to move closer to home. I am very excited to continue my education and expand my knowledge in anesthesia to provide patients with quality care.

Camden Lee

My family and I are from the Rexburg, Idaho area, which is also where I earned my bachelor's degree in biomedical science at Brigham Young University--Idaho. From an early age I have been fascinated with the complex components of the natural world; at BYU-I I applied that fascination by conducting professor-led Chemistry research. I decided to pursue anesthesiologist assistant as a result of my shadowing experiences, its fit to my lifestyle preferences, and my interest in drug action pathways. After acquiring over 100 observation hours in the OR setting across various specialties, I became increasingly more inclined towards anesthesia. I was also able to secure a surgical assistantship for an OMFS practice, which further exposed me to the world of perioperative anesthetization and patient monitoring. I am confident that CAA is something I will enjoy doing for the rest of my life and am excited to start the MSA program at Case Western Reserve. I look forward to learning more about the human body, being involved with patients across various specialties, working as a team in an excellent work setting, and making a meaningful difference in people's lives.

Kristi Lee

I grew up in Sacramento, California, and then attended Scripps College where I majored in biochemistry. I knew I was interested in healthcare after my experiences volunteering in hospitals and participating in mobile health clinics abroad. I then moved across the country to do prostate cancer research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, following graduation as I wanted more experiences to discover myself among healthcare careers. It was then through a colleague I frequently volunteered with at a youth tutoring center that I first learned about the anesthesiologist assistant career. From there, I shadowed at George Washington Hospital in D.C. and immediately felt drawn to this profession. The combined aspects of teamwork, problem-solving, and personalized anesthesia care were all qualities that resonated with me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to train with CWRU and look forward to being of service to patients as a member of their anesthesia care team.

Herman Liu

I grew up in New York City, and graduated from New York University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology in 2023. My interest in pursuing a career in anesthesia really came from my experience in two different healthcare environments. First, working with end-of-life residents at a nursing home allowed me to gain experience working with an extremely vulnerable patient population. Second, volunteering at the Emergency Department of a community hospital helped me to appreciate an exhilaratingly fast-paced medical specialty where mere seconds could drastically alter the course of a patient. After these experiences, anesthesia seemed like a natural choice for me, because it combined the best aspects from all of my experiences in healthcare. I chose CWRU's MSA program because of their long-standing history in training successful CAAs. I found CWRU's fast-track approach in immersing their MSA students in the operating room early on extremely valuable in helping student AAs to learn as much as possible in a short period of time. It is an extremely exciting time to start my journey to becoming a CAA. I eagerly look forward to starting my path to becoming the best CAA I can be for my future patients with the support of CWRU.

Neil Maclang

I was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. I later went on to attend the University of Georgia and received my Bachelor of Science and Masters in Nutritional Sciences. My initial interest in healthcare stemmed from my parents as they both worked in the medical field. Witnessing their dedication and compassionate care for their patients left a lasting impression on me, and it inspired me to pursue a future career where I would be an important figure in helping improve someone's life daily. During my time at UGA, I was on the pre-health track, but not completely sure which profession I wanted to pursue throughout my college years. I was involved in cultural organizations, clinical volunteering, and community services organizations. After shadowing an anesthesiologist, I discovered the anesthesiologist assistant profession. I was captivated by their effective teamwork and communication with surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to ensure optimal patient outcomes. From pre-operative assessments to post-operative monitoring, I witnessed their ability to provide expert anesthesia care while remaining attentive, proactive, and compassionate to their patients. I envision myself becoming a CAA that delivers this type of dedicated care to my future patients, and I look forward to the day I too can make a positive difference in the lives of patients as an integral part of the surgical team. I look forward to my first year at CWRU and the opportunity to train at a great program with experiences at elite medical institutions to one day become a great healthcare provider.

Tanisa Mahalingam

I am originally from Johns Creek, GA. I graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020 with a degree in business administration. After graduation, I worked as a strategy consultant for health care clients to improve patient outcomes through digital innovation and strategic transformation. Through my consulting work experience, I realized that I was more passionate about patient care than business. I took a leap of faith and quit my job, enrolled in health care pre-requisite courses at a local college, and worked as an emergency room medical scribe and pre-pp and phase II patient care technician. Ultimately through the opportunity to shadow certified anesthesiologist assistants in the operating room, I decided to pursue a career as an anesthesiologist assistant. I am extremely excited to begin my MSA education at CWRU DC and to participate in clinical training at leading trauma and pediatric hospitals in Washington D.C. The opportunity to advance my education and have a career where I can help people every day as part of their anesthesia care team is a blessing and honor. I am passionate about diversity and equity, and I hope to learn about and promote health equity principles for anesthesia care. Outside of professional interests, I enjoy hiking, reading, and cooking.

Emma Malone

I graduated with a B.S. in Biology specializing in Developmental Genetics and a minor in Anthropology from Stony Brook University in 2021. After graduating, I worked as an EMT to gain patient care hours for what I believed would be a future in medical school. Instead, I realized becoming a doctor wasn't for me and that I loved working in EMS. I went to paramedic school and graduated in January of 2023 to expand my scope of practice. I did a clinical rotation in the OR working with anesthesiologists and CRNAs and noticed that anesthesia involved all of my favorite parts of being a paramedic, but with more frequent practice and a more stable environment. I love the 1-on-1 patient interaction, being able to work autonomously and within a care team, and the ability to treat all ages within many different specialties of medicine. I discovered the CAA profession and knew it would be a perfect fit for me with my background in EMS. I am excited to study at CWRU's MSA program for its well developed and reputable program. Its strong didactic training and relationships with various clinical sites will provide me with a confident foundation in anesthesia and prepare me for a great career. I am excited to see where it takes me!

Belle Marley 

I'm a native Austinite, and growing up in Austin, I spent the majority of my time dancing, swimming and listening to live music. For college, I decided to stay in my beloved city and graduated from the University of Texas with my Bachelors in Public Health in 2023. My time at UT was defined by my involvement in an organization called Texas 4000 for Cancer. With T4K, I had the honor of being a ride director for the longest annual charity bike ride in the world, and I had the life changing experience of biking from Austin to Anchorage to raise money for cancer research and support services. After my time in Texas 4000, I realized how deeply fulfilling it is to work in a team to solve complex problems, and thus began my journey of finding a career that would allow me to do just that. Upon discovering the CAA path, I was excited at the possibility of a career where I could learn so much about physiology and pharmacology while also working with a team. After shadowing a CAA in the OR, I became certain of my decision to pursue this path. Attending Case Western Reserve's program in Austin seemed like the obvious choice for me given my love for Austin and the early introduction to the OR it provides, and I cannot describe the joy I felt getting the call that I got in. I am confident that CWRU will allow me to become a compassionate, confident, and knowledgeable anesthesia provider.

Shannon Moore 

I am originally from a small, rural town in central Virginia. I graduated from St. John's University in Queens, NY as a student-athlete majoring in biology with a minor in psychology. I was unsure of my path after graduation, so I traded city life for island life and moved to Oahu, Hawaii. Although this move seemed extreme to many, I love embracing new environments and knew I wanted to gain more healthcare experience to better understand my future path in medicine. While on island, I worked as a medical assistant at a federally qualified healthcare clinic and was able to provide for the underserved. After a year in Hawaii, I moved back to Virginia to reassess my career path. Once I shadowed in the OR, anesthesia became my new obsession. I value the harmonious alliance of an anesthesia care team and the ability to provide for patients independently during critical moments of surgery. Overall, my love for healthcare has stemmed from being a lifelong learner with a passion for making a difference by caring for others. CWRU is the perfect fit for me as the faculty is fully invested in their students, early clinical exposure is acquired, and a prodigious affiliate network is available which allows ample exposure to experiences directly translating to my future. I am excited and honored to be a part of the CWRU DC program of 2026!

Cassidy Mottola

I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and from a young age I thought I wanted to be an actress and singer. It wasn't until my freshman year of high school where I took my first biology class, when I realized that I had a passion and interest in medicine. Since then, I directed my studies towards STEM related fields, and went on to get my bachelor's degree in mathematics from University of Massachusetts, Lowell. During college, I worked as both a retail and inpatient pharmacy technician, as well as an inpatient phlebotomist. These experiences helped me get comfortable with patient care as well as introduced me to pharmacology. I am very excited to begin my career in anesthesiology with CWRU. I find this field to be the perfect combination of all my skills -- combining patient care with an advanced knowledge of math, anatomy, and pharmacology. I am dedicated to providing the best experience for patients as a certified anesthesiologist assistant. 

Caitlin Nelligan

I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from the University of Tennessee class of 2024 with my Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. I have always been interested in a career within healthcare and was originally on the pre-med track, but I wasn't quite sure what path would be the best for me. I decided to work as a patient care assistant at my local hospital in Knoxville and realized my passion for working with patients and being involved in their daily care. It was through this job that I had the opportunity to shadow in the operating room and learn the basics of anesthesiology. It immediately piqued my interest, and I knew it was something I wanted to investigate more. When researching career options, I discovered the CAA path and fell in love with it. Being a CAA perfectly combines my devotion to patient care with the technical work of being an anesthesia provider. I applied to programs the following cycle and found that Case Western Reserve was the best fit for me. I am so excited to attend CWRU and be a part of the early hands-on learning that I have valued so much throughout my years of education. I am so beyond grateful to have this opportunity to be a part of the MSA program at Case Western Reserve University and start my training to provide essential anesthesia care for future patients.

Angelina Nguyen

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, I never imagined my background in wedding décor and floral design would lead me to a career as a certified anesthesiologist assistant (CAA). Despite working in my family's wedding décor business, my passion for science and helping others during their most vulnerable moments remained strong. However, as I started my undergraduate studies at Texas Christian University on a pre-health track, I struggled to pinpoint what role I wanted to play in healthcare specifically. Once I discovered a flier for the CWRU MSA program and shadowed at Children's Medical Hospital in Dallas, I was instantly inspired by the CAAs and student AAs who worked there and knew that the fine motor and teamwork skills I developed in event planning could serve me well in this path. Now, as I prepare to begin my graduate studies at the MSA program in Austin, I am excited to finally learn hands-on clinical skills and gain real experience within the ORs.

Kelly Nguyen

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where I attended the University of Houston and received my Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and minor in Medicine and Society. Having always been fascinated with science and meeting new people, I naturally gravitated towards medicine and research. During my undergraduate, I dedicated a lot of time working with local nonprofits to set up multiple health/COVID vaccination fairs for underserved areas during the pandemic to distribute food and medical supplies. Alongside my work in nonprofit, I worked as a medical assistant at a pain management clinic and interned at multiple different practices. Ultimately, all my experiences have taught me that it is a privilege to be able to help someone during their time of weakness and vulnerability. A privilege that I am honored to be a part of as a member of the CWRU MSA community. I strive to be a source of comfort for my patients to rely on to take care of them during what could be the scariest moments of their lives. I hope to work hard at Case Western Reserve to offer people the best experience in medicine and subsequently tear down the fear associated with seeking medical help.

Vian Nguyen

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology in 2023. Even before heading into college, I knew I wanted to be in healthcare, and during my years as an undergraduate, that mentality was only fortified. My interest in anesthesia as a field began as I was shadowing in Greece. All of the anesthesiologists were one of the first and last people that patients encountered before their surgeries; no matter the concern, they soothed all of the patients with light jokes or common language to educate them on the procedure. Despite the bustling nature of a hospital, they never rushed an interaction, ensuring their comfort. Similarly, in the United States, we replicate that level of care with the addition of the CAA role. I shadowed different anesthesia teams in Austin where I noticed the same level of attentiveness and compassion in the CAA's who were leading the surgery. These experiences reinforced my desire to be in healthcare as a CAA. I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to further dive into the world of anesthesia at CWRU where I know I will be provided with all the tools necessary to become part of the next generation of top CAAs.

Morgan O'Keefe

Growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and pursuing my bachelor's degree at Boston University
afforded me opportunities to vastly expand my understanding of different healthcare fields. I majored in health sciences and particularly enjoyed my human anatomy and physiology
courses, leading me to search for a career that integrated these core interests. Throughout my
undergraduate career and upon completion of my degree, I decided to immerse myself in a variety of healthcare settings. I performed extensive research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, worked in the operating room as an anesthesia technician and as a medical assistant in the cardiovascular clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital, but it was my experience shadowing a
talented anesthesiologist in south Florida that provided me with the clarity I needed to strive for a career as a certified anesthesiologist assistant (CAA). The values maintained by this
profession resonated with me personally and professionally. As a future CAA, I am committed to addressing the anxieties and apprehensions of all of my patients while creating an environment where patients feel heard, valued, and supported. Moving to Washington, D.C. to continue my education at CWRU was the easiest decision I've ever made. The MSA program prioritizes and supports its students, and places a strong emphasis on early clinical exposure combined with valuable didactic portions. In turn, the program produces some of the most dedicated anesthetists in the country. I look forward to training alongside eager professionals in the field, and eventually join the school's prestigious alumni network!

Lucy Palladino

A proud Cleveland native, I graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Sciences and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Anthropology, received a minor in Biology, and declared a certificate in Culture, Communication and Health from Cleveland State University. I have found a keen interest in anesthesiology, shadowing many healthcare fields, and my studies in medical anthropology sparked a profound passion for patient advocacy, a cornerstone of the profession. The instant gratification of taking pain away from a patient and providing solace, and guiding them through a vulnerable time is truly rewarding. Aside from healthcare, I have worked for years in the hospitality industry where I have found my passion to be engaged with people and harbor a strong desire for providing exceptional service. I have the utmost sense of pride in attending Case Western Reserve University for the MSA program. The prestige that Case Western Reserve holds excites me to learn from the best, fueling my desire to replicate the exceptional quality of work, service, and dedication that medical professionals all over Cleveland possess. I am eager to start a fast-paced program to accelerate working with and for my community.

Noah Park

Born and raised in Southern California, I continued to pursue higher education in California at University of California San Diego (UCSD) from which I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Human Biology in 2022. During my time at UCSD, I obtained my EMT-B license in 2020 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and began working for a BLS company in 2021. Soon after my graduation in 2022, I sought other opportunities closer to home in Los Angeles County which led me to employment at an internal medicine clinic as a medical assistant and a local hospital's emergency department as a medical scribe. Since childhood, I was accustomed to the field of medicine as a patient and also through my various family members who worked in the field themselves. My persistent exposure to the field as a young adult has furthered my passion and interest for helping others as was demonstrated to me as a child. My love for biological sciences, specifically physiology and anatomy, and the OR environment is what initially gravitated me towards the profession. The amazing community behind it is what solidified my decision. I am profoundly grateful to Case Western Reserve University for extending to me the opportunity to take another step forward into the field as a provider, and I look forward to these next two years under their guidance. I recognize that I have so much to learn as a provider, and I cannot imagine doing so anywhere better than CWRU.

Sahil Patel

Born in Plano, Texas, I spent my early years in India with my grandparents, returning to Plano at age five. At The University of Texas at Dallas, I pursued a biology major with aspirations for medical school. However, my perspective shifted while working as a medical assistant alongside an APRN and internist. I discovered the gratification of teamwork in healthcare. Acting as a bridge between doctors and patients, I found myself drawn to patient care, prompting me to switch my major to healthcare studies for a more team-based and patient-focused approach. During my junior year, I learned about the certified anesthesiologist assistant (CAA) profession and their role in providing safe anesthesia care within the ACT model. Shadowing a CAA cemented my passion for the field and inspired me to work as a patient care technician in the operating room at HCA Dallas during my gap year, gaining invaluable insight into OR culture, teamwork, and operations. Inspired by my experiences, I am excited to be a part of the Case Western Reserve University class in Austin. With its reputation for preparing students and fostering a familial and team-based culture, I look forward to collaborating with my peers and the amazing faculty there to master the craft of anesthesia so I can have a positive impact on patients every day, while also representing and advocating for this profession at the highest level.

Vidhi Patel

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Ohio State with a bachelor's in public health. In addition to my studies I worked as an STNA, interned with a nonprofit, and was a member of a volunteer fraternity. While I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, I wasn't quite sure which direction to take. After I graduated, I took a gap year and did some traveling, where I realized my desire for direct patient care and meaningful interaction. Upon returning home, a TikTok video introduced me to the world of anesthesiologist assistants, and I was immediately hooked! I started shadowing and it really confirmed that this was going to be my future. I enjoyed the variety and complexity of medical cases and the rewarding nature of the profession. Choosing CWRU was a no-brainer. Conversations with alumni and current students reaffirmed my choice, highlighting the tight-knit community and robust support system. During my interview, the faculty's enthusiasm for the program and focus on early clinical exposure resonated with me, ensuring I'll be well-prepared for the field. I can't wait to start this journey and graduate as a confident practicing AA!

Germaine Peters

Choosing a career path that fit my personality and goals has proven to be a daunting task, but growing up in Tampa, Florida and receiving my B.S in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Florida, allowed for enriching encounters with individuals from various backgrounds who offered guidance and encouragement, ultimately, leading me down the path of anesthesia. Volunteering at hospitals, working as a certified pharmacy technician, and conducting clinical research with Cleveland Clinic has furthered my aspirations of giving back to my community through patient care. From the moment I entered the OR and watched the anesthetists in their comfort zones, the importance of this profession became amplified and utterly fascinating. From the variety of cases to the required technical skills, I knew this career was best suited for me and that the Case Western Reserve University MSA program would serve as the optimal vessel behind my education and development into a great anesthetist. Being based in Washington D.C, comes the opportunity to serve an incredibly diverse population with some of the nation's sickest patients, offering a well-rounded education. It is a great honor to be afforded the ability to make a tangible difference in patients' lives during their most vulnerable moments throughout the perioperative period day in and day out and I cannot wait to begin this life-altering journey this summer.

Katelyn Peterson

Since I was a child, I have had a passion for healthcare and a love of learning. Through volunteering and shadowing, I found how connected I felt to the OR and anesthesia. I am fascinated by pharmacology, the diversity of anesthesia applications, and strive to work in a hands-on environment. I was raised in a suburb of Cleveland, OH and I pursued my undergraduate education from The Ohio State University. I earned a Bachelor's of Science in Biology. After graduation, I joined a phlebotomy fellowship and began working as a phlebotomist in an oncology center. The drive and fulfillment I feel working with patients everyday has solidified my dream of working in anesthesia. I am excited to find new applications for the knowledge I have gained during this experience, and I can't wait to begin my career as a CAA.

Jessica Pham

I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where I attended the University of Texas at Arlington and earned a bachelor's degree in biological chemistry, minoring in psychology and biology. After college, I took a gap year to strengthen my medical school application and work full-time as a pharmacy technician. Being on the premed track for as long as I could remember, not getting accepted was definitely a sobering moment for me. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to reflect on my values and aspirations. I knew I enjoyed working in a team and still wanted to connect with patients; I just needed to find a profession that fit my interests and personality. That's when I discovered the CAA profession; every single aspect of the job resonated with me. After shadowing CAAs, anesthesiologists, and CRNAs, I knew in my heart this was the right path for me. I'm so excited to learn the complexities within anesthesia and provide comfort to patients during such a vulnerable time. I'm honored to be able to do so in Washington, D.C., at Case Western Reserve University! With their long history of training CAAs and incredibly supportive faculty, I have no doubt in my mind that my education is in good hands.

Nathaniel Pham-Lam

Born and raised in a suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio, I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2022 with my Bachelor of Science in Biology. From the start, I knew I was passionate about working in medicine and was on the pre-med track with the intentions of attending medical school. I gained crucial experience from working as a scribe, conducting research, volunteering at the hospital and working as an organic chemistry TA. Working in anesthesia was a goal of mine from the day I first shadowed an anesthesiologist. During my gap year working in research, I came to the realization that I wanted a career that balanced work and my outside interests while providing a sense of fulfillment. I then came across the CAA profession where it seemed to be a perfect fit for me. I shadowed a CAA and learned just how much the profession blended patient interaction, working as a part of a cohesive team, and the technical skills that are required for the job. I am excited to utilize what I've learned especially through the past couple of years to provide the best patient care possible as I start this journey to becoming a certified anesthesiologist assistant!

Michael Ponessa 

Born (and partially raised) in New York, I moved to South Carolina for high school and stayed for college. I attended the University of South Carolina's Honors College, where I graduated with far more than just a Bachelor's in Biology. USC offered me several unique and formative experiences such as innovative honors classes, stimulating undergraduate research, D1 cheerleading, studying abroad, founding a student organization, and even learning a new language with the Department of State. My college experiences helped me identify my values and challenged me to relentlessly pursue my passions. After graduation I obtained my SC EMT certification and took a job at my hometown emergency department. There I honed my clinical skills and fell deeper in love with medicine and patient care, grateful to be able to live out my passion and values. In the ED I would provide preparatory care for patients undergoing emergency surgery; listening to their anesthesia-related anxieties and attempting to be the calming presence they needed moved me to pursue anesthesia as my own career. Anesthesiologist assistants enjoy direct responsibility for real-time patient outcomes, a unique balance of patient interaction and medical intervention, and a balance of teamwork and independence. While the field has now spread across the country, I am beyond excited to continue my education at one of the founding schools, CWRU, where I will benefit from early clinical exposure and interdisciplinary learning throughout the eminent School of Medicine.

Lauren Prendeville

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S.A. in Biochemistry and a certificate in Spanish for Medical Professions. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the hospital which gave me a deep understanding of the patient experience and fueled my passion for healthcare and science. During my time at UT, I had the opportunity to conduct research in an organic synthesis lab where I discovered my interest in the chemical makeup of various medicines, but it was during this experience that I realized how important being a part of direct patient care was to me. However, it wasn't until I shadowed an anesthesiologist and her CAA that I discovered a love for the CAA profession. The level of specialization and teamwork inherent in anesthesia instantly captivated me and made me excited to begin learning everything there is to know about anesthesia. I chose CWRU because of its commitment to furthering the CAA profession and its long history of doing exactly that. I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing program and look forward to beginning in May!

Abhishek Rajesh

Born and raised in central Ohio, I also spent five formative years in several cities across India. I've had the privilege of experiencing diverse cultures throughout my life. Knowing I wanted to work in healthcare early on, I got my B.S. in neuroscience at The Ohio State University. I spent 3 years in a behavioral neuroscience lab studying the impact of hormonal birth control on the adolescent brain. Research instilled in me a curiosity to explore the underlying cellular mechanisms driving behavioral and physiological changes; a thought process I carried beyond lab. After graduating, I worked as a patient care associate, where I developed an appreciation for a hands-on approach to patient care as well as working within a healthcare team. During my gap year, I was introduced to the CAA profession. The prospect of merging a deep scientific background with a direct, hands-on approach to maintain patient safety during anesthesia is an exciting fit for me. As part of the MSA program, I am eager to develop my skills and knowledge, ultimately becoming a proficient and confident anesthetist.

Rebecca Rosero

From early childhood experiences, I knew that I wanted to spend my life working in the medical field. What solidified my choice was seeing the care given to a close relative by anesthesiologists and CRNAs throughout various surgeries. I learned how vulnerable and trusting patients have to be before undergoing surgery and the crucial role anesthesia providers have in helping patients prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally. Then, I knew I wanted to provide the same care to patients. Having my heart set on one day working in a hospital within the Houston Medical Center, I attained my bachelor's degree in biology from the University of St. Thomas with a focus on pre-medical courses. My experiences that stemmed from my time at UST, research at Baylor College of Medicine, shadowing, and medical mission trips helped me to undoubtedly know that I want a hands-on medical career that allows me to be heavily involved in patient care. As I shadowed certified anesthesiologist assistants, I realized that the career of a CAA is a perfect blend of my career desires, including being the patients' source of trust as they undergo the daunting event of surgery. Upon learning of the CWRU MSA program and how early on students are exposed to clinical settings, I knew this was the program for me. I am very excited to learn under some of the best professionals and be clinically trained for this career, which I proudly call mine.

Isabella Rundell

Hello! My name is Isabella Rundell, I'm originally from the vibrant city of Miami, Florida, and I graduated from Duke University in 2024 with a bachelor's degree in computer science. I first became interested in human health and the body at a young age through my passion for dance. I continued to pursue this interest throughout high school and as an undergraduate through shadowing various physicians and taking health related courses. It was during my undergraduate years that I was first introduced to anesthesia in the operating room. Drawn to the dynamic and multifaceted nature of anesthesia, I realized that it offered the perfect blend of my interests in medicine, technology, the arts, and human interaction. I am eager to enter a career where I can make a meaningful and direct impact on patients and across various fields of medicine. I am excited to explore the endless possibilities that lie ahead in this rewarding profession.

Anisha Sathasivam

I was born and raised in Rochester, New York. After high school, I continued my studies graduating from The University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Chemistry. I always loved the sciences but originally entered college with the mindset of ending up in finance. While volunteering at a nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic, my perspective on life and my career choices shifted. I realized how fulfilling a career in healthcare can be, as well as challenging. After shadowing an anesthesiologist, I was fascinated by the intricate nature of the technical skills, coupled with the responsibility that came with providing every patient a comfortable experience under anesthesia. The variable nature of the field will motivate me to constantly improve my skills and work within the anesthesia care team to create the best experience for each patient. My love for the profession has grown through my gap year working as an operating room assistant. During this year, I have been able to better understand the inner workings of the operating room as well as work with the anesthesia team to understand the intricacies of particular cases. It reinforced my love for working with a team and showed me how valuable it can be. Case Western Reserve University has always been where I wanted to attend, as their culture is rooted in community and early clinical immersion. I can't wait to get started in Cleveland!

Salem Sayed 

I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio where I graduated from the University of Toledo with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry and Spanish. Working to improve the lives of those in my community was always an interest of mine, and during undergrad, I was involved with various organizations that met the needs of the underserved in my community. I love foreign languages and I used my knowledge of the Arabic and Spanish languages to bridge language gaps in my community. In addition, I had been working at Best Buy troubleshooting electronics for the public since the age of 16 (my first-ever job!). The satisfaction that I received from helping others improve their lives through the power of technology motivated me to seek a healthcare career that directly involved using technology to improve the lives of others. The CAA profession was the perfect mix of patient care, technology, and science, and I am thrilled to make my dream job a reality at CWRU. I am even more thrilled to be a part of CWRU's MSA program because of its history and respect in the anesthesia community and its commitment to students and patients.

Jacob Sensenig

I grew up in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Juniata College, class of 2023, with a degree in biochemistry. During my gap year, I moved to DC and worked as a clinical researcher at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and refereed youth flag football on the weekends. I have always been interested in the medical field, and like most students thought med school was the only route for me. Through my shadowing experiences, I discovered the rewarding career path of a certified anesthesiologist assistant (CAA). I am thrilled to have found the CAA pathway and believe it to be the best choice for my future. I thrive in team settings, enjoy making a direct impact on a patient's experience, and excel in high-pressure situations, making this profession ideal for me. This career path excites me for numerous reasons, including the expedited time commitment required to enter the field and the excellent work-life balance it offers. Choosing Case Western Reserve University in Washington, D.C. was an obvious decision for me due to the strong connection I felt with the staff during my interview and its relative proximity to home. Outside of school, I enjoy lifting weights, camping, playing golf, and watching sports with friends (aka sports betting). I am ecstatic to dive into the world of anesthesia and to forge connections with my classmates and future colleagues.

Emma Sheehan

Throughout my undergraduate studies, I found myself drawn toward and excelling in the body sciences: anatomy, neurobiology, and endocrinology (to name a few). As I approached graduation, I wanted to choose a career that allowed me to deepen my knowledge in these topics and apply it whilst interacting directly with people in need, preferably in an OR setting. So, the opportunity to earn my MSA and give hands-on patient care while simultaneously getting to witness modern surgical techniques in action feels surreal. Having the ability to study what I love at such an accredited school in one of my favorite cities is just the icing on top of the cake. With regard to actually executing this goal, I plan to never lose the student mentality. No matter how much we know, there is always more to learn, more mysteries to uncover. By applying this mindset toward my studies at Case Western Reserve and letting curiosity and passion fuel my motivation, I am sure to succeed.

Sandra Smith

Born and raised in Houston, I knew I wanted to end up working in the world's largest medical center. I was inspired to become a surgeon due to my cousin needing surgery after being diagnosed with hydrocephalus. In December 2021, I graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor's degree in Biology on a pre-med track and a minor in Leadership Studies. After graduation, I took a year and a half off to study for the MCAT while working a variety of full-time jobs such as an ER scribe, a PCT on a colorectal unit, and eventually as an MA at an OBGYN clinic. Throughout my time away from school, I was introduced to a wide range of medical careers that I was unaware of during my undergraduate years. This piqued my interest, and I began looking at careers that also required the MCAT. When I discovered CAA, it was like finding the ideal match for everything I have ever wanted. Having the opportunity to still take part in surgery without being a surgeon was very rewarding for me. As well as after shadowing the profession, it was fascinating to observe the variety of situations encountered and how every day brings something new, something unexpected, which keeps one on their toes. Having the opportunity to study at Case Western Reserve in Houston is a privilege. I am looking forward to being part of a small class size and the chance to gain hands-on experience in the OR setting shortly after starting the program which is an ideal approach to learn and shape us into the best CAAs.

Farah Sobh

Born and raised in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, I defied the odds as the first in my family to attend college, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Leadership from the University of Detroit Mercy. My journey into healthcare was profoundly influenced by my battle with Crohn's Disease, igniting an intense passion for patient advocacy and preventive medicine. While working as a Research Recruitment Specialist for the NIH-funded All of Us Research Program, I discovered immense fulfillment in healthcare, particularly in phlebotomy. This experience deepened my connection to the field, reinforcing my commitment to making a tangible difference and sparking a vision for a future focused on hands-on patient care and support. Equipped with refined skills in empathetic care and effective leadership, I served a diverse patient population with compassion, drawing from my upbringing as the daughter of low-income Lebanese immigrants, fostering a keen sense of service and cultural awareness. My journey as a visible Muslim woman in healthcare was enriched through shadowing experiences, notably with CRNA Paul, whose confidence and warmth during procedures like colonoscopies and endoscopies left a lasting impression, reinforcing the importance of blending technical skills with human connection in healthcare. Inspired by such encounters, I resolved to pursue a career as a CAA. As I prepare to start the Case Western Reserve University Master of Science in Anesthesia program in Cleveland, Ohio, I am eager to enrich the healthcare landscape with cultural competence, ready to navigate the program with confidence and conviction.

Joshua Starost

I was born in Austin, Texas but after 1 year of living there I spent the rest of my life in Maryland. My naive 7 year old brain decided to be set on anesthesiology only due to a family friend, who was an anesthesiologist, having the same name as my father. Fast forward 8 years and I was given a shadowing opportunity in the OR, solidifying my interest in the anesthesia profession. After high school I had fortunately been admitted to Case Western Reserve University for a Biochemistry degree and naturally, I found out about their CAA program as well. I was extremely excited after finding out the program was so close to my hometown, and after many more shadowing opportunities I applied for the program. I am looking forward to learning even more from CWRU and hopefully practice the profession I've been immersed in for many years!

Catherine Steward 

I grew up in a small town in northern Indiana and graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University, majoring in biology and minoring in business administration. While in undergrad, I joined a research team, became a TA for several courses, and served as president for a science-based volunteer club. During these years, I had the opportunity to experience a unique internship at a simulation lab that exposed me to various healthcare professions. It was during this internship that I had my first experience in an operating room, and it changed my perspective on what I wanted out of my future. I had the opportunity to shadow a CAA who coincidentally had graduated from CWRU. I enjoyed the complexity of each case and knowing that the anesthesia team could impact each patient's life. I know this program produces well-trained professionals, and I am excited to join the program. I look forward to my upcoming education and the difference this profession can make in the medical field.

Zydrei Waj Tancinco

I was raised in a small town called Lapu-Lapu in Cebu, Philippines. When I was 12, my family migrated to Pennsylvania where I have stayed ever since. I graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition Dietetics and a minor in Biology. Throughout high school and college, I've worked as a tutor for chemistry, a medical scribe, and a medical assistant at a local urgent care. With a clear passion for medicine, I embraced a diverse range of healthcare experiences to find my niche. Discovering the CAA path in college was like finding a missing puzzle piece. Seeing it all come together in the OR solidified my interest- it feels like everything I've done has been leading me here. I was captivated by the collaborative environment and the patient-centered approach in the OR. This led to a profound realization that my goals perfectly align with the field of anesthesiology. I am grateful and excited to be part of the CWRU MSA program Class of 2026!

Lauren Tang

I was born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas and graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. I always knew I wanted to go into healthcare, which was further confirmed through my work as a caregiver for a quadriplegic patient throughout my years in undergrad. Despite knowing this, I had no idea the specific career or field that best suited my goals and personal interests and skill set, and began to explore different options and shadow a multitude of health professionals. I was first introduced to the CAA path by my brother who currently works as one, and was inspired to begin looking into the profession. I saw how CAAs connect with their patients to solve any abnormalities in real time, and was fascinated to see how anesthesia providers play an integral role in the operating room. I am excited to be attending CWRU's MSA program and am sure that its emphasis on clinical skills and hands-on learning will set me up to be fully prepared for my career as a CAA. I am so grateful to CWRU for the opportunity to learn!

Nebiat Tewodros 

I attended the University of Kansas and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. During this time, I became involved with the Black Student Union, Big XII Student Government Council, and Student Ambassadors. I also participated in research in my university's chemistry department. Outside of school, I volunteered at a local food bank, and I worked at a retirement home as a CNA. I have always had a passion for science, but my desire to pursue a career in healthcare was heavily influenced by my time working as a CNA. I saw how rewarding it was to utilize the skills that I possessed to care for others who are in need. I am excited to pursue the CAA profession because I will be able to care for others in a way that best suits my personal strengths and interests. I chose CWRU because it has a well-established MSA program that provides students with early hands-on training and a diverse array of clinical rotations. I am truly honored for the opportunity to be a CWRU MSA student. I can't wait to begin this journey. 

Michael Timmer

I graduated from St. Mary's College of Maryland and received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I grew up familiar with the medical field because of my mother, who is an anesthesiologist, and my father, who was the program director of clinical oncology grants for the National Cancer Institute. I recall being at the dinner table and my mother discussing the roles she took on and obstacles she faced during a typical workday. I looked forward to hearing the conversation, even though I didn't quite understand it at the time. After college, I completed a 2-year post-baccalaureate at the National Institutes of Health, Neuro-Oncology Branch. My research consisted of topics including cognitive difficulties, financial toxicity, and quality of life (QoL) of patients with brain tumors and long-term survivors. At NIH, I was able to be involved in clinic, which further solidified my interest. Through observing the neuro-oncologist in clinic, I discovered a deep sense of satisfaction from engaging with patients and ensuring they felt heard and safe. After my time at NIH, I became a medical scribe at a cardiology practice. I would often chat with the provider I worked with about complications, EKGs, and future patient plans. I found it rewarding to learn about patients and how the practice could improve their QoL. I hope to transition what I learned into my role as a CAA by providing comfort and safety to patients before, during, and after surgery.

Carissa Timpf 

I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and graduated from the University of Houston in May 2023 with a B.S. in Biology. I have always had an interest in science and wanted a career that would allow me to serve others. While initially interested in medical school, I shadowed doctors in different specialties, served as a counselor at a summer camp for people with disabilities, and worked as a medical scribe. This allowed me to gain exposure to different roles in the medical field and discover the CAA career, which I chose to pursue while working as a medical assistant at a surgery center after college and shadowing anesthesiologists and CAAs. I am grateful to have discovered this career and excited to begin my anesthesia education, as it will allow me to provide hands-on patient care and work in a specialty that I find fascinating. I am honored to be a part of the CWRU program and look forward to fulfilling my dream of working in healthcare by serving patients as an anesthesiologist assistant.

Sydney Tino

I was born and raised in Cincinnati and graduated with a B.S. in Health Sciences and Minor in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. For 3 years of my undergraduate degree, I worked as a tech in an emergency department where I was able to gain knowledge and insight on pharmacology, physiology, and patient care. This experience, coupled with shadowing anesthesia and surgical providers, solidified my desire to be a part of the anesthesia care team. The collaborative nature and job satisfaction aspects of the CAA profession were another factor that drew me to this field. I also worked as a peer leader, assisting first year students in my program with their transition to college and reviewing general chemistry content with them, and an organic chemistry lab TA. This allowed me to share my passion for chemistry with other students while discovering an interest in academia. My involvement and leadership positions in Undergraduate Student Government and Tribunal taught me valuable lessons in time management, student body advocacy, and guidance with compassion. I am excited to have the opportunity to study at CWRU as it is an established and well-regarded program with amazing clinical sites. I cannot wait to receive an education from such caring and passionate staff, make friends with my new classmates, and feel confident when entering the OR as a CAA for the first time! 

Phuong Tran

I was born in Vietnam and immigrated over to Houston at a young age where I've lived ever since. I attended the University of Houston and graduated with a B.S in Biochemistry in spring of 2023. During my time at UH, I was an officer for several organizations, like Alpha Epsilon Delta and Badminton & Recreation at UH, where I learned that I enjoyed collaborating with others and working together towards a common goal. When I learned about the CAA profession at a CWRU MSA-hosted event, it struck me that my love for teamwork fit seamlessly with their responsibilities and the ACT model. Since then, I've exposed myself to a variety of hospital settings, including volunteering at Houston Methodist, working as an emergency department scribe, and shadowing anesthesiologist assistants in the OR. With each step along the way, I began embracing a future career as a CAA where I could mesh my interest in clinical medicine with teamwork. As a Houstonian who has worked in the Texas Medical Center for over 3 years, I know that training in this diverse city will expose me to a variety of unique cases that will prepare me for anything in the future. In particular, CWRU will give me the early exposure to the OR that I need to be confident in my skills!

Macy Urig

I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a major in biomedical biology and minors in chemistry and psychology. I was also a pole vaulter at UC as well. Being in a competitive major and a D1 athlete taught me a lot about time management, balance, and helped me organize my life so that I could learn and train most efficiently. I also did research on traumatic brain injuries during my last year in school and after I graduated, which has vastly improved my learning comprehension and ability to critically think. Austin is my home, all of my family now lives within Austin and Dallas and having my support system near made CWRU an easy decision. Growing up so close to CWRU main campus in Cleveland has given me such an appreciation and respect for the rigor and dedication they have to their students and their respective programs. Being part of the Case Western Reserve family in the state that I now call home is an honor. Through my past and interests, being a CAA works perfectly for me because of my love for science, learning, and healthcare. I am excited to be part of the surgery team and more niche, the anesthesia team, to help provide impeccable care to areas in need. As a CAA, I will be a lifelong learner through every case and patient. I am most excited to be part of others' healing processes and be on a team who is constantly innovating to improve said process!

Otto Wang

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a background in finance and mathematics. After working in the corporate world for a few years, I realized that I yearned to be able to make a greater impact on the community around me. I went back to school to complete a pre-health post-baccalaureate at Goucher College. Upon learning about the CAA profession, I was instantly drawn towards the field for its ability to directly drive positive patient outcomes along with how the vocation matched with a multitude of my strengths. I'm grateful to be a part of this storied program and I am very excited to be a part of this growing profession. In my free time, I enjoy reading, exploring the outdoors and playing/watching sports.

Destiny Watts

The child had her back splayed open as the sound of the surgeon's mallet echoed throughout the OR. The AA and I stood around the child's head, as the surgeon stated that he was ready to align the child's spine. I watched the AA work swiftly to assure that the child's vitals were okay for the next step in this impactful surgery. At this moment I knew that I wanted to become an AA. My journey to coming to this decision was unconventional. I graduated with my B.S. in Psychology. I wanted to be involved in medicine in some capacity but had a specific interest in how environments and society impact the health of communities. I went on to pursue my MPH with a concentration in MCH. Afterward, I worked on the pediatric psychiatric unit at JHH and assisted in community vaccine clinics for migrant workers and pediatric populations. It's been my aspiration to pursue a career that would allow me to have a strong positive impact in my community. Watching the AA be there for this child's life-changing surgery showed me how I can achieve this aspiration through becoming an AA. This is what fuels my enthusiasm for this profession. I am honored to have the opportunity to attain early hands-on clinical experience and learn from CWRU DC's intentional and caring educational team. My hopes are to use my previous experience in community health to inform future interactions with patients, OR team, and advocate for the AA profession.

Caitlyn Weed

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University, where I majored in kinesiology. My undergraduate studies provided a foundation essential for understanding the human body and the pharmacological principles of anesthesia. Additionally, my exposure to healthcare settings through shadowing experiences and working as an anesthesia technician allowed me to witness anesthesia's critical role in patient care, reinforcing my passion for pursuing a career in this field. I am deeply excited about the opportunity to make a tangible difference in patients' lives by ensuring their comfort and safety during surgical procedures. CWRU's MSA program has a stellar reputation for its rigorous curriculum and experienced faculty, which will provide me with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in my future career. I am eager to start this new chapter of my life and grow as a student and future CAA!

Abigail Wesolowski 

I grew up in Buffalo, New York, and graduated with my bachelor's in biomedical sciences from the University at Buffalo in 2020. During my undergraduate program, I worked as an anatomy teaching assistant as well as a research assistant for the early childhood psychology department. It was extremely rewarding to work closely with my professors, peers, as well as children, all while completing my degree. After graduation, I planned to attend medical school, so I began working as a medical assistant in a primary care office to advance my clinical experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my time growing connections with patients and providers, but it was here that I determined that I was no longer interested in attending medical school. For the last 2 and a half years, I have been working in the field of healthcare consulting. I work with financial services clients and investment management firms to connect them with scientists, key opinion leaders, and healthcare executives to help facilitate investment decisions. I have found this to be very interesting, but ultimately, I missed the clinical space. While in my time in the consulting space, I came across the title of anesthesiologist assistant and was immediately intrigued. I was captivated by the idea of providing care to patients in what can be some of their most stressful or uncomfortable times. I look forward to attending one of the top anesthesia programs and training at the most prestigious hospitals in the country.

Brooke Williamsen 

I was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, and then went on to matriculate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I earned my bachelors in biology, with a minor in business. During my undergrad years, my passion for a career in healthcare grew as I gained more experiences relating to the medical sciences. For example, I enjoyed assisting in a lab researching immunotherapeutics that attack glioblastoma multiforme, where I learned about some of the latest scientific advances and was fortunate enough to be able to use that knowledge to help tackle real-world medical challenges. I've also been working and volunteering as an EMT for a few years. Those positions solidified my interest in working with patients in a healthcare setting, and they highlighted the importance of protecting and advocating for my patients, especially when they are in a vulnerable state. After graduating, I discovered the CAA career while shadowing in anesthesia. As a CAA, I'm looking forward to utilizing interpersonal skills gained from my previous jobs, as well as learning an entirely new set of technical skills to perform procedures. Moreover, everyone in anesthesia that I've talked to, so far, has raved about their positions -- which isn't true of many job fields -- so I'm very excited for the journey ahead!

Chance Witt 

My name is Chance Witt, and I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am graduating with a degree in math and chemistry in Spring 2024 from Southern Utah University. During my time there, I focused much of my efforts on research, working at a water lab, and tutoring. Although my research in modeling partial differential equations and some synthetic organic chemistry was rewarding, it wasn't what I envisioned for a career. Eventually, I stumbled upon the CAA career and after looking further, I discovered that it encompassed everything I desired in a career, combining my passion for anesthesia with a great work-life balance. I am excited to embark on a program that integrates my academic interests in chemistry and problem-solving into a patient care setting, and I am really looking forward to exploring the big city of Houston!

Mohammed Youssef 

I was an inquisitive kid, and just had to touch and taste and feel everything I could. I needed to know more, more about everything I could possibly get my grubby little hands on. Growing up in Brooklyn in an Egyptian household, there was no shortage of things to do and life to experience. It was with that simple joy in the mundane that put me on the path that I am on today. My father, a physical therapist working with the disabled, was my first introduction to the world of healthcare. Meeting his patients had a profound impact on me (later on I would enter a career in rehabilitation, following in his footsteps). I then moved to Cairo, where I would attend middle and high school. Learning to adapt to new cultures and new ways of thinking strengthened my understanding of those different to me, all the while dealing with the challenges of adolescence in a foreign land. I decided I wanted to come back to the US, and I chose to attend university in Texas, where scholarships were abundant and new beginnings aplenty. I ended up majoring in biology, with minors in chemistry and sociology. This allowed me to explore different avenues in healthcare, and anesthesia spoke to me like no other. It was complex, varied, hands-on and incredibly fulfilling. The MSA program at CWRU stood out to me as the most direct pathway to a career in anesthesia. And the rest, as they say, is history!