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Meet our Students

The Student Spotlight series features students in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing and T.H. Chan School of Medicine. Our spotlights dive into the student experience on campus. You’ll meet students working on research in our state-of-the-art labs and discover what they like best about the curriculum. Learn why they chose UMass Chan Medical School and Worcester for their graduate education. Students in all three schools share their off-campus experiences in the Worcester community, from working with patients through the Worcester Free Clinics to hiking with friends at Mount Wachusett on weekends. Read more below.

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  • PhD candidate seeks to develop first clinically approved antifungal vaccine
    Education News, Media

    PhD candidate seeks to develop first clinically approved antifungal vaccine

    PhD candidate Maureen Hester has experienced UMass Chan as an undergraduate intern, research laboratory technician and as a PhD student. Her research targets Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungal pathogen that can cause pneumonia and progress to meningitis.

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  • Medical student provides a voice for patients and families with special needs
    Education News, Media

    Medical student provides a voice for patients and families with special needs

    Third-year medical student Naaz Daneshvar is an advocate for patients and families with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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  • Palliative care nurse practitioner, instructor, mother returns to UMass Chan to advance leadership skills
    Education News, Media

    Palliative care nurse, instructor, mother of three returns to UMass Chan to advance leadership skills

    Shawna Steadman, MSN’09, returned to her alma mater to earn her Doctor of Nursing Practice. Through her scholarly project, she aims to make it easier to access patient preferences about their care.

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  • Second-year medical student helps epilepsy patients in Bolivia via the Global Health Pathway program
    Education News, Media

    Second-year medical student helps epilepsy patients in Bolivia via the Global Health Pathway program

    Second-year medical student Megan Lo helped generate an electronic database to track perinatal comorbidities for epilepsy patients in Bolivia this summer via the Global Health Pathway.

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  • MD/PhD student aims to prevent disease through community-based nutrition policy
    Education News, Media

    MD/PhD student aims to prevent disease through community-based nutrition policy

    MD/PhD student Claire Branley is passionate about fighting food insecurity to prevent disease. The president of the UMass Chan Community Garden, Branley is researching community-based nutrition policy.

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  • PhD student aims to become faculty exemplar for underserved nursing students
    Education News, Media

    PhD student aims to become faculty exemplar for underserved nursing students

    William Mar’s pursued nursing as a second career after spending 20 years as a software developer. Now he is furthering his nursing career by pursuing a PhD. Learn more about him in this Student Spotlight video.

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  • UMass Chan medical student serves as advocate, role model for LGBTQIA+ patients
    Education News, Media

    UMass Chan medical student serves as advocate, role model for LGBTQIA+ patients

    Medical student Theo Eldore has been recognized for his contributions furthering the development of LGBTQIA+ research and community.

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  • PhD candidate finds dogs are perfect companion to understanding human health
    Education News

    PhD candidate finds dogs are perfect companion to understanding human health

    Kathleen Morrill, a PhD candidate in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, has made national headlines for her research into behavioral traits of dogs.

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  • Family tragedy solidifies diabetes researcher’s decision to earn nursing degree
    Education News, Media

    Family tragedy solidifies diabetes researcher’s decision to earn nursing degree

    Being able to assist in caring for a loved one in her time of need confirmed Nisha Naik’s decision to become a nurse practitioner. She came to UMass Chan to focus on mental health while earning her DNP.

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  • UMass Chan MD/PhD student’s published COVID-19 rapid testing research guides FDA
    Education News, Media

    UMass Chan MD/PhD student’s published COVID-19 rapid testing research guides FDA

    Carly Herbert, an MD/PhD student at UMass Chan Medical School, is a student investigator and the first or second author named on six publications on rapid COVID-19 tests.

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  • Biomedical sciences student studying fertility in Mello lab
    Education News, Media

    Biomedical sciences student studying fertility in Mello lab

    Movies piqued PhD candidate Humberto Ochoa’s interest in science. He’s conducting RNA research in the lab of Nobel Laureate Craig C. Mello, PhD, to understand the national decline in fertility.

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  • Nursing student and former accountant takes her critical thinking skills to “higher level” in care of patients
    Education News, Media

    Nursing student and former accountant takes her critical thinking skills to "higher level" in care of patients

    Yuki Fujita, MPH, will graduate with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree on June 5. While a student, Fujita studied perinatal depression in women experiencing high-risk pregnancies at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

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  • Former science teacher pursues medicine through Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health track
    Education News, Media

    Former science teacher pursues medicine through Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health track

    Stella Barth is using her background as a science teacher and clinical research coordinator in her first year in the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health track.

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  • UMass Chan biomedical sciences student studies a gene that causes ALS
    Education News

    UMass Chan biomedical sciences student studies a gene that causes ALS

    PhD student Megan Fowler-Magaw is researching the pathogenesis of ALS, using a specific gene that is found in 97 percent of cases.

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  • Inspired by his own care team, nursing student aims to work in mental health
    Education News, Media

    Inspired by his own care team, nursing student aims to work in mental health

    After 30 years in the business world, nursing student Raj Patel is on the way to a second career in mental health.

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  • Medical student mentors resettled youth, aims to practice community-focused health care
    Education News, Media

    Medical student mentors resettled youth, aims to practice community-focused health care

    A second-year medical student in the Urban Health Scholars Pathway, Emma Dudley aims to work with vulnerable and urban populations. She researches populations in recovery court and volunteers for the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project.

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  • Biomedical sciences student works toward a future in genetic engineering
    Education News, Media

    Biomedical sciences student works toward a future in genetic engineering

    PhD student Katya Makeyeva investigates how small RNA pathways regulate gene expression of reproductive cells in the lab of Nobel Laureate Craig Mello, PhD.

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  • UMass Chan medical student inspired by ophthalmology research
    Education News, Media

    UMass Chan medical student inspired by ophthalmology research

    Medical student Evan Bilsbury works in a lab focused on ocular gene therapy and macular degeneration. He also volunteers at the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

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  • First-year nursing student aims to amplify diversity on road to becoming nurse practitioner
    Education News, Media

    First-year nursing student aims to amplify diversity on road to becoming nurse practitioner

    Jeannece Batista, a Worcester native, is a Graduate Entry Pathway student in the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing.

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  • PhD student studies cancer tumor cells; follows path of high school science teacher
    Education News, Media

    PhD student studies cancer tumor cells; follows path of high school science teacher

    Emmet Karner, a PhD student in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, was inspired by a passionate and influential teacher to go into the field.

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  • MD student examines social determinants of health screening tools in emergency departments
    Education News, Media

    MD student examines social determinants of health screening tools in emergency departments

    T.H. Chan School of Medicine student Vanessa Avalone is enrolled in the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health track, focused on health care disparities and health issues specific to urban and rural communities.

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  • Nursing PhD student works to ensure English-language learners thrive as nurses
    Education News

    Nursing PhD student works to ensure English-language learners thrive as nurses

    Zareen Barry became a nurse in her 20s and discovered she loved teaching. The Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing’s PhD program is preparing her for a faculty position.

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  • PhD candidate studies red blood cells; strives to increase diversity in STEM
    Education News, Media

    PhD candidate studies red blood cells; strives to increase diversity in STEM

    As president of UMass Chan Medical School’s chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, PhD candidate Daniel Hidalgo provides cultural training and advocates for diversity in STEM fields.

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  • BaccMD graduate wants to serve marginalized populations, expand access to health care
    Education News, Media

    BaccMD graduate wants to serve marginalized populations, expand access to health care

    T.H. Chan School of Medicine student Kassandra Jean-Marie was better prepared for medical school because of the UMass Baccalaureate MD Pathway Program.

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  • Aspiring nurse scientist driven to help teens overcome adversity
    Education News, Media

    Aspiring nurse scientist driven to help teens overcome adversity

    Nursing PhD student Saisha Cintron is driven by a passion to provide support systems to teenagers facing adversity. She chose a PhD program so she’d be in a better position to affect systemic change.

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  • MD/PhD candidate seeks to improve health by understanding host-pathogen interactions
    Education News, Media

    MD/PhD candidate seeks to improve health by understanding host-pathogen interactions

    MD/PhD candidate Nick Peterson is studying host-pathogen interactions in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology and is co-chair of the MD/PhD Curriculum Committee.

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  • Worcester Pipeline participant finds home at UMass Medical School
    Education News, Media

    Worcester Pipeline participant finds home at UMass Medical School

    Exposed to UMass Medical School as a high school student, Isaac Ofori stays involved in the Worcester community on his way to pursuing a career in critical care.

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  • DNP student answers call to nursing; plays important role in Vaccine Corps rollout
    Education News, Media

    DNP student answers call to nursing; plays important role in Vaccine Corps rollout

    Emily Everett, a student in the Graduate School of Nursing’s DNP program, played an important role in the Vaccine Corps rollout.

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  • Immunology and microbiology PhD candidate aims to use her voice in science policy career
    Education News, Media

    Immunology and microbiology PhD candidate aims to use her voice in science policy career

    PhD candidate Sarah Cleveland’s mission is to ensure that diverse voices are represented and heard. Cleveland, who studies mechanisms of T cell tolerance, wants to pursue a career in science policy after earning her degree.

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  • With a focus on human rights, medical student aims to give voice to unseen, unheard
    Education News, Media

    With a focus on human rights, medical student aims to give voice to unseen, unheard

    Sabahat Rahman is in the Global Health Pathway and the PURCH track. Her activities include the student-led Worcester Asylum Clinic and COVID-19 research and outreach.

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  • Graduate School of Nursing student reflects on starting nursing school during pandemic
    Education News

    Graduate School of Nursing student reflects on starting nursing school during pandemic

    Oscar de la Rosa has worked as an EMT and a public health prevention specialist. He is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at the Graduate School of Nursing.

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  • PhD candidate studies mental illness progression and alcoholism
    Education News, Media

    PhD candidate studies mental illness progression and alcoholism

    Jenya Kolpakova, a PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ neuroscience program, came to the United States from Ukraine when she was 15. She is studying changes in the brain due to binge alcohol drinking.

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  • Medical student values prevention as a ‘powerful tool’ in primary care
    Education News, Media

    Medical student values prevention as a ‘powerful tool’ in primary care

    Over the years, Andrew Cauley witnessed family members facing a number of chronic health-related issues. His experience with loved ones influenced his decision to enter medicine from a preventative health care perspective.

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  • Mother of two and former educator leads quality improvement project while pursuing Doctor of Nursing Practice degree
    Education News, Media

    Mother of two and former educator leads quality improvement project while pursuing Doctor of Nursing Practice degree

    Amanda Hazeltine, RN, a GEP to DNP student in the Graduate School of Nursing, worked in health care communications and education for 13 years prior to becoming a nurse.

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  • Scientific discovery propelled Cesar Bautista Sotelo on journey from Texas to Massachusetts
    Education News

    Scientific discovery propelled Cesar Bautista Sotelo on journey from Texas to Massachusetts

    Cesar Bautista Sotelo, PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, is using cutting-edge techniques to study how cells and the genome shed offer information on human development, aging and disease.

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  • Inspired by grandfather, Elke Schipani pursuing neurology
    Education News, Media

    Inspired by grandfather, Elke Schipani pursuing neurology

    Elke Schipani grew up caring for her grandfather, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when she was 6. The many hours spent with him influenced the career path she has chosen.

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  • Heather Lovelace working as aesthetics nurse practitioner; serves in new teaching associate position
    Education News, Media

    Heather Lovelace working as aesthetics nurse practitioner; serves in new teaching associate position

    Heather Lovelace, FNP-BC, RN, fourth-year DNP student in the Graduate School of Nursing, came to Massachusetts from California to earn her doctorate degree.

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  • Webb Camille sees research as key to improving health of patients
    Education News, Media

    Webb Camille sees research as key to improving health of patients

    MD/PhD student Webb Camille sees a future as a hospitalist as well as a researcher, allowing him to do bench and clinical research that will ultimately benefit his patients.

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  • Second-year med student Angela Essa studying diet and hypertension in pregnant women
    Education News, Media

    Second-year med student Angela Essa studying diet and hypertension in pregnant women

    Medical student Angela Essa said she has “always been really curious about medicine and the biology of disease and how we treat it.”

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  • ‘My heart is in community health’ says Graduate School of Nursing student Helen Tsiagras
    Education News, Media

    ‘My heart is in community health’ says Graduate School of Nursing student Helen Tsiagras

    Helen Tsiagras, RN, Doctor of Nursing Practice student in the Graduate School of Nursing Graduate Entry Pathway Program, began her nursing career during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also serves as secretary for the Graduate Student Nursing Organization.

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  • MD/PhD student Laël Ngangmeni dedicated to women’s health equity and justice
    Education News, Media

    MD/PhD student Laël Ngangmeni dedicated to women’s health equity and justice

    MD/PhD student Laël Ngangmeni, MBS, started school when she was 3 in her home country of Cameroon. A natural-born learner and curious thinker, Ngangmeni knew science was her calling.

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  • Inspired by care cousin received for rare genetic disorder, Ryan Barrette wants to give back
    Education News, Media

    Inspired by care cousin received for rare genetic disorder, Ryan Barrette wants to give back

    Born and raised on Cape Cod, Ryan Barrette knew he would have a future in medicine after witnessing the care given to his cousin, who was diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome.

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  • Like mother, like daughter: GSN student Emily Davenport grew up with ‘extra caring touch’
    Education News, Media

    Like mother, like daughter: GSN student Emily Davenport grew up with extra caring touch

    Emily Davenport always knew she wanted to be a nurse. Now in her third year on the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner track, she began work as an RN at UMass Memorial Medical Center when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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  • PhD candidate Mohona Gupta seeks answers in retinal degenerative disease
    Education News, Media

    PhD candidate Mohona Gupta seeks answers in retinal degenerative disease

    Mohona Gupta, third-year PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, moved to Massachusetts from Kolkata, India in 2018 to attend UMass Medical School. It was the first time she had ever left her hometown, her family and her house for more than a few days.

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  • Mina Botros connects patients to care through Worcester Free Clinics
    Education News, Media

    Mina Botros connects patients to care through Worcester Free Clinics

    Second-year School of Medicine student Mina Botros is the co-president of the Worcester Free Care Collaborative, a group of free medical programs in the greater Worcester area that offers free patient care. 

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  • GSN student Irina Rojas inspired to pursue nursing career after surviving Hurricane Katrina
    Education News, Media

    GSN student Irina Rojas inspired to pursue medical career after surviving Hurricane Katrina

    Graduate School of Nursing student Irina Rojas knew health care was her calling when she witnessed doctors and nurses caring for New Orleans in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

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  • Anne Carlisle researches cancer cell metabolism at GSBS
    Education News, Media

    Anne Carlisle researches cancer cell metabolism at GSBS

    Anne Carlisle, PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, came to Massachusetts from Nebraska in 2015. She is studying in the Dohoon Kim lab, investigating the role of selenium in cancer cells.

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  • GSN student Madeline Lane sees nursing as ‘perfect marriage’ of science and education
    Education News, Media

    GSN student Madeline Lane sees nursing as ‘perfect marriage’ of science and education

    GEP-DNP student Madeline Lane serves as a co-president for the Graduate Student Nursing Organization. She plans to become an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and is passionate about connecting with others and serving diverse groups.

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  • Medical student Sean Teebagy committed to community
    Education News, Media

    Medical student Sean Teebagy committed to community

    Sean Teebagy is an aspiring physician, a Shrewsbury native and Holy Cross graduate. The son of a physician, he is passionate about helping others and giving back to his community.

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  • From Kolkata to Worcester, GSBS student Kasturi Biswas drawn to science of the brain
    Education News, Media

    From Kolkata to Worcester, GSBS student Kasturi Biswas drawn to science of the brain

    Kasturi Biswas, a PhD candidate in neurobiology, traveled from her native India to Massachusetts to study at UMass Medical School.

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