I am proud to be a born and raised Nevadan! I grew up in Las Vegas and went to UNR to study chemical engineering and neuroscience. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the charter class at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV and to come back down to Vegas to complete medical school.
As a first-generation Mexican-American student, I found my sister to be my biggest inspiration in pursuing engineering and then medicine as she is currently an orthopedic surgery resident at UNLV. She certainly paved the way for me. My parents are also my big inspirations. I look forward to being the second doctor in my family as I pursue family medicine.
Choosing the Kerkorian School of Medicine was the best decision of my life. I’ve made lifelong friends at the medical school and met my partner in crime (and fellow charter class member) Lennon Zimmerman. We’ve made so many memories on our trips to other states and countries with our medical school best friends!
I plan to practice full-spectrum family medicine in an urban setting for underserved communities, including obstetrics, women's health, gender-affirming care, and geriatrics, as well as pursue leadership in family medicine, academics, research, and healthcare policy.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, I am a proud first-generation college student and studied neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Reno. I have dreamed of becoming a doctor for as long as I can remember. My past experience with hospice patients enabled me to articulate that I want to be a physician so that my life and career can be centered around moments of human compassion and connection.
As I made my specialty choice, I found that the unique type of connections emergency medicine physicians form with their patients is exactly what I had in mind. Emergency physicians provide some of the most meaningful moments of human compassion as they help patients and families through the intense ups and downs of their emergency room visit, which at times can be the worst days of their lives. As I faced some of my life’s biggest challenges during medical school, the benevolence and empathy shown to me by emergency physicians and veterinarians was something I’ll never forget. I hope to bring that type of comfort to my patients someday soon.
Medical school went by so much faster than I thought it would. Dr. (Neal) Haycocks was spot on when he told us in our first year, “The days are long but the years are short.” There were, of course, lots of surprises along the way — I really didn’t know what to expect coming in — but life doesn’t stop for medical school. I’ve definitely grown up and learned a lot about myself in the last four years, and I’m grateful to have done so here at UNLV.
I have lived in Las Vegas since I was five years old, and I will always consider it my home. I left to the East Coast for college but came back to Vegas for medical school and couldn’t be happier with my decision. My inspiration for becoming a doctor comes from my love of science and being able to apply that passion to help other people.
One of my favorite moments of medical school was participating in our Problem Based Learning (PBL) groups in my first and second years. These group sessions were a chance to step away from traditional lectures and take time to discuss a clinical case with my fellow classmates. PBL helped me think about medical concepts critically and de-stress at the same time.
I am thankful for UNLV’s help with engaging in community service throughout my medical school career. I was able to work with communities all across Las Vegas and get to know people in a truly special way. Being able to help people not only in the setting of the hospital but also in their parks and neighborhoods really put the work that I do into perspective.
My current plans for the future are to pursue a fellowship. I am interested in subspecialties like rheumatology and infectious disease, but Internal Medicine has so many options that I’ll have to see where residency takes me!
Although I was born on the East Coast, Las Vegas is my home. I went to Clark High School here and earned my Bachelor of Science from UNLV. I also completed all my medical school prerequisites at Nevada State College.
I decided I wanted to become a doctor when I was in eighth grade and my mother was in and out of the hospital due to her addiction. I took the scenic route through my education and finally began medical school in my 30s. It has not been easy as a mom of three young children trying to keep up, pass all my exams, and perform well in my rotations, but it has been an amazing and fulfilling journey.
For me, all of medical school has been incredible. I love learning about everything medicine, and I am extremely excited to continue my education in residency. Even though these last four years have been some of the hardest in my life for personal reasons, I have been lucky to have the amazing support of my family and friends, and my children have been true troopers. They have been the true highlight of my life during this time, but the highlight of medical school was delivering a baby my first week of clinical rotations.
I am hopefully going into psychiatry and completing my residency in Las Vegas. I have interests in autism, addiction, and maternal mental health. As of now, my plan is to have my own practice that will allow me to practice in the areas of psychiatry that I enjoy and am invested in. And of course, I will be practicing in Las Vegas.
I was educated in Nevada and graduated from Legacy High School in North Las Vegas. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, Summa cum laude, then attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Prior to medical school, I was a research trainee at the National Institutes of Health investigating mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis.
Biomedical research is what drew me toward a career in medicine; however, it is respect for human life and wellbeing that motivates me to pursue medicine.
Medical school has been the most challenging but rewarding experience of my life thus far. It was an experience enveloped in self-exploration and discovery in how I want to pursue this career of life-long learning.
I matched in a combined anesthesiology/critical care medicine residency/fellowship program.
I am a native of Las Vegas and pride myself in achieving all levels of my education in Nevada. My parents are veterans of the U.S. Air Force and taught me to always fight for what is right, which led me to enter the medical profession.
I became inspired to become a doctor to help as many people as possible after serving my community as an EMT first responder. My time working side by side with southern Nevada’s corps of firefighters, police, and paramedics have motivated me to continue the tradition of integrity I learned in the streets of Las Vegas.
I am planning to pursue academic medicine in the future, and I hope to return to UNLV after training to give back to my community.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas and spent my entire life here until I went to the University of California, Berkeley for my undergraduate education. My parents are immigrants, and they made many sacrifices to allow my brother and me to lead better lives. Education has always been extremely important to me, especially since I am the first in my family to go to college. Additionally, due to my own personal experiences and the volunteer activities I have been involved in, I have a strong passion to help underserved communities and want to work with this population in the future.
Some of my most memorable experiences were the times where I had the chance to strengthen my relationships with my fellow classmates and friends, such as arranging an all-you-can-eat sushi social for 18 people; being able to visit St. Louis, Missouri, for the 2018 National APAMSA conference; exploring local attractions by going on monthly hikes with my friends; and a plethora of other adventures.
But experiences especially impactful to me were the interactions I had with my patients. Behind each chief complaint was a person who had their own story to tell. I enjoyed learning more about their personal lives and was truly honored my patients were willing to share such intimate stories about themselves with me.
I grew up in Henderson, Nevada, and was raised by my mother, who played both parental roles. I was able to attend UNLV under a scholarship becoming a proud first-generation college graduate with a degree in biology and a minor in dance. Prior to becoming a member of the charter class, I had an 8-year career in clinical research. My mother encouraged me to become a doctor from a very young age and one of my proudest moments was being accepted to medical school. My dream to become a doctor was finally coming to fruition.
My goal is to continue my medical training as an OB/GYN resident. Following residency, I am considering a fellowship in minimally invasive gynecological surgery.
What drew me to OB/GYN was the variety within the specialty. No other specialty offers that unique opportunity to provide primary, surgical, and reproductive healthcare for women throughout a lifespan. I love that no two days are the same in OB/GYN, just like no two deliveries are the same.
I’m drawn to succeed in this field as a woman. Having a career where I’m able to improve the quality of life of other women from a diverse population — a career that’s committed to advocating for women’s healthcare — would be extremely rewarding.
I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada, and stayed there to obtain my bachelor's in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno. I am a first-generation college student and former wildland firefighter. My inspiration to become a doctor started at a young age — from the doctors that had been taking care of me since I had heart surgery at three months old.
Medical school was almost exactly how I pictured it to be. A lot of hard work and studying. I was surprised by the bonds you make with other students and residents by having shared similar experiences. I’m proud to have received the UNLV Rising Star award after my first year of medical school. And I’m excited that while at UNLV, I became engaged to my fiancé.
In addition, the community engagement and service we got to be a part of really opened my eyes to how you can give back to the community and make an impact on people’s lives.
I grew up in Moapa Valley and was drawn to science from a young age. My interest in medicine and public health led me on a circuitous route to medical school but I am thankful for those detours. I worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support international communities experiencing humanitarian emergencies. My work in public health gave me an appreciation for all the factors that influence the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and their communities.
I plan to specialize in family medicine. I am interested in maternal and child health and reproductive health in rural and underserved communities. After completion of residency, I hope to work at a community health center or with a non-governmental organization to provide patient care while also remaining involved in public health efforts and advocacy work.
Being part of the first class was a unique experience. I appreciated the opportunity to be involved with starting student organizations and providing feedback to influence the future of our school. During our clinical years, I worked with a lot of wonderful mentors and was able to participate in some incredible rotations, including a rural rotation in Winnemucca, family planning, and the clinic in Yosemite National Park.
When I received a phone call from Dr. Parrish with my acceptance, I was ecstatic! Getting to go to medical school in my hometown and also stay close to my family was my dream scenario, and it came true. I have and always will love Las Vegas, and the chance to learn from and give back to the city that has given me so much has been a true privilege.
The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV has given me wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Before starting medical school, I heard from various people that it would be “the hardest time of my life, but also the most fun.” Though it was occasionally hard, I found most of medical school to be overwhelmingly fun! I really enjoyed my time learning in 306 and the 1001, 1701 and 2040 buildings, rotating on so many specialties at UMC and in the community, and getting to know my classmates in and out of the classroom. As a native Las Vegan, spending four years at the Kerkorian School of Medicine truly cemented my connection to this community, city, and state.
In addition, the chance to serve and volunteer with the same organization (Southern Nevada Strong) for four years was a valuable experience I am grateful to have. This component of our curriculum, along with numerous one-time opportunities to volunteer at individual events, introduced me to the wide range of people, programs, and organizations dedicated to making Southern Nevada a healthier place for its residents. I am in sincere admiration of their drive, commitment, and tireless and timeless effort and plan to join their efforts in the future as a working physician!
I moved to Las Vegas when I was three years old and spent the rest of my childhood here. My parents struggled with substance addiction, so I was raised by my grandmother who has been my biggest supporter throughout my entire education. I went to UCLA for my undergraduate education. While there, I participated in community service organizations that worked with foster youth and other underprivileged children. I loved being able to empower others and to advocate for these children as I believe everyone deserves the same opportunities. This experience inspired my decision to enter the medical profession, where I would be in a position to positively impact patients at a vulnerable age and advocate for their welfare. I continued to gravitate towards initiatives and opportunities geared towards children, which made me decide to pursue a career in pediatrics, where I will get to impact my patients for the rest of their lives.
I personally find it very rewarding to look back at how little I knew going into medical school and compare it to how much more confident I feel now. I think medical school has helped me grow not just as a student but has also helped me become a more passionate advocate for others. I have particularly been impressed by the medical students and faculty’s ability to accomplish so much despite the dramatically changing COVID-19 landscape.
I plan to start my residency in pediatrics next year. I am extremely interested in subspecializing in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. However, there are a lot of subspecialties I haven’t rotated in yet, so I am still very open-minded. I do know that I want to work with an underserved population, so I plan on working at a safety net hospital. I also plan on incorporating a lot of advocacy into my career going forward.
I was born in Las Vegas but I moved around quite a bit before moving back here when I was 13. I lived in England, Germany, and Japan, but I consider Las Vegas as my hometown. My entire family lives here and I have grown with the city.
I volunteered as an EMT at Duke University in North Carolina for four years. I became a paramedic and worked for Medicwest Ambulance in Las Vegas as an AEMT and a Paramedic before medical school. I also decided to go back to EMS by being a part-time paramedic at Community Ambulance my 4th year of medical school.
My inspiration to become a physician came from an EMT class that I took in college. I was a mechanical engineering major at Duke, but I took the class out of curiosity. Attending a public high school with little to no opportunities to learn about the human body, I was mesmerized. I decided to switch my major and pursued a career in health care.
I knew medical school would be challenging but I did not expect it to be this challenging. But I also did not expect to have the most fun. I made lifelong friends and I was also able to attend medical school right here in my hometown. When I decided to go to UNLV instead of Duke, I did not expect that I will be able to spend so much time with my grandmother and also be there for her, holding her hand while spending her last few moments here on earth.
I hope to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. I am not fully certain whether I will be a congenital heart surgeon or pursue my interest in heart failure; however, I know I want to be a surgeon here in Las Vegas. I envision being a faculty member at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. I want to teach future surgeons, and provide care for the people in my community. I hope to bring in new surgical techniques to treat various cardiopulmonary illnesses.
I moved to Vegas when I was seven. I still remember the manual car windows we had to crank in order to see the neon "Stardust" sign in the city of lights. I had only recently learned English, and all I saw was an opportunity to grow myself. I was inspired to become a person my parents were proud of.
I followed my first passion and became a 10th-grade biology teacher, where I learned compassion and understood the resiliency students have to have to overcome obstacles. Slowly, I discovered my second passion in learning medicine and took every opportunity to show up for my patients. I realized in the end, medical school wasn't an opportunity to improve myself, but instead, an opportunity to show up for my Las Vegas community.
The iconic "Stardust" sign isn't there anymore, but the memory stays with me as a symbol of the growing Vegas, and its continued opportunity the city provides for us to thrive together.
When I was five and baking cookies with my mom, she told me not to put in too much sugar or else "it'd be too sweet to eat." I did it anyway because I wanted to experience the sweetness. She ended up being right and we threw away the whole batch... Medicine is similar to those cookies in that I always knew it'd be difficult, but I wouldn't truly understand until I experienced it. Through the 10 hours of buttocks being sore from studying on a wooden Starbucks chair to the highlight of my day being able to wash my hands so I could wear a sterile suit, medical school was an experience that made me realize my mistakes didn't define me. I had failed some exams and gotten reprimanded for doing a procedure wrong, but every time, I learned to be better. Throughout medical school, I threw out plenty batches of cookies, but I made sure to end up with one that I could enjoy eating.
I was raised in Las Vegas and graduated from Centennial High School with an interest in science and biology. As I pursued my bachelor's degree, I reflected on the experiences in life that brought me happiness and the people that inspired me. I quickly realized that caring for, guiding, and teaching my younger brothers, students, and peers was the most fulfilling part of my life.
My parents played a large role in inspiring this path. My mother, independent of her career as a clinical psychologist, has an innate ability to empathize with any person she meets. Her aura of calm, receptive contemplation is something that I aspire to and a quality that I hope that I can employ in both my future practice and family life. My father, a former professional tennis player, now swim coach and elementary school PE teacher, has always had a keen eye for potential and an educator’s heart. He instilled a belief in me that life is filled with endless opportunities for growth — be it athletic, academic, or spiritual — and created an atmosphere centered around the belief that any goal can be achieved with commitment and consistency. With his guidance, I grew to share this belief, which has helped to motivate and inspire me as I have pursued my medical studies.
My time at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV was one of the most valuable experiences of my life so far. Adapting to the frequent changes of a new medical school, facing academic challenges I had never tackled before, and growing into a role of responsibility for patient care challenged my resolve and flexibility. Nonetheless, I found each milestone that I experienced in the academic and clinical settings, as well as my personal life — board exams, the clerkship year, selecting a specialty, and marriage — yielded periods of self-assessment and reflection where I reaffirmed the type of provider and type of person that I felt I could be.
I was born in Long Beach, California but raised primarily in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Surviving high school felt like an insurmountable task by itself, I never imagined making it to where I am today. By some miracle, I was accepted into and offered a scholarship to go to a great school in Southern California, the University of Redlands. I packed my belongings and moved across the Country.
Once I got to college, I learned that my voice mattered. I got involved in activism and advocacy, worked in the Pride and Women’s Centers, organized protests, and used my voice to stand up for communities that I was always a part of and had always been silenced in. While my years growing up taught me to listen, college taught me to speak.
I knew I was interested in the sciences, and I’ve always loved working with people. I didn’t know much about medicine, but I just knew that I wanted to be a doctor. Growing up, everyone told me that I would never make it to medical school. They told me that I would never be a doctor. I guess I believed them too, but I couldn’t stop trying. It was the only thing I could imagine for myself in the future and I knew that I would be good at it. Even my research advisor in undergrad told me that I would never be a doctor. I applied anyway.
I had never lived in Las Vegas before 2016 when I moved here to live with my grandparents who had recently moved to Las Vegas for retirement. I took the MCAT here and worked at Seven Hills Behavioral Hospital while applying for medical school and doing interviews. Though I never imagined living in Las Vegas, now that I’m here, I never want to leave.
I graduated high school at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas and went on to complete my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at UNLV. As an undergrad, I dedicated a large amount of time to being a tutor and working in the research lab. After college, I also spent time as a teaching assistant in Molecular Biology and working as an emergency room scribe. I pursued medicine because it combines two things I love — science and teaching — while allowing me to help people live healthier lives.
Medical school was one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of my life. I am proud of being in the charter class of our new medical school and I have made several lifelong friends. I am also proud of helping establish some of our school's organizations, such as the Family Medicine Interest Group.
During my time in medical school, I had the opportunity to work with a program at the Ackerman Autism Center. Our goal was to provide a group of peers for young adults with autism to form a social network and share experiences with. Together we would get to know each other, volunteer, and raise autism awareness by participating in the annual Walk for Autism. I had the opportunity to make friends within this group and learn from the perspective of adults with Autism. I believe this experience will be invaluable to me serving my community in the future as a family physician.
I plan on becoming a primary care doctor. I also love teaching, and I want to be involved in passing on knowledge and experience to learners in the future.
As the product of two generations of full-time educators, I’d always assumed I’d be a teacher. When I fell in love with medicine during college, I temporarily floundered until I realized for the first time that some people are teaching doctors. A light bulb turned on, and I never looked back.
I spent five years in South Carolina earning a degree from Bob Jones University, working as a medical scribe, building a math tutoring business, and marrying my dearest friend. But the West was still home, and I couldn’t resist the offer from UNLV’s brand-new School of Medicine. I had no idea what an adventure was ahead of me as part of the charter class, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Medical school was the first time I learned the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. My biggest success is figuring out how to have a robust personal life outside of my career, and I’ve seen my professional life flourish as a result of prioritizing that recharge time.
I became involved in several extracurriculars that have built me into the professional I am now. I’ve particularly been invested in and changed by volunteering with survivors of human trafficking, teaching and mentoring teens in my church, and joining the first group of tutors in the medical school. My family wasn’t at all surprised that I loved just about every rotation — my enthusiasm can make it very hard to figure out what I actually enjoy. But halfway through my third year, my first ICU rotation made me incandescently happy, and I never looked back from the internal medicine path again.
The COVID-19 pandemic shredded every expectation for the fourth year of medical school. But, in many ways, being in the charter class of a brand-new school had already taught me the resiliency and adaptation skills I needed for this drastic upending. I’ve been able to roll with the punches enough to enjoy and learn from this final year of schooling, but I do regret the loss of these irreplaceable months with my classmates. I’ve gone through school with an incredible set of people, and I know I’ll miss them.
I was born and raised in Nevada and went to Silverado High School. I am a first-generation Korean-American and first-generation college graduate. I focused on toxicology research through my undergraduate years at UC Berkeley. I also worked as a biochemist for a startup in San Francisco and a company in Las Vegas, as well as an ER scribe before starting medical school.
I was inspired to be a doctor after my aunt passed away tragically from breast cancer at the beginning of high school. The challenges to access healthcare with my own parents made me aspire to be a physician that helps those in socio-economically disadvantaged positions.
I thought medical school would be extremely time-consuming with little time for family, friends, relationships, and Netflix but I was pleasantly surprised to have enough time to prioritize the things that were important to me. I certainly did not have the flexibility or spontaneity to do everything but I was able to make time for my loved ones, my hobbies, and my health. I am also grateful for all the new friendships with my classmates, residents, and faculty. I hope to continue to stay in touch through residency and beyond.
I plan to do a residency in Emergency Medicine while integrating disruptive innovation in the form of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and the digital world.
I spent the first half of my childhood in Washington, DC, and the latter half here in Las Vegas, where I attended Alexander Dawson school for lower and middle school and Bishop Gorman for high school. Many of my family members live in Nevada — my parents, grandparents and uncle. Both my sister (Carmen Hollifield) and my husband (Damien Medrano) are students at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.
I decided to go to medical school after several trips to Nicaragua during both undergrad and graduate school. I realized the staggering healthcare disparities that I witnessed in Nicaragua were not unique to just Nicaragua — they are right here in the United States and in our own backyard. This was my call to arms and desire to pursue a career in medicine.
There are several memorable moments from medical school, but the first that comes to mind is marrying my classmate. Damien Medrano and I went to undergrad together, graduate school together and now are in medical school together. It was great to always have him as my support system throughout my journey in medical school.
I also fondly remember being on the admissions committee for a couple cycles during medical school. Led by Dr. Sam Parrish, the admissions committee was easily one of the most rewarding experiences in medical school. I've always respected our school's holistic review process.
I was in elementary school when I moved from Arizona to Las Vegas and grew up here ever since. My sister was the first person in the family to go into medicine. She was a big catalyst of my interest to become a doctor, and I soon headed off to the University of Texas-Dallas on the pre-med track to pursue that. My original plan after college was to work and explore for a year or two before medical school. However, when I found out that UNLV was opening its own medical school the very year I graduate, it just felt like I was meant to apply, and luckily, I became a part of the charter class.
Medical school is like a continuously moving journey. Every day was about learning and doing something new, and I don't think I've ever learned so much in so little time before.
The most memorable part of medical school will definitely be this last year with the entire world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought to us some historic medical student moments, including the unique aspects of hospital rotations, zoom classes, virtual interviews, and canceled Step 2 CS licensing exams (excluding the unfortunate ones who took it early!).
I am going into internal medicine with the plan to become a general hospitalist. After residency, I plan to work a few years in a private setting, and then I wish to go into academics and continue this cycle of teaching and learning that is vital to medicine. I think mentorship is so important in medical school, from learning how to be a great healthcare provider to many times falling in love with and choosing a specialty. I hope I can be that for someone else in the future.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and grew up as the youngest of five girls. I was inspired to go to medical school through observing the love my parents, who are both physicians, had for their jobs and the patients they served. My desire to become a physician was further solidified when my parents adopted a little boy who was the patient of my mother. They changed his life. Their example to me is something that I will forever cherish.
I absolutely loved my experience at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. I will forever be grateful for the faculty and staff who made it such an enjoyable journey. I am also grateful for the friends I made along the way and their example to me. Medical school seemed like a daunting task at first, but with the love and support of my classmates, faculty, and staff it was made to be one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences I have had. I will forever cherish the Crumbl Cookie runs, text groups, Le Thai lunches, running events, and all of the other fun times throughout medical school. I was also lucky to have the support of my incredible husband, Dallin Johnson, throughout this journey; I couldn’t have made it through without him. We were blessed to welcome a baby girl, Collins, into our family in my final year of school. We absolutely adore her and can’t wait to see the person she will become.
I am not completely sure what the future holds for me but I do know that I cannot wait to practice psychiatry. The mental health of our community is incredibly important to me. I hope I can make a difference in the lives of the people I serve. I know they will make a difference in mine!
I am originally from Port Saint Lucie, Florida, and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada when I was four years old. I was raised in Las Vegas and briefly left to attend the University of Nevada, Reno for my undergraduate education. I pursued a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and developed a passion for research during this time. Although I grew up aspiring to become a physician, I decided to explore this newfound passion and tutoring for nearly two years. These experiences highlighted my desire to help and support others and my continued passion for science and research. Ultimately, these realizations guided my decision to follow my dream of becoming a physician.
As I reflect on my medical school experience, I realize how fortunate I am to be a member of the charter class at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. As a charter class member, I was surprised by the endless opportunities I had to be involved in many aspects of my medical school experience, which I do not believe I would have been exposed to otherwise. In addition to this surprise, there have been many memorable moments throughout these past four years, including the great response to our health and educational-related resource fair and the creation of lifelong friendships with fellow classmates.
As far as my plans for the future go, I am excited to further pursue medicine in the field of pediatrics! Currently, I am uncertain if I will pursue a subspecialty or general pediatrics, but I am eager to start residency and learn more about pediatric medicine.
I am a proud Las Vegas native and UNLV undergraduate alumna. My inspiration for pursuing medicine, and why I ultimately chose to become a physician, stems from seeing how this career path would combine my love of science, medicine, and caring for others.
The uniqueness of being a member of the charter class at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV has given me more highlights and memorable moments than I had anticipated. Medical school has been a lot of work, as expected, but also a lot of fun. Mostly, I have enjoyed the journey of learning and working alongside my wonderful classmates and friends.
The School has also done an amazing job of providing medical students with opportunities to engage in many community and service-learning projects throughout the four years of the curriculum. Through working with many charitable organizations, fundraising events, and community outreach, I believe everyone in our school has truly had a positive impact on the Las Vegas community.
Regarding the future, I look forward to starting my residency in Emergency Medicine this summer. I plan to practice academic and community medicine in the future, and my current subspecialty interests include disaster and event medicine, healthy policy, and emergency medical services.
I grew up in Reno, Nevada, with my single mother and three younger sisters. At the age of two, I had surgery to remove a defective extra ureter and third kidney, which had been causing life-threatening kidney infections. As a child, I followed up regularly with my family doctor and the University of Nevada, Reno Family Medicine Clinic. The interactions with my doctor inspired me to become a physician.
I enlisted in the Air Force as a Spanish linguist after my freshman year of college, seeking to take advantage of the uniformed services education benefits to fund medical school. After four and half years on active duty, I returned to Reno to complete my undergraduate degree in biology. I also transitioned from active duty to the Air National Guard, where I’ve served as an aerospace medical technician. I also worked as a phlebotomist and scribe before medical school.
While pursuing my medical degree at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, I was commissioned in the Nevada Air National Guard and served as a Medical Service Corps officer around my studies. I recently also served on state active duty leading the mission to increased COVID-19 testing in Southern Nevada, and aiding in the COVID-19 vaccination effort.
When thinking about my medical school highlights, my most memorable ones come from helping to establish and lead a number of School of Medicine student organizations, including a branch of the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA); Qlub Med: LGBTQ+ and Allied Medical Professionals; Military Medicine Interest Group; and the Family Medicine Interest Group.
I have been in Las Vegas nearly all my life after moving with my family from Long Island, New York, in 1997. Since I was a child, the artist and the scientist coexisted in my mind. Up until I was 24, I expected to be in filmmaking and the arts, but I saw around this time (2013) how the healthcare landscape was changing and how I wanted to be more involved in direct day-to-day interactions with people. With barely a single science credit in my transcript, I began my long road from pre-med to medical school, to finally this point of becoming a doctor. Along the way, I have seen how crucial my filmmaking and creative experiences have been not only as a side hobby but in helping with community projects and medical education endeavours.
It is very hard for me to not think of my medical school path as the beginning, middle, and end of a film. For me, I always viewed medical school as a challenge to retain my optimism and personal commitment to people in the face of daunting amounts of studying and clinical workload. The ability to overcome personal crises and challenges while reaching out to my classmates and helping them through similar challenges is my proudest achievement in medical school.
I will be entering into the field of family medicine. My hope is to have a very diverse career working as a hospitalist, private practitioner, and rural physician. My concurrent passion is healthcare literacy, and I hope to use my filmmaking skills to develop documentary films and healthcare campaigns.
I was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, before moving to the United States at the age of 19. I did my undergraduate education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with the end goal of pursuing medicine, and I was honored to be accepted into the charter class of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.
Las Vegas has embraced me and my family and has been my home since then. As new immigrants, my family faced many challenges that ranged from financial obstacles to living without medical insurance, to getting used to a completely new culture. Throughout this time, I never lost my passion for medicine. Growing up during the war in Iraq and witnessing the civil conflict drew me to medicine as a way of helping people.
Medical school went by so fast. It feels like just yesterday when I walked into the school’s hallways for the first time. Yet it feels like I have lived a whole lifetime these past few years.
During my first year of medical school, I became a U.S. citizen. It was also the year during which the tragic October 1 shooting took place, which brought our whole community together in support of each other. And our charter class is finishing through the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have been fortunate to meet and learn from wonderful patients, residents, attendings, and faculty members. I have formed lifetime friendships and grew as a person and healthcare professional.
I grew up in Las Vegas. My mother is a nurse, and from an early age, I had exposure to the medical field. I attended the International Baccalaureate program at Valley High School and then went to college at the University of Nevada, Reno, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a minor in art history.
Following college, I worked for about five years as a medical assistant for a private practice dermatology clinic and as a 911 EMT dispatcher for Northern Nevada's only emergency medical service. I always knew I wanted to return to school to become a physician, so when the opportunity to continue that training in my hometown was presented, I could not turn it down. I am extraordinarily grateful to be part of the charter class at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, learning the skills to be a physician while also laying the foundation at our school for countless students to come!
Some of the best experiences I had during medical school had to do with the connections I made and the ability to bond with my class. Going through all the trials and tribulations of medical school (both medical school in general and being part of a newer program) definitely brought us closer together. Every moment has been memorable — from starting our classes by engaging in an EMT training program to moving on to clinical rotations and seeing each other in the hospital. We faced challenges like the October 1 shooting (shortly after beginning medical school) and the recent circumstances that COVID-19 has brought us, but I know it has strengthened us and will lead to being better physicians for the community.
Looking toward our graduation, I am so proud of each of my peers, and I am incredibly grateful to soon call them my physician colleagues!
I grew up in Reno, Nevada, and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno. After college, I moved to California where I worked in the biotechnology industry for five years before coming to Las Vegas for medical school.
Growing up I was surrounded by physicians in my family, but I did not fully understand what it meant to be one until I decided to pursue a career in medicine. I am excited to enter a profession where my interest in science and desire to help people intersect. Attending medical school at UNLV has been nothing short of a dream. To have the opportunity to lead the way for medical education at UNLV as part of the charter class has been a remarkable experience. I look forward to seeing where the school goes after we graduate.
I knew medical school would be an immense amount of work from start to finish. I was not wrong. What I did not expect was how many new and close relationships I would form with my classmates. From day one I felt the entire class formed a strong bond that was unique to our school. I am grateful for the new friends I have made and look forward to seeing their careers progress.
I've also hit many new milestones in my life while in medical school. I got married to my best friend, adopted a dog, and bought a house. I will remember these four years as some of the hardest working and best years of my life.
During my undergraduate education at Loyola Marymount University, I gained valuable experience training in theatre arts and as an on-campus emergency medical technician. At LMU, I met my wife Lauren Hollifield, and after graduation, we attended Drexel University for graduate school and then UNLV for medical school together. In May 2021, I will graduate from UNLV as the first doctor in my family.
I want to be a radiologist. I plan to be involved with recruiting talented underrepresented in medicine (URM) students to the field of radiology, which ranks 17th and 20th in female and URM respectively. I hope to break down the misconceptions regarding this exciting and imperative specialty, including a myth (which I also believed in) that only primary care specialties provide opportunities to work with underserved populations.
Numerous studies — such as a recent one by Dr. Ashley Prosper titled “Lung Cancer Screening in African Americans” — and colleagues highlight the significant impact radiologists make in addressing health disparities. As artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies continue to be assessed, it is essential that underserved communities are reflected in the data for proper, unbiased clinical application.
With proper mentorship, I desire to conduct health disparities research, particularly in screening guidelines. I aim to participate in leadership positions that promote diversity and health equity within Radiology Society of North America, American College of Radiology, and other radiologic societies.
As a member of the inaugural class, there were many challenges such as the absence of upperclassmen to receive guidance from, but there were also many opportunities that permitted for extraordinary growth.
I am originally from Ethiopia and I decided to become a doctor when I was in Ethiopia after witnessing many people dying and suffering from health conditions due to a lack of providers.
I moved to Las Vegas in 2009 and enrolled in the College of Southern Nevada in 2010. By 2016, I had my bachelor’s degree from UNLV. I am the first generation to go to medical school and English is also my second language. I am also a father and had to work to provide food to my family while I was going to school as an undergrad.
I am going to specialize in Internal Medicine and my future plan is to subspecialize in gastroenterology.
My family and I moved to Las Vegas in 2010 and have called it home ever since. I completed high school at Coronado before heading down to Reno for my undergraduate, where I studied biochemistry. I came back to Las Vegas to complete my medical school career and could not have been happier about my decision.
It was not easy getting into medical school. I actually had to take the MCAT twice before applying because I failed it the first time. I am thankful that I had support from my friends and family who pushed me to continue to obtain my dream of becoming a doctor no matter what it took.
I remember first being inspired to become a doctor back in high school. I am a first-generation American, both of my parents are from Romania. We have been visiting our family in Romania since I was eight years old. One summer, my dad introduced us to one of his friends who was a family physician in town. She let me shadow her and see what a day in her life was like. It was my first exposure to medicine, and I fell in love with the role she played. She was a confidant to her patients and had known most of them and their families for their whole lives. I am thankful that she inspired me to pursue a career in medicine.
I plan on completing residency in family medicine. I am not sure yet what I will do after that because I have many visions of my future practice. I know I eventually want to be an attending because I love teaching. I also hope to be able to practice full-spectrum family medicine and to care for children, adults, and the elderly. I hope to be able to also deliver babies as part of my practice. I am curious to see where my career will lead me, but I am excited because I know I picked the best specialty out there.
I am a daughter of Mexican immigrants and the oldest of five children. As a child, I was not sure what career path I would pursue. Most of my family had not gone to college, so I did not have a strong sense of career goals of my own. However, I knew I would pursue college because my parents instilled in me the importance of an education and that I, as a daughter of immigrants, should have a better life than them.
I was a high school senior when I realized that a career in medicine might be right for me. It was through conversations with my dad about his struggles with managing his diabetes that my interest in pursuing medicine sparked. I saw how my father needed a doctor that understood his stressors and the challenges he faced that were making it hard for him to control his condition.
My entire journey toward becoming a doctor has taken place in Las Vegas. This city has really become my home after moving here with family and having done all of my high school, college, and medical education here.
Medical school definitely had many stressful moments, but it also had some really great ones. My most memorable moments include watching a skull reconstruction surgery, witnessing the life-saving work that pediatric intensivists do, and seeing a young boy say that he can hear after getting a cochlear implant. It has been a privilege to be allowed into a patient's most private and life-changing moments and learn how to make a positive impact on their lives.
Regarding my plans for the future, I am going into pediatrics open to the possibility of pursuing general pediatrics or a subspecialty. I would also like to be involved in advocacy efforts as a physician. I plan on eventually working in academic medicine and practicing in Las Vegas.
I have always considered Las Vegas my home. I moved to Las Vegas in 1998 and progressed through the public school system here before completing my undergraduate education at UNLV while working two jobs. Being a first-generation college student from a low socioeconomic household presented its challenges but I was fortunate enough to meet mentors and community members willing to help me along my journey into medicine.
I anticipated medical school to be a daunting experience that would require me to sacrifice my social, emotional, and mental wellbeing. However, my time in this program has proven the opposite. Program leadership and faculty ensured that we were supported and were quick to remind us that taking a healthy, balanced approach to our learning would lead to greater success. My fellow students and I have created a culture of community and cooperation that has led to meaningful friendships, fond memories, and good vibes. Many of my favorite medical school experiences centered around late-night group study sessions, post-exam question debriefs with friends, and a ping pong table. I was blessed to marry the love of my life, Sara, during my second year of medical school.
As far as my plans for the future go, I have always had a passion for working with children. I am confident that a career in pediatrics will give me the sense of fulfillment and pride that I desire. I am leaning towards general pediatrics but will be keeping my options open during residency to see if a subspecialty catches my interest. My time at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV has impressed upon me the importance of physician involvement in the community, and I plan to continue my community engagement throughout residency and future career. I am excited to see what the future holds!
I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada with my parents and three younger sisters. My parents always taught us about the value of an education and with their incredible dedication and support, all of my sisters and I were able to become first-generation college students with tennis scholarships. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business management and contemplating my career goals, I realized that I still had a profound love for science and an interest in medicine. Through incredible mentorship, I found that the path to medicine as a physician was possible. After learning from excellent physicians that medicine was for me and completing the pre-medical requirements, I was ecstatic when I was admitted to the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.
Throughout medical school, I was fortunate to have found valuable friendships which I envision will be lifelong. I have also had the privilege of learning from terrific faculty. A highlight of mine was working with Dr. Anne Weisman on a research project involving the coroner’s office, and presenting it at the ACP State Competition. It was also in medical school that I married my wonderful husband, who has supported me unwaveringly through every milestone, every challenge, and every triumph.
I will begin my Internal Medicine residency in July, and I am looking forward to exploring the many different paths that I can take. I have had a strong interest in primary care since the start of medical school but am also exploring several subspecialties. I also enjoy teaching, so involvement in medical education is of interest to me.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas and was extremely honored to join the charter class of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, building and contributing to the growing health care landscape of my home city.
In my very first year of medical school, Dr. Stephen Dahlem shared a quote with me, “Go to work every day with the perspective of a patient, the spirit of an activist, and the heart of a healer.” I am very excited to be entering the specialty of OB/GYN where I can continue to be challenged and inspired to live up to this quote every day.
A highlight of my medical school experience was helping to found numerous student organizations such as Qlub Med: LGBTQ+ and Allied Health Professionals and the Nevada Gender Affirming Healthcare Program; UNLV’s local chapters of Medical Students for Choice and AMWA; as well as the OB/GYN and internal medicine interest groups. I felt it was imperative to take an active role in shaping the culture of a new medical school and am very proud of each group’s continued and ongoing work.
I am a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and have earned a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to medical school, I served as a staff member on an advisory committee on bioethics to President Obama, where I worked on projects such as the lessons of the U.S. response to the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic.
As a non-traditional student, I was nervous to start medical school after many years away from school. I was thrilled to be surrounded by classmates with incredibly diverse life experiences who always encouraged me to be my most authentic self. I found lifelong friends and mentors.
I plan to work in academic pediatrics and hope to continue to engage with topics at the intersection of public health, ethics, and policy.
I was born in Cairo, Egypt, and spent some of my childhood years in Australia before moving to New Jersey in 2001 and to Nevada in 2007 with my family. I attended undergraduate at Rutgers in New Jersey and joined the military with the intent of gaining more medical experience before continuing my path to medicine.
I served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic for 4.5 years on active duty with multiple overseas tours in South Korea, Germany, and Afghanistan. Upon completion of my time on active duty in 2014, I enrolled in a graduate program in biomedical sciences at Rutgers University in preparation for medical school. I worked as a senior research assistant at the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) with a focus on combat-related conditions from the Gulf War and Iraq/Afghanistan eras.
The challenges on the road to medicine have been many, from coming to the U.S. as an immigrant and just two months before 9/11, to being the first in my family to attend college in the United States. Most challenging of all was the loss of my younger brother at age 18, just weeks after his graduation from Foothills High School. He has been a constant source of inspiration to continue to serve my community as he did. He continues to be my source of motivation through my path in medicine and all that I do.
A memorable moment was in my fourth year and while on the interview trail for residency. I ran into an Army buddy who I had attended combat medic training with and hadn’t seen since our graduation 10 years prior. We had both deployed to multiple locations, completed our service, attended medical school, and were now interviewing at the same program to train in Emergency Medicine. Small world!
Being born and raised in Las Vegas, it was a great honor for me to be included in the inaugural class at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. I am a non-traditional medical student and also the first in my family to graduate college, so completing my medical degree is something that I have been dreaming about for a long time.
I think everyone in the charter class expected some bumps in the road coming to a brand new medical school but the faculty has been outstanding at taking our feedback and implementing real changes to improve our experience. My most memorable moment is scrubbing into my very first surgery and immediately being handed the camera for the laparoscopic cholecystectomy we were doing. I had absolutely no idea how to use it, but I figured it out with a little help from the residents.
On a personal note, my wife gave birth to my three daughters during medical school. Our first daughter was born in April of my first year and we had twin girls in April of my third year.
As far as my plans for the future go, I am going into radiology and I plan on doing a fellowship in interventional radiology. I think I will work for a private practice; however, I enjoy teaching so I may end up in academic medicine. If I end up having to move away for residency, my wife and I definitely plan on returning to Vegas to help improve healthcare in Southern Nevada.
My ties to Nevada run deep as I was raised most of my life in Pahrump. I became the first in my family to attend college and later received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. Coming from a low socio-economic household presented its challenges but I was able to work full-time during high school in television production and throughout my time at UNLV in hospitality on the Las Vegas Strip. This journey has been tough, but I have been lucky enough to have a solid support system around me that enabled me to be successful and achieve my dream of becoming a doctor. Both my wife and my ailing grandfather inspired me to do more for others. Medicine presented itself as both a challenging and rewarding career. The rest is history.
I anticipated medical school would be an isolating experience. Fortunately, these last four years have proven anything but isolating. Being part of the charter class, my time in this program was a social and collaborative experience. The students rallied behind one another and developed a close-knit, supportive family. My fondest memories include pre-test cramming with friends, late-night ping pong rallies, and decompressing with students and faculty at school barbecues. I developed many meaningful and long-lasting relationships, was married during my first year of school, and recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy to the family, our first.
I envision myself working in a hybrid academic setting, where I can give back to the community by taking on up-and-coming residents of my own. This is an environment where learners are exposed to rigorous evidence-based medicine and “real-world” practice. I feel it’s crucial to be close to science, as medicine is constantly evolving, while also seeing how that plays out in real-world application.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have always felt a deep drive to serve the city I grew up in and strove to make meaningful contributions to my community. I was thrilled to hear that I would be part of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV charter class since it was a unique opportunity to contribute to the trajectory of our city’s new medical school.
Prior to medical school, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology: Cellular Physiology from the University of California, Berkeley. Outside of my major, I co-facilitated a student-run course that explored the American prison system through weekly on-campus lectures and weekly tutoring shifts, where Berkeley students tutored incarcerated men in G.E.D.-related material.
I was able to combine my passions of cellular physiology and correctional rehabilitation when I volunteered to co-direct a pilot program designed to provide patient education to diabetic prisoners at San Quentin State Prison. After undergrad, I accepted a job working for the Chief Medical Executive where I continued my work with diabetes education in addition to quality improvement projects and other administrative roles. My drive to continue to increase access to care for underserved populations galvanized my decision to pursue medicine as a career.
In addition to my work inside prison, I previously worked with developmentally disabled adults, at-risk youth, and children in foster care. I was also fortunate enough to work abroad in Central America, South America, and China. All of these experiences broadened my understanding of the diverse needs held by various members of my community.
I am proud to become a family medicine physician and hope to be involved in projects that focus on increasing access to care for marginalized populations and improving the quality of care for all patients.
It's funny to think that soon, whenever someone addresses me as doctor, I can no longer say "Oh, I'm just a med student" and play it off with some awkward laughter. But now that I am at this point in my life, it's a very comforting feeling knowing that I'm about to enter a new stage in my career, something that I've been working toward practically my entire life.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas and for as long as I can remember, medicine had always been near the top of my list of potential career options, right after Disney Channel Star or superhero (whenever my powers kicked in). Both my parents were physicians, and they had friends who were doctors, and I had friends whose parents were doctors, so it wasn't hard getting exposure to medicine that early on. By the time I was a senior in high school, being a doctor was the only plan I had in mind (anesthesia at the time), and that really wasn’t going to change in college unless I won the Mega Millions Lottery. I did bounce around between majors but always found myself coming back to medicine as the end goal. Fortunately for me, I've had a ton of positive role models in my life who always made sure I knew that this career was in definite reach.
The plan right now is to get into and finish a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency. It's hard to say beyond residency what my goals are because I hadn't even decided on this field until half a year ago or so. But based on my current interests, I'd like to pursue a fellowship of some sort and work in an outpatient setting. In 10 to 15 years, who knows? I'd like to think that one of my side hustles — playing the ukulele and screenwriting — will have taken off while I'm a practicing physician. I’d be able to retire early, move to a beach on Maui, and open up an ice cream shop or something.
I was born in Las Vegas, where I attended Cimarron-Memorial High School. I then went to the University of Nevada, Reno where I studied biochemistry and molecular biology. It was during college that I decided to attend medical school, becoming the first in my family to choose medicine.
Getting to know my amazing class was one of the highlights of medical school. The group of people that I have gone through medical school with quickly became my family, and I really enjoyed getting to watch everyone progress and develop an interest in their fields as they apply to residency. Additionally, I met my girlfriend (Anita Albanese) in medical school, and we are currently couples matching for our residency programs.
In addition, working with the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation Ackerman Center provided me with an opportunity to work with a population that I had previously limited exposure of. This was a very rewarding experience as I got to learn about the passions and goals of all of the members who attended the young adult meetings. It allowed me to begin giving back to the community of Las Vegas, which has provided me with so much on my journey through medical school, and I hope to stay engaged with this community going forward.
Regarding my plans for the future, I am applying for a radiology residency and, while I have not decided on a subspecialty yet, I know that I want to have teaching incorporated into my career. I am very passionate about education and know that I want to be somewhere in an academic center going forward in residency.