COMET Summer Fellows

Class of 2024

Manal Ahmed

Hello! My name is Manal Ahmed and I was born and raised in the Bay Area! Last spring, I earned a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UCLA with a minor in Evolutionary Medicine!

I am grateful for my experiences both in and out of the clinical setting which allowed me to have the intention to practice medicine from a very young age. Throughout my educational career and volunteering at the Veterans Affairs Hospital for two years, I have developed a keen eye for detail and a strong understanding of the importance of specific medical practices that lead to improving patient outcomes. Attending health fairs and shadowing distinct specialties has also allowed me to practice accurately documenting patient encounters, as well as aid the healthcare team in delivering high-quality care. Lastly, the research I have done in the past regarding cardiovascular disease gave me insight on the value of non-clinical practices towards disease treatment. Essentially, I am passionate about improving patient outcomes and am dedicated to providing excellent services to both patients and the healthcare providers I will be working with!

Alongside my educational journey, I prioritize spending quality time with friends and family! My favorite pastime activities include playing board games, listening to music, and trying new foods!

All in all, I am excited and humbled to be a part of the COMET class of 2023-2024. I look forward to learning and working with you all, as well contributing to the success of the team!

Hossein Bakhshandeh

Hello, my name is Hossein! I was born in Columbia, Missouri, but my family and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area one month after I was born. I grew up in Santa Clara early in my life and in Fremont starting around elementary school. I attended Davidson College for my undergraduate education. To supplement my learning in my Biology major, I completed three summers of research internships at MD Anderson Cancer Center, which is the #1 ranked cancer center in the nation and located in Houston, Texas. For two of those summers, I worked in the lab of Nobel Laureate Jim Allison and did immunotherapy research. 

In addition to my studies, I was a Bonner Scholar in undergrad, which is a national four-year scholarship program and meant that I volunteered extensively while at Davidson. For a majority of my time volunteering, I mentored and tutored underserved elementary and middle school students in the Davidson community and surrounding areas. Along with that, I started to volunteer in hospice care, which increased my desire to pursue a career in medicine. 

In my free time I enjoy going on walks, playing sports, and spending time with my family and friends.

I am excited and humbled to be a COMET Fellow, and I am looking forward to the work, learning more about the medical field, and all the people that I will get to know!

Kaveri Bhargava

Hi, my name is Kaveri! I was born and raised in Boston, MA but moved to the Bay Area before my junior year of high school. I recently graduated from Boston University, where I majored in Cell and Molecular Biology and minored in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, traveling, trying new workout classes, and long walks with my dog.

My passion for medicine was sparked as a kid when I accompanied my grandmother, a doctor who treated patients at a free clinic in India. Her dedication to service and a lifetime of commitment to her patients inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. 

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to shadow physicians in different specialties across various practice settings. I have seen the importance of health literacy for patients, and believe that patients who understand their illness can be effective partners in managing their disease. I have also been able to work with physicians pursuing research which has led to an interest in the intersectionality of clinical medicine and research. Through these experiences, I have realized that a physician wears many hats, simultaneously piecing together scientific evidence, listening to patient concerns, and leading the health care team.

I am very excited to join as a COMET fellow, and I look forward to delving deeper into the field of medicine, observing patient-physician interactions, being mentored by accomplished physicians, and gaining skills that I can take along with me in the future. 

Ronit Dey

Hi there! My name is Ronit Dey. I was born and raised in Saratoga, California but did my undergraduate studies in Houston, Texas at Rice University. I have a double major in kinesiology and cognitive science with a minor in biochemistry and cell biology. My love for medicine came at a very young age, as I had grandparents on both sides who were doctors. Growing up, I looked up to them and what they did. I would see a smile on their face that I did not see in many other professions. As I started to explore science, I became more and more interested in medicine. Throughout middle school and high school, I explored my medical and scientific interests. I participated in a science fairs, did research, and volunteered in hospitals. As an undergraduate, I solidified my interests and connected my love of sports with medicine, and this led to me majoring in kinesiology.  I participated in a summer research program called MicroSURP at UT Health, and through this program, I got to do research as well as look at what life at medical school would look like. I attended many medical school classes and seminars and thoroughly enjoyed my time.  Furthermore, I began to shadow physicians and look more deeply at to what being a physician looks like. 

I am very grateful to be a part of the COMET family. I hope that through this fellowship, I will be able to get firsthand experience at what the medical field looks like. I am looking forward to working with various physicians, doing research, and making some friends as well. I want to deepen my understanding of patient care and am very excited to work with an extraordinary group of healthcare workers and fellows. 

Khoa (Kat) X. Do

Xin chào, my name is Khoa Do and I also go by Kat. I was born and raised in the Bay Area where I graduated with Honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.S in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Additionally, I am a first generation Vietnamese-American high school and college graduate in my family. As such, I have my family to thank, especially my mother sister, and brother, as they have been my biggest supporters and have motivated my passion and interest in the field of medicine.

Growing up, my mother told me about her childhood in a rural village in communist Vietnam where proper healthcare and education are considered luxuries. I was able to experience these hardships first-hand when I visited the rest of my family who are still living in Vietnam. Though I was only 12 at the time, I was able to recognize the difference in level of knowledge and technology between the American healthcare system that I grew up with, and that of developing countries. Since then, I have always been determined to become a medical professional so that I can use what I learn to help develop the healthcare that exists in underrepresented communities.

I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to be a part of Stanford's COMET class of 2023-2024. I look forward to learning from Stanford’s renowned healthcare professionals and hope that I can apply my learnings and experience from this program towards a future medical career so that I may be able to give back to the community.

Cambria Flaa

Hi! My name is Cambria and I’m from California’s Central Coast. I just graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Psychology. I grew up dancing and golfing, and I love spending my free time outdoors. 

Right before attending college, I spent two summers participating in a Physician Mentorship program where I shadowed a variety of healthcare professionals. My favorite rotations were emergency medicine and obstetrics/gynecology. This was my initial experience in healthcare and it’s where I confirmed my desire for a career in the field. I also have experience on the patient side of healthcare through my grandmother’s battle with pancreatic cancer. It was through the time I spent with her I realized how important a quality patient-provider relationship is, and I aspire to one day make a difference the way that her providers did for her. 

During undergrad, I worked as an optometric technician and in the restaurant industry. I learned valuable lessons from both places of work, which I am excited to apply during this fellowship. I was also on the board for the American Sign Language Club, which gave me an opportunity to educate my peers about Deaf culture and to share a beautiful language. 

I’m very grateful to the COMET program and to Stanford for this amazing opportunity, and I look forward to working with and learning from everyone involved..

Yuxuan (Vanessa) Fu

“Hello, my name is Yuxuan Vanessa Fu. I was born in China and moved to California during high school. I recently graduated from UC San Diego with a Master in Biology. My research focuses on neurodegenerative diseases.

My passion for healthcare began when I was eight years old and my grandfather, who was deaf and mute, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. I witnessed how the disease affected him and his daily life, which inspired me to become a doctor and help underrepresented patients like him. During college, I decided to major in human biology and joined a neurology lab that focused on Parkinson's disease. During my Master's program, I continued working on non-neuronal transdifferentiation to further study neurodegenerative disease. Alongside my academic studies, I also volunteered with the Asian Pacific Health Foundation to serve underrepresented communities in the San Diego area. As a medical interpreter, I helped non-English speakers to have a chance to get screened and learn about common health problems like diabetes, hypertension, hepatitis, and so on.

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, watching K-drama, and baking. I'm excited to attend the COMET Fellowship and look forward to learning new skills to better serve the community in the future.

Rahel Gebregziabher

Hello, I'm Rahel Gebregziabher, a proud native of Oakland, CA. I obtained my B.S. in Biology from UCLA and enjoy spending time in nature, watching sunsets, and taking up new hobbies like crocheting.

My passion for a career in medicine stems from my desire to advance healthcare equity for vulnerable populations. As a child of immigrants, I witnessed my parents navigate the healthcare system, which reinforced the importance of culturally competent care and preventative measures. I'm motivated to become a physician to serve my community and ensure access to quality healthcare.

In 2021, I co-founded Bay Area Tegaru Youth (BATY), a nonprofit organization aimed at empowering Tegarus after a genocidal war. Through curated workshops, tutoring, and community engagement, BATY bridges the gap between individuals and their needs, promoting healthier communities.

I'm thrilled to be a fellow of the COMET class of 2023-2024. This fellowship will provide me with invaluable medical knowledge and skills, helping me become a more well-rounded physician. As a scribe, I'll gain practical experience while building a community with like-minded individuals. Additionally, the program offers valuable mentorship and opportunities for cutting-edge research. I look forward to this exciting journey towards my future in medicine.

Sydney Gonzalez-DeSantiago

Hello! My name is Sydney Gonzalez-DeSantiago and I’m from Rancho Cucamonga, California. I recently graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry. In my spare time I like to garden, journal, paint, read manga and collect stickers. I also make educational TikTok’s about anatomy tips.

Throughout high school I volunteered at my local hospital and became a part of the community. It’s here I realized that this felt like home to me. Being able to translate between patient to nurse, helping out the Latino community, and learning valuable medical terminology. 

In college it was all cut short due to the pandemic that took not only 2 ½  years of my education but my grandpa. I felt behind and mentally defeated to know that I couldn’t do anything to help him or my parents during those difficult times. All I knew was that one day I could change that and be able to help people like my grandpa who have serious illnesses get better once again so that they could go back home to their loved ones. 

Returning to school I got to work and became a TA at my school’s anatomy lab, got a job as a lab technician at UCSF neurobiology center, volunteered at Stanford’s Children’s Hospital and at UCSF’s ICU unit. Where I realized that I love learning a little bit of everything in medicine and hence why I believe that Family Medicine is where I’m meant to be. 

As a fellow I’m excited to continue to learn more about patient care interaction and expand my knowledge of specialties working alongside physicians.

Abbie Hall

Hello! My name is Abbie Hall and I originally grew up in Denver, Colorado. I moved to California to attend college where I graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.S. in Human Biology and Society and a minor in Biomedical Research. In my free time, I enjoy anything outdoors from hiking to surfing but you can also find me exploring new restaurants and fostering dogs.

My passion for medicine has only evolved as I grew up and became more involved. Seeing my family battle cancer and seeing the power of medicine in action solidified my dream to one day become a physician myself. I am currently in a research lab under Dr. Scafoglio where we study glucose metabolism in lung cancer and the mechanisms of cancer progression toward advanced stages. Recently, I was a coauthor of a paper discussing glucose deprivation promoting de-differentiation in lung adenocarcinoma.

Clinically, I work as a medical assistant and phlebotomist, and volunteer in an oncology unit. My involvement in a clinical environment and interactions with patients have made me even more eager to pursue a career in medicine and delve further into the healthcare field.

As a COMET fellow, I am looking forward to embracing the medical field and learning more about different specialties. I am excited to be working alongside the Stanford healthcare professionals and gain a better understanding of the role of the physician.

Michelle Kao

Hello! My name is Michelle Kao, and I am from San Jose, California. I am a recent graduate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and an aspiring physician. In my free time, I love watching movies, listening to music, drawing (traditional and digital!), and playing piano and flute.

During my undergraduate years, I worked as a research assistant in community-based participatory research, studying the influence of healthcare providers on the care experience of Asian American breast cancer survivors. Being able to see not just the language barrier but also the cultural barrier affecting survivors and their ability to get the best care possible in the U.S., I realized that I could become a physician that could provide a higher quality of care for Asian American patients.

Outside of research, I was also able to gain hands-on experience volunteering at the Michigan Medicine hospital in the PACU, where I could see how nurses, physicians, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals work together to provide care for their patients. My passion for public health also led me to two global health clubs at school, helping to educate the public about different health topics and fundraising for clinics and schools in countries like Cambodia and Uganda.

I am excited to be joining COMET this year and look forward to working alongside a diverse and passionate group of fellows and healthcare professionals!

Athena Le

Hi, my name is Athena! I was born and raised in the Bay Area and will soon be graduating from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology and a Data Science minor.

Growing up I remember hearing stories of my premature birth, involving abruptions and gratefulness towards that day’s healthcare team for my survival. These stories sparked my initial interest in healthcare, and during the pandemic I solidified my interest through spending time as a CICT for the Santa Clara County of Public Health, which showed me the intricacies of working as part of a healthcare team, and how each role supports each other to help patients get the care they need. My interest towards medicine in particular formed when I had the opportunity to shadow in ophthalmology and plastic surgery where I saw not only the medical treatment but also the mental relief the physicians provided their patients through the physicians’ diagnoses, ability to answer patient questions, and subsequent treatment.

I’m excited to get more in-person patient interactions in a large academic institution, which I haven’t gotten the chance to do before now. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to gain more hands-on research experience! All of these opportunities will assist me in achieving my goal of becoming a well-rounded, thoughtful physician that her patients feel taken care of with. I can’t wait to get to work with everyone and am looking forward to learning as much as I can from this opportunity!

Paige Medeiros

Hi, I’m Paige!

I have spent the majority of my life thus far in Southern California. I was born and raised in Orange County and attended San Diego State University where I received my B.S. in Kinesiology. I am currently working as a radiology assistant at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas where I am able to work closely with emergency, ICU and inpatients, preparing them for their imaging. Aside from medicine, my interests include cooking, working out and everything aviation! 

When I began my undergraduate experience, I was interested in fitness and sports science. After taking an upper division human physiology course, I fell in love with the subject and shifted my focus to the medical field. Since then, I have had the opportunity to spend multiple semesters as a Teaching Assistant for the course and decided to pursue a career as an Emergency Physician Assistant. 

While completing my undergraduate education, I was a member of a club called the Flying Samaritans. As a member, I was able to participate in providing free medical care to the residents of Tijuana, Mexico through student-run monthly clinics. I am extremely proud to have been a part of an organization that prioritizes the healthcare of underserved communities and it is my goal to emphasize this type of work as much as possible when I am a practicing PA. 

I am honored and excited to be a part of the incoming COMET class of 2024!

Remya Meethal Veetil

Hello! My name is Remya Meethal Veetil and I was born and brought up in India. I graduated with Bachelors in Medicine. Growing up my hobby was practising Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance form) and trying my luck in sports. I immigrated to the USA after my marriage. In my spare time I love to travel, visit new places and experience new cultures.

After my graduation, I worked in a government run hospital in India for a few years. I had the privilege to serve as a physician in emergency medicine which taught me the basics of patient care in a stressful environment. I also had the opportunity to learn and practice hospital administration and community service as part of additional responsibility which was invaluable.

After my move to the USA, I was curious to learn more about the healthcare system here. During the peak COVID time, I volunteered 100+ hours with Santa Clara county to help in the COVID testing and vaccination clinics. It was a great experience to interact with organizers and fellow volunteers. It was a privilege that I could contribute a small part towards community service during a healthcare crisis.

I’m really excited about being part of the COMET 2023-2024 fellowship which will give an opportunity to connect with and learn from doctors, healthcare workers and peers.

Adia Robles

Hello! My name is Adia, and I am a Bay Area native. My undergraduate career began in 2018 at the College of San Mateo, a junior college, where I received my AS-T in Biology. Then, I transferred to UCLA where I earned my B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology in the spring of 2022.

My desire to pursue a career in medicine began at a young age when my sibling was born with a heart defect. That period of my life was filled with numerous hospital visits and interactions with medical personnel. As a result of my experiences, I grew an appreciation for the medical community. I then felt determined to become a doctor because, like those who worked tirelessly to help my brother, I wished to heal and improve the lives of others. As an undergraduate, I have arranged and prepared blood drives on campus, taken numerous insightful courses, conducted research to identify an unknown sea urchin gene, and became a certified phlebotomist. I am incredibly thankful for the experiences I was able to have as an undergraduate, and I am excited for what the future holds for me.

I am excited and honored to be a part of the COMET Fellowship. As a fellow, I hope to gain more clinical experience and learn from every interaction in order to become the best physician possible.

Outside of academics, I enjoy traveling, listening to music, cooking, crocheting, and spending time with my friends and family. 

Mireya Rodriguez

Hi, my name is Mireya Rodriguez, and I was born and raised in San Jose, California. I am a first-generation college graduate from De Anza College with an A.A in Science, Math, & Engineering and from the California State University of Fullerton with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. In my spare time, I enjoy reading fiction, running outdoors, cooking new recipes, and spending time with family and friends!

During my undergraduate years, I volunteered over 500 hours at different non-profit organizations. I had the opportunity to spread awareness of plant conservation at the Fullerton Arboretum, provide free counseling services for high school students at the LGBTQ+ youth space, and distribute meals at Pathways of Hope. I also worked as a Registered Behavioral Technician, providing direct care in-home and in-clinic with children on the autism spectrum. These community-based experiences fueled my passion for educating and helping others, which I wanted to apply to the healthcare field.

I am grateful to join the Stanford Health Care team and take on my role as a Stanford COMET Fellow. I look forward to gaining more clinical experience and new medical knowledge and skills to support my career path as a physician assistant.

Rebecca Roque

Hello, my name is Rebecca and I completed my undergraduate program in 2020 where I majored in Psychology and double minored in English and Behavioral Neuroscience with a pre-medical track. 

While I was in college my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. I took on the role of his primary caregiver. That experience taught me what it’s like to be responsible for the life of a human and it is what ultimately solidified my resolve to pursue medicine.  

Since June 2019, I have been working as a biomedical researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in the Granato neuroscience lab. My first project focused on a lrp4 mutation in zebrafish, which impacts axonal growth as well as neuromuscular junction formation. My project was accepted at the TAGC 2020 conference. In November of 2021, I co-authored a paper on the findings (Walker, L. J., Roque, R., et. al, 2021). Since the spring of 2020, I was put in charge of a new project, screening multiple genes to test if they are involved in axonal development or re-growth post injury.

In the fall of 2021, I was accepted into the advanced core in health sciences premedical postbaccalaureate program at Temple University. After completing the program at Temple University, I enrolled in some courses at The University of Pennsylvania to help me prepare for applying to medical school. 

I feel this fellowship experience will further prepare me for medical school and I am very excited to work with such a respected team of physicians as well as a group of like minded peers. 

Sana L. Tehal, MD

As a Stanford COMET Fellowship recipient, I am ecstatic to join some of the world's leading healthcare professionals and researchers. My journey into the medical field began in Malawi, a southeastern African country where I grew up. My early exposure to volunteering at various community clinics in the capital city ignited my passion for medicine. It was there, I gained an appreciation for the power of empathy and the importance of deep medical knowledge and examination skills when resources were so scarce.

My research experience includes receiving awards for my work on "The relation between VDR-Fok 1 gene polymorphism to Pre-Menstrual Syndrome in adolescent females" and for research on improving awareness about diabetes early detection and prevention in the United Arab Emirates. I also led a team of volunteers at labor camps to screen for metabolic syndrome and conducted the first youth anti-tobacco campaign with the Emirates Cardiac Society.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I continued my volunteer work by contributing to public health education about the virus for Cameroon with the United Nations Volunteer for Social Development International.

Currently, I am completing my internship at Roots Community center alongside Stanford faculty members. Roots has been recognized by former President Barack Obama for its exceptional work in the community, and I am thrilled to gain additional clinical experience there while giving back to the community.

In my free time I am an artist and my favorite medium is acrylic on canvas and hiking around the beautiful bay area.

Gloria Ye

Hi, my name is Gloria! I am a Bay area native, an Army veteran, and UC Berkeley grad. Prior to graduating, I spent 6 months abroad in Shanghai, China. When my visa expired, I returned to the states and spent a few years in tech before transitioning into medicine.

My path into medicine has been far from conventional, but the right pieces have come together at the right time and place, allowing me to gain the experience and knowledge to pursue my goal of becoming a physician. While working full time, I cobbled together a DIY post-bac, taking pre-med courses through UC Berkeley / San Diego Extension, Stanford, and local community colleges. Over the years, I’ve volunteered as a scribe, shadowed physicians in a variety of specialties, and worked in healthcare tech. Each one of my experiences have strengthened my motivation to practice medicine as a physician.

In my spare time, I enjoy getting boba with friends, karaoking, reading, hanging out with my English cream golden retriever, traveling, and swimming. I am also a Disney and Broadway aficionado. My favorite Disney movie is “Encanto”. My favorite Broadway show is “Dear Evan Hansen”. When I’m not playing the Broadway lottery for some low-cost tickets, I, as an Airbnb host, enjoy getting to know my guests staying in my home.

I am thrilled to join the COMET Class of 2024 and look forward to an exciting year of tremendous growth and development as I hedge forward towards becoming a physician.