COMET Fellows

Class of 2022

Amy McMurchie

    Hello! My name is Amy McMurchie. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota but have been a Bay Area resident for the past eleven years. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in 2013. Since then, I have worked as a professional dancer in three main roles: performer, teacher and employee and director of a non-profit geared towards sharing dance with communities in Central America.

    My shift into healthcare has been inspired by two main factors. First, through my experience working with a variety of communities in Central America I directly witnessed the negative effects of inequitable healthcare. Secondly, in November 2019 I was in a life-threatening accident after being hit by a car while on my bicycle and spent a year going through multiple surgeries and intensive rehab. Both of these experiences have inspired me to become a health care provider who can provide quality care for all individuals. I personally know what a difference health care teams can make!

    In my free time, I enjoy reading, baking and cooking, indoor and outdoor rock climbing and spending time with friends and family.

    I am looking forward to my time in the COMET fellowship to continue to deepen my understanding of the health field and learn the ins and outs of being part of a healthcare team.

Ananya Yanamandra

    Hello! My name is Ananya Yanamandra. Originally from Michigan, I moved to the Bay Area where I recently completed my undergraduate career at UC Berkeley in the spring of 2021. At Cal, I double majored in Public Health and Molecular Cellular Biology with a concentration in Cell and Developmental Biology, minoring in Data Science.

    My interest to pursue medicine began from a young age, when my curiosity for the complexities of the human body combined with the passion to heal inspired me to become a physician. During high school, I started doing research using R programming under the Genes for Good Study at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, where I first became intrigued with the limitless potential of computational tools to understand important biological systems. Throughout my college career, I worked as a medical assistant in a pediatrician clinic, and researched student circadian rhythms in a project funded by the Gates Foundation. Additionally, I competed in Parliamentary Debate, Model United Nations, and worked in the Office of Associated Students of the University of California as a Mental Health Policy Coordinator. As both a Public Health graduate and physician in the future, I hope to pave the way for ethical medical practices and health equities in our society.

    In my free time, I love to dance, sing, hike, and cook! I also love watching K Dramas and have a helpless addiction to online shopping.

    I’m so excited to be a part of the COMET fellowship, where I’ll be able to meet like-minded faculty and students, gain invaluable insight throughout scribing rotations, and bolster the skills needed to become an excellent physician in the future.

Audrey Li

    Hello everyone, I am Audrey! I am born and raised in Hong Kong, but I have lived in the Bay Area for the past decade. I believe in providing comfort and reassurance to others when they are vulnerable and anxious because these moments require a supporting advocate. As an aspiring physician, I will give patients the tools for their wellbeing with scientific intervention can pursue their best-fulfilled lives. Before I become a physician, I will continue to explore with my curiosity. I can do so with my scientific knowledge, as I recently graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in biochemistry. I'm passionate about science because I am always amazed by how molecules and proteins interact with each other so dynamically and precisely in biological systems. They seem to be in their own world, and there is still so much to learn when it's just within our own bodies. In the future, I hope to bring this seemingly foreign language into patient care. However, I wish to be more than a robotic doctor who merely prescribes drugs and performs procedures. I would approach patients warmly and compassionately. I am excited to learn more about this patient-provider relationship during my time as a COMET fellow! In my free time, I enjoy reading all genres, exploring nature, and trying out new recipes.

Bahar Masoudian

    Hello! My name is Bahar.  I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran.  I moved to the U.S. in 2010 to start a new life as a first-generation immigrant and college student.  I started my undergraduate studies at San Jose State University in 2011 with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.  Meanwhile, I was working full-time and ultimately changed my major to Business Administration to be able to manage both my academic and professional commitments.  While majoring in Business, I built a rewarding career in the finance field.  Outside of work, I devoted my time to giving back to my community by facilitating financial literacy workshops, hosting career development seminars, and organizing food drives in Alameda and Santa Clara counties.  As a leader in my organization, I helped clients from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and first handedly observed the systemic disparities that impacted one’s ability to achieve financial health.  After spending nearly eight years helping diverse communities with a wide range of financial needs, I decided to pursue my initial passion of practicing medicine.  In 2019, I graduated with a degree in business, and started my post-bacc studies the following semester.

    While I have acquired transferable leadership and interpersonal skills through my career in finance, the COMET Fellowship presents a new challenge to grow and learn.  I look forward to gaining more experience in areas of medicine that I have yet to encounter. 

Bethany Lin

    Hi, I’m Bethany! I grew up in the Bay Area and attended UC Berkeley, where I double-majored in Molecular and Cell Biology and Music Performance and minored in Global Public Health. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, running, and exploring new food places.

    My interest in biology, music, and public health has granted me diversified experiences for which I’ll always be thankful for. In high school, I volunteered as a birthing center assistant and music therapist; though I received no compensation, every warm acknowledgement directed my way was more than enough, because they proved to me the difference that I could make with my care. As a pre-medical student at UC Berkeley, my passion for healing others and growing curiosity drove me to want to learn as much as I could about healthcare. I joined the Blood Pressure Project, a student organization where I mastered the use of sphygmomanometers, discovered my love for preventive medicine, and developed the desire to help the underserved community. Once, when I volunteered at a free clinic, I took the blood pressure of an elderly man who, though initially shy, became increasingly animated as he enthused about how playing the harp brings him joy. Through our conversation, it dawned on me that playing the harp gave meaning to his life while caring for patients like him affords purpose to my life.

    As a COMET fellow, I look forward to growing my love for medicine, expanding my clinical skills alongside distinguished physicians, and bonding with fellow scribes over a shared passion for healthcare. I hope to develop a richer and fuller understanding of medicine, and I am beyond excited to share this new journey with the faculty, mentors, and my peers at Stanford Healthcare!

Caitlin Bungo

    Hello! My name is Caitlin Bungo, and I am originally from Northeast Ohio. I had the privilege of attending the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM) as a Mānoa Excellence Scholar and graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry in May 2021. In my spare time, I enjoy surfing, hiking, and hanging out with friends and family!

Growing up, I witnessed poverty and its effect firsthand. I saw people bypass needed medical care in order to provide food for their children. It’s heartbreaking to think that many people in this country have to make those choices. It has motivated me to not only want a career in medicine, but to be a change agent.

    My interest is medicine is aligned with my dedication to a life of service. At home, I volunteered over 300 hours at the Twice Blessed Free Store--a nonprofit serving families of inner-city Cleveland. While at UHM, I co-founded the Mānoa Scholars Club--an organization dedicated to providing community service opportunities to UHM scholarship recipients. I additionally served as a teaching/learning assistant for courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Being able to take part in opportunities that have enabled me to work with and help others directly only reinforced my decision to pursue a career in medicine.

    I am inexpressibly honored to be a part of the COMET Program. I very excitedly await the opportunity to work in a clinical setting among a phenomenal group of healthcare providers and fellows.

Cameron Bear

    Hello! My name is Cameron Bear. I am originally from Louisiana but moved around several times as a kid: from Texas, Puerto Rico, to SoCal. My family and I ended up in Northern California a few years ago, and I am very excited to remain in the Bay Area for the COMET Fellowship!

    I grew up in a household of engineers; so, my interest in medicine was a bit surprising. As I pursued opportunities within the medical community, my aspiration to become a physician only grew. I enrolled in UCLA as a pre-med student and graduated with a B.S. in neuroscience.

    When I began college, I wanted to further my hands-on clinical experience. I joined a program at California Hospital Medical Center in the heart of downtown LA. I observed surgeries and natural births, assisted nurses in several departments, and spoke with patients and family members on some of their very best and very worst days. Through this experience I gained practice in composure, self-sufficiency, and most of all insight into a career in medicine!

    I am very excited to join the COMET Fellowship and work with a physician mentor while gaining experience as a scribe. I’m looking forward to observing the development and implementation of a treatment plan, as well as broadening my medical terminology and transcription skills.

    In addition to medicine, I also enjoy predominately flatter hikes with beautiful views, traveling with friends via “bargain airlines”, sensational book club must-reads, and movie marathons on overcrowded couches!

Catherine Gao

    Hello! My name is Catherine, and I grew up in San Jose, CA. I graduated as a Human Biology major at Stanford with a concentration in Disability and Child Development and am currently completing a master’s program in Community Health and Prevention Research.

    As an undergraduate, I worked with the Stanford Neurodiversity Project to develop a two-week high school summer program on neurodiversity advocacy. This teaching experience helped spark my interest in adolescent health and opened my eyes to the roles that community and patient narratives can play in reshaping medical knowledge about patient experiences. These interests followed me into my master’s program, where I am conducting a qualitative project on the conversations that pediatric primary care physicians have with their patients about gender identity. My experience in this program has sparked my interest in pediatrics, as well as in primary and preventive care.

    In the future, I hope to continue exploring pediatrics and adolescent medicine, and work to address health disparities among LGBTQIA+ youth and adolescents. In the COMET fellowship, I am excited to continue developing my clinical skills in order to better serve the communities I care about.

    In my free time, I love to write fiction - and I’m also taking advantage of my time at home to try and re-learn various family recipes!

Christopher Krajcir

    Hello. My name is Christopher Krajcir. I grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon, and I really enjoy sports, fitness, traveling, volunteering, movies, hiking, and learning new things. After high school, I joined the Air Force and served 5 years on active duty before transitioning to the Air Force Reserves. While in the reserves, I attended UC Berkeley and graduated in 2021 with a B.S. in Nutritional Science: Physiology & Metabolism.

    My path towards a career in medicine has been unconventional, but it has provided me with a multitude of beneficial life experiences that have afforded me the opportunity to gain a number of different perspectives into the world of healthcare. My time spent in the military observing medical doctors and healthcare professionals really solidified my motivation and passion towards a career in medicine. I watched as these incredible men and women masterfully performed their assigned duties with the utmost care for their patients, saving countless lives, and improving the quality of life for many of them in the process. My interest in medicine has been life-long, but my experience in the military was what really fueled my desire to become a healthcare professional.

    I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to participate in the COMET Fellowship. I am looking forward to the chance to be able to work with and learn from Stanford healthcare professionals, faculty, and other COMET fellows at one of the premiere healthcare institutions in the world.

Daisy Rosas

    Hello! My name is Daisy Rosas, and I am a first generation Hispanic female. I live in Rialto, CA and moved to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University. I recently graduated with a B.S in biology concentration in physiology and a minor in chemistry.

    During my years in college, I joined a volunteer organization called Circle K International. I would spend every weekend volunteering at the community garden, cleaning up local elementary schools, and making food that would be handed out to low-income families. Over the summer I would come back to SoCal and I would volunteer at a local hospital. I always had a passion for helping others and my community. During my volunteer experience I came to learn that there is a lack of doctors in my area and there is a high demand for healthcare but little supply to provide it. I want to become a doctor to help my community and to promote healthy habits to children. My long-term goal is to become a pediatrician and work in an underserved community.

    I am very excited to be a COMET fellow, because the experience gained from this program will help me in my career path. I look forward to working with the physicians and learning first-hand what it means to be a physician.

Danielle Garcia

    Hello! My name is Danielle. I was born and raised in South Gate, CA and I’m a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a B.S. in Biochemistry. Outside of academics, I enjoy spending time with family (pups included), tending to my house plants, being outdoors, and reading romance novels.

    Growing up as a first-generation student and a child of Latinx immigrants, I know first-hand the disparities our communities face when it comes to healthcare. From this, a passion for accessible and equitable healthcare has grown. More than a physician, my goal is to one day be a practicing advocate - fostering healthier communities across the country.

    Inspired by a desire to make healthcare accessible to all, I became involved in synthetic research at LMU. I conducted organometallic chemistry research - the objective of which was to efficiently synthesize compounds of known medicinal properties in order to lower their cost to consumers (patients). Still under way, this project is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of medicine and the drive to make it obtainable for all.

    I am humbled and excited to be a part of the incoming COMET Fellowship class. I hope to engage with other fellows who share my goals and passions for a better healthcare system.

Deene Mohandas

    Hello! My name is Deene, and I am originally from Princeton, New Jersey. I recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies. While at CMU, I worked at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as a Child Life volunteer, joined the ultimate frisbee club team, and spent my summers working for a home repair non-profit.

    I grew up with a lot of doctors in my family, so I have been interested in medicine since I was a kid. Between that, and an assortment of sports related injuries, I began to really appreciate the difference that it can make to have health care providers who are connected to their communities. My interest in community driven care is what first interested me in COMET, and I am so excited to be joining this year’s fellowship class. As a fellow, I am looking forward to gaining new skills and experiences in the clinic. I am also eager to continue my volunteer work and explore the ultimate frisbee community in California!

Dilpreet (Dil) Singh

    Hello! My name is Dilpreet, though most people call me Dil. I am now from Rocklin, California, but was born in India and at the age of seven moved to the Bay Area, where I spent most of my life. I recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in Physiological Science. 

    During my undergraduate years, I spent most of my time split between classes and the UCLA Bruinrunners. While I enjoyed gaining new scientific knowledge in my studies, my time with the Bruinrunners is where a big part of my passion for medicine truly developed. In the club I had the opportunity to work with teammates constantly pursuing their full potential and seeing their drive to push themselves fueled my fascination for the human body. Part of this process is always some inevitable injury and aiding in cases of injury management allowed me to realize how much I enjoy assisting others in overcoming obstacles and reaching their goals. Coming from an immigrant family, I have grown up around individuals who inspire me with their work ethic, but for whom ideas of self-improvement and healthcare can be a luxury. My goal is to gain skills and knowledge that I can use to give back to these populations and contribute to decreasing the socioeconomic disparities found in the medical field. 

    I am beyond excited to be a part of the COMET class of 2021-2022! This is not only due to the invaluable clinical experience, but for the chance to meet an amazing group of caring and motivated individuals who share my ambition to be successful healthcare providers. 

    In my free time I enjoy reading, perpetually learning and forgetting the basics of playing the guitar, eating Froot Loops, learning new dishes to cook, and of course, running! 

Elizabeth (Libby) Sams

    Hello! My name is Libby Sams. I currently reside in Amherst, MA, where I just recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and minor in Biology. I grew up in Atlanta, GA, where I enjoyed musical theatre, lacrosse, and working at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. My main passion outside of academics, however, was horseback riding. I chose Mount Holyoke, a historically women’s college, because it gave me a remarkable opportunity to study chemistry, explore my interests in medicine, and ride with 43 other brilliant women from all walks of life that I could call my teammates. Competing all four years of college in addition to serving as captain my junior and senior year, the Varsity Equestrian Team gave me strong leadership and interpersonal skills that I’m certain will serve me well in the years to come as I pursue a career in medicine.

    In between academic semesters, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to intern with Stanford’s CSI program, conduct research on Alzheimer’s disease, and work as a Medical Assistant at a private Ob/Gyn practice. At Stanford, I attended fascinating lectures, shadowed practitioners from different specialties and watched multiple surgeries. This experience was so influential in my ultimate decision to become a physician that I came back the following year to work for CSI as a Program Coordinator Assistant. When working as a medical assistant, my duties included obtaining and charting patients’ vitals and medical histories.

    My interest in medicine has been insatiable since I was a little girl. I wanted to make the world a better place, and I saw that doctors directly eased the suffering of others. My reasons for becoming a physician have widened and deepened over the years, but my fundamental motivation for practicing medicine remains unchanged. I am honored at the opportunity to join the COMET fellowship. I recognize how much this program could advance my development towards becoming a physician, and I’m thrilled by the thought of working side-by-side with Stanford medical teaching faculty, where I can learn best clinical practices while simultaneously reducing their administrative workload.

Eva Patrova-Ibarria

Hello! My name is Eva. I was born and raised in Bulgaria and moved to the USA when I was 18. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master’s in Management Science and Engineering with concentration on Technology and Entrepreneurship from Stanford University.  I am very excited to participate in COMET this year and have the opportunity to experience the clinical side of medicine and learn from the Stanford medical community and other COMET fellows. I am also interested in the role of technology and digitalization in healthcare and am looking forward to pursing a research project on this topic.  I am especially interested in how recent advances in AI, machine learning and data science, coupled with large volumes of patient data that are collected digitally, can be leveraged at scale to predict patients’ outcomes and assist physicians in personalizing and improving patient care.

In my free time, I enjoy keeping busy and multi-tasking such as listening to audio books while experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes.

Ezlie Perez

    Hello! My name is Ezlie Perez. I was born and raised in a small border town in Yuma, Arizona. At an early age, I was exposed to the differences in the healthcare systems of Mexico and the US as well as becoming involved in my sister’s surgeries and medical issues. These circumstances ultimately piqued my interest in medicine, and it continued to grow over time. As I learned more about the world around me through my transition to Washington DC, I realized that there is a loud calling for quality medical care of multiple under-represented groups.

    I graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Global Health. During my time as an undergraduate, I was involved in a research laboratory with the Lombardi Cancer Center that focused on ameliorating the efficacy of cancer treatments. I was also fortunate to intern for Family Health International 360 where I assisted with research and program activities for the Global Handwashing Partnership. In addition, I co-lead the Minority Health Initiative Council which granted me the opportunity to create resources and events for under-represented students pursuing a career in the health field. Apart from my academic and professional life, I enjoy reading, hiking, game nights, and cooking for family and friends.

    I am grateful to have been granted the opportunity to continue to broaden my knowledge and experience in Northern California as a COMET fellow. I am eager to work alongside medical professionals and peers to deliver quality care to a diverse population.

Gabrielle Grant

    Hi! My name is Gabby Grant, and I am from Los Angeles, California. I am currently a senior at Santa Clara University, but will be graduating with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Public Health. I aspire to be a diagnostic radiologist in the future and want to work to provide health equity to underserved populations through clinical service and community engagement.

    As an undergraduate, I was involved as a volunteer in my university’s Volunteers Around the World program, where we planned mobile medical and dental clinics alongside doctors and patients in various medically underserved countries. This program gave me an understanding of health challenges facing communities across the globe, where practicing more preventative care is critical in encouraging better health outcomes. I also had the opportunity to work with a local doctor and his private practice at health and wellness clinics in underserved, low-income communities in Los Angeles. I collaborated with this doctor to design individualized treatment plans that took environmental and structural factors into account for each patient. I have also spent my last two quarters at Santa Clara University working to support COVID-19 testing on campus.

    I am very excited and humbled to be a part of the COMET Fellowship class of 2021-2022. I hope to gain the medical and clinical experience necessary to be the best physician I can be and receive hands-on exposure through direct patient interaction and mentorship. I look forward to working alongside the physicians and fellows and learning as much as I can from them. In my free time, I enjoy watching sports with my family, working out, baking, and spending time with my sister and friends.

Gagandeep Benipal

    Hello! My name is Gagandeep, and I was raised in Fairfield, California. I recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Human Biology, with an emphasis in Biomedical Science.

    My exposure to medicine was through my grandfather’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, caring for him pushed me to seek opportunities in which I can care for the elderly population. Throughout my undergraduate career I served as patient advocate and also conducted research with ALS patients through the EverythingALS platform. I also worked with seniors in assisted living facilities through the Brain Exercise Initiative, in which I met with seniors on a weekly basis to do trivia, reading comprehension, and math exercises in hopes of curbing the onset of Alzheimer's disease. My goal is to go to medical school and become a geriatrician!

    Outside of all things medicine, I was a part of a competitive Indian folk-dance team for 9 years and truly believe in mind-body wellness. In my free time I enjoy painting and spending time with my family. As a COMET fellow, I look forward to working closely with Stanford faculty and learning how to care for patients in a way that shows cultural humility!

Hannah Garzota

    Hi, my name is Hannah! I was born and raised here in the Bay Area. I have spent the last four years at San Jose State University pursuing a major in Biology- Systems Physiology and a minor in Chemistry.

    I was always passionate about studying science and decided to explore the field even more in college. During my time as an undergraduate I found myself increasingly fascinated with science and physiology, therefore I decided to pursue a career in the medical field. I volunteered in a medical mission serving underserved communities in the Philippines, and through this experience I found the importance in basic healthcare and it made me very passionate about ensuring every person has access to quality healthcare. At SJSU, I had the opportunity to be part of a gene therapy lab with Dr. Jennifer Johnston where we were utilizing CRISPR-Cas9 to express FVIII in Hemophilia A patients. During my experience as an undergraduate researcher, I was able to gain experience and learn more about biotechnology and medical applications.

    In my free time, I love seeking new experiences, watching movies, and listening to music. I am also a big foodie, so I enjoy finding new food and drinks to try!

    I feel incredibly blessed and excited to be part of the COMET team. I believe this unique experience will help me further improve my clinical experience. I hope to be a great addition to the team but also be another person helping the patients along the way!

Henna Shaghasi

    Hello! My name is Henna Shaghasi, and I am from Clayton, California. I recently graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California with a B.S. in Biochemistry. I have love for science and a passion for education and service!

    During my undergraduate career I was fortunate enough to work under the mentorship of one of my professors, researching the unicellular microalgae; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This research led me into being a part of the Berkeley Lab Undergraduate Faculty Fellowship in which I conducted a comparative genomic analysis on identifying H4K79 methylating enzymes in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Toxoplasma gondii. Through this experience I developed a love for research and science as well as understood the importance of higher-level education. Due to my love for education and my belief that every student deserves an equal opportunity to pursue a higher-level education, I started a mentorship program called Activating Success. This program aims to guide high school students through the college application process so to alleviate some of the hardships that come with trying to pursue higher education.    

    These experiences alongside my desire to serve others has drawn me into medicine. For me medicine encompasses the principles that I hold so dear. The idea that you treat all individuals no matter who or what background they come from is what pushes me further into medicine.  

    As a fellow, I am looking forward to exploring the principles of medicine and getting a glimpse of what it entails to work in this field. I am incredibly overjoyed to be apart of this experience and to simply expand my knowledge about the health care field.    

Jennifer Hall

    Hello, my name is Jennifer Hall. I was born in Bethesda, MD before moving several times and eventually landing in Colorado Springs, CO where I spent many formative years and attended high school. Growing up in a military family, I became well accustomed to the idea that home is more a matter of who you’re with rather than where you are. More recently, I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where I studied Physics and Molecular and Cell Biology. In my free time, I enjoy playing the piano, spending time outdoors, and sunbathing with my cat.

    Overtime I’ve found my interest in medicine has evolved. Originating as a fascination with science, through experiences both personal and professional I now find my interests have expanded to center around passion and empathy. I want to play an active role in helping family’s stay whole and in advancing medical research. I’ve watched loved ones persevere through battles with cancer and been inspired to aid in the fight through my own involvement in cancer research. As an undergraduate, my research culminated in a capstone thesis exploring a potential mechanism for monitoring patient prognosis throughout treatment course. From these experiences and many others, my interest in medicine has grown and become far deeper.

    As a COMET Fellow, I look forward to working alongside Stanford healthcare practitioners to support a diverse patient population and gain invaluable clinical experience.

Jerald Jianoran

    Greetings! My name is Jerald Jianoran and I’m from Martinez, California. I’m a proud graduate of San Diego State University with a B.S. in Public Health.

    After exploring several career paths, I felt the most connected to medicine and have been inspired by compassionate and knowledgeable providers. Since then, I’ve taken many opportunities to expand my experiences and further reinforce my drive for healthcare. I began modestly volunteering with organizations such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation and Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Afterward, I was fortunate to spend several months in an Emergency Department gaining first-hand healthcare experiences which influenced me to become an EMT. Furthermore, I’ve had eye-opening research projects in improving telehealth services and understanding COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Finally, my proudest experience comes from founding a chapter of Doctors Without Borders at SDSU and being a local pipeline for global health education and activism.

    My terminal goals are to practice emergency medicine or enter a surgical subspecialty while being a role model for the next wave of healthcare providers. I believe the COMET Fellowship will provide a great foundation for my goals. From learning medical decision-making, building cultural competency, and immersing myself with the Stanford providers and other COMET fellows, I’m confident the knowledge and skills I will learn will lead me and the future communities I serve toward a more positive outlook.

    In my free time, I enjoy expressing my creative outlets through photography and cinematography and playing volleyball and soccer!

Jileen Vue

    Hello everyone! My name is Jileen Vue and I’m from South Sacramento. I graduated from Sacramento State with my B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Counseling. During my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to explore my passions for serving underserved communities through collaborative, organizational, and volunteering efforts. My previous commitments as a student leader and patient advocate at a student-run clinic have shaped my approach to dismantling barriers that low income, minority groups often experience while navigating health care systems.

    My interest in the medical field is strongly influenced by my cultural and religious background. Throughout my life, I have witnessed and experienced the remarkable work of Shamans who dedicate their entire lives to provide spiritual healing, guidance, and protection within their extended families. Which is why I believe my journey in medicine is rooted in cultivating collective healing through restorative health and holistic care. As a future healthcare provider, I aspire to bridge the gap between communities of color and quality patient care that prioritizes cultural humility.

    I am currently a Program Assistant for Health Education Council (HEC), a non-profit organization, where I hold the responsibility of facilitating two of our Neighborhood Safety Programs. These youth centered programs equip our participants with the tools to destigmatize mental health, promote wellness, and redefine self-care. All of which empower our youth to become mental health advocates through community engagement opportunities. Additionally, my involvement with HEC has taught me the importance of addressing community safety as it correlates to public health. Our collaborative efforts with the Live Well Valley Hi Coalition and Youth Violence Prevention Collective have allowed me to practice active community leadership and allyship. From this ongoing experience, I have been able to continue my work in investigating and addressing health disparities through the lens of racial and social equity.

    As a COMET fellow, I look forward to working alongside Stanford professionals and developing myself through this immersive learning experience. I hope to gain invaluable knowledge that will support my lifelong commitment to change lives and ultimately save lives.

Justin Less

    Hello! My name is Justin Less, and I currently live in Santa Clara, California. Born and raised in California, I am a senior at Santa Clara University and will be graduating with a bachelor's degree in Biology with a minor in Public Health this upcoming June. 

    I am currently working in a faculty microbiology lab with Dr. Craig Stephens and my project is a longitudinal study focusing on the evolution of commensal E. coli in SCU students. I am also currently volunteering with SCU Emergency Medical Services on campus as an EMT with other Santa Clara students. In addition, I have had the pleasure of going through this pre-medicine process as the Director of Prospects and Education Chair in the supportive and collaborative community that is my professional pre-health fraternity, Delta Epsilon Mu. My time in the research lab and as an EMT, along with my past experiences shadowing in the clinic and working as an ER scribe, has greatly reinvigorated my decision to pursue medicine. In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, running, playing board games and spikeball.

    As a COMET scribe, I look forward to learning from a highly dedicated medical team, continuing to explore my passions, and doing my best to improve the patient-provider interactions.

Mimi Kyi

    Hi all! My name is Mimi Kyi. I was born in Yangon, Myanmar, moved to the U.S. when I was two years old, and have lived in the Bay Area ever since. I recently graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Biology. In my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball, exploring the outdoors, cooking for others, and spending time with loved ones.

    My upbringing as a Burmese immigrant has enabled me to identify with disadvantaged minority groups in need of comfort and guidance in healthcare. Seeing my immigrant parents’ experiences of struggling to navigate the American healthcare system caused me to realize the importance of culturally competent medical care. After learning more about the health disparities among minority groups during my undergraduate studies and my firsthand experiences of these health disparities in my own family, I became passionate about public health issues, health education, and disease prevention. My goal as a future physician’s assistant (PA) is to heal others by combining my public health background with medicine. I also plan to contribute to public health initiatives in underdeveloped countries and local underserved communities through my role as a future PA.

    I am humbled and full of gratitude for this unique opportunity to participate in the 2021-2022 COMET program. I look forward to working alongside distinguished faculty to provide quality patient care for our community while gaining invaluable experiences for my growth as a future health professional.

Miah Cisneros

    Hello!  My name is Miah Cisneros.  I was born in Monterey Park, California, but was raised in San Bernardino County.  I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Cell and Developmental Biology.  Since I was a child, I was always interested in science.  Growing up in a big family exposed me to various health complications that lead me to become interested in healthcare and down the path I am in today. 

    During my undergraduate years, I mainly focused on my studies while maintaining a job to financially support myself.  In my final year at Berkeley, I had the opportunity to join the University Health Services under the Health Worker Program where I served as a peer health educator for my residential community.  Advocating for various types of health practices and communicating with residents about their concerns via health assessments provided me with a glimpse into patient care and furthered my interests in medicine.

    By joining this fellowship, I hope to broaden my experience in healthcare, especially in a clinical setting, and learn from both the Stanford healthcare professionals and other COMET fellows.  I am very excited to be a part of the COMET Fellowship in the Class of 2021-2022!

Mikayla Milla

    Hi! My name is Mikayla A. Milla, and I recently graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a B.A in Integrative Physiology as well as a Public Health Certificate. I was born in the Philippines and grew up in New York and I am super excited to move to California. During my 4 years at CU Boulder, I was the Health and Safety Chair of CU Student Government and sat on the Student Health Advisory Board. I was also fortunate enough to have been involved in COVID-19 contact tracing as well as monitoring and testing. These opportunities solidified my decision to pursue a career in the healthcare field.

    I have always had an interest in medicine, but it was not until my third year in college that I realized that I wanted to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. I’ve learned that becoming an OBGYN is far more than just delivering babies but helping and educating woman and men. Having a teacher as a parent has taught me the importance of education so I am excited and driven to work with young adults to educate them about their health.

    Through this fellowship, I am excited to learn and collaborate with my peers as well as healthcare professionals. I know that I will gain invaluable experiences and observe, first- hand, the interactions between a patient and physician. Words cannot explain how thankful I am to the family and friends that have supported me thus far. I am beyond grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to be a COMET Fellow.

Min Hansen

    Hello! My name is Min Hansen, and I am a Southern California transplant. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Redlands and worked in various industries before returning to school to pursue a career in medicine. 

    I have always had an affinity for medicine and my interest is galvanized by personal experiences. Growing up, regular access to medical care was not available and I both witnessed and experienced the impact lack of care can have on impoverished communities. As an adult, I spent years maneuvering through the healthcare system before finally being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. These experiences, gathered over a lifetime, have had a profound impact on how I view healthcare and the type of medical professional I aspire to be. I believe healthcare is a basic human right and hope to work within underprivileged communities. I am passionate about improving access to healthcare and addressing the disparities across socioeconomic status.  

    I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the COMET Fellowship Program. I look forward to learning about medicine and patient care under the guidance of Stanford faculty, healthcare professionals, and mentors. I’m also excited to learn from, and grow with, the other COMET fellows!

Princess Valois

    Hello everyone! My name is Princess Valois and I recently graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Physiological Sciences where I was able to explore my interest and gain foundational understanding of the human body. My experience growing up in an under- resourced community in the Philippines, where healthcare is not a priority, sparked my curiosity in medicine and service. This eventually inspired me to pursue a career as a physician, hoping that my future contribution in the field will help improve care services and give more affordable and equitable medical options and assistance to underserved populations, reaching communities locally and globally.

    During my time at UCLA, I was most involved as peer counselor and site coordinator for an outreach program at UCLA, providing educational and holistic services to underserved communities in the greater Los Angeles area to foster and embody the ideals of empowerment and help students take ownership of their education. I also worked for a care provider where I was able to gain administrative and clinical experience, as well as nurture my interest in providing care for the elderly, which stems from my experience growing up and my culture. I aim to use my experiences in healthcare services and outreach to move forward with my professional career in medicine.

    Looking to expand my experience in clinical care and knowledge in medical practice, I am both honored and humbled to continue my journey in medicine as a COMET Fellow.

Raziel Santos

    Hello! My name is Raziel Santos, and I am from San Jose, California. I recently graduated from Duquesne University attaining a B.S. in Biology with a Physiology concentration and minors in Biochemistry and Public Health. For 2.5 years of undergrad, I conducted research on the functional divergence of Rsm genes in Pseudomonas fluorescens.

    During my undergraduate career, I aimed to promote diversity and inclusion on and off campus. I served as the Vice President and Peer Mentoring chair of the Multicultural Stem Group, co-founded the Filipino-American Student Association, and served as an orientation leader for three years. I volunteered in various departments, such as the child development center at UPMC Mercy, and grew a love for interacting with kids. In addition, I studied abroad in Belize where we explored caves and medicinal trails, fished with seines, and shared lots of bonfire stories with the local community.

    As the proud child of Filipino immigrants, I had the unique challenge of balancing cultural ideals. When I moved to Pittsburgh, the disparities amongst minority groups became increasingly apparent. My experiences of racial injustice combined with my enthusiasm for science are factors that drew me to medicine. As I learned more about healthcare in my classes and volunteer work, I became motivated to raise standards for vulnerable populations as a future physician. I am ecstatic to be a part of the incoming COMET Fellowship class! I look forward to building relationships with this extraordinary group of mentors.

    In my free time, I am usually exploring different art mediums, improvising songs, or getting boba with my friends.

Samantha Sifuentes

    Hi! My name is Samantha Sifuentes. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S in Chemistry and a minor in General Biology. I studied chemistry because I am fascinated by chemical processes that translate to medicine.

    Throughout undergrad, I discovered my purpose in life is to serve others. My passion for medicine developed during my courses in biochemistry and human physiology. I worked at a pharmacy and found it so fulfilling to experience the real-life application of medicine and the compassionate role of healthcare professionals that care for every individual patient’s health and well-being. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I became a volunteer at the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic working in the patient assistance program which helps provide low-income patients with access to their medication. The clinic adapted to telemedicine and it has been truly remarkable to see how the physicians, healthcare professionals, and volunteers work together to provide access to healthcare.  

    I am grateful and excited to be a part of the COMET Fellowship class. I am eager to learn and strengthen my medical and clinical experience to move me closer to my aspirations to become a physician. I look forward to working alongside physicians and fellows to best serve patients. In my free time, I enjoy running, trying new restaurants and coffee shops, and spending time with my family!

Song-Ah Baek

    Hello, my name is Song-Ah Baek (she/hers), and I am from Castro Valley, CA. I recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A in Integrative Biology and am excited to join the COMET program!

    As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to explore many fields before settling into a career of medicine. I served as a research assistant studying causative changes of the gut microbiome in C. elegans, taught anatomy as an undergraduate instructor, and interned in a sports medicine clinic. From this arc, I actually found that teaching and working with children were larger passions of mine. Outside of school I worked both at a preschool and elementary school creating STEM-based lesson plans. Another achievement of mine was forming a collegiate dance team to spread my second passion of choreography and building communities.

    My desire to work in medicine started when I realized how little I knew about it. Growing up as a first-generation immigrant, being driven and making money was at the forefront of my family’s success. It didn’t cross my mind that our health was overlooked until I entered college and took responsibility for my own healthcare. This led me to the conclusion to pursue medical school and become a health professional that will use their skills frequently for other families in need and not just for profit.

    In my free time, I enjoy dancing, knitting, and dog-spotting!

Swathi Nair Kavitha Sukesh

    Hey! My name is Nair KS and I currently live in Morgan Hill, CA. I recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S in Neuroscience. You can usually catch me trying to hike up a hill or staring at artisan cookware around the Bay Area.

    In my undergrad, I had the amazing opportunity to conduct independent research projects studying mRNA degradation for genetic diseases. Research is a big part of my soul and while I do enjoy living in the ‘what ifs’ of life, connecting with people is what completes my soul. I founded the National Alzheimer’s Buddies chapter on my campus and have served as the director for two years, connecting undergraduates with local Alzheimer's patients to be their buddies. I have worked as a learning assistant for STEM classes, helping cultivate a collaborative and safe learning space for students. I also had the incredible opportunity to do the Integrative Medicine Scholars program with 20 medical students from around the world and learn about healing from unique socio-cultural perspectives. Currently, I am volunteering with the local COVID vaccine clinic to help keep our community stay safe. I am really interested in holistic medicine that transcends the mind body disjunction and prioritizes patient autonomy while using research to create better treatment modalities.

    I am really grateful to be a COMET fellow and look forward to gaining mentorship from the dedicated team and health care staff to further my skills and interest in the medical field.

Tahniyat Tariq

    Hello! My name is Tahniyat Tariq, and I am a California native from Fremont, CA. I recently graduated from San Francisco State University (in the midst of a global pandemic) with a B.S. in Chemistry and a Minor in Communication Studies as a first-generation Pakistani student. 

    I gained a strong interest in healthcare when I was diagnosed with typhoid fever in my early teens. After this occurrence, I was eager to gain knowledge about the human body and its’ ability to fight various infections, diseases, and illnesses. However, much of my curiosity stemmed from Google and watching medical YouTube videos.

    During my time at SFSU, I interned at the Zuckerberg SF General Hospital as a Health Advocate and worked alongside healthcare professionals while receiving mentorship from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. I also became a Founding Member of my university’s first pre-health co-ed fraternity, Delta Epsilon Mu, which allowed me to network with many like-minded peers within my fraternity, and later realized that a career in medicine is an attainable goal of mine that I aspire to achieve. 

    As an incoming COMET Fellow, I am extremely excited to work with Stanford’s medical faculty members and explore various specialties, thus allowing me to excel within the healthcare field. 

    Beyond academia, I love reading, exploring nature, listening to music, cooking, and spending time with my family and friends. 

Varun Rohatgi

    Hi there! My name is Varun, and I was raised here in Mountain View, California. I headed to New York to complete my undergrad at Cornell, where I received my Bachelor's in Biology. My favorite hobbies include playing badminton, hiking, and relaxing under a clear night sky - looking up at the stars.

    While it's been my childhood dream to become a doctor, I truly developed my interest in medicine after shadowing neurologists and volunteering at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center. I was humbled by the bonds of trust that the doctors built with patients and their families, and I realized that I wanted to cultivate these kinds of relationships in my professional career. I am currently on the Ethics Committee for a state-wide elderly care program, where I have learned how to apply medical ethics principles to resolve complex ethical issues in delivering patient care. Since graduating, I have been working full-time as a contact tracer for Santa Clara County's DPH, where I help cases navigate medical/social support services and maintain successful isolations and family quarantines. These families' stories have laid bare the healthcare disparities that exist within my community, and I seek to address and mitigate these barriers in my future practice.

    I am very excited to join the COMET fellowship, and family, this year. The program offers me a unique opportunity to build on my clinical experiences, and I look forward to learning from a diverse range of physicians and healthcare professionals.

Yarenni Reyes

    Hello! My name is Yarenni Reyes. I was born and raised in Mexico City and moved to Los Angeles when I was 12 years old. I attended Pasadena City College, which gave me the chance to intern at Oak Crest Institute of Science where I worked with plants with medicinal potential. I then transferred to the University of California, San Diego from where I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Anthropology and a minor in Global Health. At UC San Diego, I shadowed at the Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT) clinic, a student run free clinic serving vulnerable populations, including substance users, sex workers, the homeless, deportees and indigent patients. During my time at HFiT, I hosted fundraisers every quarter to support the patients by buying PPE, and COVID-19 tests and conducted research to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the patient’s lives, with the hope to bring visibility to the border region struggles. For my undergraduate honors thesis I compared the mental health effects of the COVID-19 and HIV pandemics on women of Mexican descent.

    Outside of school I work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at a long-term care facility where I care for dementia patients. I love traveling the world and my ultimate goal is to become a travel PA!

    As a COMET fellow, it is my hope to learn more about the medical field and specialties by working alongside talented health professionals and students. I am so excited and honored to be joining the Stanford COMET team and I am looking forward to serving vulnerable communities and making a difference.