Connect with Current Students


2019-2020 Admissions Liaisons

Please find below a directory of current students that make up our Admissions Liaisons Program.  They are eager and excited to speak with you!  Their bios shine light on topics that they are especially interested in discussing, and we are confident that they will be able to answer any questions you may have.  Do not hesitate to reach out to anyone of our Liaisons at any time- they are here to help!


Med StudentAndre Agassi


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: Nashvillle

My name is Andre Agassi and I am from Nashville, Tennessee. I was an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and would be excited to talk to anyone coming from out of state especially from larger state schools such as UTK or other SEC schools. I also took a year off between my undergraduate college education and the start of my medical career. I can provide some insight about transitioning from a gap year back into an educational setting.


Med Student Monica Alvarez


Class 2022

Hometown: Miami FL

I was born in Mexico City, and raised in Miami, FL. Came to Durham in 2012 to attend graduate school. I started medical school (PCLT) six years after graduating undergrad so can talk about jumping back into school after a long break. I am a wife, a mom to a little girl and a mom to an eternally young at heart dog all while being a med student. Life is very busy but not impossible. Happy to chat about work life balance, being a Latina at Duke, life in Durham or any other questions you might have.


Med StudentHelena Barbour


Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

Happy to talk about any topic, including why I chose Duke, the condensed first year curriculum and feeling ready for the wards second year, and what it’s like living in Durham.


Med StudentEmily Zoe Barney


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: Durango, Colorado

Bio: Hey guys! My name is Emily and I am a rising MS4 here at Duke Med. I was raised in Colorado and went to the University of Denver for undergrad (go Pioneers!). At Duke I am actively involved in the Duke Hot Spotting initiative and Anesthesia Interest Group, and was one of the student leaders of the Clinical Skills Foundations for the new first years. I am planning on applying into anesthesia for residency!

Topics I would be interested in talking about with applicants include the Durham food and drink scene, going straight to school after undergrad, moving to the East coast, having a significant other while in medical school, and pretty much anything related dogs.


Med StudentMonica Bodd


Class Year: 2022

Hometown: San Jose, CA

I was born and raised in the Bay Area, and studied Anthropology at Rice University in Houston. At Duke, I’ve loved exploring my interests in theology, end-of-life care, oncology, and basketball. Would be happy to chat about the transition from a humanities degree to medical school, moving to NC from out of state, or really anything about the first-year DukeMed experience!


Med StudentGrant Cabell


Class Year: 2022

Hometown: Chapel Hill

Born and raised North Carolinian. Happy to talk about anything with applicants, but especially would love to talk about the curriculum, basketball, work/life balance, basketball, things to do outside of school, basketball, as well as the transition to living in Durham and how welcoming both the local and Duke med community are.


Med StudentBryanna Carpenter 


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Hi! My name is Bryanna Carpenter, and I am currently an MS4 applying into Emergency Medicine. I’m from Charlotte, NC and I graduated from Harvard in 2015. While there, I majored in Stem Cell Biology, with a minor in Race & Gender Studies, and a foreign language citation in Spanish. During my MS3 year, I completed an MPH at Gillings School of Public Health. Feel free to contact me about anything regarding Duke, but I am especially available to talk about North Carolina in general, extracurricular, getting involved in research as a MS1, music, earning an MPH, Emergency Medicine, and maintaining a work-life balance (which I firmly believe in).


Ryan Chiang


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: Irvine, California

I was born and raised in southern California and went to undergrad at UC Irvine. I can discuss pretty much anything about moving here from the west coast, first year and second year curriculum, research year, Duke basketball, STEP studying, etc.


Duke studentMaggie Coates


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: Seattle, WA/Durham, NC

I have lived in Durham since I was 14 and am absolutely in love with this city (and Duke)! I also went to Duke for my undergraduate education, where I majored in Chemistry. I am a 4th year medical student currently and would be happy to answer any and all questions about Durham, transitioning from undergrad to medical school, choosing a research mentor, or any other topics that prospective students might have questions about. Go Blue Devils!


Med StudentJesse Crayle


Chapel Hill, NC

Happy to discuss anything and answer any questions you might have including what attending DukeMed is like, medical school in general, and life in the Triangle. About me: I grew up in North Carolina and went to UNC Chapel Hill for undergrad before I came over to the dark side. I’ve been very involved in ALS clinical research for the last two years at Duke and I am currently completing 4th year rotations while applying for residency in neurology.


Med StudentRachel Draelos


Class Year: 2018/2022 (entered 2014)

Hometown: Redmond, Washington

I am a sixth year MD/PhD student (GS-4) currently working on a PhD in Computer Science in Lawrence Carin’s research group. My research focuses on developing novel machine learning models for medical applications. I grew up in Washington State, studied computational biology at Cornell, spent a gap year doing research in Philadelphia, and then came to Duke in 2014. I am married to another Duke MD/PhD student, Matthew. We have a dog Fluffy who enjoys walks and sleeping in my office while I write code. In my spare time I like to write, play piano, and bike. Topics of Interest: combining computer science/engineering with medicine, living in Durham, dual degrees, work-life balance, and any general questions about Duke Med!

Elena Drews


Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Wayland, MA

I was a biology major at UMass Amherst, and worked as an EMT for a year before starting at Duke. I also identify as bisexual. I didn’t know a single person in the Durham area before moving here, and was a little nervous about  moving to “The South,” but I’m really glad I did! Please feel free to reach out with any questions!


Med StudentAlex Fenn


Graduating year: 2021 

Hometown: Fort Collins, CO

My name is Alex Fenn, and I’ll be a MS3 during the 2019-2020 school year. I am a Colorado native, having grown up in Fort Collins, CO, and then attended CU Boulder for my undergrad. After college, I did Teach For America and taught third grade for three years. I then enrolled in a formal post-bacc program at CU in order to obtain my med school prerequisites, and worked at a GI clinic during my application year. 

I am happy to talk about being a non-traditional student at Duke (and anything this encompasses), as well as advantages of the condensed curriculum from an educator’s perspective. I am also happy to discuss any aspect of my experience during the first two years of medical school.
My (non-school) related interests are: Running, being outside in general, reading, and anything of/relating to food/drink. I welcome any and all conversations about these topics!


Etienne Flamant


Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Saratoga, CA

Bio: Undergrad in immunology at McGill University. Topics: Anything really! Transition from undergrad directly to med school, 1st/2nd year at Duke, living in Durham, etc.


Med studentMaria Gomez-Caraballo


Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Cartagena, Colombia

My name is Maria Gomez-Caraballo, a third year medical student in the MD program. My path to medical school was not traditional: I started at Holyoke Community College, finished my B.A. at Mount Holyoke College, and then did bench research for 3.5 years at the MGH Cancer Center. At this time, my residency interests are ophthalmology, pediatrics, and radiology. I am here for you if you’d like to talk about what it is like to navigate Duke Med as non-traditional applicant. I am happy to share my experience with Duke’s curriculum,  ophthalmology, minorities and international students in medicine, LGBTQIA+ opportunities at Duke, life in Durham, and of course, basketball!


Med StudentSarah Greene


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: Durham, NC 

I was born and raised in Durham, NC and went to Emory for undergrad. After graduating I worked in clinical research monitoring before starting medical school. I actually ended up applying twice to Duke before getting in and I am happy to share that story.  I did my third year research at the NIH in a basic science lab studying cancer immunology and participated in the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program. Through that program I've worked with medical students interested in research from other schools and would be happy to talk about some of the insight I have gained into the value of Duke's curriculum in talking with my peers. Finally, I am always happy to talk about Durham, Duke Basketball and all the great things in this area has to offer. 


Med StudentSara Grundy


Class year: 2022

Hometown: Montpelier, Vermont

My name is Sara and I am originally from Montpelier, Vermont. I went to Wesleyan for undergrad where I majored in neuroscience and biology. After graduating I spent 2 years in Boston doing global health research before coming to Duke. I’m happy to talk about anything including life at Duke/in Durham, moving to the North Carolina, global health opportunities here, whatever you like!


Med StudentJordan Hildenbrand


Class Year: Class of 2021

Hometown: Blue Springs, Missouri

I attended the University of Kansas for undergrad and majored in Chemical Engineering. I love cheese and college basketball. I am interested in Medicine vs Med-Psych as a clinical specialty and am starting my research year (third year here at DukeMed). I’d be more than happy to talk to applicants about living in Durham, adjusting to medical school, what the DukeMed third year is all about, experience on the wards, and the interview process. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have! I’m open to talk with you about almost anything.


Med StudentElizabeth Howell


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: Atlanta, GA  

I originally came to Duke back in 2010 for undergrad. After graduating, I worked for two years as the clinic coordinator for the Brain Tumor Center, and decided to stay here for med school. I would love to talk to anyone who has questions about living in Durham - I've been here for 9 years, so I'm basically an expert! I'm also happy to talk about the transition from working to going back to school, as well as the DukeMed curriculum in general. I am also incredibly passionate about the types of things DukeMed students are involved in outside of the classroom. There are some amazing extracurricular opportunities here, and I would love to chat with you about them!


Med StudentKevin Ji

Class Year:2020

Hometown:Toronto, Canada

I’m an international student (Canadian) on an F1 visa, so feel free to hit me up with questions about international stuff. I went to Penn for undergrad and went straight through. I completed a master’s in clinical research (MHSc) (used my third year and an extra research year) at Duke during my MD studies, and did clinical research since MS1. I’m also applying into ENT/ otolaryngology head and neck surgery.


Med StudentFabian Jimenez Contreras


Class Year: 2022

Hometown: Johns Creek, GA

I am rising second year medical student at Duke University School of Medicine, but I have been here since 2014 since I went to college here too (Go Blue Devils). My home town is Johns Creek, GA. I am huge Duke Basketball fan, so if you want to talk basketball I should be your first contact.  I am still debating what residency to pursue, but I am interested in surgery. I also have a passion for global surgery and bioethics. I love Durham, I can’t think of a better place to live. Feel free to ask me anything about Durham, Duke, or life in general. I hope to see you around!


Med StudentSafa Kaleem


Class year: 2021 (MS3+)

Hometown: Gainesville, FL

Bio: Hi! My name is Safa. I’m originally from Gainesville, FL, and went to Duke for undergrad where I studied neuroscience. I’m now at Duke Med, taking an extra research year to complete a masters in health science in clinical research (MHSc). I am interested in a career in neurology. During my first year as a medical student, I started a student organization called Duke Med Interfaith, where we discuss and learn about different faith traditions that our colleagues and patients adhere to! I am also president of the Graduate Muslim Student Association, so I am happy to answer questions about the Muslim community at Duke and in Durham.


Med StudentBrian Ketterman

Class: 2021

Hometown: Pueblo, Colorado

I’m Brian. I grew up in Pueblo, Colorado and attended the University of Denver (go Pioneers!) where I got degrees in biology and psychology. I stuck around Denver for a gap year scribing for an ophthalmologist in private practice. I am a third-year student, I think I want to go into some kind of pediatrics. I’m interested in gastroenterology and urology (among others) as specialties, and will be doing urology research this year. I love Duke and love talking, so please reach out! We can discuss the application process, how and why I decided to come to Duke, life as a med student, research, extracurricular activities...or whatever you want to talk about! 


Alina Khurgel


Class Year: 2020

Hometown:  Charlottesville, VA

Bio: I'm a non-traditional student and previous military officer. Started Duke Med as the mom of one, finishing as the mom of two. Did my research and continue to be based in Seattle. Happy to discuss Duke from the perspective of a parent (mom, or mom-to-be, in particular), the flexibility of the program with regards to doing research away, and adding on additional years for research purposes, and also as a non-traditional student in general.


Med StudentMike Lebhar

Class of 2021

Home Town:Naples, FL

Happy to discuss anything! I studied biomedical engineering at UNC and am interested in incorporating medical innovation into the operating room. Big fan of UNC/Duke Basketball.



Med StudentOmar Martinez-Uribe

Class of 2020

Home Town: Fayetteville, GA

HI! My name is Omar Martinez. I’m now a rising fourth year medical student interested in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. I attended the University of Georgia for my undergrad and was a traditional applicant for med school.

Here at Duke, I took an extra year of research to finish a basic science project, and I have enjoyed getting more experience in lab techniques. I also serve as a Co-President of the Latino Medical Student Association and Facilitator for a course called Cultural Determinants and Health Disparities. Outside of the lab and classroom, I am an avid sports fan and I really enjoy cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, Blue Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, and Durham Bulls. I enjoy traveling around NC, and appreciate our proximity to the beach and the mountains. I also recently got married, and I can talk about my experiences of balancing a relationship and attending medical school!

Please reach out if you have any questions!


Med StudentDelaram Mirzania


Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Rockville, MD

Hi! I am a current MS3 at Duke but I didn't always live in the south – I am originally from Maryland and I attended University of Maryland in College Park. I majored in Psychology and graduated in 2016. I took one year off to work as a medical assistant (and travel!). This year, I will be doing clinical research in the Department of Ophthalmology at Duke. Although Maryland will always hold a special place in my heart, I absolutely love Duke, Durham, and North Carolina! I would be happy to chat about gap years and re-acclimating to being in school again, Duke, Durham, and answer any other questions you may have. Please reach out!


Med StudentLindsey Olivere


Class Year: 2021 (MS3+)

Hometown: Wilmington, DE

Hello! My name is Lindsey and I am a current MS3+ - in other words, I have signed on to complete a second year of research and will be delaying graduation by 1 year. I graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Chemistry in 2015 and stayed in Durham to do a year of research before starting medical school at Duke in 2016. By the time I graduate from Duke Med, I will have officially completed a decade in Durham! I am interested in surgery (either General Surgery or an Integrated Vascular Surgery Residency), and have been performing a research project with a cardiologist and vascular surgeon investigating differences in the muscle regenerative pathway in patients suffering from Peripheral Artery Disease. When I’m not busy in the lab, I work with the General Surgery Interest Group where I have spent much of this year helping to bring the Stop the Bleed initiative to Duke and Durham - this national campaign aims to help prepare bystanders to intervene and safe lives in accidents that involve life-threatening bleeding. Outside of time spent in the medical school, I love going for runs and bike rides in Durham, and grabbing a beer at one of our amazing local breweries. I would love to share my experiences about being a Double-Dukie, navigating a career as an aspiring woman in surgery, working in basic/translational research as a medical student (and taking a “second third year!”), and what it’s like to live in Durham! 


Med StudentCaitlin Penny


Class Year: 2022 

Hometown: Cutchogue, New York 

Bio: I went to Duke for undergrad class of 2017 and worked as a research assistant in NYC for a year before coming to DukeMed. I've really enjoyed my time here so far and would be happy to talk about anything related to med school-- the curriculum, living in Durham, extracurricular activities, social life, etc. 


Med StudentJess Rames


Class Year: 2022

Hometown: Charleston, SC

As someone who came straight out of college, I would be very happy to about what that transition was like. I also came from a public school in the south, so I feel like I could relate to any applicants in that demographic pool. 

I really enjoy working out. I have an interest in surgery and am strongly considering pursuing a dual degree either through the business or the engineering school. 

I feel like I am very social and would be happy to give anyone a break down of the bar or food scene in the area or the social scene as well.


Surya Ravichandran


Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Bio: I went to Duke University for undergrad and now medical school, and have loved living in Durham for the past 7 years! I am originally from Salt Lake City, UT and love spending time exploring downtown Durham as well as being outside with my dog and fiance Preet who is also a medical student. Topics I would love to discuss with applicants include what it is like to be a medical student at Duke, what I enjoy about Duke's curriculum, what living in Durham is like and having a significant other in medical school at the same time! I am open to any questions! 


Emily Romanoff


Class of 2020

Home Town: Durham, Connecticut

Happy to talk about anything! Some topics: How to get involved in the Durham/Duke community outside of the classroom; How to make full use of the resources (faculty, deans, online journals/databases) that Duke offers; The advantages of our accelerated curriculum; The benefits of early clinical exposure (ie. ACE clinic, Practice Course, Community Partner) at Duke; Being the first doctor in my family!; The great things about Durham, NC, including places to live nearby campus as well as cheaper options further from campus.


Med StudentLee Schmidt


Class year: 2022

Hometown: Jackson, MS

I grew up in Jackson, MS and went to undergrad at Vanderbilt in Nashville before coming straight to med school after graduating in 2018. Inside the walls of the hospital, I'm potentially interested in emergency medicine, trauma surgery, pediatrics, and cultural influencers of health and health disparities research. I'm involved in Duke Med for Social Justice, Duke Med Pride, Student Faculty Show, and Hotspotting. Outside of the hospital, I like running, hiking, theater, going to concerts, seeking out the best veggie food the Triangle has to offer, and just generally doing as many human activities as my schedule allows. Hmu if you have questions about any / all of the above, or if you have strong opinions on the best way to cook tofu.


Anand Shah

Class of 2020

Greenville, SC

My name is Anand Shah and I am originally from Greenville, SC. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I studied Business Administration, graduating in 2015. Since arriving at Duke, I’ve explored opportunities to improve patient’s experience in our healthcare system and decided to pursue an MBA at the Fuqua School of Business. I will be applying into internal medicine residency this coming year, and I am exciting to augment my clinical training with what I’ve learned through the MBA. I’m happy to talk about dual degrees, life in Durham, DukeMed, or anything else!


Med StudentLauren Sweet


Class Year: 2020

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Originally from Southern California, I attended university at Stanford before taking time-off to work and travel prior medical school. I am on a military scholarship with the Air Force and spent my third year doing infectious disease research in Europe. I am also actively involved in the humanities in medicine. I am happy to talk about military medicine/scholarships, researching/living abroad, traveling during medical school, long distance relationships in medical school, training for races during wards, infectious disease/global health opportunities, art and medicine or anything else!


Med StudentAaron Tarnasky


Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2016 with a major in applied mathematics and statistics. I am currently entering my second third year (MS3+) after finishing an MPH at UNC-Chapel Hill. I will be using this additional year to pursue additional research interests and to explore a growing interest in medical oncology and/or critical care. I am happy to talk with anyone about life here in Durham, navigating each year of medical school, what it is like entering directly from undergrad, fostering a work/life balance (I enjoy exercise and my free time!), moving from the Midwest, or anything else you might have questions about! 


Med StudentJennifer Tu

Class of 2021 à 2022 (MD/MTS)

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Medical interests- psychiatry, internal medicine, oncology, geriatrics, palliative care, religion/spirituality, medical humanities, Med Chinese

Personal interests- classical piano, chamber music, figure drawing, caricaturing, contra dancing


Luke Wachsmuth 


Class Year:  2025 (MD/PhD), entered with MD Class of 2021

Hometown:  Cartersville, GA

I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014, then took 3 gap years to do research (2 of those years at the NIH) before coming to Duke. So far during my time here my two major extracurricular involvements have been student government and an educational clinical experience focused on palliative care. I’m happy to talk to anyone about my time here at Duke, what my application/admissions cycle looked like, how I picked a med school, being a non-traditional applicant, applying MD/PhD, or anything else. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!


Andrew Yazman


Class of 2020

Hometown: Morgan Hill, CA

Hi y’all! I moved down to Durham from the great state of Montana and have fallen in love with Duke and North Carolina. I am passionate about pediatrics and I anticipate becoming a pediatrician and moving back to Montana when it is all said and done. Since coming to Duke I have drank the Blue Devil Kool-Aid and I consider myself a one of the Cameron Crazies. When I am not busy you can find me fishing the Eno or getting out to the mountains off Asheville for fishing, camping, climbing; basically anything outdoors! Feel free to get in touch if you have questions about Duke, Durham, or whatever!



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