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Mariah Shaw


University of Virginia School of Medicine, '20

UNC-Chapel Hill, Pediatrics Residency

Her Story: I grew up in Charlottesville but went out to the University of Southern California to study Psychology/Spanish. There, I gained an interest women's health through some volunteer experiences. I decided to apply for post-bac programs in hopes of one day becoming an OB/GYN. After the post-bac program, I moved to NYC to join the Community Health Corps (subset of AmeriCorps). I served as a prenatal coordinator and educator at an FQHC in the Bronx, which was an incredibly formative experience. I applied to about 15 medical schools during that year and ended up choosing to go back to UVA. Through my clinical rotations, I realized that I was more interested in children/families than strictly women's health so I pivoted from OB/GYN to Pediatrics. I graduated in 2020 and am now a 3rd year pediatric resident at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I just accepted a job as a Pediatric Hospitalist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Why UVA: UVA was a natural choice for me, given proximity to family and the small friendly feel of the program. It was a tough but amazing year. I wouldn't be where I am without the UVA Post-Bac Program! Please feel free to email me if you'd like to talk more about my experience with the program and beyond.

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Eric Adams


University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, '22

UPMC-Mercy, General Surgery Residency

His Story: Eric Adams graduated with a B.A. from Villanova University in 2011, majoring in Philosophy, Political Science, and Theology. As an undergrad, Eric took an interest in computer science and built a scheduling software for students. This once-small project grew into a burgeoning company, plannedUp, Inc. Following graduation, Eric moved to Boston, secured funding from venture capitalists, and continued to grow his company. Eric led plannedUp, Inc. as its CEO for four and a half years before stepping down to pursue his dream of becoming a physician. In the eight months leading up to the start of post-bac, Eric worked as an Emergency Room Technician at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA and did research with the Department of Neuro-Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital.   Eric grew up in Sudbury, MA with his parents and two older sisters. His childhood included overseas stints in Warsaw, Poland and Buenos Aires, Argentina. His mother and father originally hail from Colombia and Cuba, respectively. Eric enjoys reading,  playing basketball, cooking, hiking, and spending time with friends.

Why UVA: My time at the UVA post-bac was exceptional preparation for medical school. Though rigorous, the program distinguishes itself through its collegiality: my classmates and program directors were always there for me at every turn to help me achieve my dream of getting into medical school. My cohort was a tight-knit group that was both high-achieving and fun-loving. In addition to studying together, we thoroughly enjoyed our year experiencing the wonderful things Charlottesville had to offer.

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Walter Banfield


University of Virginia School of Medicine, '23

His Story: Walter Banfield received his B.A. in Anthropology from Dartmouth College. He grew up on a horse farm in rural southern Virginia, where he learned to enjoy being outdoors. Throughout college, he was a member of the varsity rowing team, and got to travel abroad for rowing several times. In the past year, he has worked with researchers on a regenerative medicine project. In his spare time, Walter enjoys going on adventures with friends, cooking, running, and going to the beach.

Why UVA: I appreciated that my classmates were always willing to help and collaborate. The professors were always warm and cared about each student’s success and mastery of the material. Although the work can seem daunting, it is a great opportunity to build life long friendships.

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Cooper Barber


Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, '22

Augusta University, Emergency Medicine Residency

His Story: Cooper Barber served as an Officer and Company Commander in the United States Army.  Cooper was born and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico and attended the University of North Dakota where he earned a B.S. in Aeronautics.  Following graduation, Cooper joined the Army and deployed three times as a combat helicopter pilot.  Throughout his experiences in combat environments and his close work with the Air Medical Evacuation mission, Cooper developed a passion towards medicine, emergency care, and the technical machinery of the human body.  Cooper separated from the Military before beginning the post-bac program and married his wife, Hollis, just after finishing two summer semesters of General Chemistry.

Why UVA: As a true career changer, the UVa Postbac program provided me with a structured introduction and professional guidance towards the world of medical school acceptance. The staff was utterly committed to my success and ensured I was prepared to the best of my abilities in order to apply for and ultimately get accepted into a number of quality Medical Schools.


Logan Brich


Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

His Story: Logan Brich graduated from the University of Virginia in 2019, double majoring in Global Public Health and Middle Eastern Studies. He has been interested in public health since his first year in college, but conducting research in the West Bank of Palestine during his third year made him realize his love for the interpersonal dimension of medicine. He is interested in the interplay between culture, medicine, mental illness, and healing, and he hopes to study psychiatric anthropology in addition to his clinical medical education. Outside of school, Logan likes to spend his time outdoors, taking advantage of Charlottesville’s fabulous hiking trails and many beautiful wineries. His further interests include piano, tennis, cooking, and yoga.

Why UVA: The advising team did a phenomenal job of keeping everyone on track for success and focused on the larger goal of reaching medical school and becoming a physician. Susan and Jillian have clearly helped many students through this process, and their availability, personalization, and support made all the difference this year. They truly are what separate UVA PBPM from other post-bacc programs and make it so integrated and worthwhile an experience.

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Macy Early


Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, '23

Her Story: Macy Early is a proud native of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (where her parents and older sister still reside), though she’s been a Charlottesville resident since she began her undergraduate work at University of Virginia where she completed her B.A. in Economics with a minor in Religious Studies in 2016.  Over the past three years, Macy has grown through her work with Sustained Dialogue, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, and other local volunteer organizations.  Her passion is for women’s health and the way providers in this field are called to meet physical, mental, and emotional needs at once!  You can instantly bond with Macy over workout routines (especially distance running), plants and trees, memoirs, vegetarian recipes, and conversations about challenging social issues. 

Why UVA: UVA PBPM combined rigor with support, from supportive scientific faculty to supportive clinical and volunteering experiences to supportive advising assistance. I believed I could trust the system and received specialized guidance and feedback from professors and mentors. My application process was holistically supported by individuals who were invested and knowledgeable. Frankly, I don't know how I would have prepared for and applied to medical school as a traditional pre-med!

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Alex Gregor


University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill School of Medicine, '22

LAC + USC Medical Center, Emergency Medicine Residency

His Story: Alex Gregor attended Davidson College as a John Montgomery Belk Scholar, graduating cum laude with high honors in anthropology. He spent a number of years working in social venture capital and business strategy and development in the US, Southeast, and East Asia. In 2015, he decided to pursue a medical career and moved to Charlottesville, where he worked as a medical scribe in UVA's Emergency Department before completing UVA’s Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program. During his time at UVA, Alex was also involved in projects through the UVA-Guatemala Initiative, was program manager for UVA’s Medical Design Program, and led the Data Action Team for the Emergency Medicine Research Office, part of UVA’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

Why UVA: What I valued most about the UVA PBPM was the camaraderie of our student cohort, as well as connections with PBPM alumni; the support of advisors and mentors; and the opportunity to learn from a number of very good teachers. The collaborative culture of the program was especially positive, with classmates helping one another succeed. Attending a post-bac at a university of UVA’s caliber, with a medical school and teaching hospital, was also a major advantage, offering numerous opportunities for me to gain medical experience in clinical, research, and other settings. Helping to meet local health needs through service at the Charlottesville Free Clinic was also another highlight of my experience in Charlottesville.


Jasmin Kamruddin


Tufts University School of Medicine

Her Story: Originally from Duluth, Georgia, Jasmin Kamruddin is a recent graduate of Stanford University where she studied political science and African and African American studies. As a double major in two very different subjects, she sought to understand the complicated relationship between politics and race. When she wasn’t studying, she spent time working in a lab focused on renal cell carcinoma or working at Stanford’s Philanthropy and Civil Society Center. In her free time, Jasmin enjoys reading, cooking, eating, and hanging out with friends.

Why UVA: The program served as a valuable time in my premedical education, more than I would have thought. I appreciated the forward advising received from day 1 that demystified the application process and gave so much more detail than I was used to with undergraduate premedical advising. I also appreciated the community UVA PBPM fosters. My peers were my lifeline through a stressful year and continue to be through the application process; we've cheered each other on and been there for each other when we feel stressed. That is not something you get everywhere, and I was grateful to have had it here.

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Zev Gurman


University of Virginia School of Medicine, '22

University of New Mexico, Emergency Medicine Residency

His Story: Zev Gurman has spent his post-college years in Oakland, CA, but is originally from Seabrook, MD. Before attending UVA’s pre-med program, he worked for UCSF Medical Center’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center as lead medical assistant in the Head and Neck Surgical Oncology department. Zev graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, CA with a BA in Russian and Eastern European Cultural Studies and a minor in Physics. Outside of healthcare, his passions are rock climbing, cycling, trail running, and reading ponderous tomes. 

Why UVA: I chose UVA over other similar programs because of the people and the location. Basic science classes, especially pre-med prerequisite courses, are highly standardized in content, so that was not a consideration. Instead, I chose to go where the vibe was the most cooperative and laid back; where the administrative staff and faculty were most interested in their students as people.


I also found that the courses were exceptionally well taught and prepared me very well for the MCAT.  In the end, I really didn't need to do too much extra studying because we had covered everything so thoroughly in class. This is largely due to an incredible group of professors! I still feel that I made the right decision!

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Cate Hendren


University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, '23

Her Story: Cate Hendren is a North Carolina native who grew up playing dress-up and reading plays in Winston-Salem, the hometown of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Camel Cigarettes. She graduated from Davidson College in 2014 where as a Latin American Studies major, she studied religious change and public health. A lover of the great outdoors, she spent a lot of time hiking in the woods with the college’s outdoors club and on the water as a member of the rowing team. Since graduating, Cate’s worked in public health in Asheville, NC and in the Western Highlands of Guatemala on issues related to rural medicine and gender-based violence. She’s still most happy when having an adventure in the wilderness or learning something new.

Why UVA: Two things I appreciate about the UVA PBPM experience: discovering that I like and can succeed in science courses and being part of a cohort. It was thrilling when, in the summer intro. chemistry course, I realized that I loved the material and was able to master it. It was also great to have a community of supportive peers in the PBPM year. I made some dear friends who I'm looking forward to calling colleagues as we move forward in our careers in medicine.

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Sana Kagalwalla


University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, '22

University of Minnesota Medical Center, Internal Medicine Residency

Her Story: Sana Kagalwalla grew up in the suburbs of Chicago before attending the University of Michigan, where she studied economics and business. For the past three years, she has been working for BP in supply chainfocused roles. Outside of work, she loves dreaming about/planning her next travel adventure, hiking, reading, baking, trying new foods, and everything to do with elephants.

Why UVA: The most valuable parts of the PBPM program for me were the personalized advising and support offered by Susan and Jillian, the weekly American Healthcare class taught by Dr. Powers. and the plethora of shadowing and volunteering opportunities available to PBPM students. Additionally, it was incredibly helpful to have a network of PBPM alumni willing to speak to current or prospective students about their experiences in the program and to provide advice or reassurance when needed. My fellow PBPM students were also a highlight - it was wonderful to have such a collaborative and like-minded group of people to complete the program with!

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John Morrissey


MD/MBA '22, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College

His Story: John grew up in Ireland and completed his bachelor's degree in International Relations at Stanford University. He used his undergraduate years to explore a variety of interests, while also playing varsity tennis for his alma mater. During his senior year, he recognized his true passion for medicine, but was out of time to finish the pre-requisites at Stanford. 

Why UVA: Though the academic program was rigorous, we had many resources available to us during the entire process. For students struggling in class, extra help was always available and the small class settings were ideal for advisors and professors to get to know you on a personal level. Outside the classroom, all members of the class were linked with volunteering and shadowing opportunities within the UVa Health System or the surrounding Charlottesville area that matched their individual interests. During the actual application process itself, we received valuable guidance in navigating AMCAS and secondary applications, as well as extensive interview preparation, including mock interviews.

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Michelle Nanni


University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, '22

Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, Internal Medicine Residency

Her Story: Enjoying early retirement after her 3-year employment as a consultant in Allstate Insurance Company’s Leadership Development Program, Michelle Nanni is eagerly anticipating her upcoming educational sabbatical. Prior to her job with Allstate, she completed her undergraduate education at Cornell University in 2013, receiving degrees in Communications and Biology & Society.  Michelle participated and led in her campus chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity which she still volunteers with today. Since graduation, Michelle continues to value community involvement and has strengthened her passion for working with children in educational and health care settings through local volunteering. Michelle, a New York native, relocated three times in the past three years, contributing to her unique blend of Midwestern, Southern, and Northeastern accents. Her travel-intensive job ignited an unexpected love for exploring new places and local cultures; she hopes to continue traveling as she visits the remaining states on her quest for all 50 U.S. states. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys hiking, basketball, reading, and music.

Why UVA: The UVA PBPM experience was fantastic because we had a small group of students with excellent professors and advising. We received outstanding support from the faculty/staff and there was always opportunity for providing feedback and making adjustments to meet student needs. It was great to be a part of such a welcoming and inclusive community of peers pursuing a passion for medicine.

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Vanessa Ramirez de Arrellano


University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine

Her Story: Vanessa Ramirez de Arellano moved to Charlottesville from San Antonio, TX where she worked in technical sales at a mapping software company. She is originally from Puerto Rico and was raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She has a B.S. and Master's in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling and running.

Why UVA: The PBPM program was structured in such a way that I was able to accomplish everything in a small window of time. From the sequence of courses, to personal statement deadlines and MCAT prep, there was always structure to ensure I stayed on track and accomplished everything I needed for medical school in one year.

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Steve Quam


University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, '22

Allina Health, Family Medicine Residency

His Story: Steve Quam is a Minnesota native and graduate of Oberlin College. He has spent the past three years working in the nonprofit sector on various social service endeavors: teaching preschool, doing outreach with a sexual and domestic violence center, and working in administration at a large anti-poverty organization in Brooklyn. In college, he administered HIV tests with a community-based organization, but went on to volunteer at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in the PICU. For leisure, he likes to read long works of plotless fiction, and play with his cat, Azazello.

Why UVA: I really appreciated the community that the UVA post bac program fostered--it was a great group of people to learn with and be supported by, and I anticipate that many of those friendships will continue even as we scatter across the country to different medical schools. I also learned a ton at UVA and had a lot of fun doing it. It is definitely a lot, but I really enjoyed the professors that we had and found the education experience very rewarding.

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Diana Wise


MD4, Stanford University School of Medicine, '22

Beth Israel Medical Center, Internal Medicine Residency

Her Story: Diana Wise is originally from Palo Alto, CA.  Before beginning the post-bac program,  she worked part-time at Stanford University and part-time for a medical device startup focused on fall prevention in hospitals.  At Stanford, she was conducting research on racial and ethnic disparities in child mortality trends in California.  Diana received her B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2015 with a double major in Neuroscience and Environmental Studies.  As an undergraduate, Diana was the Global Health Intern at the Dickey Center for International Understanding where she mentored peers on how to engage in global health at Dartmouth and abroad and organized on-campus global health events and discussions.  She was also secretary and co-captain of the women’s rugby team and held various leadership positions in her sorority.  In her free time, Diana enjoys playing rugby, soccer, and other outdoor sports and particularly loved hiking in the Charlottesville area. 

Why UVA: I really appreciated the size of the program and the relationships I made with my peers. It was inspiring to me to have driven and supportive people going through the same thing and with similar goals. It made difficult and rigorous courses very doable. I also greatly appreciated the medical school application and MCAT support from the program staff. I felt that I applied to the right schools for me and had a lot of knowledge and practice going into interviews which definitely helped lead to a successful application process.

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