Name: Howard “Howie” Pyo
Medical Title/Credentials: 3rd Year Medical Student
Medical School: David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley
Favorite Hobby: I love gardening, fishing, bushcraft, golf, and trying new food.
Why did you choose this profession? It was a gradual process. Starting in high school, I was volunteering in hospitals and homeless clinics and I was drawn towards talking to them and the interactions I had with them. That's when I realized I wanted to work with people. I was also always interested in biology and science so when I started college, I started shadowing doctors and observing what they did/what impact they made. That's when I really learned what medicine entails and began to fall in love with the field.
Name: Benjamin Ordaz
Title: BSN RN
favorite hobby: Running
School/Program: California State University, East Bay
Why did you choose your profession?: I initially wanted to be a firefighter and in my pursuit to become a firefighter, I decided I wanted to get my bachelor's degree. I was taking an Emergency Medical Technician course and during this training I realized how intrigued and passionate I was about medicine. I decided to study nursing because I would have been able to obtain my bachelor's degree, expand my scope of practice in medicine, and be able to continue to care for people who are ill and injured.
Name: Justine Kim
Medical Title/Credentials: Certified Critical Care Registered Nurse
School/Program: FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner)
Favorite Hobby: Golf, watching K-dramas, and sleeping extended hours whenever I can!
Why did you choose this profession? Caring and respecting others has been such a big part of my life and who I am that I wanted to continue to help others through my career choices too.
Biggest Inspiration: My dad taught me patience, that everything takes time and needs to go through its course. He also taught me positive attitudes and being humble to yourself and others will bring a positive outcome in the end.
Current Passion Project: I am studying to become a Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care.
Fun Fact: I was the fastest female kid in my elementary school. I ran the 100-meter in 14 seconds. I was a pretty darn fast Asian girl.
How do you get over the troubled times? I try to take care of one thing at a time by focusing on what's currently presented to me at the moment and stay optimistic!
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? If you are thinking about the medical field, you are already halfway there. Treat every patient how you would want to be treated!
Any other piece of advice, motivational quote, or message you would like to share? Just do it and never stop dreaming!
Name: Justine Ipac & Jake Bendicion
Title: PA Students
favorite hobby: Exercising, hiking, and playing with our dogs!
School/Program: UNR Med Physician Assistant Studies Program
Why did you choose your profession?: We chose the PA profession because we felt that this was how we could best make a difference in our patients lives. We were inspired by the PAs we worked with prior to starting school and found that they as well as their patients seemed so happy and pleased!
Current Passion Project: Helping and inspiring pre-health students along their journey in medicine!
Who was/is your inspiration? Our families were our inspiration! Working to not only care for them in the future, but to show them that they can trust in and be proud of the children they raised.
How do you get over the troubled times: A pint of ice cream! Haha In all seriousness we rely on each other. We communicate and raise each other up when one of us are down.
Fun Fact: Justine can solve a Rubik’s cube in 7.64 seconds. Jake once ate 16 tacos in one sitting.
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Be patient! There is no rush in becoming a PA. Your experience prior to school will only help you in the long run. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t doubt your path. You can do this!
Any other message/ motivational quotes you'd like to share: Thank you too all of those following along our journey. We hope we can help you find your way, whatever that may be.
Name: Stephany Giraldo Eierle DO, MPH
Medical Title/Credentials: PGY1 Family Medicine Resident
School/Program: Currently a resident at UMass in Worcester. Graduated medical school from NSU KPCOM and obtained my masters at UMiami.
Favorite Hobby: Too many! I love dancing! Also, spending time cooking & reading poems with my hubs & our doggy daughter cookie; all while holding a cup of coffee or glass of wine.
Why did you choose this profession? No matter how little we had, my parents always made it a point to help others, so I knew I wanted to get into a profession where I could do that. Being a primary care doctor allows me to be their for my patient and their family for their health needs but also allows me to address social factors that could be contributing to their quality of life or lack there of.
Biggest Inspiration: My dad. He is the hardest working person I have ever known. He came to this country with nothing but the clothes on his back and worked endlessly to learn a new language and bring our family out of poverty.
Current Passion Project: At the moment it's my IG. I've made it a point to be vulnerable and talk about my experiences to motivate others to pursue their dreams and love who they are. I've received such amazing feedback about how my story has inspired my followers to do x, y, or z or has given them hope that they can do whatever they want if they work hard enough.
Fun Fact: I love doing low budget DIY projects!
How do you get over the troubled times? I'm a true believer in life being 10% circumstance and 90% outlook. So I try to approach situations as lessons and learn from them. I also make sure to take extra me time when I'm extremely overwhelmed.
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Don't give up! This is a hard field to get into and you're probably going to fumble along the way, but do not be discouraged. No matter how long you take, or how many obstacles you face, keep going. You'll thank yourself for your resilience once you get there.
Any other piece of advice, motivational quote, or message you would like to share? "Regardless of parentage, heritage or origin, dreams are meant to be pursued and grasped and pulled from the sky. If you work hard, educate yourself, strive, and never forget to be kind to others, your dreams can come true."
Name: Carolina Baquerizo
Medical Title/Credentials: Veterinary Student
School/Program: Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Favorite Hobby: I enjoy surfing, skiing, and cooking in my free time!
Why did you choose this profession? The most pivotal years of my life were spent growing up at Zoo Miami; as a teenager, I began volunteering and spreading conservation awareness messages to guests. Then during my undergraduate studies, I returned to the zoo to intern on the African ungulate team. We collaborated with many of the departments on zoo grounds, and on my first day assisted the vet staff with three zebra immobilizations. Over time, I learned that zoo veterinarians are active in survival/reintroduction programs and facilitate conservation breeding. Just a few years ago, I did not know how I was going to integrate conservation work into my career choice, but this strong correlation between zoo veterinarians and conservation work ignited my dream profession.
Biggest Inspiration: My parents continue to inspire me on my journey towards becoming a veterinarian. I am incredibly grateful for the sacrifices each of them has made to help me succeed academically and as a person in the real world. They have always encouraged me to dream bigger and to reach for goals I may have felt were impossible. They are my biggest cheerleaders, and I hope I can return the favor in the future.
Current Passion Project: My current passion project is self-care. I find that incorporating mindful and healthy moments into my day truly makes a difference. I love trying out new skincare products, meditating, painting my nails, taking a pilates class, or even baking something new! I encourage everyone to take a few moments each week to enjoy YOU!
Fun Fact: I have performed farrier work on giraffe hooves.
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Never be afraid if you do not know the answer to something. Your time as a pre-vet or veterinary student is the time for your inquisitiveness to run wild! Take pride in not knowing and allow yourself to become a sponge; absorb anything that makes you go: WOW! Additionally, take the time to become someone’s cheerleader or mentor. When we lift each other up, we can all succeed.
Name: Joey Tuyen Tran
Medical Title/Credentials: Dental Student
School/Program: Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry class of 2024. I graduated from the University of Irvine in 2019.
Favorite Hobby: Anything that allows me to utilize my artistic skills and creativity, photography, and going to the beach.
Why did you choose this profession? My love for dentistry started from my early interest in makeup, and I realized that working with people and making them feel beautiful and uplifted is what I want to do. The vision I have for myself in dentistry is to not only provide patients with the best treatment, but also to create a positive impact on their lives.
Biggest Inspiration: My biggest inspiration is my family. We were immigrants coming from Vietnam in 2010, and although my parents speak hardly any English and had to accept low-paying jobs, they value education and constantly work hard to provide my sister and I with so many opportunities in our lives.
Current Passion Project: My dental instagram blog @joeydentistry and CampMed at UCI – a non-profit educational-enrichment program that influences the younger generation to pursue a higher education and to follow their dreams.
Fun Fact: Before dental school, I went to a modeling casting in LA for the experience, and I got booked for a photoshoot.
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Be yourself and know yourself. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses gives you a better understanding of who you are as an applicant.
Any other piece of advice, motivational quote, or message you would like to share? “All Roads Lead to Rome” – There are many different ways of reaching the same goal. So, no matter who you are and what your abilities are, don’t be afraid to keep trying and getting to the finish line.
Name: Hanna Kim
Medical Title/Credentials: RN, BSN
School/Program: Glendale Community College and University of Texas Arlington
Favorite food: Omelettes!! Nearly any ingredient can be placed in an omelette; cheese, sausage, ham, mushroom, tomatoes, bacon, chorizos, etc. You name it!!
Why did you choose your profession? I was working as a paralegal in downtown LA after graduating from UC Irvine in Criminology. It was a very mundane, repetitive job and I was not enjoying work one bit. Then one night, I got into a car accident on the freeway and was sent to the hospital. Luckily, I only stayed one night and did not have any injuries. But while I was in the hospital, I observed everyone working together to help me get better. The nurses, nursing assistants, transport, doctors and even the cleaning crew were all professional and in my eyes every one of them looked like heroes. That’s when I realized I needed to change my career and follow my dream into becoming a nurse.
Biggest Inspiration: My charge nurse from my first hospital as a new grad. She was a strong, and kind nurse who was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in. She always stood up for the nurses and showed tremendous leadership skills while still maintaining a gentle motherly side. I still to this day look up to her and is my inspiration to always striving to be a better, smarter and caring nurse.
Current Passion Project: My current passion project is reading classical novels, and not from kindle or an ipad, but to read from an actual book. I want to read these timeless classics and truly understand why they have been one of the greatest novels of all time. I have thus far finished reading Les Misérables, War and Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenina and more.
How do you get over troubled times? I have always been an optimist so even if I’m going through a hard time, I just know it’s not going to last. It’s hard to explain, but stress literally doesn’t bother me. I shrug it off and say, “Oh well, what can i do?” And if there is an answer, I act upon it and if there is no answer, I move on. For example, if I had a bad shift, after I clock out, all that stress literally vanishes and I get so happy that I’m going home and am no longer stressed. My attention span from stress is like Dory from Finding Nemo!
Fun Fact: I am a new dog mom of a bi-colored eye (blue and brown) husky boy named Tuco!
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Try to figure out who you are as a person before becoming a nurse. I see so many young nurses who became one because their parents forced them to, or because of the money. Get experience in fields that allow you to hone in on your customer service skills. Because as a nurse, you are constantly advocating for the patient, their family members, and doctors at the hospital. Not only are you the advocate for your patients, but you are also the face and representative of the hospital you work in as well. Therefore, your customer service and communication skills are important in maintaining a professional atmosphere of who you are as a nurse.
Name: Tayina Gilles
Medical Title/Credentials: M3 Medical Student
School/Program: I’m currently studying medicine at FSU College Medicine
Favorite Hobby: It’s a three-way tie between longboarding, playing piano, and spending time with friends.
Why did you choose this profession? I couldn’t settle on one profession, so I found something that would let me do a bit of everything: science, teaching, writing, advocacy work, etc. Being able to work in all my interest while helping people is a dream come true!
Biggest Inspiration: My parents! Everything I am I owe to them.
Current Passion Project: Living a zero-waste lifestyle and encouraging climate activism in the medical field.
Fun Fact: I've never seen snow!
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Don't for one second think you don't belong in the medical profession. I've met every kind of person in this field. There's room for everyone. I know it's a cliche, but I mean it: be yourself!
Name: Alisha and Natasha Nanji
Medical Title/Credentials: Dental Students
School/Program: Harvard School of Dental Medicine! We both Graduated from Cornell University in 2019
Favorite Hobby: Any outdoors activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping, ice climbing (favorite experience was going to the Adirondacks in -40℃), entrepreneurship, mentoring and helping predental students!
Why did you choose this profession? Dentistry is the perfect blend between art and science.
Alisha: Unfortunately, in sixth grade, I chipped my tooth in gym class. At that moment, I realized how difficult it was to socialize and eat. Ultimately, I realized dentistry's role in creating a profound effect on one's self esteem. Through shadowing dentists and witnessing the relief and sheer joy on patients after they obtained treatment, I saw the ability to improve a patient's quality of life by diagnosing a problem, finding a solution and providing treatment to alleviate pain. Further, I became interested in pursuing a career in dentistry after learning about the oral systemic link and the importance of early detection and prevention of diseases by examining one’s oral health. ⠀
Natasha: It was not until I accompanied my father, a dentist, to a nursing home, whereby I found my vocation: dentistry. As I watched him reline a patient's loose-fitting denture and intricately trim the excess material, I realized the immense impact a dentist can have on an individual's wellbeing. Seeing the patient's excitement when the denture fit, I could not help but smile. Although relining a denture initially seemed trivial to me, the patient happily explained that she would be able to eat and talk without pain. Ironically, through this experience outside the clinic, I realized my desire to be inside the clinic. From that day forward, I spent my summers at dental clinics witnessing procedures such as root canals, implants and even full mouth reconstructions. I met individuals from all paths of life in the operatory rooms. As I shadowed providers, I started to learn the importance of how the mouth serves as a window to one’s overall health.
Biggest Inspiration: Our father is a refugee that fled from Uganda with $23 and our mother is a sponsored immigrant from Tanzania who was sponsored by one of her eight sisters. They have shown us the importance of hard work, determination and giving back.
Current Passion Project: Working on a program to help increase diversity in medicine (stay tuned for more info!)
Fun Fact: In elementary school, we used to make YouTube videos. Australian pop singer Cody Simpson requested we make an official video for his song - the video hit over a million views!
How do you get over the troubled times? A pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (half baked!) and talking to family and friends!
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Invest your time and energy in activities you are genuinely passionate about. Don’t worry about being the “perfect applicant” and pursuing activities you think admissions would like to see - if you do this, you will get stuck doing activities you don’t enjoy and ultimately, you won’t be happy. Any journey in healthcare is a marathon and not a sprint, so be sure to pace yourself and enjoy the journey along the way!
Any other piece of advice, motivational quote, or message you would like to share? You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room; if you have a strong work ethic and keep pushing, you will be able to achieve your dreams! Remember that failure isn’t a bad thing - take time to learn from your mistakes.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life — and that is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan
Name: Hailey Quinn
Medical Title/Credentials: 2nd Year Medical Student
School/Program: Boise, Idaho
Favorite Hobby: Reading, playing with my cats, dismantling the patriarchy
Why did you choose this profession? I've always wanted to be a doctor; I think of it more as a calling. When I was four years old, I said I wanted to deliver babies and thought pregnant women were awesome. Working as a doula really solidified this passion (I cried at every birth). Though I've always had an interest in women's health, I found through working and shadowing that my personality meshes well with this profession as a whole. Moreover, I want to work towards fixing our broken healthcare system.
Biggest Inspiration: Strong, powerful, empowering women! My step mom, who worked in construction in the 1970s, surrounded by men who didn't take her seriously but she never backed down. My grandma, who escaped during World War 2 when most of her family died in Auschwitz (she is 93 today and the fiercest lady around). My sisters, my best friends, my role models who constantly encourage and support me. And my sisters in the medical field, empowering and advocating for their patients... like @sliceofannie :)
Current Passion Project: I'm in the works of starting a podcast with some med school friends! I also edit graduate and medical school personal statements in my free time.
Fun Fact: I was in an a Capella group in college -- Soprano 2!
What sort of challenges have you faced in your life & how have you overcome them? Overall in my career and in my personal life, one of my biggest challenges is that I am an empath. I care VERY deeply about a lot of things, which inevitably takes a toll on my wellbeing. I wouldn't say that I've necessarily overcome this but I have adapted and learned the things that are important and worth putting my energy into. For me, it is advocacy and working with vulnerable populations. For the past few years, I've worked at Domestic Violence shelters and on postpartum depression hotlines and I hope to continue this work in some capacity for the rest of my life.
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health because at the end of the day, you can't be fully present or help others if you're unable to help and love yourself first. Be sure to seek help when you need it. You're not alone and others have definitely felt the same emotions you're going through right now. Remember why you started this journey. You can do it!
Any other piece of advice, motivational quote, or message you would like to share? "Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't." Stay humble, have an open mind, and always be willing to learn.
Name: Cindy Yang, MD
Medical Title/Credentials: Family Medicine Resident
School/Program: - Residency: University of California, Irvine
- Medical School: Boston University School of Medicine
- Undergraduate: University of California, San Diego
Favorite Hobby:I love exploring different kinds of food, the outdoors, karaoke, and playing board/card games!
Why did you choose this profession? I became interested in medicine after finding my passion for community service and teaching, while also being very interested in all my classes as a Human Biology Major. Once starting medical school / deciding on which specialty, I was drawn to Family Medicine for many reasons. I wanted the continuity of care with patients and I loved everything — especially procedures! I also wanted variety in the types of medical problems I would be taking care of, whether it be a newborn or a patient I’ve known for most of his/her life.
Biggest Inspiration: My parents are my biggest inspiration. They are the most hardworking people I know, and they sacrifice so much for their family. Many times, people ask us what magic our parents did to get me and my two siblings into healthcare. I think just seeing them work so hard for their goals inspired us all to pursue what we were interested in, and I guess it was all healthcare!
Current Passion Project: Currently in the works but brainstorming for some quick and short educational videos to help the community better understand some essential primary care topics!
Fun Fact: I have a pet hamster, named Taiyaki! You can see her on my highlights on my IG page.
How do you get over the troubled times? I reach out to those closest to me so that I can debrief with them. I also love some good food, so that can really help to take my mind off things!
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? I would say keep an open mind! Medicine is for someone who is passionate about the knowledge aspect but also about caring for patients. If you don’t love it, it’ll be an extremely long road and very easy to burn out. If you do, then it’ll be the best time of your life.
Any other piece of advice, motivational quote, or message you would like to share? Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, whether you’re in medicine or not! I love it when I can connect with the fellow IG community!