Hailing from Bristol, CT, Ivan Navarro graduated from Bristol Central High School where he started a chess club in order to share his love of the game. A pre-pharmacy student at UConn, Ivan’s interest in a career in the health professions was significantly influenced by his mother, who is a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant).
Jeremy Figueroa-Ortiz recently returned from a dental mission trip to the Galapagos Island of Isabella, where he, dental students, and dentists provided free dental care. An allied health sciences major with interests in dentistry and policy, Jeremy has also taken part in a clinically based pilot study called Project Good Oral Health, which focused on the oral health of geriatric communities and preventative health education. Jeremy is a bilingual (English and Spanish) graduate of Farmington High School who hails from New Britain, CT.
Kavisha Thakkar is from Newington, CT but has traveled to 54 countries. She enjoys photography and travel and says that her experiences abroad have definitely played a role in her desire to pursue a career in medicine. In pursuit of this goal Kavisha has shadowed ophthalmologists at UConn Health and Veteran’s Hospital, and has conducted research on DNA at Hartford Hospital. She is now following a pre-med track and majoring in physiology and neurobiology at UConn. A graduate of Newington High School and the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science, Kavisha has taken part in several HCOP programs, including the Mini Medical Program, the High School Summer Research Program, and the Pre-College Enrichment Program.
Ornella Tempo is originally from Fusagasuga, Colombia but graduated from Wethersfield High School in Connecticut. Currently a chemical engineering major, her main academic interest lies in tissue engineering while her hobbies include swimming and painting. Ornella has had the opportunity to serve as student assistant to the Institutional Review Board, where she helps with instructor training, and as a research assistant at the Institute of Regenerative Engineering Laboratory. At the lab she has engaged in activities such as cell culture, creating microspheres, and microscopy imaging of microspheres.
John Odoom loves playing basketball and is very proud of the fact that he didn’t quit but worked hard for two years in order to make Stamford High School’s varsity basketball team. Born in Ghana, Africa John now lives in Stamford, CT and is very interested in athletic training and physical therapy. As a basketball player he’s been able to observe the duties and demands of his team’s athletic trainer. He has also taken part in LEAD, a leadership program that provided him with the opportunity to tour Stamford Hospital.
Julise Marsh will be a Pre-Pharmacy student at UConn. A resident of Bloomfield, CT, she graduated from Bloomfield High School after having taken part in the HCOP High School Student Research Apprentice Program, which she feels provided her with good exposure to her chosen field. Julise loves playing volleyball in her free time.
Kewa Jiang is originally from Shenzhen, China, but after moving to the US four and a half years ago, she now hails from Glastonbury, CT and graduated from Glastonbury High School. She is a molecular and cell biology major who is also working on minors in chemistry and digital arts. While she enjoys all areas of science, she’s particularly interested in immunology, virology, and parasitology. She also likes drawing on the computer, watching anime with friends, and the card game Dominion. Kewa has volunteered at UConn Health as a research assistant in the psychiatry department, gaining clinical as well as practical experience coordinating events and interviewing people in a professional manner. She’s currently working in Dr. Verardi’s lab in the pathobiology department at Storrs, which she says is challenging but which has given her insight about what to expect from her chosen career path of physician-scientist. Kewa is also a member of the UConn Taekwondo team.
Abigail Colburn is an allied health major with minors in biology and molecular and cell biology. She plans to go to medical school and has worked toward this goal as a mobility volunteer at Hartford Hospital, where she has had experience interacting with patients and nurses. She has also interned at the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, where she created webinars for health and mental health care professionals. Hailing from South Windsor, CT, Abigail is a graduate of South Windsor High School and has been a runner her whole life. This summer she ran her first half marathon.
Sharon Cherian has been doing Indian classical dance since she was six years old and plans to continue dancing at UConn. While here she’ll also be majoring in chemistry and perhaps psychology while following a pre-med track of study to prepare for medical school and a future as a doctor. A resident of West Hartford, CT, Sharon graduated from Conard High School and volunteered for three years at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. While at St. Francis, Sharon assisted nurses and patients in the OBGYN/post-delivery unit. She enjoyed working with the people and feels that she learned a lot about the obstetrics and gynecology field.
Omar Allam is a chemistry major from Mansfield, CT. A graduate of Glastonbury High School, he loves to cook and works part-time as an assistant chef at a Mediterranean restaurant where he specializes in baklava. He also volunteers as an EMT, which he feels provides an exhilarating perspective on medicine. Omar had the unique opportunity to observe the first TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) surgery in Connecticut, which occurred when he shadowed and conducted research with Dr. David Underhill, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Hartford Hospital.