Delia Isabel Calderon De Jesus, MD
Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine
Mariana Colussi-Pelaez, MD
University College Cork
Katherine Eisenberg, DO
Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Hilda Gutierrez, MD
Universidad San Martin de Porres
Angelica Nieves-Rivera, MD
Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine
Bianca Olivieri, MD
St. George's University
Joshua Pankin, MD
Sackler School of Medicine
Robert Soohey, MD
Tufts University School of Medicine
Eva Yagudaev, MD
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Claudia Vogelgsang, MD
Maria Andrade, DO
I was born in Ecuador and emigrated to Oklahoma City at age 10, where I grew up enjoying spending time with family and friends, attending church, and volunteering for various organizations. I completed both my undergraduate and Master’s in Public Health degrees in Oklahoma. While pursuing my MPH, I worked with the ONIE Project, a SNAP-Ed Program, creating nutrition calendars, cooking classes, physical activity programs and online content to help low-income Oklahoman families lead healthier lives. After completing my degree, I stayed on with the project for several years helping expand its outreach to the Hispanic community even more. I completed my medical education at Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa, where I continued to cultivate my love for serving underserved communities through global mission work and volunteering. I also enjoy long-distance running, being outdoors, traveling, cooking, and dancing.
Why UMass Chan - Baystate?
Baystate had several aspects that I was looking for in a program- quality training, small class size, advocacy and global health opportunities, as well as flexibility to tailor my training. The stories I heard during my interview and at the meet and greet as well as graduate feedback spoke well of the culture at Baystate, and it gave me confidence that I would be well-supported during this experience.
Kevin Balderrama, MD
I grew up in Rockville, MD until the age of eight when my family moved to my dad's hometown of Cochabamba, Bolivia. With the rest of my childhood spent in the heart of the Andes mountains, I eventually discovered my passion for both working with kids and pursuing a career in medicine. When I returned to the US for undergrad, my grandma’s decision to retire to Charleston, SC brought me to The College of Charleston. When I later chose to attend Ross University School of Medicine on the island of Dominica, I was blessed with an opportunity to live abroad once more. The enthusiasm I’ve developed for traveling has taken me to several countries throughout South America and Southeast Asia. I enjoy spending my downtime with family and friends, drawing, learning history, and playing billiards.
Why UMass Chan - Baystate?
I was looking for my place on a team with a holistic view of wellness in healthcare. There was an unparalleled openness and humility that the faculty and residents at Baystate extended towards their interviewees. Even through a virtual interview, I could appreciate the immensely positive and supportive work culture. I was confident that this team would care deeply about my professional development, and I'm thrilled for the journey ahead.
Shelby Burton, DO
Born and raised in Denver, CO, I have known I wanted to be a doctor from my early high school years. Because of this, I spent any time in high school that wasn’t dedicated to helping raise my three younger siblings taking every medically-oriented elective offered. My undergraduate degree (B.S.) in Biology was in Billings, MT, where I started a non-profit chapter with campaigns focused on literacy, suicide prevention, and combatting food insecurity. Because my siblings were still young by the time I graduated college, I returned to Colorado to work as a medical assistant for several years to finally get to enjoy watching them grow up. I finally brought myself to leave in order to complete medical school at Touro University Nevada. I spend my free time huddling up under some blankets to read a book (typically young adult, à la Mortal Instruments) or writing one.
Why UMass Chan - Baystate?
Aside from the warmth that emanated from all the faculty , residents, and staff I met on my interview day (virtually), I love that Baystate dedicates time helping trainees learn the local resources so we can arm our patients with as much information as possible. I believe that an investment in residents’ familiarity with their community upfront will pay off many times over in our ability to better connect with our patients and their families and problem solve with them to help them meet their goals.
Jason Cooper, DO
Jason was born and raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C. He grew up playing the harp, exploring hiking trails with his dog, and volunteering as an EMT. While working at a local summer camp he found his passion for working with children and families. He completed his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences at the University of Maryland and became a paramedic soon after graduating. Jason then packed up and moved south for the opportunity to study medicine at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. There he made incredible friends and went on countless adventures in the Appalachian Mountains. Outside of medicine Jason enjoys reading, hiking, getting together with friends, and baking.
Why UMass Chan - Baystate?
Right from the beginning I felt connected to Baystate. The residents and faculty were all genuinely warm and welcoming on my interview day. Despite the virtual format I could tell that they cared and were excited to meet us. Baystate is a Goldilocks program with just enough of all the right things. I am thrilled to be starting my pediatrics career as a member of the Baystate family.
Pooja Dahiya, MD
I was born in New Delhi, India but I grew up in Toronto, Canada alongside my younger brother. Growing up I spent a lot of time rehearsing and performing Bollywood dances. After high-school I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto while also volunteering at the pediatrics department of my local hospital. I then attended Ross University School of Medicine and moved to a Caribbean Island. During this time, I cultivated my passion for pediatrics by founding a Pediatrics club in St. Kitts through which we provided healthcare resources to the underserved pediatric community on the island. In my spare time I enjoy watching Marvel films and the Friends TV show. I also love to bake sweets!
Why UMass Chan – Baystate?
I interviewed at UMass - Chan Baystate at the very start of interview season. I distinctly remember leaving every interaction, whether that be meet-and-greet night or interview sessions, with a huge smile on my face. I was excited about this program from the start and that anticipation has stayed with me throughout the application cycle. The camaraderie between residents, the warm and welcoming environment from faculty, and the robust academic curriculum with the learner-teacher-manager model were what attracted me to this program. Lastly, being Canadian, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere that didn’t have snow during the Christmas season!
Ashley Kenyon, DO
I was born in Ireland but grew up in Massachusetts after my family immigrated to Boston. I spent a lot of my childhood either playing with my two brothers or practicing Irish Step Dance. Dance was a big part of my life, and I went on to compete at the regional level and continued dancing into my college years. I attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where I received my BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, with a minor in Sociology. After college, I worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at both Joslin Diabetes Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. My passion to work with children stemmed from my pediatric research experience but was solidified after I volunteered at a camp for children with life threatening illnesses. For medical school, my then-boyfriend, now-husband, and I moved across the country to Oregon to attend Western University of Health Sciences COMP-NW. Outside of medicine, I love to travel (especially to the Caribbean), to be outdoors, read good books, and spend time with my family.
Why UMass Chan – Baystate?
After having a little adventure on the West Coast for medical school, I was ready to move back to MA to be back in the communities I grew up in and be closer to family. What drew me to Baystate was the commitment to serving the surrounding communities and underserved populations. After completing a rotation at Baystate, I fell in love with the family atmosphere, and I knew it was the place I wanted to be for the next stage of my career. The residents and staff are so welcoming and always supporting each other and it really felt like home. I am also looking forward to being back in the Pioneer Valley!
Matthew Linnehan, MD
I am Matt, the 3rd NDD resident, and grew up in Chelmsford, MA where I played baseball and basketball and never dreamed that my life would take me all the way out to distant Springfield. I attended Boston College, majoring in biology with a concentration in bioinformatics. I then spent several years working at the MGH/HST Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging studying Huntington’s Disease and early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in the Down Syndrome population before completing medical school at UMass Chan Medical School. I am passionate about caring for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities and have experience as a counselor at a camp for children with special needs, a PCA, and a Best Buddy. I also fit the MA stereotypes of being a diehard Boston sports fan, drinking Dunks iced coffee all year, and loving lobster rolls.
Why UMass Chan - Baystate?
While attending medical school at UMass, I was able to rotate with the pediatrics department and could tell it was a great fit. The residents were so welcoming and invested in their patients, and the program allowed them the support needed to learn while becoming more autonomous over time. I also enjoy hiking with my wife and black lab, and am looking forward to exploring western MA, the last frontier on my lifelong journey across the Bay State.
Nilaksa Sivanenthiran, MD
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, also known as The Six! Growing up, I trained in South Asian Carnatic singing and taught other first-generation Canadian children. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto Scarborough in Neuroscience and Psychology. During this time, I also volunteered at a respite center where I discovered my passion for advocating for neurodiverse children. I pursued my medical degree at University College Dublin and enjoyed traveling to Irish coastal hiking trails and beautiful European cities over four years!
Why UMass Chan – Baystate?
UMass Chan - Baystate was a standout to me from the very beginning. On interview day, it was clear that this was a program with a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, in addition to academic excellence. My interactions with the program director, attending physicians, and residents confirmed that Baystate was for me. I am excited for the next three years in this wonderful program!
Deaven Theriault, DO
I grew up in Springfield and Ludlow, Massachusetts and was always active in sports. I attended Wells College in Aurora, New York where I received my degree in Biology. During this time, I was part of the cross-country team and volunteered as an EMT/Firefighter. I spent a semester abroad in Granada, Spain and was able to do an internship with a family medicine physician. After graduation I moved to Colorado to earn my Master’s in Biomedical Science at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine and stayed there for the rest of my medical education. I have always known Pediatrics was my passion, which was only solidified while volunteering in the NICU, during local outreach programs at elementary schools and throughout all of my Pediatric rotations. Outside of medicine I love to be outside hiking, camping, running and spending time with family and friends.
Why UMass Chan – Baystate?
I chose Baystate because I knew I wanted to go to a smaller program that truly valued education and where residents felt supported. I was able to experience this firsthand during my Sub-I in the PICU. All the attendings, residents and staff were so welcoming and always took the time to teach and help. I have the opportunity to give back to the community I grew up in and could not be more excited to be back close to home.
Mollie Wald, MD
I was raised in the Boston suburb of Newton, MA with my three younger siblings. I earned an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and subsequently completed medical school in Israel, studying at the Technion’s Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. With a background in research, I worked in a food science lab throughout college, and worked in a startup pharmaceutical company, developing a new drug for treating children with PKU. Extracurricularly, I have supported peers in the UMass student disability center and spent a summer volunteering at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel. An avid traveler, I have explored over two dozen countries with my family and friends. In my free time, I enjoy biking, going to the beach, and baking.
Why UMass Chan – Baystate?
There were two important things that were immediately evident to me when I interviewed at Baystate. First, that the standard of care afforded to patients at Baystate is exceptional, and second, that both the faculty and current residents in the pediatric residency program are a welcoming and helpful community. In my interactions with the current residents, I found everyone to be inclusive, which was exactly what I was looking for in a residency program. As a New England native, I’m excited to partake in Baystate’s commitment to supporting underserved communities while also being so close to home.
Taylor Bates, DO
Taylor grew up in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover, Alabama, where she enjoyed playing soccer and lacrosse. She has always had a passion for children, and in high school, she was able to develop a love for medicine as well by joining the Health Science Academy. This allowed her to use her class electives to work with a local pediatrician each day. She attended undergrad at Birmingham-Southern College where she played for the Women’s Lacrosse team and majored in sociology/psychology. During undergrad, she worked at Clinical Research Center of Alabama where she learned to take care of patients and developed a love for research. She spent her summers as a camp counselor in the mountains of Northeast Alabama where her love for children and the outdoors flourished. After graduation, she continued to work as a research assistant and spent her free time volunteering at Children’s of Alabama and coaching lacrosse at a local high school. She then moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to attend William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She spent every rotation possible working with children in various pediatric settings and spent her first summer break in Costa Rica working at a Nicaraguan refugee clinic. She also completed research on HPV vaccine compliance. Outside of medicine, she enjoys hiking with her pit-bull rescue, Mason, white water rafting, cheering for the Crimson Tide, and DIY projects.
I came to fall in love with UMMS-Baystate while searching for the quintessential New England residency program. By the end of my interview day, I was completely smitten. Dr. Koenigs made me feel welcome and at ease even as my cat AND dog embarrassed me by joining my virtual interview! Then, Dr. Mackie spoke with me as if I was already part of his team! Everyone I met was unique and compassionate. After my interview, I couldn’t stop bragging about how impressive UMMS-Baystate was. After learning of the comradery between faculty and residents paired with the many individualized learning opportunities, I knew UMMS-Baystate was the place for me. Plus, I got a kick out of watching peoples’ faces as I told them I would be leaving the South and trading it for the snowy North.
Ahuva Brown, MD
Ahuva grew up in Toronto, Ontario where she enjoyed working as a special education and general classroom teacher before pursuing a career in medicine. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at York University. Her passion for travel and global health was sparked by her time as an outreach worker in Moscow, Russia, which led her to attend the Medical School for International Health at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. After graduating, Ahuva spent a year as a clinical research fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children in the Division of Neonatology where she was able to cultivate her medical research, educator, and graphic design skills. Ahuva loves learning about historical fashion, art and architecture throughout different eras. She also enjoys sewing and designing clothing, embroidery, sketching, reading, and collecting Victorian and Edwardian books.
There were so many aspects about Baystate that aligned with the core values I was looking for in a program. The warm, supportive and fun environment that was tangible during the interview day both from the staff and the residents. The high quality training and the many global health and mental health elective options with the ability to tailor my training to these interests. The focus on advocacy and decreasing health disparities in the community. Not to mention, the incredibly beautiful location in New England.
Maeka De La Torre, MD
Maeka was born in the tropical islands of the Philippines; growing up Filipino, she had an important sense of community and tradition while maintaining adaptability that had carried her throughout emigration to the US and living as a Filipino-American citizen. She spent some time in the West Coast of California before meandering her way down to the deserts of Texas where she completed her undergraduate education in The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as part of the pilot accelerated BS-MD program, A-PRIME TIME. She eventually made her way from the desert heat of South Texas back to the waters at Galveston Island at The University of Texas Medical Branch for her medical education as a member of the pilot cohort, the SEA CHange program. There, she fell in love with pediatrics (and strangely, with writing horror!). Now, Maeka is starting her new journey to the northeast coast of Massachusetts into new (and colder!) waters. The tides are forever changing in her life, but it’s an exciting time! As Roosevelt said, “A smooth sea never made for a skilled sailor.”
Baystate offers an opportunity to really help me grow as a resident; their program encompassed so many of my interests, from their global health curriculum, the lay book club, and their strides towards bettering self-care for their residents. My meeting with the fantastic faculty and staff might have been done virtually, but I felt there was a profound sense of connection and camaraderie during morning report and the resident panel that gave me a real sense of a supportive team dedicated to learning and their patients.
Jessica Leung, MD
Jessica was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Canada with her older sister. She grew up playing the piano, the guzheng and training as a badminton athlete where she often travelled across North and South America for competitions. She attended the University of British Columbia where she received her undergraduate science degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. During this time, she was also a child life volunteer at her local children’s hospital, tutored children through a non-profit organization, and coached badminton to kids which solidified her love for working with children and passion for pursuing Pediatrics. She then travelled across the Atlantic to pursue her medical degree at the National University of Ireland, Galway and learnt about Irish culture while also exploring Europe. Outside of medicine, she loves to go camping, explore new hiking trails, bike, play badminton, and bake for her friends and family!
Starting from the night I met the residents during the meet and greet, I immediately felt welcomed, and I could tell that they were more than just a team; they were family. I believe that it is important to have a positive and supportive team culture to thrive in residency and that is exactly what Baystate encompasses. Beyond the incredibly supportive faculty and residents, I chose Baystate because of its immense dedication to the community and commitment towards helping the underserved population.
Georgios Ntolkeras, MD
Georgios, our PGY1 NDD resident, grew up in Thessaloniki, in the north of Greece. He obtained his MD from the University of Thessaly, GR. Also, he did his clinical rotations in pediatrics, neurology, and psychiatry at the University Hospitals of University of Paris-Est Creteil (UPEC), Fr. In spring of 2019, he joined the Fetal Neonatal Neuroimaging Developmental Science Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he worked on several projects in the field of neuroimaging and neurophysiology in patients with different medical conditions such as epilepsy, SSADH deficiency, and Angelman syndrome. He has also been developing whole-body pediatric numerical models used for numerical simulations. He enjoys music, classic ballet, contemporary dance, and Lindy-hop, hiking, running, basketball, traveling, and trying different cuisines.
The warm feeling that I had after interviewing at UMMS-Baystate was enough for me to make it my first choice for my training in pediatrics. The environment that the physicians and the residents have created makes the program feel more like a family. I felt that this is where I could find all I need to get the foundation that I wanted before sub-specializing in children with neurological and developmental disorders.
Shatabdi Saha Pinky, MD
I grew up in the city life of the capital of Bangladesh, in the dazzle of lights and the rush of life! Being the middle child of the family might have kept me in the rush as well I guess! Following that, I graduated from Dhaka Medical College with honors grade (the better side of being pushed! Ha Ha!). Also, this is where I met my wonderful husband and together we decided to move to USA with the dream of pursuing our career here. And I’m glad we have found our destination here at Baystate Medical Center (he joined as IM hospitalist). We have been living here almost a year and we have fallen in love with this mesmerizing place and the wonderful people here. Besides spending time with friends and family, we love to roam around new places, trying out the restaurants, going to mountains and the most favorite- beautiful beaches! The nature is so amazing here with erratic diversity, that has made an imprint on my music loving soul and spiritual insight and now it feels so special as I am staring my journey of pediatrics at the birth place of all time children’s favorite, Dr. Seuss!
I will say, why not UMMS Baystate! The wonderful balance of professionalism and camaraderie that any resident will be looking forward to, is here which I felt during my interview season. I was specially thrilled by the amazing personality of Dr. Mackie, our Program Director. Such a humble and down to earth person, at the same time, so extraordinarily genius and dedicated teacher! I can’t think of having a better mentor during my journey of residency. Also, maintaining family and work life together here is an extra bonus for me. I am looking forward to the best 3 years of my life with Baystate family here!
Elisabeth Romero, MD
Elisabeth grew up on Long Island but spent her winters in Vermont as a competitive alpine skier. She attended Wheaton College in the suburbs of Chicago, where she double majored in Applied Health Sciences and Biblical/Theological Studies. During her undergraduate years, she developed a passion for service through volunteering in free clinics and on medical missions to Haiti.
Elisabeth then returned to Long Island to attend medical school at Stony Brook. She was drawn to pediatrics by the resilience of pediatric patients and the collegiality of pediatricians. Outside of medicine, Elisabeth enjoys competing in long distance triathlons and has completed 3 full-distance Ironman. She loves hiking, playing board games, and cooking with her husband.
I appreciate the program’s focus on psychosocial as well and socioeconomic determinants of health and feel these are salient elements of prognosis. I am excited to train in a collaborative, supportive environment and to work with a diverse, underserved patient population. As an avid skier, hiker and biker, I am also very excited to take advantage of the natural beauty of Massachusetts.
Natasha Thiagalingam, DO
Natasha grew up in the Boston suburb of Lexington, MA where she discovered her interest in the arts & dance and became an active member of Amnesty International. She went to undergrad at Stony Brook University on Long Island, where she majored in Biochemistry, met wonderful friends, danced on a South Asian fusion dance team & went to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip. During that time, she also volunteered with pediatric patients at the Cancer Center, playing games, creating art projects, and/or just chatting. After college, she worked as a scribe at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dermatology clinic and as a clinical research assistant on a Home Hospital pilot program. She then moved to coastal Maine to attend the University of New England for medical school, where her passion for medicine and working with children continued to grow. For as long as Natasha and her family & friends can remember, she has wanted to become a Pediatrician, so this is truly a dream come true for her! Her interests outside of medicine include binging TV shows, cooking/baking, watching sports, anything Fall (sweater weather, pumpkin spice everything), and traveling.
I spent my clinical 3rd/4thyears at Berkshire Medical Center in Western MA. During that time, I worked with UMass students, as well as residents and attendings who trained at Baystate & everyone spoke very highly of their experiences within the Pediatric Department. On my interview day, I felt very welcomed by the residents and faculty, and I could tell that they genuinely supported each other & took the time to get to know me, something I had already experienced from alumni. So, I am thrilled to be joining the Baystate family - this New Englander won’t be leaving anytime soon!
Jonathan Twiggs, DO
JD grew up in Pleasant Grove UT on the foot of the mountains where he loved to hike, backpack and rock climb. He later went to undergrad at Utah Valley University where he studied exercise science. He met a wonderful girl, got married and had a few children before heading to Lynchburg VA to attend medical school at Liberty University. In the downtime he enjoys, cooking, board games and still loves to hike.
During interviews, I felt the faculty at Baystate had a genuine interest in me. Both the residents and faculty were very welcoming and friendly making it feel like a great place to work.
Stephanie Vogel, DO
Stephanie grew up in Bellmore, NY where she enjoyed spending summers at the Long Island beaches and eating lots of pizza and bagels. She attended undergrad at Binghamton University where she discovered her passion for working with and advocating for children with special needs. During this time, she helped establish a club aimed to destigmatize special needs called One Special World (now a registered 501(c) non-profit organization!). Stephanie graduated with a degree in Integrative Neuroscience and an Evolutionary Studies minor. She went to medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic medicine which further solidified her interest in pediatrics. From working with her pediatric endocrinologist in high school to completing her 3rd year pediatric clerkship rotation, peds felt like the perfect fit! In her free time, she enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, and playing board games, especially Settlers of Catan.
Even with virtual interviews this season, I felt welcomed by residents and faculty. It was evident that they are a tight-knit group of people that support one another, as well as the local community. I can't wait to become a part of the Baystate family.
Quinn Asher, MD
Quinn has lived in many places since leaving Rochester, NY, where he spent his formative years. He graduated from Cornell with a BS in Mechanical Engineering then adventured to Australia for medical school at the University of Queensland, spending the first 2 years in Australia and undergoing the second 2 years at the Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans. He has strong interests in wilderness medicine, emergency medicine, global health, and immigrant health and in his spare time enjoys hiking, martial arts, baking and cooking, and reading.
I was excited to interview at Baystate because of the focus on global health in the program and its location so close to my family. During my interview, everyone I met was amazing and kind and they ultimately convinced me it was the program where I would be the happiest and most successful. I hope this is true and can't wait to start!
Nabeel Hashmi, MD
Baystate Health Culture and Values Award Winner
Nabeel grew up in a small town in Maine called Veazie, where he helped his family run a small motel. He was the on-call manager, housekeeper, landscape artist, plumber, and certified pool operator. Tip your housekeepers, people! While studying Biochemistry at the University of Maine, he worked as a firefighter/EMT for the local fire department and developed an interest in rural medicine. He found a home and a family in the Maine Track program at Tufts School of Medicine, a program geared towards filling the need for rural physicians in Maine. During his time there, he found a passion for Pediatric Neurology and Neonatology.
Growing up in Maine is synonymous with loving the outdoors, but Nabeel also loves reading, traveling, computer-building, and interior design. Growing up with an unreliable vehicle means that he also has an interest in automotive repair. Lastly, he enjoys cooking traditional Pakistani foods for himself and his friends, believing that good food brings people together.
I cannot answer this question without relaying a brief anecdote: It was the second week of my NICU Sub-I and the first week for the interns. One intern was having a particularly rough day. Seeing this, the senior resident texted the intern’s close friend and mentor, who came tearing down from the inpatient unit to help. That was the moment I knew it would be a privilege to join the Baystate family. As a resident at Baystate, I also know that I will be surrounded by a group of kind hearted attendings in a supportive and challenging learning environment that pushes the boundaries of my knowledge daily. When I finally returned to Baystate as an applicant, I was greeted with hugs and laughter. I knew it was the place I left my heart.
Jixi (Lucy) He, MD
When growing up in Shenzhen, China, Lucy aspired to follow this Chinese adage to “read ten thousand books and walk ten thousand miles” in order to be a well-rounded and perceptive person. She enjoyed traveling to learn about the culture and history of different places. As a child she picked up different hobbies that she has kept: painting helps her enter a meditative state and unlock the creative mind; playing saxophone allowed her to join concert band families in China, the US and Israel; learning about Jewish culture taught her ethics and values that she can apply to real life. She also has a huge interest in learning different languages and now can speak fluent English and Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), conversational Hebrew, a little French and has just started to learn medical Spanish. From her experience of teaching English to Arabic-speaking Bedouin children and translating for Chinese patients in an Israeli hospital, she truly believe that languages are not just a tool of communication but a bridge between our hearts. It’s easy for her to be happy: a simple recipe, a tasty dish, a new place, a catchy tune, a hearty workout (badminton, anyone?), or simply a big hug. She is very lucky to have an amazingly supportive and open-minded mom who is always standing behind her in every challenge she takes and is her role model doctor, filled with compassion and care for all her patients, families and friends.
I was moved to tears by the personalized interview invitation letter from Dr. Koenigs. She really cares about all of us and our growth. Before the interview I read every resident’s story on Baystate’s website (I can’t believe I’m writing one now!) and I have not seen another program that pays so much attention to each and every individual. I knew Baystate is special when I felt so happy and energized by the end of my interview day. I am attracted to their many unique approaches like intern boot camp, second site, and lay book club. There is also great camaraderie among the residents and a strong focus on personal wellness. I am honored to join such an amazing team and begin my training as a pediatrician in the hometown of the Lorax.
Stephanie Hibbard, DO
As a Massachusetts native from Shrewsbury, Steph is thrilled to be returning home for residency at Baystate. After being away at Marist for undergrad and Liberty University COM for medical school she is thankful to come back to complete her training near her family. From spending a great deal of her fourth-year rotations here, she knew this is where she belonged! She lives with her husband and two cats Poppy and Dahlia. She has had many jobs outside of the medical sphere including a barista and fitness coach. She can make you the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had but prefers Dunkin' for herself. She is a former division one rower who enjoys working out. She is the happiest on cruises with her husband and hanging out with her cats.
I chose Baystate because I felt welcome. The residents and faculty were willing to teach and support me during my fourth year and I felt included as part of the team and I could not wait to come back!
Hannah Pagelson, MD
Hannah grew up splitting time between Lawrence, Kansas and the Bay Area in California with her younger brother. After high school, she followed in her family’s footsteps and attended the University of Kansas for undergraduate, where she has been rooting for the Jayhawk basketball team her whole life. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, met some of her best friends, and participated in research on children with autism. After graduation, she went on a 10 day medical mission to Uganda, which sparked her interest in global health so she decided to move all the way to sunny Beer Sheva, Israel to get her MD at a medical school specializing in International Health. Her pediatric rotations in Israel working with Bedouin, Ethiopian, and Russian children helped solidify her love for pediatrics. In between her third and fourth year of medical school, she took a year to participate in research at the Critical Illness, Brain dysfunction, and Survivorship center in Vanderbilt looking at ICU patients and delirium. Outside of medicine, she loves to play the ukulele, read, watch horror films, travel, follow college basketball, and discuss history with her archeologist boyfriend. Rock Chalk!
After receiving a personalized interview invitation, I knew Baystate was going to be special. During dinner with the residents it was so obvious that not only were all the residents close like family, but that they felt truly supported by the staff as well. I came home from dinner and told my parents this program felt like “the one” for me. Learning about all the community involvement Baystate has with western Massachusetts only strengthened my excitement. Having the program director be a fellow Jayhawk really sealed the deal.
Cassandra Perry, DO
Cassandra grew up the Boston suburb of Sudbury, MA where as a swimmer she spent both summers and winters at the pool. She went to undergrad at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, where she met wonderful friends, swam on the Swim & Dive team and majored in English. She found a comforting balance between improving her reading and writing skills, and studying science in her Premed classes. After college, she worked as a medical assistant/ scribe at a Dermatology practice and spent days off volunteering in the Hands on Care program at Dana-Farber, where she was able to help support patients in mind, body and spirit. She moved up to coastal Maine at the University of New England for medical school, where she further confirmed that medicine is her passion. She fell in love with pediatrics on her peds rotation and never looked back! The people, the environment, the little ones – it all felt right. Outside of medicine she loves the ocean (especially listening to the waves!), reading, and painting.
I completed my first fourth year rotation as a Sub-I at Baystate, and immediately felt so welcomed and supported by residents and faculty alike. I could tell that the residents were sincerely invested in each other and enjoyed each other’s company. I found myself comparing each of my subsequent rotations to what I experienced at Baystate, and am thrilled to be joining this special program.
Stephen Vorenberg, DO
Stephen grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan where he was an Eagle Scout and attended Michigan State for undergraduate where he earned degrees in microbiology and history while spear-heading an effort at MSU to create a policy for a smoke-free campus. During medical school he continued to run a foundation he founded to promote education regarding childhood/young adult cancers with scholarships for cancer survivors. He enjoys camping, singing in choirs, sports, and cooking and baking.
I chose UMMS-Baystate as my training program because of my interview day. Not only did I receive several very personalized interviews where the faculty clearly knew my application, but I also appreciated their blind interview process which showed me the programs holistic approach to choosing its residents. I enjoyed seeing how comfortable and confident the current residents were on my interview day. It showed me that UMMS-Baystate would provide me with a supportive and nurturing environment that would also challenge me. I cannot wait to see all of the outdoor activities that Western Massachusetts has to offer.
Zoë Warczak, MD
Zoë’s path to medicine involved traveling off the beaten path, which has been a theme for her! She grew up in upstate NY, and studied political science and Slavic languages in college. She got involved with the policy side of starting a student-run EMS agency, and discovered the joy of caring for patients experiencing the challenges of sudden illness or injuries. She continued in her prior chosen career field for two years while also volunteering as a firefighter/EMT, before attending the career-changer postbac premedical program at Bryn Mawr College. Zoë attended the University of Rochester for medical school, where she co-founded a diversity affinity group to improve attitudes towards individuals with disabilities, and also completed an M.S.Ed., focusing initially on teaching medical students about adolescent sexual assault care, before being diverted to focus on community education about COVID-19 for Monroe County. Outside of medicine, she has enjoyed outdoor activities such as hiking, and discovered her inner performer in med school while acting in the medical student-led production of The Vagina Monologues the last two years.
I chose Baystate because I was looking for a supportive training environment that values diversity and inclusion. It was immediately clear to me from the moment I walked in to Morning Report how close the trainees and faculty were! I was also impressed with the opportunities available for training in adolescent medicine, including the college student and LGBTQIA+ populations.
Cason Wortley, DO
Cason was born and raised in Farmington, Utah with his two sisters and one brother. While growing up, sledding, skiing and snowboarding Utah’s “greatest snow on earth” was one of his favorite pastimes!
After graduating high school, and before entering higher education, Cason spent a considerable amount of time living and serving among the people of northern Ecuador. The experience taught him to speak Spanish and acquainted him with Latino life and culture.
Cason attended Utah State University where he earned two bachelor degrees in Biochemistry and Spanish. He also studied abroad with Brigham Young University in London, England, where he learned a great deal about the European people, their culture and history. In 2016, he began medical school at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Denver, Colorado. Since that time, he has always been interested in primary pediatric care.
Today, he continues to enjoy snow sports and hopes to find some great skiing in Massachusetts. Cason and his wife enjoy biking together and are excited to explore the beauty of Massachusetts from its many bike trails.
Everyone I met during my interview was so kind and friendly, not only with me, but also with one another. It was readily apparent to me that this was a program where the faculty and residents were a close-knit group. They had built strong friendships with each other and were genuinely happy. A program with friendly people in a supportive environment is exactly what I had always hoped to attend.
I also chose Baystate because it is a program well equipped to provide residents with ample experiences for learning and personal growth. As the only tertiary care hospital in western Massachusetts, Baystate serves a sizable population of nearly one million people and offers a vast array of specialties. As a Baystate resident, I look forward to the opportunity of gaining extensive knowledge and experience that will prepare me well as a future pediatrician.