What is your hometown, state/province and country?
I am from Waterford, Pennsylvania.
Undergraduate degree in what subject? From where? Other degrees?
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania. I got my medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Why did you want to become a doctor? Is there an experience you’ve had that made you realize why you chose this profession?
When I was eight months old, I received a spinal cord injury from a motor vehicle accident leaving me paraplegic. Growing up in a wheelchair, I had the privilege to be treated by a number of physicians at Shriner’s Hospital in Erie. I was able to see, as a patient, the enormous impact that a physician has in not only treating illness, but in shaping our perspective and understanding of illness and disease. I was witness to the profound privilege of physicians to counsel and console individuals and families when they are at their most vulnerable.
Why did you choose WVU?
The department of Neurosurgery at West Virginia University offers a broad experience in all aspects of the field from maximally invasive head and spine surgery to minimally invasive interventions including MIS and gamma knife. The faculty has excellent educators and strive to create an atmosphere of autonomy, while providing support and instruction to facilitate excellent patient care.
What would you tell prospective students about your experience at WVU and the School of Medicine?
WVU offers strong residency programs in both medicine and surgery. It attracts well-rounded and patient-forward residents. Such atmosphere prepares residents to become excellent clinicians and ensures that patients receive the best care.
What are you hoping to do next in your career?
In addition to pursuing a career in academic neurosurgery, I am interested in reaching the underserved community. Growing up, I received all of my care from Shriners Hospital, a nonprofit children’s hospital that provides medical care at no charge to the patient or family. Due to this, I received care that otherwise I may not have been able to receive. I am inspired to return these gifts by taking care of underserved patients to ensure that they have access to medical care.
Tell me something unique or interesting about you that others may not know?
Through Shriner’s hospital, I played sports for the disabled including wheelchair basketball and sled hockey. While in high school, I tried out and played for one year on the 21 and under USA National Sled Hockey Team.