The Pre-Health Student Leadership Advisory Board exists to foster communication, collaboration, and purposeful improvement between UVA Pre-Health Advisors and students pursuing admission to health professional programs.


  • Establish consistent communcation among pre-health students and advisors in an effort to enhance the experience of pre-health students across grounds.
  • Identify, support, and collaborate on pre-health programs across health-related student organizations (CIOs) and Pre-Health Advising.

17-18 Advisory Board Members

Amanda Peck Amber    Watkins Ana         Torres Ashley Bykowski Connor Liggett
Daniel     Lee Elizabeth Oldhouser Harrison  Boyce Ji               Han Jodie      Pho
Kara    Wertz Korey    Blodgett Kristen    Richey Lindsey       Vu Megan  Plain
Meheret Kinfe Monika Grabowska Naini Shiswawala Nandan Srinivasa Rebekah Lee
Shelby Monnin Stephanie Brobbey Steven Scherping Ted             Obi Zara Siddiqui

Amanda Peck | Second Year | Medicine | Global Public Health | Phi Delta Epsilon (PhiDE)
I grew up in a family of medical professionals and have always enjoyed hearing their stories. When I was younger I would shadow my father in his GI office and I just found the medical profession to be so interesting. I love how in the medical profession you can always help other people and learn something new every day. Although it is a long and grueling path, the reward in the end is so worth it! As Dr. Shepard said, "It's a beautiful day to save lives!". 

Amber Watkins | Second Year | Medicine | Biology | Pre-Optometry Club
I have been interested in pursuing a career in health care since high school. I considered many options such as dentistry, physical therapy, and dermatology. Shadowing an optometrist, my science classes, and being involved in ocular research peaked my interest in the eye. The Pre-Optometry Club allowed me to connect with other UVA students interested in optometry and provided support through the process. However, I ultimately decided optometry would be the best fit for me after working as an optometric technician in a local optometrist’s office. This experience has given me the most insight into the profession. I help in providing care to each of the patients and I see how the doctors impact their lives. Some of the most memorable patient interactions are when a patient comes in unaware that they have the beginning of a detached retina, which left untreated could be detrimental, and they leave with the knowledge that can help save their vision. I look forward to being able to help people with their eyes every day. Advice I would have for anyone debating on a career in optometry is first shadowing a local optometrist. Shadowing provides the opportunity to not only see the daily tasks of an optometrist, but also ask questions and form connections. Most optometrists are happy to accommodate interested students. The pre-optometry club can also help members find local optometrists to shadow.

Ana Torres | Third Year | Medicine | Kinesiology | Daniel Hale Williams
I chose to pursue medicine as a career path because it encompasses helping others, science, problem-solving, hands-on work, mentoring, and so much more into a unique, evolving job. My advice to those pursuing a similar career is to be open-minded about your journey. It's okay to have a plan but don't worry or be surprised if that plan changes once (or 10 times) before you reach your goal. If medicine is something you want work hard, reach out for help, and never give up!

Ashley Bykowski | Fourth Year | Medicine | Kinesiology | Member at Large
Hi! My name is Ashley and I am a fourth-year in the Kinesiology program, as well as a first-year master’s student in Exercise Physiology. Currently, I have involvement both in a clinical field by working at Martha Jefferson Hospital, and in research by working as an assistant in UVA’s Applied Metabolism & Physiology Lab. Although I am leaving the door open to several options, I intend to apply to osteopathic medical school upon completion of both degrees in 2019. Aside from pursuing academics, I greatly enjoy anything travel or fitness-related, and am also training to qualify for the Boston Marathon. My best advice to all students is to simply do what you love and let those experiences shape your end goal, rather than forcing your end goal to shape your experiences.

Connor Liggett | Fourth Year | Medicine | Biology | Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED)
My name is Connor Liggett and I grew up in a small town called Berryville, Virginia and I am currently a fourth year at UVA. I am a biology major and I’m hoping to attend medical school after graduation. My goal is to be able to give back to those who have sacrificed in service to our country by serving as a physician in the military. I am currently in the application process for medical school and would be happy to share tips or advice to any younger students who are interested. In addition to being on the Pre-Health Student Leadership Advisory Board, I am also the president of a premedical honor society called Alpha Epsilon Delta here on grounds.

Daniel Lee | Fourth Year | Medicine | Biology | Global Medical Mission Alliance
Medicine is a great way to be an influence to individuals and to society. For instance, if I, as a physician, save the life of a dying patient, whatever that patient accomplishes throughout the rest of his/her life is indirectly affected by my treating him/her. It doesn't take a life-saving incident to be such a great influence. If I become an orthopedic surgeon and perform a successful surgery on a badly injured high school athlete, and he/she later becomes an Olympic athlete that inspires hundreds of thousands of people, this accomplishment is also indirectly affected by me. I am pursuing medicine because medicine will lead me to countless opportunities to become a good influence to others.

Elizabeth Oldhouser | Third Year | Medicine | Biology & Cognitive Science | Member at Large
I am pursuing a health professional career because medicine is such a global field and is important everywhere. The field is rapidly evolving and medicine intertwines patient interaction, drug discovery, team communication, and helping people which are all aspects of a career I am interested in. I would highly recommend to aspiring pre-health students to shadow doctors and other careers - pharmacists, nurses, physical therapists, and PAs - to get a feel for what day to day life is like for each of these specialties. I also recommend doing medical mission trips, such as Global Medical Brigades, and/or studying abroad at some point in the career. Overall, consider all of your options and see what a difference a career in healthcare can make!

Harrison Boyce | Fourth Year | Medicine | Kinesiology | Member at Large
The profession which will bring the most happiness to others will in turn also bring the most happiness to you. When choosing which direction to take, ask yourself what is the best way you can use your talents and work ethic to improve the lives of others. Those who choose to work in the healthcare field can find a profound sense of purpose and meaning in their lives through healing others.

Ji Han | Fourth Year | Medicine | Chemistry | Madison House Medical Services
I wish to pursue an M.D. in Family Medicine or Ob/Gyn and public health; Health is a fundamental human right, but millions of people in the U.S. alone lack access to adequate health care for various reasons. I wish to work with these underserved communities or to bring health care to their home.

Jodie Pho | Third Year | Veterinary Medicine | Biology | Member at Large
I am pursuing veterinary medicine not only because I love animals, but because I aspire to help the animals who help us and the powerless creatures who need our support. We depend on animals throughout our lives, so it only makes sense that someone should lend a hand when they need aid. We also have all of these advancements that we can use to not only benefit humans, but the other animals that share this planet with us and let us thrive.

Kara Wertz | Fourth Year | Physician Assistant | Kinesiology | Future Physician Assistant Society
I have always been intrigued by medicine - both the science behind how the body works and the hands-on, altruistic side of caring for other people.  While shadowing a doctor, I first discovered the option of a Physician Assistant career, and I have been on the pre-PA track ever since. On grounds, I am involved in Madison House Medical Services, Project SERVE, and research through the Applied Metabolism and Physiology Lab. I am also the President of the Future Physician Assistant Society and work as a Certified Nurse Aide in a hospital.

Korey Blodgett | Third Year | Athletic Training | Kinesiology | Kinesiology Club
Hi! My name is Korey Blodgett and I'm a 3rd year Kinesiology major hoping to be an athletic trainer in the future. One word of advice I would give to anyone looking into the pre-health field is get experience in a lot of different environments. I was dead set on being a physical therapist until I began volunteering in the UVA Athletic Training Program and really found what I love doing. Working with an athletic population is something I love because when injured they are doing everything possible to be healthy again and even return to a higher level than they were before their injury. If you have any questions about athletic training or kinesiology club please feel free to reach out!

Kristen Richey | Fourth Year | Dentistry | Biology | Pre-Dental Society
Not only am I passionate about the technical aspect of dentistry and working with my hands to create beautiful work, but I also love connecting with patients. It is important to me to give 110% of my effort to helping my patients and earning their trust. For other UVA students that are interested in the field of dentistry, I suggest gaining as much clinical experience as possible—whether it be through volunteering, shadowing, or working in a dentist office. This first-hand clinical experience will give you a taste of the profession and help you determine if this field of medicine is the right fit for you. If, through your clinical experience, you fall in love with the field of dentistry like I did, you will have motivation to work through the challenging aspects of the pre-health track and push onward toward a very fulfilling profession. This profession will allow you to work daily to relieve patients’ pain and restore what I believe is everyone’s most important feature, their smile. PDS Website:

Lindsey Vu | Fourth Year | Medicine | Biology & Psychology | Member at Large
Hi there! I am pre-med because I've always had a passion for helping others and an interest in understanding disease mechanisms and treatment options. Over the past four years, this passion has only deepened thanks to the many clinical experiences and opportunities UVA has granted me. My advice for other pre-med students is to spend these next 4 years making sure medicine is right for you! Be proactive, join pre-health related clubs, look for clinical opportunities, and do your best in school. But most importantly, don't forget to find a balance and have lots of fun in college!

Megan Plain | Second Year | Medicine | Neuroscience | Member at Large
I have always had thoughts of going into medicine, from my first intention of becoming an orthodontist to now my interest in surgery. The main pull to the health field for me is the ability to make an impact every single day. It could be the smallest thing of just making someone feel more comfortable in a tough medical environment to actually saving a life. I think the body is an amazing thing, and we have not even touched the cusp of what the human brain and body is capable of; as a result, I think medicine is the path to discovering more knowledge on how to unlock the brilliance of our minds and body. I am specifically interested in surgery because it is procedure-based medicine that provides instant resolve for the patient. I changed my path after shadowing an orthopedic surgeon for one day, and now continue to discover differing interests in medicine. I most recently found a passion in neuroscience, after taking one introductory class. I think the biggest tip I have for other students is to get out there and gain experience in all different fields of medicine, whether it be acupuncture, surgery, family care, or even restorative yoga. There are so many different paths to follow, you just need to find the one that inspires you!

Meheret Kinfe | Fourth Year | Medicine | Cognitive Science | Phi Delta Epsilon (PhiDE)
My experiences with my epileptic cousin have encouraged me to get involved in epilepsy-related clinical and non-profit work here at UVA, further strengthening my passion for medicine and specifically neurology.

Monika Grabowska | Third Year | Medicine | | Member at Large
My experiences as a volunteer at the UVA hospital for the last several years and my involvement in undergraduate research have inspired me to pursue a medical career. As a volunteer, I have been exposed to direct contact with patients in the health system and have gained a unique perspective on how the hospital works, especially "behind-the-scenes.” My research experiences have given me an appreciation for the time and effort it takes to make advances in medicine. Together, these experiences have given me an awareness of the numerous ways in which technology can impact public health, helping both solidify and guide my passion for medicine.

Naini Shiswawala | Third Year | Medicine | Neuroscience | Member at Large
I found interest in the medical field due to my experiences shadowing and volunteering in various clinics and hospitals. However, when I became an UVA medical scribe, I knew for sure this is what I wanted to do with my life and desired the opportunity to help people on a daily basis. Pre-med is not an easy track: classes are tough, the workload is intense and free time is limited.  Working as a scribe allows me to be surrounded by medical students, residents and attending doctors at all times and reminds me why I want to pursue this field which makes the hard work worth it.

Nandan Srinivasa | Third Year | Medicine | Neuroscience | Member at Large
After volunteering and scribing at the hospital, I learned that it's the perfect place for me as I work well in its challenging, high-paced environment. Every patient is different and I enjoy learning about each patient's background story. Furthermore, treating a patient involves receiving different perspectives from many specialties, and I love working as a team to determine the best course of treatment for a patient.

Rebekah Lee | Fourth Year | Pharmacy | Biology | Pre-Pharmacy Society
Pharmacy has always been a big influence in my life with my aunt being a pharmacist and having many medical problems. Despite my illness, I love being active in sports such as tennis and ultimate Frisbee. Anyone who loves interactions with people and interactions of medicine should take their interest in pharmacy! Pharmacy here at UVA is a loving, encouraging community who has helped me!

Shelby Monnin | Fourth Year | Veterinary Medicine | Biology | Pre-Veterinary Society
I have always been a huge animal nerd, but more specifically I have always been deeply concerned with the conservation of animal diversity. I would like to pursue a career in veterinary wildlife conservation, working with animals that have been infected, injured or orphaned in an effort to preserve entire species as a whole. Through medical studies and practices it is possible to have a large impact on wild populations. My advice to other students aspiring to their own goals would be to commit to that thing you are enthusiastic about. Those pursuits always pay off in the end.

Stephanie Brobbey | Third Year | Medicine | Sociology | Daniel Hale Williams
As a little girl, I remember that I really respected and looked up to my pediatrician. I thought so highly of her because she typically had all the information and solutions whenever I would come to her with a health problem. As I continue to grow throughout the years, I have realized that a passion of mine is learning how to help others as my pediatrician was able to do for me. I am most interested in this profession because I know it will give me the opportunity to continuously learn things and put the knowledge that I have gained over the years to good use. Tips for Incoming Pre-Med Students: I would say to definitely utilize your resources early on so that your relationships are pretty solid before it's time to graduate. Also, being a pre-med student is not easy. It’s definitely beneficial to accept that sometimes your path may look different than everyone else’s.

Steven Scherping | Fourth Year | Medicine | Biology| National Alliance on Mental Illness
My interest in medicine is rooted in service through science. Medicine is special in its capacity to transform knowledge into compassion. It perfectly intertwines my interest in science with my enthusiasm for people. Try not to take your classes, your involvements, or yourself too seriously. It is not a race! Not everything you do has to be a resume builder. Enjoy this incredible opportunity at UVA, inside and outside the classroom. 

Ted Obi | Fourth Year | Medicine | Psychology DMP | HOSA – Future Health Professionals
I decided to pursue a career in medicine after traveling to Nigeria on a medical mission trip and seeing the great disparity between those that receive healthcare and those that do not. This mission trip ignited my desire to help people in developing countries and those without proper access to healthcare. My advice to current pre-med students or to students thinking about medical school is to pursue your own pre-med path and be perseverant because a career in medicine requires a great deal of delayed gratification.

Zara Siddiqui | Fourth Year | Medicine | Psychology| Women in Medicine Initiatives (WIMI)
I'll be applying to medical school next spring and am especially interested in women's health issues, mental health, and health disparities around the world. My advice to incoming pre-health students is to remember that there are many different paths to get to where we want to be: helping people. Not everyone takes the same route and it's okay if your journey is different from someone else's!

Interested in joining the Advisory Board?

We announce application deadlines for the Advisory Board in the spring of each year. Make sure to join the Pre-Health Pulse Newsletter through Handshake to receive the announcement!