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Meet our 2017 spring writing team!

Grace Hultquist by Grace Hultquist  •  posted 5 months ago in news

This spring, we've got a great team of writers helping us tell patient stories:

Aaron Trando is currently a student at UC San Diego, pursuing a degree in Molecular Biology. He has always been interested in volunteering and helping those in his community, from gleaning produce at his local food bank to teaching minority youth at a summer technology camp. Now, he looks forward to making a global difference by joining Watsi and is motivated by the idea that he could potentially assist someone in need of medical care who may live on a completely different side of the world. In his free time, he can often be found outside playing tennis, basketball, and football with his friends and family.

Amanda Chang is a second-year student at UC Berkeley, where she is majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She hopes to be a part of combatting societal health disparities and is currently a health educator with Peer Health Exchange, an organization that teaches health workshops at underserved high schools. She has always been passionate about both healthcare and writing and is excited to unite those two passions as a volunteer writer for Watsi.

Caroline Desler is a third-year at UCLA where she is pursuing a pre-medical degree as a Human Biology & Society major and Spanish minor. A Bay Area native, Caroline loves exploring hikes with her pals and three younger siblings when she is home. Her other loves in life include playing volleyball, chatting it up with new people or old friends, and helping out at Watsi to advance a cause she feels really passionate about! She believes that health education and access to proper care are vital in creating communities that view healthcare as a priority, rather than an afterthought.

Cecilia Li is in her final year of her PhD studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. She has a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours I) from the same university. She is particularly interested in understanding the impact of infectious diseases on major global health issues. When she is not in the laboratory, Cecilia enjoys traveling, and going bushwalking with her friends.

Celia Islam is a senior at the George Washington University, where she is majoring in Sociology. As an aspiring physician and writer, Celia is very passionate about global health issues and providing underprivileged people around the world with access to healthcare. Since high school, she has been working with global nonprofits such as Children's Trust Fund and has written for The Huffington Post. Celia is very interested in using her passion for writing to help support Watsi's important cause.

Colleen Fogerty is a content marketer living in San Francisco. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Colleen graduated with a Bachelor's in journalism from Gonzaga University before moving down to California. Two of her greatest loves in life are travel and storytelling, due to their unique and powerful ability to create connections and bring people together. Colleen is excited to be volunteering for Watsi, where she hopes her passion for the written word can bring people's stories to life and help create a more compassionate global community.

Danielle McGuinness is a Bay Area native and recent Cal grad who currently works with digital health startups. She is especially excited by the potential for impact at the intersection of healthcare and technology, and hopes to pursue a career in global health. She takes too many pictures, eats too many noodles, and stops to pet too many dogs (all of them).

Elana Kreiger-Benson is an aspiring physician with a background in international development and passion for global health. After graduating from Brown University with a B.A. in Linguistics and Middle East Studies, she worked for an international nongovernmental organization in D.C., focusing on electoral integrity in Asia and the Middle East. When she’s not volunteering or studying for the MCAT, you'll find her on the soccer field.

Elisa Danthinne is a first-year student studying engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. Alongside the technical focus of engineering, Elisa enjoys writing. She is especially excited to be able to write for Watsi, as she believes in its mission of increasing accessibility to healthcare. In her free time, Elisa enjoys exploring, trying new foods, and working with Northeastern's Engineers Without Borders chapter.

Emily Huang is currently a third year student at University of California, Los Angeles. She is studying Biology, with a minor in Global Health. On campus, she is involved with the Love Your Melon to raise awareness for pediatric cancer by selling Love Your Melon apparel, where some of the proceeds help fund pediatric cancer research and provide support for families with children battling pediatric cancer. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in the medical field. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and watching movies.

Gaurav Gulati is a current undergraduate at UCLA pursuing a major in Business Economics. When he is not studying, he is either watching his Los Angeles Lakers or shooting hoops with friends. He wants to make a difference in other people's lives and is happy to be a part of the Watsi team!

Howard Goldsmith will be a volunteer writer for Watsi in the Spring of 2017. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Eller school of business at the University of Arizona and currently works for a software company in Chicago. His hobbies are all across the board, from playing rugby to creative writing. When he found Watsi, he jumped at the opportunity to give back while utilizing skills he develops in his everyday hobbies. He is looking forward to learning and helping people all around the world.

Originally from the valley city of Fresno, California, Isaac Weil joins the Watsi volunteers with a fresh BA in English Literature from UC Berkeley. He has published experimental fiction online and with Jaded Ibis Press, and is currently an associate coach for the UC Berkeley taekwondo team. An inveterate Trekkie, Isaac has hopes for the future of life on earth, not in the least because of compassionate innovators such as Watsi. He plans to work in journalism, chronicling the experiences of Americans with mental and physical disabilities.

Jack Killion is an EMT and emergency department scribe who lives in Davis, CA. Originally from the Bay Area, he studied Anthropology and International Relations at UC Davis and hopes to one day pursue a career in medicine. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, bouldering, and discovering new music. He is also passionate about global health equity, and is excited to contribute to Watsi's fantastic work!

Jennifer Yau recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in molecular and cell biology. She believes that there are a multitude of ways to contribute to improving worldwide human health, but that creating a narrative for those without the appropriate access to make their own is a powerful and simple method to do so. Though she recently began working at Genentech, she is excited to devote herself to being a part of Watsi's innovative and transparent approach to delivering comprehensive care. When she's not at her desk, she can be found traveling, upside down in her yoga studio, or continuing her search for the best food in the Bay Area.

Jessica Cushing-Murray is a 3rd year Psychobiology major at UCLA, and she is considering some sort of career in the health field. She's from Orange County, and she spends most of her free time running Cross Country and Track and Field for UCLA. Being a division 1 athlete and pre-health student keeps her pretty busy, but she also loves the beach and hiking. She is excited for Watsi to expand her knowledge in patient care, while also incorporating medicine.

Kelsey Renz is a volunteer editor with Watsi. She currently works in programs for an international nonprofit. When she is not working, she enjoys travel, yoga and the occasional ballet class.

Kylie Anne Martins is a student at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience. With a lifelong passion for healthcare, she has spent the past summers working with patients in hospitals in Uganda and India. She is currently a research assistant at Mulago Hospital. She believes and fights for the improvement of healthcare access for everyone. In her free time Kylie enjoys traveling, watching movies, listening to music and baking.

Liza Mamuad is currently a student at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Biology and looking to minor in Health Studies. With a passion in medicine and helping those in disadvantaged communities, she aspires to become a physician and work towards bringing healthcare disparities to light—one day eliminating them. Although she originally hails from Hawaii, she is a true San Franciscan at heart! When she is not volunteering with Watsi and a local hospital, Liza can be found sticking her head in a textbook at the library, enjoying a cup of boba, or admiring the undeniable cuteness of cats and dogs.

Mary Lou Bernardo has worked for 45 years in healthcare—as a pediatric nurse, as a clinical psychologist and as a writer. Currently she works part-time as a clinical psychologist and part-time as a standardized patient. She is an avid volunteer, walker, cook, reader and genealogist. She has an ambivalent relationship with her 35 houseplants.

Melanie Beckwith is an attorney in San Francisco who started her career as an AmeriCorps volunteer helping refugees resettle in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. She has traveled and worked in East Africa and Central America and is excited to help Watsi achieve its mission to provide healthcare for every person in the world.

Michelle L. Staton is a NYC-based iOS developer and writer. Michelle formerly worked as a legislative staffer at the U.S. Senate and in international political development at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She began advocating for central and east African peace initiates in 2006 through speaking engagements, lobbying Congress, and on the ground in Uganda, Africa. Her focus now is on the role of technology in responsible and sustainable global development.

Natalie Stumpf recently graduated with a BA in French from Stanford, where she also studied Spanish. Her hobbies include learning languages and starting more books than she finishes.

Pragya Jalan is from India, currently living in Boston. She loves to travel and learn about different cultures. During her undergraduate years, she studied abroad in Hungary and volunteered for the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) in Costa Rica. She is fascinated by technology and is currently working as a software engineer. She is excited to be volunteering for Wasti and help increase global access to basic medical care.

A forever-curious person, Rachel Furst graduated from Barnard College as a history major with a concentration in money, markets, and labor, and now works as Director of Communications at Blue Bite, an IoT company. Though raised in Miami Beach, Florida, she is not particularly known for her tan and often shocks people with her ability to speak Spanish. An art history enthusiast, Rachel loves visiting museums—the Met is her favorite.

Rae Chen is a graduate student from Singapore pursuing her Master's degree in Translational Medicine at UC Berkeley and UCSF. As an aspiring clinician scientist, she hopes to combine her passion in research and medicine, and bring biomedical innovation from bench side to bed side. She believes that by harvesting the power of technology, cheaper alternative point-of-care medical devices can be developed to address unmet clinical needs in third world countries. Rae is also a coffee aficionado, avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

Rebecca Wolfe is West Coast born and raised, with a penchant for avocados and warm weather to prove it. A recent sociology graduate, she has researched race and immigration, stereotype threat, and food inequality in the global system. She is so excited about working with the Watsi team, telling stories and helping to make life-changing healthcare possible for people all around the world.

Rebekah McClure is a nurse who has worked throughout Eastern and Western Africa for the past seven years. She currently calls Mwanza, Tanzania home and loves spending her time eating local cuisine, exploring the city by foot, and searching for that ever elusive great cup of coffee.

Reuben Harcourt writes stories for local charities in his hometown Wellington, New Zealand. He found a passion for writing when he was caught in the April 2015 earthquakes in Nepal and ran a crowdfunding initiative to help his village. In his spare time he loves nothing more than a good curry.

Serena Ke grew up in a city plagued by health disparities. Naturally, as she became older, she volunteered for programs dedicated to reducing the healthcare gaps she saw as a child. She was thrilled to learn about Watsi's refreshing approach toward providing medical care worldwide and is excited to start writing! Serena currently works as a research coordinator in San Francisco. In her free time, the Cal grad likes to bake cookies, hike, and wander around museums. She is also a diehard Warriors fan.

Shauna Trinh is a Los Angeles native who is currently finishing up her medical degree at New York Medical College. Bringing together her love for travel as well as her passion for technology and medicine, she found Watsi to be the perfect means to advocate and provide health care to those in developing countries. She plans to pursue a residency in general surgery and hopes in the future to use her training to make global surgery a safe and sustainable practice. In her free time, find her outside exploring new hiking trails or dancing at music concerts!

Stefano Montali is originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and recently graduated from the University of South Carolina where he studied International Business and Marketing. He now is at Yelp in Chicago where he works with small and medium sized businesses. Stefano is passionate about telling stories through writing and video. He's enjoyed traveling in South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe and is very excited for this opportunity to give back to those places with Watsi.

Upekshila Mallawa is originally from Austin, Texas and is currently pursuing a Cell Biology degree at UC Davis. She works in a genetics lab where she analyzes plant samples from around the world. She plans to apply her cell biology and genetics research to the healthcare field by earning a graduate degree in genetics. She is excited to be a part of the Watsi team and to aid in their endeavors.

Vaani Jain is a senior at University of San Francisco. She is studying biology and neuroscience. She is pro-health and very passionate about medicine. Some of her hobbies include traveling and trying new foods. She loves watching movies, listening to music, and reading mystery books.

Vicente Pedrozo is a sophomore undergrad at the University of San Francisco studying biology and neuroscience. He is passionate about working with underserved populations and finding ways to achieve health equity. Outside of school, you’ll find him playing soccer, spending time with friends, making new ones, or taking photos around San Francisco.