Faces of Orientation

Meet the people you will be seeing a lot of during Orientation Week. They will guide you through every nook and cranny at RWJMS. Your Orientation Team will be making sure your Orientation Week runs flawlessly, while your Peer Mentors will be guiding you throughout the daily activities of Orientation Week and throughout your first year, so get to know them!

If you have any questions, feel free to email RWJMSOrientationTeam@gmail.com

ORIENTATION TEAM

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Orientation Leader

Labeeqa Khizir

Hometown: Marlboro, NJ

Alma Mater: The College of New Jersey

Hot Take: The Bee Movie is a cinematic masterpiece.

Advice for M1s: Trust yourself! You have made it this far, always have faith that you are capable of embarking on this journey. Also some of my favorite memories from last year were with the new friends I made during M1, lean on each other and get to know your class!!

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Onboarding Coordinator

Lucy Aaron

Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ

Alma Mater: University of Michigan

Hot Take: 2016 Chainsmokers single "Closer" is an era-defining masterpiece.

Advice for M1s: Medical school is a team sport! Lean on your classmates, mentors, friends, and family. 

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Peer Mentor Coordinator

Tricia Raquepo

Hometown: South River, NJ

Alma Mater: Rutgers University

Hot Take: Central Jersey exists 

Advice for M1s: Be kind to yourself! Set aside time to take care of yourself. 

Rahul Kukreja

Orientation Leader

Hometown: Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Alma Mater: University of Chicago

Hot Take: I think that dogs are overrated. 

Advice for M1s: Make sure to have a good balance of work and fun during your time in medical school! Take breaks often and make the most of your free time. 

Natalia Kellam

Onboarding Coordinator

Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ

Alma Mater: Georgetown University

Hot Take: Thanksgiving food is super overrated, open to accepting hate on this.)

Advice for M1s: Pre-Clinical is Pass/Fail for a reason! Be kind to yourself, study hard for your future patients but don't skip out on activities like your grandma's birthday party or college roommate reunion dinners. Balance is the #1 priority and RWJMS makes it possible!!.

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Kenechi Iwelumo

Peer Mentor Coordinator

Hometown: Totowa, NJ

Alma Mater: Columbia University

Hot Take: Hot coffee is the best coffee no matter the season..even in 80 degree weather

Advice for M1s: Stay in touch with family and friends from home and make time for fun! 

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PEER MENTORS

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Lohit Sodagum
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Mount Olive, NJ 

Alma mater: Johns Hopkins University

Hot Take: I like Dunkin’ more than Starbucks 

Advice for M1s: It’s a marathon not a sprint!

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Lauren Nazzaro
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Whitehouse Station, NJ

Alma mater: Carnegie Mellon University

Hot Take: I like Moe's better than Chipotle

Advice for M1s: The first few months of M1 are really overwhelming, and there's a lot of pressure to do it all - study, attend every lunch lecture, take on leadership positions, do research, and more. There are so many great opportunities to take advantage of, but my advice is to pursue the things you're interested in!

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Nicholas James Baker
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Lancaster PA

Alma mater: Washington and Jefferson College

Hot Take: Pineapple jalapeno pizza is good

Advice for M1s: Work hard but take breaks to reward yourself after stressful exams!

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Joseph Phelan
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Princeton, NJ

Alma mater: Columbia University

Hot Take: The best Star Wars movie is Episode 8.

Advice for M1s: Make sure to prioritize sleep, exercise, diet, and overall health - classes are pass/fail for a reason! 

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Lauren Colquitt
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Logan Township, NJ

Alma mater: Colgate University

Hot Take: Hamilton the musical is extremely overrated

Advice for M1s: Have fun!

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Radha Tummalapenta
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Wyckoff, NJ

Alma mater: University of Rochester

Hot Take: milk before cereal😤

Advice for M1s: Try your very best to have fun and prioritize self care/relationships even when medical school gets intense! 

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Eric Muller 
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Clark, NJ

Alma mater: Rutgers University 

Hot Take: QuickCheck coffee > Starbucks

Advice for M1s: Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the journey

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Isha Kumbam
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Montville, NJ

Alma mater: University of Pittsburgh

Hot Take: - Ranch on pizza…. Slaps 

Advice for M1s: Give it time and ask for help!

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Ryan Salvatore
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Alma mater: San Diego State University, Johns Hopkins

Hot Take: -Wawa coffee is trash (you know it's true)

Advice for M1s: Make a schedule/routine and stick to it! It makes studying, eating, working out, etc. so much easier when you allot time every day to it.

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Ankitha Dindigal
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Parlin, New Jersey

Alma mater: Rutgers University

Hot Take: Pescatarians are NOT vegetarians!!

Advice for M1s: Make sure to take breaks when you need them, get involved in things you are genuinely interested in, and keep up with your hobbies/interests outside of school!

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Kaiwen Chen
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Montville, NJ

Alma mater: Brandeis University

Hot Take: I love licorice

Advice for M1s: study hard, but don't forget to have fun! finding a balance is key

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Joseph Arriola
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: South River, NJ

Alma mater: Rutgers University 

Hot Take: Country Music is low key underrated 

Advice for M1s: Work hard, but don’t forget to spend some time doing things that you enjoy!

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Umin Jalloh
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Teaneck, NJ

Alma mater: Northeastern University

Hot Take: Studying in classrooms >>>> the periphery or planes

Advice for M1s: Do extracurriculars because you want to do them, not just to check boxes!

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Kathryn Abbott
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ

Alma mater: Northwestern University

Hot Take: I don't like Mr. Brightside that much

Advice for M1s: Believe in yourself, take time to do things you enjoy, and don't forget to have fun!

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Mann Patel
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Edison, NJ

Alma mater: Rutgers University

Hot Take: Cereal is best WITHOUT milk

Advice for M1s: Make sure you enjoy your summer and take the time to relax! As for M1 year, get out there and explore your interests! It will take some time to get into your groove, finding your study habits and getting used to a new area, but find a good group of friends and continue doing the things you enjoy, and the year will be go by in the blink of an eye. While medical school may be busy, you can always make time for things you want to do!

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Trisha Sindhu
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Princeton, NJ

Alma mater: Rutgers University

Hot Take: Boneless wings > Bone in

Advice for M1s: Everything will work out in the end. In the midst of a hard block and upcoming exams, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and as if there is no end. I promise you all your hard work pays off and the feeling of getting through it is unmatched. Stay motivated and confident, and above all have fun while doing it! Don't let go of the things you love, because those are the things that will keep you grounded in the chaos of medical school.

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Sidharth Srinivasan
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: West Windsor, NJ

Alma mater: University of Pittsburgh

Hot Take: Whoppers are the best kind of candy

Advice for M1s: The M1 schedule can feel overwhelming and daunting at times, but make sure to plan out time for your own personal wellbeing. Take time to get to know your classmates, and at the same time make sure you hold on to the positive aspects that helped you get to this point. Whether that is making time for yourself, friends, family, and other loved ones, the schedule is flexible enough to allow you to plan for that, so take advantage of it. It will take time, but making an active effort into finding a balance between school and your personal wellbeing will go a long way. 

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Josephine Alegun
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Piscataway, NJ

Alma mater: Rutgers University

Hot Take: New Jersey is the best state and I'm being so serious.

Advice for M1s: School is important but so are birthdays, weddings, celebrations, and memories. Make time for the things and people that are important to you and try not to miss out on so much. 

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Karen Makar
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: East Brunswick, NJ

Alma mater: Rutgers University

Hot Take: Bacon is just not that great. Also, objectively speaking, cats >> dogs. 

Advice for M1s: I highly recommend that everyone meet with Cog Skills throughout the year!

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Kacie Barry
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Hillsdale, NJ

Alma mater: University of Pittsburgh 

Hot Take: Any pizza can be good pizza if you dip it in enough ranch 

Advice for M1s: Set boundaries with study time & prioritize doing things you enjoy outside of school 

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Noelle Mayers
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Montclair, NJ

Alma mater: Johns Hopkins University

Hot Take: I may not like the planes, but I understand and respect it.

Advice for M1s: Remember to breath and be present in the moment! 

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Nicolas Carayannopoulos
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Westfield, NJ

Alma mater: University of Maryland

Hot Take: Chipotle is mid at best

Advice for M1s: Treat studying like a job that ends on Fridays 

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Tayra Luisana Keshinover
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Wappingers Falls, NY/ Bronx, NY

Alma mater: College of Mount Saint Vincent/Columbia University

Hot Take: I actually like our school building. 

Advice for M1s: Ask for help sooner! 

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David Garyantes
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Warren, NJ

Alma mater: Case Western Reserve University

Hot Take: Nutella is terrible.

Advice for M1s: Stay in your lane; find a few activities that you enjoy and focus on those, studying and most importantly, having fun!

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Anna Zakusylo
Peer Mentor 

Hometown: Short Hills, NJ

Alma mater: Rutgers University

Hot Take: It's only a pressure-cooker if you decide to make it one! 

Advice for M1s: Capitalize on early experiential opportunities; as you learn more in school you will gain a greater appreciation for the hands on/clinical work you do outside of the classroom.