Emma Edmondson: Emma grew up in gorgeous Ithaca, New York, which instilled in her a deep love of the outdoors, farmers markets, music, and small town life. She ventured to the Midwest to attend Oberlin College for undergrad, where she played for the women’s lacrosse team, sang in an a cappella group, did research in an ornithology lab, and learned to cook vegetarian food en masse while living and eating in a co-op. She found Ohio to be so lovely she decided to stay for one more year to work for a non-profit fighting food insecurity in the greatest city in America, Cleveland. Despite her unwavering love for Cleveland, her east-coast roots got the best of her and she moved to New York to attend medical school at Columbia. Her greatest hits from med school include working at a student-run free clinic for the homeless in Harlem, doing a primary care rotation on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, and hiking over 250 miles of the Appalachian trail after match day. Emma’s academic interests include food policy and its impact on chronic disease burden, primary care, critical care, and the end of life.
Svetoslava Kerpedjieva (SK): SK grew up just down the (quite expensive) road in Pittsburgh, PA where she attended a high school so phenomenal (Blue Ribbon `95) that it fostered 25% of the last two Med-Peds classes. She went to William and Mary for her undergraduate education, but retreated back closer to home to attend Case Western Reserve University for medical school. There, she developed an interest in quality-of-life issues and barriers and, as a result, spent time doing research with palliative care to try to find ways to expand the reach of quality-improving benefits. Though it was Philadelphia’s warm reception to Steelers’ fans and hitchhiking robots alike that initially won her over, it's the dirty delicious food scene and the mean (i.e. easy and very necessary) bike-ability of the city that officially sold it. Maybe also the Schuylkill river banks.
Robin Mansour: Robin grew up in Sarasota, Florida, a city that boasts having the US’s #1 beach as rated by Travelocity and Dr. Beach. Robin went to college at the University of South Florida where she majored in biomedical sciences and minored in leadership studies. There she balanced her medical pursuits with nonmedical extracurriculars such as building bikes, ballroom/swing dancing, and gardening/farming. She crept up northward to Duke for medical school. There she did a year of research on maternal-fetal transmission of HIV through breast milk and became very involved as president of her medical school class. Now she’s up here in Philadelphia in where her tolerance for cold weather will be tested. Robin’s current interests include yoga, board games, comics, film, leadership development, global health, and sustainability.
Micaela Robb-McGrath: Micaela comes to the Penn-CHOP med-peds family from her beautiful home state of Maryland. She grew up outside of DC in Silver Spring and after high school left Maryland for Marquette University in Wisconsin ready to pursue a career in journalism. In college she discovered her love for Marquette basketball, fluffy winter coats and science! After taking a biology class for non-science majors she decided she couldn't get enough of that stuff and switched majors to biology with the intention of going to med school. After graduating from Marquette, Micaela wasn't quite ready to leave the harsh Wisconsin winters and stuck around for one more year working in a lab on campus. She attended medical school back home at University of Maryland in Baltimore. She's currently enjoying exploring her neighborhood with her wonderful husband and spending lots of time relaxing on her deck and playing on the Schuykill River Trail. Her interests include primary care for the underserved and global health.
John Berens: John grew up in the lovely city of Omaha, NE. He spent his college days at Rice University in Houston, TX, where he majored in both Biochemistry and Psychology and was a triple jumper on the Men's Track and Field Team. He jumped (and studied) his way across the street for medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. During medical school, John was very involved in the Med-Peds interest group as well as clinical research on the pediatric-to-adult transition for young adults with chronic child-onset conditions. This continues to be a passion and research interest for him here at CHOP/HUP. John really loves Philadelphia, especially since there are seasons, good beer, great food, and so much to do. Outside of medicine, he enjoys writing/playing music, cooking, and spending time with loved ones.
Christine Hanna: Christina grew up just outside of St. Louis, Missouri and unknowingly attended the same high school as the founder of the Penn Med-Peds program. For college, she left the Arch in St. Louis for the Washington Monument in D.C. She attended Georgetown University for both undergrad and medical school, making her a double Hoya. In college, Christina balanced her pre-med and international affairs studies with her artistic passion: performing with the university’s dance company. Between undergrad and medical school, she had a formative experience working on adolescent health issues with street youth in Egypt. She continued this work with the World Health Organization in medical school and after her third year, she decided to further this interest in global health at Johns Hopkins where she received an MPH. Outside of the health field, Christina enjoys playing tennis and jogging, pining for a puppy at the local dog park, and trying the seemingly endless amount of delicious restaurants in Philly.
Rachelle Nelson: Rachelle comes to Philadelphia from Upstate New York were she has spent most of her life. Her initial career interest was in the visual arts but happened upon EMS, which drew her into the world of medicine. She earned a BA in biology at SUNY Geneseo (best pizza ever) and completed medical school at SUNY Upstate. In medical school she developed a program that allowed medical students to connect patients in need with health resources within the community. Her current interests involve primary care, working with the underserved and palliative care. In her free time, she invents new ways to get diapers on her squirrelly toddler who does his best to remain diaper-free and discusses the upcoming zombie apocalypse with her nerdy husband (ad nauseum). Rachelle’s favorite things include eating out in Philadelphia, hazelnut coffee and her med/peds co-interns, all of which go together very nicely.
Emily Watkins: Emily grew up in Pittsburgh, but the call of manifest destiny drew her westwards: first to the University of Chicago (where she majored in biology, but also ran the world's largest scavenger hunt) and then to medical school at UCSF. There, she developed enduring passions for medical education and for the constant pursuit of free food, both of which she attempted to pass on to her fellow students through her work as a near-peer teacher and mentor. Emily could not be more delighted to return for her Med-Peds training to a land of seasons, rivers, and celebrated regional sandwiches. She spends her time outside of the hospital concocting elaborate meals, embarking upon potentially ill-advised bike adventures, and puttering around in libraries. Although she has visited 49 states, Emily has never been to a Cracker Barrel.
Steven McKee: Steven was born and reared in "The Natural State" - Arkansas. He began sailing at 3 years of age, water skiing at 5, and continues to love all things outdoors. He completed undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Arkansas, Go Hogs! Throughout college he lived briefly in Northern Spain and Costa Rica and spent time practicing both Spanish and surfing. During medical school, Steven traveled to Kenya to assist with a U.S. Center for Disease Control vaccine study. This experience stoked an already growing interest in global and underprivileged medicine. While in Africa he spent 7 days climbing Mnt. Kilimanjaro. Steven is now far from the comforts of home (and the South) yet he adores Philadelphia. In his free time he enjoys cycling and running the river trail, surfing in Jersey, and playing soccer and softball with the CHOP teams.
Laura Robinson: Laura grew up in Zionsville, IN, but headed south to complete her education. After studying cultural anthropology at Duke, she spent a year doing hunger advocacy in New York with Americorps. She then returned to North Carolina and crossed enemy lines to start medical school at UNC. While there, she did research on social supports for adolescents with chronic illness and was drawn to Med-Peds residency from an interest in transitions for patients with complex chronic conditions. Additional career interests include palliative care and health disparities. In her spare time, Laura enjoys reading, dance, and cooking and is enjoying life in the charming though not-so-well-known Devil’s Pocket neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Stephanie Smith: Stephanie (Steph) was born and raised in the Golden State of Cali in a suburb (aka Farm Town) somewhat close to San Francisco. She made the trek out east for college and earned her BS and MPH from Yale. After school, she decided to try out the big apple and worked at Sloan-Kettering doing clinical research in childhood cancer survivorship. That sparked her passion for medicine, so she made the trek back west and earned her MD in the land of palms at Stanford Medical School. After med school, Stephanie decided to become bi-coastal once again for her residency in med-peds to pursue her eventual career goal of pediatric oncology, cancer survivorship, and long-term follow-up care. In her free time, Steph enjoys running along the Schuylkill River (and in Central Park), taking the Amtrak to visit her husband in NYC (recently married), juggling, concocting tasty vegetarian meals, and eating virtually anything involving kale.
Ryan Close: Ryan's life began in Germany, before finding his way stateside. All recent schooling has been in New York City, where he majored in philosophy at NYU before completing his MD / MPH at Columbia. He has a passion for infectious disease research and travel, having combined the two in Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Swaziland. In 2011, Ryan co-hosted the Northeast Regional Med-Peds Conference in New York City. He frequents the Schukylkill River running trail and his favorite race is the half-marathon. But more important than any of the above, is Ryan's deep love for his friends, family...and dogs.
Alana Feiler: Alana was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She attended Yale University where she majored in Cognitive Science and then went on to receive an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University in England. She enrolled in a post-bac and subsequently in medical school at Penn. She completed an internship at Penn Family Medicine before joining the Penn Med-Peds program. Her career interests include adolescent medicine and transition of care for young adults with chronic illness. She also has strong interests in general pediatric and adult medicine and medical education. She played rugby in college, and enjoys soccer, basketball, cycling, and acoustic guitar.
Andrea Maxwell: Andrea was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. She attended Harvard College where she majored in biomedical engineering, then enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School, where she took a year off to return to Harvard for MPH training. Andrea has researched transitions of care for complex adolescents, and written on post-traumatic stress disorder. She enjoys outdoor activities and travelling, and attends opera and theater performances.
Michael Rey: Michael was born in Englewood, New Jersey, and attended college at Harvard, where he majored in history and literature and wrote his thesis on the famous physician-writer William Carlos Williams. At some point in there, he spent a summer in the Pacific northwest and wrote a travel guide to the region. He completed a post-bac and subsequently enrolled in medical school here at Penn, where he did research in medical ethics for several years. Michael welcomed his first child, a daughter, in 2011, and he enjoys cooking and long-distance running.