Third Year

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Sina Akhavan MD
UC – San Francisco

Watching Magic as a toddler at the Great Western Forum where the Lakers reigned supreme and living in California all my life, I feel oddly at home here in Chicago near The House That Jordan Built.

My father was salesman whose job took us around Southern California; switching schools or neighborhoods (with a brief one year stint in Iran), I learned essential skills like playing Pogs and Pokemon which quickly earned me friends (of a certain ilk) in most circles. When I was in high school, my mom began working for an airline and gave me a special blue card which let me walk into any airport and freely fly any Delta flight that had a seat (first or economy!) which made for a lot of interesting experiences (like being on a flight above NY during 9/11). I grew my hair out, bought rainbow sandals, and went to UC Berkeley for college where I spent a year in Eastern Europe living with the Roma and studying medical ethnobotany which got me interested in access to care and systems medicine. At UCSF, rounding out a decade in the Bay Area, I fell in love with the versatility, intensity and chaos of the ED while learning about value-based medicine.

I’m so excited to come to U of Chicago and train to become a confident and capable ED physician. The educational/career opportunities along with the breadth and depth of training is incredible. My special interests are in management, finance and efficiency and I hope to look at lots of ways to build better value in the ED.

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Dillon Barron MD
UNC – Chapel Hill

Hello everyone! I grew up in Charlotte, NC in a medical family (my dad is a surgeon, mother is a nurse) and as such spent most of my life resisting the urge to do anything medical. I went to a public high school where my I was an “art kid” and actually thought that was what I would end up doing with my life for a long time. For undergrad, I went to Duke University (Go Devils!) and that was where I realized I couldn’t fight it any longer and gave into the urge to pursue a career in medicine. And I’m glad I did because it’s been one of the best decisions I ever made! I went to medical school at UNC Chapel Hill and, rivalry with Duke aside, loved my time there.

I pretty much went into medical school knowing I would pursue Emergency Medicine. I’m an adrenaline junkie and love the fast pace, high intensity level, and diversity of problems seen in the ED. Moreover, I like the idea of being a social safety net and being able to provide medical care to people with limited means. I chose the University of Chicago because everything just seemed to fit! I cliqued well with the people, and appreciated that it’s a young, changing, and diverse program. It also seems to have the best of both worth worlds, being an academic center but also having a “county” feel because of its location, patient population, and trauma program. Getting to fly on helicopters and wear a flight suit to work definitely doesn’t hurt either….

I’m a big time extrovert so in my free time I tend to spend it around friends as much as possible. I love the outdoors and I’m from the South so getting used to the Chicago weather will definitely be my biggest challenge this year. I love movies, Netflix marathons, exploring new spots in the city, and traveling whenever possible. I’m very eager and excited to start my career in Emergency Medicine at the University of Chicago!

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Lauren Cooper MD
Meharry Medical College

Hello everyone! I was born and raised in beautiful Los Angeles, CA and I am the oldest of 3 children. I spent my first 18 years traveling to other countries, playing almost every sport, skiing/snowboarding and spending time on the beach (sadly, I never learned to surf). My interest in medicine came in high school after I tore my ACL (playing soccer) and began spending a lot more of my time in the hospital and with my physical therapist. I eventually realized my interest in health/science, dropped my dreams of becoming a lawyer and decided to pursue medicine. At 18, I moved to New Orleans, LA and attended Xavier University of Louisiana where I graduated with a B.S. in psychology. I like to say New Orleans is where I really grew up and found my passion for serving the community, so I basically adopted the city as my second home.

After graduation I moved to Nashville, TN to attend Meharry Medical College, go to my first hockey game ever and find out country music is really not all that bad. Meharry blessed me with the opportunity to travel to South Africa and work in the Missionvale Clinic in Port Elizabeth administering healthcare to the people of the township. I learned on that trip that I love international travel and bringing my skills to not only my immediate community but also communities that need help around the world. When I arrived at Meharry, I was ready to be a psychiatrist, (then orthopedist) but in my 3rd year my uncle, a U of C EM graduate (a long time ago!), suggested I look into Emergency Medicine. I participated in an away rotation at the start of my 4th year (at U of C) and fell in love with the field and the program that offered me the exposure.

I love playing and watching soccer, basketball and football, watching movies, traveling and hanging out near large bodies of water. I am always ready for new experiences and am looking forward to my first time living in the Midwest and exploring what the great city of Chicago has to offer. I am truly excited to be a part of the University of Chicago EM family and looking forward to a fun and informative three years!

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Michael Ernst MD
Chief Resident Michigan State University

I grew up in Chelsea, Michigan, which to help with mitten geography is just west of Ann Arbor. I attended Michigan State University for undergrad majoring in Human Biology and Business Management. I have always had a strong interest in business and upon my college graduation; I concluded that I would have had much more free time had I dropped the whole medicine thing. But medicine was my true passion and I completed my medical education in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State.

I am a sports guy through and through. I played football and baseball growing up and took on hockey in medical school. For your enjoyment, you could equate my hockey skills to a cross between Gordon Bombay from the Mighty Ducks and Adam Sandler from Happy Gilmore. Needless to say, I am going to keep my day job. I also enjoy skiing, snowboarding, working out, and any lake that I can be on during the summer. I would also like to go on record and remind everyone that Detroit sports fans are blindly loyal. I have no intent on jumping ship now that I am in Chicago, though I will happily enjoy watching.

My interests in EM are still very broad. The fast pace and clinical diversity is what brought me to EM during medical school. Toxicology, medical education, research, and business are all areas of EM I hope to explore further during residency. The flight medicine program is also a big reason why I chose UC. I have always wanted to be a flight physician and after graduation I will be entering the Air Force Reserve as a Flight Surgeon.

I am very excited and honored to be a part of the UC EM family!

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Steven Flynn MD
University of Washington

Howdy! I am Steven. I was born and raised in Wyoming. It was there that I grew up to love the outdoors and take advantage of outdoor activities year round. I was never one of the kids on the block playing ball sports. Instead, ever since I could walk, I have been skiing. Growing up my family and I spent as much time as possible skiing in Colorado and Wyoming. I started downhill racing in elementary school. Now, I prefer to get as many powder face shots and steep terrain runs in a day as possible. My other passion is downhill mountain biking. Before entering medical school I raced my bike throughout Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Now I keep it more mellow and get out with buddies on the weekends to check out what new spooky trail features different resorts have mustered up. Besides skiing and biking, I also love to fly fish, back pack, work out and pet dogs.

My one and only claim to fame is that I was the mascots, “Pistol Pete” and “Inflata-Poke,” for the University of Wyoming from 2011-2012. It was during this AWESOME time that I learned valuable life skills, such as how to dance to “Cotton Eyed Joe;” crowd surf; dodge grandmas grabbing at me and do the worm wearing pistols, chaps, boots and a 10 pound mascot head.

As far as my interest in EM, I knew I wanted to be a physician since high school. As an undergraduate, I was an ED-Tech in a hospital for 3 years. It was during this time that I was exposed to the diversity, intensity, fast pace, and ability to help and interact with patients in the ED. I explored a few other specialties in medical school but, at the end of the day, it was always EM that fascinated me. Plus, I love the personalities of other people who work in the ED. These are my people without a doubt!

My fiancé, who is a Neurology resident at Rush, and I are both very excited to come to Chicago to check out a part of the country that is new to us. We are both terrible at following any professional sports, so we are looking forward to getting into the sports scene and soaking up as much big city living as possible before one day returning to Wyoming or Montana.

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Racheal Gilmer MD
Chief Resident University of Colorado

Life started for me on a military base in Fort Worth, Texas. A year later, I moved to Colorado and lived in a small mountain town. I come from a large extended family with over 26 cousins and 11 aunts and uncles. As a family we owned a Mexican restaurant so I spent my summers pouring water and serving corn chips. At that time, being a doctor was definitely not on my radar. In high school, I moved to Denver and discovered a love for science. This was probably more about my teachers than the subject matter; either way, it propelled me to pursue a degree in Biology. I got my CNA certification in college and worked at a county hospital in Denver. This is where I developed my love for medicine and ‘eccentric’ patients who always keep a shift entertaining. From there, it was Doctor all the way. Emergency Medicine didn’t grab a hold of me until my 3rd year in medical school, but once it did I could not image why anyone would do anything else. It is high intensity, you get to see team-work at its finest, no shift is the same, plus great hours and great pay; what more could you want?

I have strong interests in Quality Improvement and International Medicine. One day, I hope to get my MBA and save an Emergency Department out there some money! My husband is pursuing his Aviation Technology degree to become a pilot, so hopeful traveling internationally, as a doc, is in our future.

My hobbies include any outdoor activity, exploring new scenery in our motorhome, teaching my ‘old dog’ new tricks, and drinking lots of coffee. If anyone has a favorite coffee shop or outdoor activity, please do share.

I am excited to live in Chicago! I love the city and the people. I know from my interview day, this program is full of amazing people who are willing to grow and learn together as a family. I cannot wait to meet everyone at UC and start this amazing 3-year journey!

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Mobola Kukoyi MD
Duke

I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, the largest city in Africa with 20 million people (gulp!). Fun facts – my tribe, the Yorubas, have the highest twinning rate in the world. It is also rumored that 1 in every 8 black person on the planet is Nigerian!

In 2002, I came to the U.S. to attend Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (Go Blazers), so I consider Alabama my American home. I obtained my BSc in Biology and MPH (Epidemiology) from UAB. Subsequently, I worked for a while before returning to Duke for med school (Go Blue Devils, 5-time NCAA champions!!!).

As far as hobbies go, I love to travel. I’ve probably visited about 25-30 states in the US, along with some international trips (I spent 8 months in Ghana during med school). My ultimate goal is to visit a new country annually. I also love to eat, hang out with friends, and generally have a good time.

I am super excited to begin the next phase of my life at U of C, and look forward to all the growth that’s about to take place! Plus, more friends will visit now that I live in Chicago ☺

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Albert Leung MD
Harvard

I am a Chicago area native, having grown up in one of the northern suburbs. My hometown is known for having the longest mall in the country (Gurnee Mills) and is also a tourist magnet during the summer months for Six Flags Great America. After enjoying a roller-coaster packed childhood, I thought it was time for me to explore life outside the Midwest.

I attended college at Stanford University, where I graduated with a science degree and a passion for research. I moved to New York City after college to work with a team of researchers on a breakthrough HIV vaccine, taking it from the bench side to human clinical trials. Afterwards, I obtained my medical degree from Harvard Medical School and continued my research with projects in infectious and musculoskeletal diseases.

I am very excited to be moving back to Chicago for my training in emergency medicine. This city is home to my favorite sports teams – da Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and Blackhawks! Furthermore, no other city on the West or East coast has pizza that measures up to Chicago’s deep-dish pizza.

After having grown up in the Midwest and spending the last ten years on both coasts, I’ve developed a variety of hobbies that keep me busy after work. I love to spend time snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing, cycling, running, and playing basketball/tennis.

I find emergency medicine appealing because of its unique ability to make an impact on medicine on a global scale – whether it’s international medicine, healthcare policy, quality assurance, disaster relief, educational reform, etc. As one of the oldest programs in the country, the University of Chicago offers an extensive alumni network, far-reaching opportunities, a wealth of resources, cutting-edge research, and a mentoring faculty that will nurture a career in any interest that you are passionate about. I’m definitely looking forward to enjoying the next few years with an incredibly diverse and exciting group of residents in this program!

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Andrew Marshall MD
Chief Resident Meharry Medical College

On April 16th, 1988 I was born on the eastern most, and coincidentally most beautiful, island of the Caribbean – Barbados. And yes, that’s where Rihanna is from. No, I don’t know her. As a cruel joke, my parents decided to move to Michigan when I was four. After two years of discovering that snow was not as fun as it looked, we relocated to Maryland, New York City, and eventually Nashville, Tennessee, the last of which became my new home in the states.

The son of a chemistry teacher (Mom) and a pastor (Dad), I developed an early love for science, math, and reading. I am the oldest of two, and have a younger sister who I love very much despite the fact that she took most of the good genes. At a young age I knew I wanted to be a scientist, and potentially a doctor. It was during junior high that I became a certified ‘computer nerd.’ During my high school years at Hume-Fogg Academic High School (Go Blue Knights!) I was able to further indulge my love for computers and began to learn to code.

Being unfortunately less talented at singing and dancing than better known Bajans, I went on to college at Oakwood University in Hunstville, Alabama where I studied Computer Science and took pre-med courses. During my collegiate career and after graduation in 2010, I spent some time as an intern at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. In 2011 I worked at Northrop Grumman as a software engineer before deciding to trade my economic freedom away for 4 years of student loans and non-stop testing.

I attended Meharry Medical College from 2011 to 2015. I had a great time at MMC, and learned as much from my brilliant classmates as I did from any book or professor. At Meharry I was able to serve as a student leader, an opportunity I credit with a great deal of my personal growth during the past four years.

I love sports of all kinds. I have a decent three point shot and a solid forehand. I still love to play video games on occasion, and I enjoy building websites and computers. I recently delved into app development, and hope to see my first app in the apple store before residency starts.

As for my future… Who knows? As I write this on the eve of my move to Chicago, I am ecstatic to be joining the University of Chicago’s Emergency Program. I am excited for the opportunity to live in such a vibrant city, where I can get great training. I am looking forward to the challenges residency will bring, and I am still looking for a way to take my future practice in field of Emergency Medicine to the next level via technological innovation.

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Jake Moore MD
University of Illinois at Chicago

Greetings! My journey to the University of Chicago began in Rockford, IL, about an hour and a half northwest of the city of Chicago. I spent the better part of my childhood spoiled by my grandparents and “speed dating” my way through youth sports. Eventually I settled in on swimming and, in college, competed for the University of Iowa. There, I also danced around the idea of attending medical school for a few years, and padded my pre-medical GPA with courses in business management at the Tippie College of Business.

Serendipity ensued and I found myself back in my old stomping grounds attending the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine’s Rockford campus. After a one-year hiatus training and racing as a semi-professional triathlete I returned to my studies, and with the help of a young and enthusiastic mentor, discovered Emergency Medicine. I’ve found the specialty to be the perfect blend of patient demographics, visit acuity, physician skill set, and exposure to both the blessings and pitfalls of our current healthcare system.

As a native Illinoisan, the reputation of the University of Chicago as an academic and medical polestar has always been enchanting. I couldn’t be happier to join such an active and diverse group of residents and instructors. Let’s not forget Chicago, with its wonderful blend of sports, music, comedy and food. It is as Sinatra said, “my kind of town”. I plan to spend my free time exploring street festivals, working out, and searching for the best cup of espresso in the city. Cheers.

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Natalie Neumann MD
Harvard

Born in Manhattan and raised in Connecticut, I did not venture far from home for my formal education. I attended Columbia as an undergraduate, where I studied Middle Eastern and Central Asian history and languages, and then Harvard for medical school. Between the two courses of study wanderlust got the better of me, so I moved to Mongolia for a year to ride horses, learn to survive minus-forty-degree winters, and research the intersection of modern and traditional medicines. I returned to Ulaanbaatar for several months during medical school to establish a bilateral physician exchange program and an endowment for maternal and child health. Long story long, residency, as one could surmise, is my first experience living in the Midwest.

As far as hobbies go, I play tennis and read obsessively. I understand that the winter here presents a problem for the former if not the latter. I anticipate half of my paycheck and all of my free time will go towards subsidizing my tennis habit.

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Archana Shah MD
UCAN Flight Chief Texas Tech

Hello readers, I was born in California but claim Texas as home. I am the only child of oil expats who took me on a life of travels and developed my interest in international relations, which I studied in Baltimore before joining the Latin American, and later, healthcare division of a bulge bracket investment bank. I divided time between working in the life sciences and volunteering with New York Cares, where I was introduced to Médecins Sans Frontières and fell in love with both medicine as well as healthcare organization management. From my post-bacc onward, I have been on a path to Emergency Medicine. I scribed in the Emergency Department and volunteered as an EMT before medical / business school and was very involved in organized EM through my graduate studies. Two years ago, I married my college sweetheart who is from Chicago, so we are thrilled to move back. My interests include health policy and advocacy, global and public health, medical education, administration, EMS, disaster, flight medicine, ultrasound… well, basically everything. I am very excited to be a part of and to contribute to the legacy of the University of Chicago!

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Brian Sprouse MD
UC – Irvine

Hey everyone! I’m coming to the University of Chicago by way of Southern California. So I’ll apologize in advance for all the times you’re going to hear me say “sup,” “chill,” “stoked,” and “bro.” Just bear with me, I promise I’ll pick up the Midwest jargon along the way. Anyway, I grew up just outside of Los Angeles and have spent most of my life bouncing up and down the SoCal coast. Going to schools in places like Santa Barbara (go Gauchos!), San Diego and Newport Beach has been an awesome experience and home to some of my fondest memories. However, it was time for a change of scenery and I am beyond stoked (sorry there really just isn’t a better fitting word) to be coming to U of C for residency. I knew during my interview day that this was where I wanted to be and feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have matched here.

A career in medicine wasn’t always on my radar. During my early college days I still had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. But to be honest, I just could never quite throw fast enough and then a shoulder injury was the icing on the cake to hang up the cleats. Thankfully I had an education to fall back on and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from UC Santa Barbara. I subsequently attended UC San Diego for a master’s in bioengineering, and used those experiences to transition into medical school at UC Irvine. During my Emergency Medicine rotation it became very apparent to me that the specialty fit my personality to a tee. I love the up-tempo pace of the ED and being able see such a wide variety of clinical presentations during the course of a shift. Also knowing that many of our patients are having one of their worst days, and being able to insert even just a tiny sliver of positivity into their day is a real added bonus for me.

Outside of the hospital, most everything revolves around sports. Whether that be running pick-up basketball at the gym, grabbing a few brews with friends to catch the game, or watching YouTube videos of Kobe Bryant highlights for the umpteenth time is usually where you can find me. Most recently I’ve gotten into boxing and have been going to a gym for about the last year and half. My favorite part of training is actually jumping rope, which sounds ridiculous I know. But if you ever google professional boxers skipping rope, I can do most of the tricks so I happen to think I look pretty cool doing it.

I’m really excited for everything that Chicago and residency has in store, and am beyond grateful for this opportunity. It truly is a blessing to be apart of the U of C family. Thanks for taking the time to read a little bit about me. Oh and hi mom. I’m assuming you’re the only person who made it to the very end.

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Shameeke Taylor MD
AXA Flight Chief University of Pittsburgh

Hello everyone, my name is Shameeke Taylor (first name pronounced Sha-meek). I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY (still consider it to be the best place in the world, even with the recent hipster influx) with roots in Turks and Caicos/Bahamas. I’m the older of 2 children with my little brother Christian as my 9-year-old mini-me. Growing up in some of the rougher areas of Brooklyn, I saw first hand the consequences of health disparities and lack of medical/preventive care. This led to my early interest in medicine as a career, viewing it as a way to give back on a larger scale and improve the health of communities. I attended the University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate degree and while there I developed a strong interest in research and in Emergency Medicine. During college, I received my first taste of EM working as an Academic Associate at HUP and I loved every moment I spent in the ED. After college, I spent 2 years back home in NYC working as a neuroscience research coordinator at Mount Sinai before deciding to attend the University of Pittsburgh for medical school because of the strong research foundation, unlimited opportunities and excellent support system.

In medical school, I took advantage of every opportunity that I could from participating in electrophysiology research in Maine at the Bar Harbor laboratories to researching racial disparities in lung transplantation outcomes at ISMETT (transplant center) in Sicily, Italy. My trip to work at a clinic in the mountains of Honduras for my family medicine rotation changed my outlook on health and my role as a provider and patient advocate. It was through that experience that I decided to take time off after my 3rd year to acquire a public health degree in order to build a strong foundation for my future public health work in communities around the world. Thinking a bit outside of the box, to the dismay of many, I left the US and earned my master’s degree at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in England, a school with a strong reputation for training global health practitioners. I plan to put my public health degree to good use by pursuing an international EM fellowship after residency.

Three TV channels will tell you a lot about what I like to do in my free time. My TV usually stays on ESPN, the Food Network or the Travel Channel. I am an avid sports fan, you name it and I’ll watch it. My favorite sports are basketball, football and track and field. I support my hometown teams (NY Knicks and Giants). I enjoy playing sports as well and will join rec leagues for basketball or football when I have time. I am also an avid cook (learning early from my mother who is a part time caterer) and like to try new recipes and hold cooking competitions with friends. Outside of sports and cooking, I love to travel. I spend many daydreams each day planning my next vacation.

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Josh Wunder MD
Case Western

Hi everyone! I grew up in Naperville in the western suburbs of Chicago, and after an 8-year stint in Cleveland for undergrad and medical school, I’m excited to be back home! I started my undergraduate studies in chemical engineering, but after taking a semester off for a co-op and seeing what engineers do outside the classroom I realized that was not the field for me, and I turned my attention to medicine (which had always been in the back of my mind). Emergency Medicine was not even on my radar for the first couple years of medical school, but once I got into the ED during 3rd year I knew this was the specialty for me due to the wide variety of people and pathology that I can see every day!

When I’m not working, I love watching Chicago sports, which is so much better back here in the Windy City instead of in a Cleveland sports bar. I also like to do a lot of outdoor activites, including biking, hiking, canoeing, and I’m up for trying pretty much anything else outdoors. I recently tried canyoning in Switzerland and it was a blast, now I just need to find somewhere to do it in the US! When I’m not watching sports or being active outside, I enjoy cooking and watching TV series (thank god for Netflix).

I am so excited to join the University of Chicago EM family and can’t wait to meet all of the amazing people that this program has attracted!

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Richard Zhang MD
AXA Flight Chief University of Pittsburgh

Hey all, thanks for taking the time to peruse my bio! I’m the child of two first-generation immigrants from Shanghai, China that have finally decided to settle in the San Francisco Bay area. Although I consider myself a Californian at heart, my family lived for a short while in Lake Forest (northern suburb of Chicago) when we first moved to the States. During these formative years, I watched the greatest basketball player lead the greatest basketball team ever assembled to a repeat 3-peat, which cemented my allegiance to the Bulls forever. Craving warmer weather, we moved to Fremont, California where I finished middle/high school and developed my affinity for life sciences. I spent two summers at the NIH as a junior scholar, getting my toes wet with bench research, and went on to pursue a Neuroscience degree at UCLA.

My conservative Asian parents really pushed me toward a career in contemporary dance, but I had to disappoint them when I chose to attend medical school at the University of Pittsburgh. I went through the paces and even spent an entire summer at a transplant hospital in Palermo, Sicily, but did not find my groove until an elective in the ED. I loved talking all the patients, the constant turnover, and the overall camaraderie in the ED. U of C was my first choice after the interview day because of the awesome leadership, strong critical care, and flight opportunities during second year. I felt the intangible click with the program was very happy when I opened the envelope during match day. Absolutely cannot wait to experience the next 3 years.

Now to shotgun everything else: I prefer late 80s hip hop and 2000s RnB while in the car, and EDM in my headphones while at the gym. A major life goal is to adopt a pound dog and take a road trip. I’m relatively coordinated and enjoy all sports on an intramural level, but soccer confuses my feet. I’ve got a travel map covering an entire white wall of my apartment, and the itch to put up more pins is constant. Recently returned from Thailand and planning for Nicaragua/Central America in March. Secretly dreaming to be a chef at some point and love food culture, but please no cilantro.