Meet the Chairs

Translation Education

BEN MONTANEZ

I’m Benjamin Montanez, MS3. I grew up in Grand Prairie, Tx and I lived next to Patrick Mahomes while at Texas Tech!

ISABEL GARCIA

Originally from Puerto Rico, my heritage is what defines me as a person and guides me in my goal to become a surgeon. I graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and minor in theology. In my future practice I aspire for a healthcare system that goes beyond borders and empowers my community. In my spare time I enjoy eating donuts.

Welcome & Registration

JOHANNA CARDOSO

Grew up in North East Dallas and have always had a strong interest in working with the underserved. Being the first in my family to graduate college, I know first-hand some of the barriers and struggles underserved individuals may face. I have volunteered with United to Serve since my sophomore year at UTD and have also helped organize health fairs in my community. Absolutely love the passion and enthusiasm my UTSW family puts in to planning the health fair each year! I believe United to Serve is one of UTSW’s greatest asset to our community and it’s an honor to be volunteering this year with registration 🙂

NEETHU AUGUSTINE

Neethu Augustine is a third-year medical student at UTSW, born and raised in Texas. This is her third year being involved with United to Serve and is excited to move the experience online this year! Recently, she has been spending more time cooking new recipes and hanging out with friends (virtually). Though this is her first year serving as part of the welcoming committee, she’s hoping to bring the best experience to you virtually! 🙂

Health Fair

AISH RAMAMURTHY

Aish is a fourth-year medical student from Allen, TX. She earned a degree in Healthcare Studies and Biology from UT Dallas, where she was also a part of the orchestra and Spanish guitar ensemble. In her free time, you’ll find her learning how to play random instruments, watching sports, traveling, and obsessing over dogs. Carnaval de Salud was a big part of why she chose UTSW for medical school. She is excited to be back for her fourth fair to make this year’s fair bigger and better!

JANE ZHU

Hi everyone! My name is Jane Zhu and I am a MS4. I was born in New Haven, CT but I’ve lived in Houston for a lot of my life! I went to Wellesley College where I majored in chemistry and minored in psychology. In my spare time, I like to play with dogs, do arts and crafts, and watch reality TV. I’m excited to be one of the Health Fair advisors this year.

ROHIT BADIA

Rohit is currently a third-year medical student. He got his Biology degree from UT Dallas. He volunteered with Carnaval de Salud during his time there and has continued to be involved with the Health Fair. He hopes that everyone is doing their best to stay safe during this pandemic. He is excited about offering a virtual opportunity this year for his community members to learn information about healthy habits!

JEFFREY LI

Jeff is a 4th year medical student at UT Southwestern Medical School. He grew up in New Jersey but went to UT Austin, majoring in business and biochemistry and was an instructor there for 2 years before starting medical school. In his free time, he enjoys fitness, and exploring new and strange foods, the stranger the better. He has worked teaching classes on health literacy and education in the community for the past 2 years and is excited to join UTS as the Health Education Chair.

ANISHKA KAPPALAYIL

Hi! My name is Anishka Kappalayil, and I am an MS3. I am the Health Fair Co-Chair for Screenings this year. My favorite things to do during my free time are: cooking with friends, trying new tapas restaurants, finding new music on Spotify, and spending quality time with loved ones.

SHYON PARSA

Shyon is an MS2 at UT Southwestern. He will be one of your Health Fair Committee Chairs this coming year. A short bio about his background: Shyon was born in Houston and went to UT-Austin, where he studied biomedical engineering. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, cooking a nice chello kebab, playing tennis, and taking some time off to relax with his friends. He is excited to collaborate with everyone and make this virtual United to Serve a memorable one.

BRENDA ZHOU

Brenda Zhou is a second-year medical student from New Jersey. She traveled almost 1,500 miles to get her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at Rice University. Now, she spends her free time running on the Katy Trail, dreaming about her future dogs, and baking endless desserts. She’s thrilled to be helping out with Carnaval de Salud for the second year!

Clinic Outreach

PRATYUSHA MANTHENA

Pratyusha Manthena is a second-year medical student from Irving, TX. She went to UT Dallas where she majored in biology and minored in economics. In her free time, she enjoys tending to her houseplants, trying new coffeeshops, and attempting watercolors. She is very excited to work as a health chair for UTS this year!

HAP Senior Advisor

NIKITA AGARRAL

Nikita is currently taking a year off from medical school in between her third and fourth year to pursue an MPH in Health Policy. Carnival de Salud has been a highlight of her medical school experience and she is excited to continue to chair the Health Awareness Program (HAP) this year. Both a research project and community initiative, HAP strives to ensure participants are able to access follow-up care within the community after attending the fair. When she isn’t trying every dessert place in town, you can find her walking her dog on the Katy Trail.

Community & Publicity

COURTNEY ANN PRESTWOOD

Courtney Ann is a third-year medical student from Shreveport, Louisiana. She is excited to be on the PR team this year! She went to Texas A&M for undergraduate and decided to stay in Texas for medical school. She is enjoying medical school, and in her free time she loves to learn new things, play tennis, and spend time with friends and family.

I-CHUN LIN

I-Chun Lin is a third-year medical student raised in Plano, TX. She was born in Boston, moved here at one year of age, and hasn’t left since, attending The University of Texas at Dallas for her undergraduate degree before coming to UT Southwestern. In her free time, she loves playing volleyball, exploring food, and baking. She is excited to serve as the Community & Publicity – Website Chair for the 2020-2021 UTS!

Web Designer & Graphics

CHRISTINE CHEN

Christine Chen is a second-year medical student. She grew up in Carrollton, TX, and earned her undergraduate degree in biology and global health at Stanford University. She enjoys doodling comics, napping with her dog, and cycling outdoors. She is excited to bring her loves for design and health together as Web Design Chair and Graphics, and to work with our incredible team and volunteers to make this year’s United to Serve experience a unique and unforgettable one!

Design Team

SARAH PRICKETT

Sarah is a third year medical student from Kansas City, Missouri. She went to the University of Alabama for undergrad, where she studied biology and witnessed 2 college football national championships (Roll Tide!) When she isn’t at the hospital, Sarah loves to take advantage of free chip refills at Chuy’s, have game nights with friends, and hang out with her husband, Sam, and cat, Tuna. She is excited to be a Chair for the Project & Design team this year and help to make the fair a unique and exciting virtual experience!

KATHRYN JAN

Kathryn is a fourth-year medical student from Plano, TX. During college, she studied biochemistry and anthropology at WashU. In her free time, she loves to get creative– drawing, playing viola, and dreaming up new ideas. After having a lot of fun with United to Serve in the Science Zone, Health Awareness Program, and games, Kathryn is excited about being involved in her fourth year as a Design Chair.

ISABEL MILLER

Isabel Miller, MS2, Isabel is a second-year medical student from Austin, TX. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in Neuroscience. She is excited to be volunteering for this year’s United to Serve 🙂

Volunteer

HENRY CHEN

Henry is a third year medical student originally from Cypress, TX. He graduated from UT Austin with a degree in Computational Biochemistry. Henry likes to find random coffee shops and run around random parts of Dallas. This year, he is excited to develop novel strategies alongside the rest of the volunteer committee to deliver the best experience to patrons of the United to Serve health fair.

POOJA MARELLA

Pooja is an MS2 from Coppell, TX serving her 2nd year as a chair for the Volunteer committee! In her free time she likes cooking, Barre workouts, and watching True Crime documentaries. Pooja is excited to work with all the volunteers this year to make United to Serve a virtual success!

LINDSAY JOHNSON

Hi there! My name is Lindsay Johnson and I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering program here at UT Southwestern. This is my fourth year to serve on the volunteer committee with United to Serve. Volunteering with United to Serve has been a wonderful experience these past few years and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store. Outside of research, I enjoy long distance running, practicing yoga, and hiking. I am looking forward to the virtual United to Serve Carnaval de Salud this year!

Science Zone

MAY XAC

May was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas but moved to the Midwest to attend college at Washington University in St. Louis. However, she missed Texas so much that she came back and is now a third year medical student at UTSW. In her free time, she loves to indulge her sweet tooth, play with her dogs, and go on hikes.

EMILY LIMMER

Hi, my name is Emily! I’m a third-year medical student, and this is also my third year helping with the fair. We’re as excited as ever for the fair this year, and we hope to make this virtual experience is as interesting and informative as every year!

ISABEL WEES

Isabel Wees, MS3 – I’ve been part of the Science Zone for three years and am looking forward to the new virtual format this year!

AMULYA PRATAPA

Hi everyone! I’m Amulya, a second-year medical student at UTSW. My hometown is Cedar Park (Austin improper) and I went to UT Austin for undergrad. Because I was initially unsure about medical school, I took two gap years to do research in Europe before finally making the wonderful decision to come to UTSW. In my free time, I enjoy baking and jamming with the Lymph Notes. I am excited to be a part of UTS’s first virtual fair and can’t wait to see everyone’s creative ideas come to fruition!

KAROLINA STEPIEN

5th graduate student in Molecular Biophysics

My interests are in scientific developments. Specifically, I am intrigued by molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal communication in our brain. Fun fact about me: I am from Poland, Europe.

Games

JASMINA SOLANKEE

Hi! My name is Jasmina and I am an MS4. I grew up in Austin and went to undergrad at Emory University in Atlanta, where I majored in Sociology. It was through my Sociology degree that I learned the importance of addressing the social determinants of health in society and that is why I chose to be a part of United to Serve during my time in medical school. I also have always enjoyed working with kids, so being able to do so while helping the community is an added bonus!

CRAIG KEMPER

My name is Craig Kemper. I am an MS2 from Austin, TX. I graduated from Texas A&M in 2019 and was thrilled to come to Dallas for medical school. I am serving as a co-chair for the games committee and could not be more excited to adapt this committee to the online format for this year.

Arts & Crafts

CONNIE MA

I am a fourth-year medical student applying into ENT. I enjoy hiking, climbing, arts and crafts, and hanging out with friends!

MEERA DEVARAJAN

Meera Devarajan is a third year medical student from Katy, Texas. She went to undergrad at Rice University before moving to Dallas for medical school. In her free time, Meera enjoys watching TV and dancing with her friends. She’s excited to bring some fun arts and crafts to the community!

AVID

MELISSA BUDICINI

Melissa Budicini is a third year PhD student excited to join the United to Serve committee as the AVID coordinator. She grew up in Connecticut before moving to Indiana to get her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame. At UT Southwestern she is in the microbiology program studying how bacteria and viruses interact in the gut. She credits her love of science to opportunities that allowed her to try hands on science experiments in middle and high school. Because of this she is excited to help students in Dallas have the same experiences through the AVID program and hopefully fall in love with science!

Healthy Living

JOSH PEEDIKAYIL

Josh Peedikayil is a second year medical student who grew up right outside of Houston, TX and went to school at UT Dallas where he majored in biology. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and exploring all avenues of the Dallas food scene. Josh has a strong interest in public and community health and is excited to be a part of UTS for the second year as the chair for Healthy Living!

Clinical Nutrition

JORDAN MARTIN

I am a Master’s of Clinical Nutrition student and will be graduating in August 2021! After graduation I hope to work in the field of eating disorders.

When I’m not in clinical rotations or doing schoolwork you can find me walking my dog or drinking coffee (or walking my dog to a coffee shop most likely). I recently got engaged so have taken up wedding planning as my new hobby and also like to bake, drink wine, or run in my free time!

RUCHA DESHPANDE

Rucha Deshpande, MCN 2. I got into nutrition because I want to help people with their lifestyle through cooking. I am originally from Chicago area and love to cook and bake in my free time! I also really love to be active and do fun activities like dancing. I am very interested in sports nutrition and culinary nutrition for my future career.

Market Center

COOPER HALE

Cooper Hale is a fourth year medical student serving as a Marketplace Co-Chair for this year’s United to Serve. This will be his fourth year helping with United to Serve and he’s excited to be back!

JAWAHER AZAM

Hi, my name is Jawaher Azam, and I’m an MS2 here. I am the co-chair for Marketplace as well as helping out with the Design committee this year.  This is my first time working with United to Serve but preventative healthcare is a personal passion!

Donations & Prizes

ANIKA MORGADO

Anika Morgado, MS4. I was born in Venezuela, love all things food, and in my free time like going on runs, playing tennis, cooking, reading, traveling and spending time with friends/family.

LAUREN SHAFFER

Hi! My name is Lauren Shaffer and I am a fourth-year medical student at UT Southwestern. I have loved being involved in United to Serve for all four years of medical school. It means so much to share my passion for medicine and science with the surrounding community, and to ensure that everyone has access to routine health screenings. Fun fact about me: I love to travel! This picture was taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand.