Rural Health Scholars at the Geisel School of Medicine
"Leadership is not a position; it is a collection of practices and behavior. As change agents, leaders must persuade their followers to make the necessary sacrifices to build a better tomorrow."
—Dean Wiley W. Souba, The core of leadership
2022 Rural Health Scholars
Kat grew up in West Hills, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. She moved across the country to Western Massachusetts to attend Williams College, where she served as a member of the Outing Club Board, as a Residential Advisor, and as co-captain of the rowing team. She graduated with a B.A. in English and psychology in 2013. For the next two years, she worked as an English Teaching Fellow at the Emma Willard School—an all girls’ high school in upstate New York, while concurrently earning her Master of Arts in Teaching at Union Graduate College. In 2015, she moved to Boston and joined the Noble and Greenough School community as an 8th and 10th grade English teacher, crew coach, and outdoor adventure leader. Taking a Wilderness First Responder course, leading a spring break trip to the Peruvian Amazon, and working for Chewonki Camp for Girls first sparked Kat’s interest in rural medicine. Additionally, her interests in psychology and emergency medicine prompted her to take an EMT course and to subsequently enroll in Bryn Mawr’s Post Baccalaureate Program. In her leisure time, Kat enjoys exercising, spending time outside, traveling, reading, and cooking.
Alexandra grew up in Miami, Florida. She played competitive tennis growing up in Florida and played on the Middlebury College women’s tennis team for four years. Alexandra graduated from Middlebury in 2017, where she was a Psychology major and a Spanish minor. During the summers after her sophomore and junior years of college, Alexandra worked as a mental health outreach worker and research assistant in Geriatric Psychiatry for Weill Cornell Medicine. The main project she worked on was called SMART-MH (Sandy Mobilization Assessment Referral and Treatment for Mental Health), a FEMA funded project aimed at helping isolated older adults in Hurricane Sandy affected areas. After graduating from college, Alexandra completed a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Bryn Mawr College to fulfill her pre-medical requirements before starting medical school. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys playing tennis, drawing, and spending time outdoors.
Lisa M Francomacaro is from Eldersburg, MD. She graduated in 2018 as a Cell Biology and Biochemistry major at Bucknell University, where she completed an Honors Thesis in biochemistry studying DNMT1. During her time at Bucknell she participated in the Bucknell Brigade which seeks to support health clinic in rural Nicaragua, in the leadership / service organization Alpha Phi Omega, and undergraduate research sponsored by a Presidential Fellowship. Lisa was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, the Bucknell Prize in Cell Biology / Biochemistry, and the Elizabeth M. Oliphant Prize for Excellence in Biological Sciences. Lisa has one older sister, Sara Francomacaro, who is completing a residency in ophthalmology. Her parents, Shaun and Diane Francomacaro, are engineers who reside in Maryland. In her free time, Lisa likes to read, bake, knit, and watch movies.
Mackenzie Haberman was born in Albuquerque, NM to very nomadic family and was lucky enough to spend time in several states in the US and abroad before worming her way into Barnard College. While at school she studied Environmental Science and Art History before partaking in a study abroad with Sea Semester on a 135’ schooner that altered her career trajectory! After college she worked as an Engineer, Deck Officer and Medical Officer with Sea Semester, sailing in the Atlantic and Pacific on oceanographic research semesters teaching undergraduates. She eventually accrued enough time to sit for her captain’s license and then worked fishing in Alaska, dogsledding in Iceland, delivering yachts and worked for the United States Antarctic Program as a marine technician on their oceanographic research boats in Antarctica. In all of these remote jobs she was the primary medical provider to the crew and discovered the terror and elation of providing expedition care. Upon deciding to pursue medicine she completed post-baccalaureate studies at Johns Hopkins University and worked with Maryland Search and Rescue and on a tugboat before finding her way to Geisel. She is overjoyed to be living on dry land and learning more about rural patient populations. Mackenzie enjoys baking, working in the woodshop, collecting stamps, walking her roommates’ dogs and running at a glacial pace in the woods.
Jackson graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 2011 with a degree in Decision Science. After college Jackson spent time abroad including a year working and living in small New Zealand towns. It wasn’t until a few years after college, on a Wilderness-EMT course, that he became interested in medicine. To pursue that interest Jackson worked as a technician in his hometown hospital while taking the prerequisite science courses at UC Santa Barbara. Jackson is excited about the opportunities through RHS to meet like-minded people and to get some hands-on experience in some of the areas rural communities.
Lucy Skinner grew up in Hanover, NH. She went to Bowdoin College and graduated with a degree in mathematics. After graduating, she moved to Bozeman, MT where she worked as a research assistant at the Montana State University College of Nursing. Her research focused on the nursing and physician workforces particularly in issues of policy and supply and demand of providers in rural and urban settings. She also volunteered with a local reproductive health clinic where she worked to start a LGBTQ+ inclusive training for healthcare providers in the community. In her free time, she loves to run, rock climb, ski, cook, and eat ice cream.
Jake and his wife, Leah, reside with their daughter and son on their farm in Bradford, Vermont. For the past twelve years Jake has served as an infantry officer in the US Army and Vermont Army National Guard, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as training events nation and world-wide. Jake and Leah were married on the beach in California and lived in Palmer, Alaska before moving to Vermont and starting their family. For five years Jake worked as an organic farmer, and ran an organic farm in Bradford, Vermont before deciding to pursue a career in medicine. Jake’s education includes a BS in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2006 and a Post-Baccalaureate, Premedical Certificate from the University of Vermont in 2017. The family has many outdoor hobbies including running, hiking, skiing, maple sugaring, and gardening, as well as continuously renovating their 230 year old farmhouse.
Emily was raised in a Navy family and moved often. Moscow, Russia, was the most interesting place she has lived but spending all of high school in Hawai’i was the best! She attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in Evolutionary Biology. She spent her college summers in North Carolina working at Camp Cheerio Adventures, where she took kids rock climbing, white water rafting, caving, canoeing, kayaking, and backpacking, and also met her now-husband, Bill. Cheerio Adventures grew her interest in Wilderness Medicine managing (mostly) minor camper and staff illnesses and injuries (and she learned some great cow jokes, too). After graduating from college, she moved close to the camp, to a tiny town of ~520 people: Piney Creek, NC. She spent her gap years working part-time for Wilkes County EMS on 911 and transport trucks, and as a Medical Assistant at an Urgent Care, and also worked as a substitute teacher and school bus driver! Most recently, she has been working for a law firm writing books to teach other lawyers how to start their own ERISA disability insurance practice (and she feels very strongly about how poorly ERISA law protects claimants from insurance company “mistakes” and would love to chat with you about how to be a more helpful physician to those disabled claimants).
2021 Rural Health Scholars
Julia is from Rollinsford, NH, a small town in the southeastern part of the state. She attended Dartmouth College for undergrad, graduating in 2013. In addition to pre-med course work, she studied English with a focus in poetry. In her free time, she was a member of a sorority, involved with student government, and played club basketball. She also spent a great deal of time outside hiking, biking, skiing and running the Upper Valley. After graduating she completed two years of service with an AmeriCorps service program called City Year, during which she helped tutor and mentor middle school students at an inner-city school in Boston, MA. In the two years before medical school, she worked as a patient registrar in an Emergency Department at a community hospital back home in southern NH. Outside of school, she practices yoga, golf, and guitar. She's excited to be back in the Upper Valley studying medicine in such a vibrant community, and she looks forward to learning alongside her peers in Rural Health Scholars.
Maya grew up in Boothbay Harbor, a small town on the coast of Maine. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2015, where she majored in Biology with a concentration in Ecology. During college she hiked often in the White Mountains, played ultimate frisbee, and took up beekeeping at the organic farm. She volunteered at a residential outdoor summer camp in Maine for children with life threatening illnesses and their families, and at another for teenagers with multiple sclerosis. After college she worked for two years as a clinical research assistant in the Celiac Disease Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, which piqued her interest in research on autoimmune disorders and chronic conditions. Outside of school, Maya loves to practice yoga, cross-country ski, and listen to people tell their stories at story slams.
Kira was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado right alongside the beautiful Rocky Mountains. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2015 with degrees in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology and International Affairs. During college, she worked at an HIV prevention non-profit organization where she began to develop a passion for community health. At the same time, she was introduced to rural and global health through travels in South America - especially during her study abroad in Chile with a program that explored indigenous health and traditional medicine. In Chile, she researched local education and cultural norms surrounding intimate partner violence. After graduating, Kira worked full time as an EMT for two years on a 911 ambulance in Boulder and Golden, Colorado, covering areas that were both urban and rural. As an EMT, she got her first exposure to wilderness medicine on calls requiring hike-in rescues and enjoys the challenge that comes with working in this low-resource setting. During these gap years before medical school, she also volunteered with a syringe service program and hopes to combine her interest in harm reduction with rural medicine. Kira loves hiking, backpacking, skiing, traveling, photography, cooking (aka eating), and spending quality time with her husband and friends.
Lindsay grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and first experienced New Hampshire when she attended Dartmouth College, graduating with a degree in Biology and Psychology. She fell in love with the Upper Valley and took up residence in Lebanon, NH, working in joint replacement research at the Thayer School of Engineering for 3 years after college. During this time, she became immersed in the community, coaching youth ice hockey, hiking, trail running and exploring the beauty of the area. Her prior experience working in an adult psychiatric rehabilitation program in Baltimore as an undergraduate led her to pursue an interest in mental health. Having lived in the Upper Valley for the last 7 years, she is drawn to the health care challenges that rural communities face, specifically in regard to behavioral health. She is interested in practicing as a rural community physician in New Hampshire or Vermont, specifically in psychiatry, preventative care, geriatric or end-of-life care.
Elsa grew up in the small town of Francestown, New Hampshire and stayed in the state to attend college at the University of New Hampshire. During college Elsa developed an interest in medicine during an internship at Goodwin Community Health, a federally qualified healthcare center in Somersworth, NH. Here she led a quality improvement project to improve colorectal cancer screening rates, and was involved in integrating behavioral health into primary care. After earning a B.S. in Neuroscience, Elsa joined the Laboratory of Neuroimaging at the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse at the National Institutes of Health where she worked on neuroimaging, addiction, and sleep research. Elsa’s hobbies include running, rock climbing, and skiing.
Ryan McClellan hails from Canton, MA. He was an economics major at the Naval Academy and played on the men’s ice hockey team. He has spanned the globe doing summer training in the Persian Gulf, Mongolia, the Yukon Territory of Canada, and the East and West Coast of the United States. He is the brother of Jack, Robert and Leah McClellan and the son of Robert and Stephanie McClellan. In his free time, he enjoys being outside golfing, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. He will serve in the United States Navy upon completion of medical school.
Stefana was born in Romania and when she was only 8 months old, she and her parents moved half-way across the world to the land of opportunity -- New Jersey. The three of them moved again to Bonn, Germany, just in time for Stefana to start first grade. Four years later, after she had fallen in love with German culture, language, and her life on the banks of the Rhine, her family moved back to Highland Park, New Jersey. Throughout these migrations, she made sure to spend almost every summer of her life in Barbateşti, a tiny village in the Carpathian Mountains, and to help with the harvest and her family’s production of Țuica, the traditional Romanian brandy. Her summers spent in Barbateşti drew her attention to the lack of access to quality healthcare in rural areas and sparked her interest in medicine.
She pursued this interest at the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in Biochemistry and got her M.S. in Chemistry. She spent the majority of her time at Penn teaching math and mentoring students at the West Philadelphia High School and working in a CAR T Cell Immunotherapy lab in the Smilow Center for Translational Research, where she studied the role of autophagy and lipid metabolism as potential salvage mechanisms that T cells utilize in the nutrient-deficient solid tumor microenvironment. She spent the summer between college and medical school in New York City where she trained in the Meisner acting technique at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
Stefana is excited to spend these next four years at Geisel taking advantage of the opportunities to learn more about rural health. She is interested in using the knowledge and skills she acquires as part of RHS to finding a way to improve access to care back home in her little village.
2020 Rural Health Scholars
Kyra was born in Alberta, but moved all around Canada before attending McGill University for her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience. After McGill, she spent a summer working on a small organic farm in Montana, which inspired her passion for rural living and rural health, as she gained an appreciation for the difficulties people living in rural communities often face in accessing health care. While completing her Master's and PhD degrees in Psychology at the University of Toronto, Kyra began exploring her interest in medicine by volunteering in an obstetrical clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital (while also returning to work on organic farms in Montana and in British Columbia over the summers). During this time, she also had the opportunity to work as a research assistant on projects investigating the quality of women's reproductive health care in Northern Ontario, and patient-centered medical decision making during pregnancy. Kyra is excited to continue learning about rural health and patient-centered medical care here at Dartmouth and as a Rural Health Scholar. In her spare time, Kyra likes hiking, practicing yoga, cooking, baking, and gardening!
James grew up in Barre, VT, a small town about an hour north of Hanover on I-89. He graduated from Amherst College in 2013, where he majored in history and played football. After graduating, James spent six months working at a rural clinic in Karamoja, Uganda. He led vaccine outreaches, worked as a phlebotomist, and helped out administratively with the malnutrition assistance program. Back in the U.S., James completed an M.S. in Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University. For the six months prior to matriculating at Geisel, he worked for the State of Vermont as a benefit programs specialist. The job involved determining clients' eligibility for programs like food stamps and fuel assistance. His interests outside school include running, reading, photography, and cross-country skiing.
Lydia grew up in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire - a rural region bordering Maine. She studied human development, health policy, and global health at Cornell University, and graduated in 2014. Between junior and senior years at Cornell, Lydia spent the summer in Karnataka, India developing a standard operating procedure for an Ayurvedic medicine production unit at a rural hospital. During college Lydia also worked with a research team disseminating evidence-based resources to parent educators working across New York. In addition to this work, she did research on adolescent dating violence. After graduating, Lydia moved to the Upper Valley and worked at the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging. In her role as a research assistant, she worked on health services delivery projects related to older adults and adults with serious mental illness. Beyond academic and professional activities, Lydia enjoys being outdoors, trying different recipes, and teaching herself new crafts.
Julie was born and raised in New York City. She ventured up to New Hampshire to attend Dartmouth College where she had the opportunity to explore a new rural community and fell in love with the Upper Valley. As an undergraduate she studied Engineering and had the opportunity to explore healthcare through its intersection with technology. She spent a summer at BioLite, a company founded by Dartmouth engineers, that makes clean burning wood stoves for developing world markets that can charge mobile phones. As an undergraduate she also had the opportunity to work with women in addiction rehab at a facility in Bradford, VT. Her experience there contributed to her ongoing interest in women's health and substance abuse. Prior to joining the Geisel community, she worked at a healthcare consulting firm in Boston, MA. Julie loves hiking, skiing, and making things with her hands.
Miguel Reyes was born in El Paso, TX and moved to Queretaro, Mexico at the ripe age of three. He returned to the U.S. to finish high school in Colorado, and from there attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine where he majored in Neuroscience and minored in French. In Maine fell in love with outdoor recreation and followed this passion after graduation. His first job after college was as a climbing guide in Northern New Hampshire, and this was followed by stints as a wilderness therapist in the Lake Saranac region and finally as a ski patroller in Ludlow, Vermont. In between these jobs Miguel also worked in Peru, supervising volunteers building greenhouses for rural schools, as well as leading trekking trips. Working in outdoor recreation exposed him to both the charm and realities of rural living, and these experiences propelled him to return to school. He completed a M.S. in Basic Medical Science at New York Medical College before matriculating at Dartmouth. Currently Miguel enjoys skiing, mountain biking, climbing and kayaking.
Devin Van Dyke
Devin is from Maine; he split his first eighteen years bouncing between Lewiston, the Lakes Region, and Portland, giving him insight into several of the aspects of northern New England society: the post-industrial, the rural, and the metropolitan. He got out of dodge for college, attending Haverford, in the Philadelphia suburbs, and majoring in religion. His studies in religion brought him to Scotland, where he spent a year at the University of Edinburgh's Divinity School; he has returned to Scotland several times and has especially enjoyed working on farms on the west coast of the country, where a culture of small-scale farming, mutual support, and local governance continues to thrive. After graduation he spent several months in Hyderabad, India, working to support public-private partnerships in the areas of reproductive, maternal, and child health (RMNCH) and infectious disease. Most recently, Devin has worked as a counselor with McLean Hospital's Acute Residential Treatment (ART) program for adolescents with severe mood disorders and/or substance abuse problems. He hopes eventually to work as a psychiatrist in rural northern New England, possibly with young people or in the inpatient medical context (consultation-liaison psychiatry). He is especially interested in the health of homeless and itinerant populations, and in the incorporation of religious themes and experiences into medical care.
Celestine, the second of four siblings, hails from Cambridge, MA. She graduated from Harvard with a degree in History of Science. During college she was a Fellow at the Edmond Safra Center for Ethics, a weekly volunteer at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, and a leader of the First-year Outdoor Program. Celestine worked in the White House Office of Science and Technology in the Obama Administration. There, she developed partnerships to engage underrepresented communities with science and engaged in Citizen Science. She believes in the power of hands-on exploration, be it through Maker spaces, gardening, or woodshopping. New Hampshire has welcomed her with open arms. Celestine looks forward to practicing medicine and mindfulness and to learning from the values of rural health.
2019 Rural Health Scholars
Emily was born and raised in Troy, NY where she attended the Emma Willard School. She was fortunate enough to spend much of her childhood with her grandparents in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, where she first learned to love rural Vermont and New Hampshire. Her family also spent time living in Leon, Spain, and she has been trying to keep up her once-fluent Spanish ever since! Emily graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 as a biology major and Spanish minor. While at Dartmouth Emily was the Student Director of the Tucker Foundation for Service, Spirituality, and Social Justice, which gave her the opportunity to work with the college's local community service organizations and to oversee different social justice initiatives and events at Dartmouth. While working with the Tucker Foundation Emily became particularly passionate about working with young women at the Ledyard Charter School in Lebanon, NH. Emily also spent a term working in a rural health clinic outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to joining the Geisel community Emily worked in Boston as a research assistant at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology. As a research assistant Emily was able to work on a variety of projects related to primary and trauma-informed care for women. In her free time Emily loves running, hiking, cooking, and trying to play the piano!
Emily Georges grew up in Hingham, MA, but visited NH frequently for hiking trips with her mom and sister. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she double majored in Biology and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies and played for her college rugby team. After graduating, she joined Teach for America and taught Biology in an urban high school north of Boston. Through teaching, Emily learned a new appreciation for adolescents and summer vacation. After completing her third year of teaching, Emily's partner was accepted to Geisel, and they decided to move to the Upper Valley together. During that year, Emily worked for Planned Parenthood doing outreach and education for the Affordable Care Act. It was during this time that she began to develop an immense appreciation for the obstacles patients and providers face in rural communities. She's excited to continue this learning as a member of Rural Health Scholars and to use the knowledge gained, as a medical student and future physician, to better address the needs of underserved populations.
Maggie Grinnell was born in Geneva, Switzerland and raised in France and Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2011 with a BS in Biology. After graduation she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Chicago, Illinois where she taught sexual health education in Chicago Public Schools and facilitated group prenatal classes for young parents. In 2012, Maggie moved to Anchorage, Alaska to participate in a two-year public health fellowship with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She completed the first year of her fellowship at the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology where she focused on disease outbreak investigations for tuberculosis and foodborne illness. Her second year was completed at the CDC Anchorage Quarantine Station where she worked to prevent and mitigate the spread of infectious disease across international borders. After completion of her fellowship, Maggie worked as a CDC field assignee to the State of Alaska Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Maggie completed a two-month Ebola response deployment in Conakry, Guinea during the winter of 2014/2015 where she was the deputy team lead for infection prevention and control and focused on Ebola infections among health care workers. Maggie enjoys learning languages and exploring outside on foot, ski, and bike. After medical school Maggie hopes to return to the big Alaska wilderness and work in primary care.
Katie is a New Hampshire native, born and raised. She stayed in this beautiful state for her undergraduate education at the University of New Hampshire. She loves nature and is excited to have every activity from skiing to climbing right outside of her back door. During college, Katie worked as an EMT for a volunteer ambulance corps on campus, and is a member of her hometown volunteer fire department. She has been an EMT for six years and plans to stay involved with rural fire departments in NH and VT. After college, Katie also worked in an emergency department near Boston, getting experience in an urban setting as well as continuing her work as an EMT in NH. She is excited to be here at Dartmouth and hopes to learn a lot about this area of New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as learn about rural communities throughout the United States and the world.
Margot Le Neveu
Margot was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario but moved stateside in middle school and grew up in the small town of Far Hills, NJ ever since. She relocated to Washington, DC for college and graduated as a human science major with a bioethics minor from the School of Nursing & Health Studies at Georgetown University in 2014. While in Washington, DC, she developed an interest in public health and became deeply involved with a harm reduction organization, supporting the health of local sex workers and people who inject drugs through condom distribution, syringe exchange, HIV testing, and micro-counseling as an overnight outreach volunteer. In partnership with this organization, she designed her senior capstone research project to better understand the impact of one's working and living environment on their perceptions of health and safety. It was through this project that she began to understand the breadth and complexity of barriers that exist among people with limited access to resources who are both seeking and providing care. She is interested in the intersection of poverty and health, is dedicated to working with communities grappling with limited resources, and is grateful to learn as a member of the Rural Health Scholars. Outside of academic and professional activities, she is passionate about canoeing, casual ski racing, and coffee- she was once a store director at the Midnight Mug, a student-run coffee shop at Georgetown.
Rachael is part of a large, extended Italian family that hails from central Massachusetts. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2015 with a degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. While at Mount Holyoke, she had the opportunity to become involved in a variety of meaningful extracurricular activities including serving as the college's pre-medical association president, the Neuroscience department liaison, an American Sign Language afterschool teacher at a local elementary school, and both a mentor and tutor for the Biology and Chemistry departments. She was also fortunate enough to have the experience of working in two research labs during her undergraduate career. She worked in Professor Kenneth Colodner's lab at Mount Holyoke, conducting independent research on the effect of glial tau pathology on aggression in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease, and participated in a genetic screen investigating neuronal maintenance in C. elegans under the direction of Dr. Claire Benard at UMass Medical School. In addition to her research, Rachael also had the privilege of volunteering in the labor and delivery division of UMass Memorial Medical Center, an experience that grew her passion for women's health. Outside of her academic endeavors, Rachael has spent at least part of the last six summers serving as a home repair missionary with the Appalachia Service Project, a non-profit organization working to eradicate substandard housing in central Appalachia. Although not medically related, her work with the Appalachia Service Project is what has grounded her in service and is a large part of what inspired her to pursue a career in medicine.
Alex Tarabochia was raised in Skamokawa, Washington, a small, rural town with approximately four hundred people. He is the youngest of six children and comes from a family of intergenerational commercial fishermen. At fourteen, he began to operate his own commercial fishing vessel with his twin brother. His experiences led him to study at Columbia University in the City of New York where he fulfilled his premedical requirements and studied Visual Arts. After college he researched Huntington's disease and other microsatellite expansion disorders in the Ranum Lab at the Center for Neurogenetics at the University of Florida's College of Medicine. He also served as a North Florida Health Corps AmeriCorps member at the Magnolia Project, an organization working to reduce the alarmingly high infant mortality rate in Jacksonville, FL. His life and educational experiences give him an appreciation for diverse cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints, and allowed him to develop many skills and hobbies. He enjoys cooking, running, yoga, going to the beach, hiking, extensive household renovation projects and car repairs, and brings his open and adventurous spirit wherever he goes.
Jacob was born in Pennsylvania to immigrant parents from Poland. After his mother completed her pediatric residency in Philadelphia, Jacob (and his family) moved to New Hampshire where he lived through the end of high school. He then completed a bachelor's degree in economics at Loyola Marymount University, graduating in 2009. Jacob's first job after college was making wedding films in San Francisco, before moving back to New Hampshire to work at an economic development and software development start-up. Soon thereafter, Jacob returned to school to complete his medical school prerequisites, while also working on quality improvement and health-system improvement projects in Boston, MA. A summer job at a neurobiology laboratory preceded eleven months volunteering at a primary care clinic in southern Belize, the last stop for Jacob before matriculating at Geisel Medical School. Outside of school, Jacob enjoys spending time in the outdoors (particularly hiking and kayaking) and playing basketball.
2018 Rural Health Scholars
David hails from Newton, MA where he has lived with his mother and father since middle school. His family is originally from South Korea. David recently earned his undergraduate degree in neuroscience from MIT—where he cultivated his love for the molecular mechanisms of learning, emotions, and brain disorders. Motivated by a close friend suffering from a chronic spinal condition, David joined Professor Robert Langer's laboratory to explore spinal cord injury and push the limits of therapeutic drug delivery. His clinical exposure to patient care ultimately inspired him to pursue a career in medicine. Thankfully, Dartmouth's medical school shares in his values to serve the communities we are all a part of, and now here he is in the beautiful Upper Valley. Outside of his coursework at Geisel, David is a member of the medical school's hip-hop dance team Black Ice Crew, and he works as a stable boy at the High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program. More than anything else, David values the relationships he has made with the people in his life; he is so excited to be part of and contribute to the Geisel community. A proud Rural Health Scholar, David hopes to one-day help underserved communities in developing countries through medicine.
Michael Lauria grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut and attended Ridgefield High School. In 2005 Michael graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Physical Biochemistry and Spanish. After leaving Dartmouth, he enlisted in the Air Force, completed the rigorous Pararescue (PJ) training pipeline, and served at the 321st Special Tactics Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, UK, Air Force Special Operations Command. During his service he deployed to OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM as the primary medic assigned to a Combat Search and Rescue Team, Joint Special Operations Task Force, and in support of C Company, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). While operational, Michael gained experience administering emergency medical care, resuscitating injured soldiers with life-threatening traumatic injuries, and providing critical care in austere and non-permissive environments. After being honorably discharged from the military in 2011, he worked as an instructor for a private company providing education and training for a variety of military special operations units in weapons, tactics, and operational medicine. In October 2012, he returned to New Hampshire after accepting a position as a Critical Care and Flight Paramedic for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) based out of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. During his tenure at DHART, Michael gained additional experience resuscitating and transporting critically ill and injured patients from rural areas around Vermont and New Hampshire to larger, tertiary care facilities for definitive care. Outside of school, he continues to lecture locally and nationally on his current area of research: cognition and clinical decision making under stress. His other areas of interest include extension of critical care services beyond larger medical centers into resource-limited environments and overall improvement in health care for rural populations.
John grew up in Huntington, NY, where the city of New York meets the suburbs of Long Island. He studied Biomedical Engineering at Dartmouth College where he got to play in the woods and rivers of the Upper Valley during his free time. After graduating, he moved to London where he helped design a suite of iPad applications used to help non-verbal patients in the National Health Service give feedback on their doctors. During this time, he also learned how to make a proper cup of tea. After living in a large city, he was happy to return to the Hanover plain to study medicine and learn about the health challenges that come with living in rural areas. He currently resides in a converted meditation center in Thetford, VT.
Caledonia was born and raised in Cushing, Maine. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2014, where she majored in Spanish and Biology and earned a certificate in Culture, Health and Science. Throughout college, Caledonia volunteered as an EMT-Basic on Mount Holyoke's emergency response squad, serving as assistant director and then director of the group. She also worked as an aide at Mount Holyoke's health center. As a summer intern in 2012 and a Davis Projects for Peace fellow in 2013, Caledonia collaborated with Partners in Health in Peru (Socios en Salud) to bring first aid and emergency response training to community health workers serving resource-poor communities in Lima. Her engagement with health workers in Peru served as the foundation to her undergraduate senior thesis, in which she analyzed the role of lay health workers in improving health outcomes in Latin America and the United States. In addition to being an active member of the Rural Health Scholars team, Caledonia co-leads the Geisel Migrant Health Project. During the summer between M1 and M2, she carried out a quality improvement oriented needs assessment of the Spanish-speaking dairy farm worker population served by Migrant Health. Caledonia is interested in Maternal and Child Health and enjoys learning from and serving patients accessing care from a rural context.
Devin was born in Springdale, Arkansas and grew up enjoying all that the outdoors had to offer. He spends his spare time running countless miles and exploring the mountain trails in upper New England. Devin has an interest in healthcare policy and finding working solutions to the shortage of healthcare providers in rural populations. Devin became a Rural Health Scholar to better understand the dilemmas of rural health and to explore functional models of the Indian Health Service and Alaska Native Health Service, with an eye to how these could be molded to meet the demands of his home state.
Aurora Alicia Robledo (Alye)
Alye is originally from the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas and joined Rural Health Scholars and Migrant Health as soon as she arrived at Geisel. Before coming to Geisel, Alye received her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in Neurobiology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In San Antonio, she taught a Wellness Music Class for people with Parkinson's Disease, while also researching speech and voice therapies for Parkinson's Disease at the Research Imaging Institute at UTHSCSA. She is passionate about bringing health care and social justice to rural and underserved communities. Alye spent her summer of 2015 working with Rural Health in Maine, collaborating with a high school student in Penobscot Nation to increase opportunities in health and sciences for Native American youth.
Vanessa Soetanto grew up in one of the busiest cities with one of the most stagnant traffic in the world—Jakarta, Indonesia. Her upbringing made her into a person who thrived on cleanliness and tidiness, that is, until she went to Williams College, ventured to the Himalayas to do research, and subsequently did not shower for 18 consecutive days. There, she fell in love with the outdoors—less for the non-bathing, more for the stars. Seeing how resilient people can be and how supportive community members are in severely under-resourced areas inspired her to focus on rural health care access abroad and in the U.S. She is excited to learn more about effective health interventions and programs in rural settings as a Rural Health Scholar.
2017 Rural Health Scholars
Di Deng was born and raised in Changsha, China - a city with a population of 7 million (not exactly a rural setting...). Growing up, her favorite time of the year was summer breaks, during which time she would get to visit her grandparents living in the countryside who grew orange trees for living. Playing in the orange orchard remains to be one of her fondest childhood memories. Di came to the States about eight years ago for her undergraduate education. After spending time in both urban and rural cities, she found herself more attracted to the rural towns. She became a Rural Health Scholar hoping to learn more about the local communities as well as challenges that are present in such unique settings.
Cait is from Washington State. Throughout her childhood, she loved exploring the mountains of the northwest. This grew into a passion that led her to work and to travel in remote places around the country and the world. She believes in achieving healthy lifestyles through nutritional interventions and wellness activities in the context of a small community. She knows that there is no better place to do this than in a rural community. She is looking forward to moving back to a small mountain town in the west when she finishes medical school with her husband and their dog, Tayo.
Gwen Hunt grew up in Elverson, PA, a small town with rolling farmland and not much excitement. As an undergraduate, she attended Northeastern University in Boston, studying Biology and International Affairs. While in Boston, she was involved in multiple research projects; her longest and favorite gig involved testing UV lights to irradiate air and prevent the spread of disease. After five years in the city, Gwen started to miss the countryside and natural beauty it offers. She decided to attend GSM, and joining the Rural Health Scholars seemed like the obvious next move. She currently resides in Norwich, VT in a renovated barn with her cat and hippie roommates. In her free time, she runs, occasionally brews beer, and fools around at the Dartmouth wood shop.
Bio coming soon…
Stephanie Morton was born in 1989. Nothing significant in her life happened until 2012, when she met her dog Mona. She and Mona are now best friends and live in West Lebanon, NH. Stephanie aspires to practice in a rural area so that Mona will have lots of room to run and play. She also appreciates the strong sense of community and incredible diversity of patient care associated with practicing primary care in a rural environment. She became a Rural Health Scholar to develop the unique skills necessary to practice in this challenging and fun setting.
Bio coming soon…
Kayla is thrilled to be part of the rural health scholars community, as she plans to live and work in a rural area and welcomes a forum for discussion of issues pertinent to this setting. Prior to med school, she worked as a med tech at a family practice in Leadville, Colorado, where she was inspired by the diversity of the patient population and also by the incredible outdoor opportunities in the area. She now lives in Etna, NH with her husband Billy and her dog Cottonwood. In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, eating great food, and listening to her husband's bluegrass music.