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About Us

Kennedy Mayer

President | | she/her/hers

Kennedy is a senior majoring in Neurobiology and is getting a certificate in Global Health. She has previously volunteered in the PICU at UW Health and currently volunteers at the Neighborhood Free Health Clinic in Stoughton. She shadowed an Endocrine surgeon during Summer 2023 and has shadowed in Neurology at the Mayo Clinic. Kennedy has worked as a research assistant in the Education Neuroscience Lab at the Waisman Center for two years, where she works with data analysis and MRI scan processing. She is planning on taking the MCAT during the Summer of 2024 and will apply to medical school one year after graduation in the Spring of 2025. In her free time, Kennedy loves reading, backpacking, and hiking!

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Cole Witt

Vice President | | he/him/his

Hey everyone, my name is Cole Witt! I am a senior majoring in Neurobiology with certificates in Global Health, Health Policy, Folklore, and Leadership. I have been involved with AMSA since my sophomore year and was previously an Outreach Trustee. Outside of AMSA, I am the president of the Swim Club, volunteer with Matriculate, and do research in a cancer immunology lab on campus. I am planning on getting more patient care experience this year and will also be working in the Resource Navigator Program on campus and as a peer leader for a class called Exploring Biology. I took the MCAT end of August and have shadowed with multiple specialties including Hematology/Oncology, Pulmonology, and General Surgery. I am planning on applying to med school this upcoming cycle (2024-2025) and will take a gap year. My favorite things to do outside of my involvement here at UW are spending time with friends, trying new restaurants and foods, and reading. Please reach out to me if you wanna chat about anything, I love meeting new people!

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Niha Patankar

Director of Program Development | | she/her/hers

Niha is a junior majoring in Biochemistry and Music (Voice) with a Certificate in Political Science. She spends her time volunteering at Meriter, and has shadowed in Gynecologic Oncology, Pediatric Cardiology, and Pediatric Oncology. She also conducts research in Cancer Immunology, focusing on metabolic adaptations in iNKT cells and their applications for cancer therapies. Niha plans to take the MCAT in the fall of 2024 and apply to MD/PhD programs in the 2025 cycle. In addition to AMSA, Niha is on the executive board for Kesem, part of the Global American Cancer Society committee, and is currently serving as the President for the American Cancer Society on Campus. In her free time, Niha loves to play piano, collect vinyls, travel, and read.

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Navya Tarikere

Treasurer | | she/her/hers

Hi everyone! My name is Navya, and I am your treasurer this year! I am a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and have completed a certificate in Global Health. I am currently working at the Czajkowski Neuroscience Lab in WIMR; my research is focusing on the mechanisms of assembly of heteropentameric GABA type A receptors, and I am shifting my research from the cortex to the cerebellum this year. Additionally, I spend time as a patient resource navigator through UW Health, working to allocate health insurance, housing, food, and childcare resources to people and families in our Greater Madison community. I am also volunteering in the Pediatric Universal Inpatient Unit at UW Hospital, which provides long term care to children with chronic illnesses. My hobbies include cooking, baking, and reading.

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Emma Meyer

Secretary | | she/her/hers

Hi everyone, my name is Emma! I am a senior majoring in Neurobiology with Certificates in French and Global Health. On campus, I volunteer as a teaching assistant for Biochemistry 501 and with Badger Volunteers through the Morgridge Center. I am involved in undergraduate research at the Brain, Language, and Acoustic Behavior (BLAB) Lab at the Waisman Center. My shadowing experience includes observing a surgical oncologist, pediatric hospitalist, and a nurse practitioner specializing in liver transplant medicine. I have gained clinical experience through working as a certified nursing assistant in my hometown. I plan to take the MCAT during early spring and apply to medical school during the 2024 cycle. In my free time, I love to spend time outdoors, read, and travel. 

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Colin Hansen

Board Advisor | | he/him/his

I am a senior majoring in Neurobiology with Comprehensive Honors. I will be graduating in December and I am currently applying this cycle. In addition to my involvement with AMSA, I work as a CNA at Meriter Hospital and volunteer at Neighborhood House Community Center. I also research post-traumatic epilepsy in the Kotloski Lab on campus. In my free time, I enjoy working out, being outdoors, and cooking.

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Morelle Heiden

Social Trustee | | she/her/hers

Hello! I am a second-year student here at the University, and I am from Hancock, which is in central Wisconsin. I am majoring in Biology on a pre-med track with the intent to become a dermatologist. I am also minoring in Environmental Studies in an attempt to limit the impact of commonly wasteful medical practices. While I am not studying or hanging out with my friends, I am a member of the Madison powerlifting team and the fishing team. I look forward to making new relationships through AMSA and being part of such a progressive organization. I love meeting new people so please do not hesitate to reach out!

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Julie Lam

Social Trustee | | she/her/hers

I am a junior majoring in microbiology. I volunteer weekly at UnityPoint health-Meriter Hospital with HELP (hospital elder life program). I am currently in the Klein lab, a medical microbiology and immunology lab focused on the pathogen Blastomyces dermatitidis. I have done research in the past on drug development for Candida auris, and for the effect of antifungal agents on colorectal cancer cells. I plan to start studying for the MCAT this winter and take it in spring 2023. I plan on applying for the 2025 cycle. Outside of AMSA, I enjoy baking, cooking, hiking, badminton and tennis.

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Natalie Hintz

Service Trustee | | she/her/hers

Natalie is a senior majoring in Biology with certificates in Health and Humanities, Gender and Women's Studies, Athletic Healthcare, and Leadership. Natalie's end goal is to be an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in sports medicine. She partakes in undergraduate research at WIMR along with numerous clubs including AMSA where she is the service trustee, Badger Volunteers, and is the president of the Shorin Ryu karate club. In her free time, Natalie can be found hiking, hammocking, reading a good, or trying to be a good plant mom.

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Josie Polack

Service Trustee | | she/her/hers

Josie is a senior majoring in Neurobiology with a certificate in Global Health. She is a undergrad research assistant at the Educational Neuroscience Lab. Josie works at UW Health in the Neurosurgery ICU as a nursing assistant and at ARC Maternal and Infant Program, assisting pregnant and postpartum moms and their babies with substance abuse treatment. She has shadowed in ENT and General Surgery departments. Josie is currently studying for the MCAT with plans to take it this winter and apply during the 2024 cycle! In her free time, Josie enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with her friends.

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Tyra Kuchler

Outreach Trustee | | she/her/hers

Tyra is a junior majoring in Biology and getting a certificate in Sustainability. She has spent two summers volunteering at a Northwestern Medicine Hospital in an Inpatient Unit and the Emergency Department. During her sophomore year, Tyra conducted research with the Currie Lab, working on the gene expression of fungus-farming ants. She is currently looking for a new research lab this semester (hopefully one without bugs!). Tyra plans to take the MCAT during the Fall of 2024 and apply to medical school during the 2025-2026 cycle. Outside of AMSA, she is a Fellowship Director of a service fraternity and enjoys hiking, reading, and running.

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Jess Randall

Outreach Trustee | | she/her/hers

Jess is a sophomore majoring in Biology with Honors and Global Health with a Certificate in Leadership. Last summer, Jess conducted novel research on microplastics in a coral reef ecosystem Belize and now works as an Undergraduate Researcher with DHS Hepatitis C Elimination Team. She has been an active volunteer with Badger Volunteers, the Hospital Elder Life Program, Abilities in Harmony Adaptive Show Choir Camps, and various organizations in her hometown. So far, Jess has shadowed Pediatricians, an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, a Child Psychologist, and an ENT. After college, she plans on getting a Masters in Public Health before heading off to Medical School! Jess keeps busy working as an Inpatient Pediatric CNA at Gundersen Health System and running the nonprofit she founded: the Survivor Clothing Project. Jess is also part of Hoofers Scuba Club, is an L&S Dean's Ambassador, and is helping to start the Brain Exercise Initiative. In her free time, she likes to hike outside with her dogs, dive into a good book, and go scuba diving. A fun fact about Jess is that she has been on a night dive! 

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Malena Johnson

Advocacy Trustee | | she/her/hers

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Malena is a junior majoring in neurobiology. She is a research assistant at the Emborg Lab (at the WNPRC) conducting research on the expression of alpha synuclein in the amygdala and how it relates to the pathology of Parkinson's disease. She spent her last summer working as a CNA back at home in Chicago and is now working as a Nursing Care Partner at UW Health. Through Badger Volunteers, she has spent the past three semesters volunteering with the Madison Metropolitan School District at its after school programs. This semester, she will be volunteering with Omega School Inc tutoring adults preparing for their GED. Outside of AMSA, Malena is the Pledge Educator of Alpha Chi Sigma (Professional Chemistry Fraternity). She also loves hiking, drawing, cross-stitching, browsing Pinterest, and plant-shopping. 

Kevin Phalphouvong

Advocacy Trustee | | he/him/his

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Kevin is a sophomore earning a double major in Biology and French. Kevin currently volunteers in several opportunities through his scholar program, the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program, on campus. Currently, he is conducting research as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Gilmore-Bykovskyi Lab, located in the UW BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine. His research primarily focuses on lucid episodes and their reoccurrence among those living with severe levels of dementia. He is planning on taking the MCAT in 2026 and applying for medical school after earning his undergraduate degrees. Outside of AMSA, Kevin is an Ambassador for the Bucky's Classroom program, Co-President of the Lao & Cambodian Student Association, and a Social Co-Chair for the Mercile J. Lee Scholar's Program 2026 Cohort. He also loves to ski, hike, hang out with friends, go on boba-runs and try new foods!

Natalie Steybe

REACH Trustee | | she/they

Hi! I'm Natalie S. You can call me Nat. I am a senior double majoring in Microbiology and Gender and Women's Studies with a certificate in Health in the Humanities. I aspire to be a holistic physician who works with queer kids and parents. Being able to provide excellent, thoughtful, inclusive, and equitable care for kids is the dream. One of my favorite things to do is walk to Lake Wingra and read or draw in the shade. I love being in the kitchen and trying out new recipes. I always have an itch to try something new! One of my goals is to continue to travel the world and live abroad for 1+ year(s). If you ever need someone to listen, chat, or doodle with, I'm all ears.

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Asha Coy

REACH Trustee | | she/her/hers

Asha is a senior majoring in Biology with certificates in Gender and Women's Studies and Classical Studies. Asha conducts research in an Alzheimer's Disease research lab under Dr. Bendlin and also works as a caregiver for a woman with multiple medical issues. In the summer of 2021, she was a Frankel Cardiovascular Research fellow in an endocrinology lab at the University of Michigan. Asha volunteers as a patient escort at the VA hospital. Her past shadowing experience includes maternal and fetal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology. She has also shadowed a breast cancer oncologist. Asha plans to take the MCAT in the spring of 2024. Outside of AMSA, Asha serves as her sorority's diversity, equity, and inclusion chair and enjoys reading and listening to music in her spare time.

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Isaac King

Skills Development and Networking Trustee | | he/him/his

Isaac is a junior majoring in Neurobiology and Global Health. He volunteers with Matriculate UW as an Advising Fellow, providing free advising services to high school students throughout their college application process. Isaac also does pediatric oncology research in the Richards Lab at WIMR which focuses on improving CAR T-cell therapies and reducing side effects for patients. Last spring, Isaac shadowed a vascular surgeon through the UW Surgical Shadowing Program. He plans to take the MCAT in summer 2024 and take one gap year to apply to either medical school or PA school in the 2025 cycle. Outside of AMSA, Isaac is also the Vice President of LLS@UW and works as a nursing assistant on the Surgical Trauma Unit at UW. In his free time, Isaac enjoys outdoor sports, hiking, cooking, and traveling.

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Lauren Gitzlaff

Skills Development and Networking Trustee | | she/her/hers

Lauren is a senior majoring in Neurobiology and Psychology and getting a certificate in Health and the Humanities. She is a volunteer with the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) at Meriter. In her sophomore year, Lauren conducted cardiac arrhythmia research in the Robertson Lab through UWSMPH. For the last year and a half, Lauren has researched in Dr. Bendlin’s Lab on the Synapse Project within the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. In the upcoming year, Lauren will conduct a senior honors thesis in Dr. Bendlin’s Lab, analyzing diffusion tensor imaging to map out the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease from an earlier standpoint. Throughout this past summer, Lauren shadowed a pediatric surgeon. Lauren is taking the MCAT this spring and is planning to apply during the 2024 cycle. Outside of AMSA, Lauren is the co-president of Badger Advocates for Alzheimer’s. She also enjoys backcountry camping with her friends, staying active, trying new foods, and traveling!

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Michael Keefe

Fundraising Trustee | | he/him/his

Michael is a junior majoring in Kinesiology with certificates in Athletic Healthcare, and Health and the Humanities. After transferring from the University of Minnesota, he became involved in AMSA. He is currently involved in volunteering with St. Ben's in Milwaukee, Adapted Fitness, Badger Volunteers, and Our Lady of Hope Clinic. Michael has experience shadowing PT's, AT's, OT's, PA's, and SLP's in a variety of settings. He is currently looking for research opportunities focusing on exercise physiology or human biomechanics. Additionally, Michael plans to take the MCAT in the Fall of 2024 and apply to medical school in the 2025 cycle. Outside of AMSA, Michael works as a CNA at Capitol Lakes in the skilled nursing unit. He enjoys traveling, exercising, playing intramural sports, and listening to all types of music.

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