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Sommer Scholars Program

2022 Scholars



Profile photo of Sofia Braunstein


Sofia Braunstein

As the daughter of an Argentine mother and Jewish-American father, Sofía grew up with a vivid awareness of human rights. Her understanding became deeply personal after certain experiences led her to help establish Unite Against Sexual Assault at Yale, a student-led sexual assault advocacy organization.





Profile photo of Tesha Davilmar


Tesha Davilmar

Before Tesha Davilmar was born, her mother immigrated to the U.S. to offer her children greater opportunities than they would have had in her native Haiti. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she integrated the family into a strong Haitian community, where Davilmar says she learned the value of a group caring for its individuals, and for itself as a whole.





Profile photo of Rachel Larson


Rachel Larson

After spending a year abroad in college studying community health across five countries, Rachel Larson graduated a year early in 2015 to take a job in Liberia with the nonprofit organization Last Mile Health, where she worked on community health workforce and vaccine delivery programs for six years.





Profile photo of Daphne Lu


Daphne Lu

A fourth-year resident in General Surgery at the University of British Columbia, Daphne Lu has helped to manage some of the sickest patients in the hospital and participate in some of the most challenging surgeries. However, she discovered early on in her training that what excites her most in medicine are the system-level challenges in health care.





Profile photo of Katya Marks


Katya Marks

Growing up in a big family in London, UK, Katya Marks was surrounded by siblings with a full range of ambitions, from drama to graphic design. As someone with diverse interests herself, it was not until her late schooling that she decided to go into medicine, but she never looked back.





Profile photo of Yidnekachew Mogessie


Yidnekachew Mogessie

As a medical student, Mogessie was struck by the hardships faced by women and youth in Ethiopia, from early marriage and unintended pregnancies to lack of awareness and access to youth-friendly reproductive health services.





A profile photo of Ali Aahil Noorali


Ali Aahil Noorali

One night in December 2020, Ali Aahil Noorali’s 88-year-old grandmother was suffering from symptoms that indicated COVID-19 and needed immediate medical attention. After seven hospitals refused to admit her, Noorali, a medical student in Pakistan at the time, stood outside an eighth at 2 a.m., which also turned them away because it lacked the necessary equipment to care for her.





Profile photo of Fatoumata Barry Ibrahim Oumarou


Fatoumata Barry Ibrahim Oumarou

When Fatoumata Barry Ibrahim Oumarou was in third grade, her mother, a primary school teacher, gave her a gift that would change the course of her life: She took her to the lone library in Niamey, Niger, and helped her apply for a library card. Reading took her to worlds beyond her own and opened the door to a future laden with possibilities.





Profile photo of Maria Ruiz


Maria Ruiz

At age 14, Maria Ruiz experienced what she considers the most impactful experience in her life—moving from her hometown of Honduras’ largest city, Tegucigalpa, to Farmington, Missouri. She witnessed how racial discrimination, xenophobia, and language barriers in this new environment negatively affected her mother’s health and well-being.





Profile photo of Katie Ryan


Katie Ryan

As a researcher in Chiapas, Mexico, Katie Ryan traveled to a mountainous, rural community four hours from the nearest city to collect data on breastfeeding and maternal and child health outcomes. After driving through rivers, navigating up steep dirt roads, and walking the last half hour on foot, Ryan and her colleagues reached the survey participants.





Profile photo of Shima Shakory


Shima Shakory

When Shima Shakory was an undergraduate biology major at Queen’s University at Kingston in Ontario, Canada, she developed an interest in the connection between environmental and human health. As the environment’s health worsens, through climate change, for instance, human health also suffers.





Profile photo of Blessed Sheriff


Blessed Sheriff

As a medical student at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, Blessed Sheriff served as the co-head of operations at the Brown Human Rights Asylum Clinic. There, she helped to do psychological evaluations and write medical affidavits to support the applications of asylum seekers in Rhode Island.





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Patrick Sotto

Patrick Sotto grew up in Guam, the youngest in a family of six, providing care to his elderly grandmother and chronically ill sister from an early age. After a meandering path during college in California—with thoughts of training to be an orthopedic surgeon and later considering a career as a physical therapist—Sotto learned about public health and the potential to care for the community at large.





Profile photo of Angela Suarez


Angela Suarez

As part of her medical training, Angela Suarez took an internship in the delta of the Orinoco River in Venezuela, a rural area vastly different from the capital city of Caracas where she had spent most of her life. On her first day, she saw two women paddling a canoe slowly moving toward the clinic.





Profile photo of Jean Berchmans Uwimana


Jean Berchmans Uwimana

When Jean Berchmans Uwimana was a young child in Rwanda, he and his friends liked to pretend they were doctors. But in real life, there weren’t nearly enough doctors to treat the thousands of his generation, including those in refugee camps, who died of preventable medical conditions.