12 Medical Students accepted into the 2023 i4Kids Medical Student Scholars Program

05 May 2023

 i4Kids and Dean Anantha Shekhar are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 i4Kids Medical Student Scholars Program. Each awardee will be offered $1,000 and a mentorship opportunity with i4Kids faculty.

Congratulations to our awardees!

Aniruddh (Anu) Ajith is a 2nd year MD/PhD student. He graduated with degrees in Physiology and Neurobiology and Psychology from the University of Maryland in 2019, followed by a post-baccalaureate fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. He aims to be a physician-scientist pediatrician who conducts community-based participatory research to improve pediatric health equity.

Riya Dange of Sunnyvale, CA, is a 2nd year medical student. She graduated cum laude and with distinction from Duke University in 2019, having majored in Neuroscience and minored in Linguistics. During her gap years, while working as a postbaccalaureate research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, she was selected as an NIH Academy Fellow and spearheaded multiple grassroots advocacy projects on racial justice and health equity. At Pitt, she loves to read to patients at the Children’s Hospital for Booksburgh Storytime and volunteer as a Spanish-language interpreter through SALUD. She intends to pursue a career in pediatric neurosurgery.

Richelle DeBlasio of Lower Burrell, PA is a 2nd year medical student and the first in her family to enter medicine. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 with a degree in Biological Sciences and minors in Dance and Chemistry. Before medical school, she worked as a laboratory technician in translational immuno-oncology research at the University of Pittsburgh. She intends to pursue a career in pediatrics with potential subspecialties in hematology/oncology or neonatology.

Tracey Freeman is a 3rd year MD/PhD student. She is a first-generation student who graduated from New York University in 2019, where she studied Biology and worked in youth advocacy and alternatives to youth incarceration. She subsequently conducted 2 years of HIV research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is in the Microbiology and Immunology graduate program and hopes to improve the treatment of pediatric viral illnesses through integrated clinical and basic science practice. 

Emily Gainor of San Diego, California is a first-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley with academic distinction in 2020 with her BA in Public Health and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice, followed by a Master of Public Health degree from Berkeley in 2021 in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, with a specialty area in Global Health. She intends to pursue a career as a pediatric subspecialist, possibly in transplant medicine or hematology/oncology.

Cristian Gonzalez of Brownsville, TX is a 1st year medical student and the first in his family to enter medicine. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience from the University of the Incarnate Word. He is currently an active member of LMSA, SALUD, and CHAMP. He is interested in pediatrics or a pediatric surgical subspecialty.

Nidhi Iyanna of Mason, OH is a first year medical student and the first in her family to enter the medical field. She graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh. Nidhi loves volunteering at UPMC Children’s Hospital, an activity she has done for the last four years and has continued to do so during medical school. She intends to pursue a career in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery and currently does research on congenital heart disease and repair.

Roshani Jha of Honolulu, HI is a 1st year medical student. She graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University in 2021 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. For her gap year, she worked in a lab researching glioblastoma at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She is interested in Child Neurology. 

Jonathan Joseph of Boynton Beach, Florida is a rising 3rd year medical student and first in his family to enter medicine. He graduated with a degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Central Florida in 2019. For his gap year, he worked at pediatric urgent care and coached youth football. Jonathan intends to pursue a career in pediatric oncology.

Mikhaila Layshock of Hermitage, PA is a 2nd year medical student and a first-generation college graduate. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019, where she volunteered with an afterschool program with the Carnegie Library and worked as a patient care technician at UPMC. She intends to go into pediatrics with a possible subspecialty in critical care.

Lee-Kai Sun of Atlanta, GA is a 2nd year medical student and the first in his family to enter medicine. He graduated with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. Prior to medical school, he worked at Bristol Myers Squibb on CAR T cell immunotherapy. At Pitt Med, he is a part of the Physician Scientist Training Program and enjoys volunteering at the Birmingham Free Clinic and Pitt Pantry. He is interested in pediatrics and is considering subspecialties, including anesthesiology and blood and marrow transplantation.

Shwetabh Tarun of Naperville, IL is a rising 3rd year medical student. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in political science from Ohio State in 2021. He intends to go into pediatric cardiac surgery.