simona shirley

Simona Shirley

My name is Simona Shirley, and I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. I went to Mountain Brook High School. During high school, I served as Editor-in-Chief of our literary arts magazine The Muse and as Co-President of Heritage Panel, a group dedicated to understanding different cultures. Outside of school, I took voice lessons at the Amy Murphy Studio and loved to play piano and sing at talent shows and recitals. I also regularly volunteered for Children’s of Alabama, Birmingham’s STAIR tutoring program, as well as Bioderm Medical Center in Bucharest, Romania during the summers. I wanted to go to UAB because of its welcoming community and world-class research facilities, but I was especially interested in UAB’s EMSAP because of the opportunity for more freedom to explore my diverse interests while still working towards the best possible preparation for medical school. While at UAB I plan to major in Biology and minor in Spanish. I will also participate in the University Honors Program. I’m so excited to be a part of the UAB family! Go Blazers!


erica hollaway

Erica Hollaway

Hi! My name is Erica Hollaway, and I am a Neuroscience major from New Hope, Alabama. While I love the sense of camaraderie and community that being raised in a small town brought, I am eager to venture out into a more diverse and evolving community like UAB. What excites me most about EMSAP is that it will allow me to focus my undergraduate years on developing my identity as a person rather than focusing all of my energy into developing my identity as a medical school applicant. As of right now, I am unsure of exactly what I plan to specialize in after medical school, but I know I feel drawn towards surgery. I am confident that the unique experiences and mentorship that EMSAP provides will guide me toward the field that is right for me.



nitin gharpure

Nitin Gharpure

My name is Nitin Gharpure and I am from Parker, Texas. I will major in Biomedical Sciences on the Personalized Honors Pathway. I attended Liberty High School where I was a member of various honors socieies, a DECA team leader, and the president of the MD junior club. I was also heavily engaged in community service as a teen court attorney, a volunteer in the Dallas Medical Center ER, and a volunteer at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. In the summer of 2017, I conducted research at UAB in the department of Cardiology under Dr. Dudenbostel and Dr. Oparil, sparking in me a strong desire to join EMSAP. EMSAP will enable me to engage with the Birmingham community, pursue volunteering activities, and explore not only the sciences, but also the humanities, making me a well-rounded individual and physician. After medical school, I hope to pursue a general surgical residency and a fellowship in trauma surgery. I hope to volunteer in nonprofits such as Doctors without Borders, Partners in Health and then work for the US Public Health Service. At UAB, I plan to continue research, start a student organization, and immerse myself in student life. Go Blazers!


fuad qushair

Fuad Qushair

My name is Fuad Qushair and I’m from Huntsville, Alabama. I am planning on majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in a foreign language. I attended St. John Paul II Catholic High School, where I was captain of the Cross-Country and Track teams and received all-state honors. I was also president of my high school’s chapter of National Honor Society, in which I planned and organized multiple community service initiatives throughout the year. I also enjoyed volunteering for numerous service-based community organizations, including the Huntsville Inner City Learning Center, a tutoring program for at-risk students. I was initially attracted to EMSAP, because it affords me the opportunity to work with a small group of like-minded individuals in the program throughout my undergraduate years at UAB. As a part of EMSAP, I am looking forward to furthering my passion for medicine. In the future, I plan to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery and to use my experiences and knowledge of medicine to serve the less fortunate.


adi menon

Adi Menon

My name is Adi Menon and I am from Dublin, CA. I plan to major in Genetics and Genomic Sciences, with a possible minor in Public Health. I was drawn to UAB’s EMSAP program by its strength, mentorship, and plethora of research opportunities in medicine, and further enticed by the flexibility created by the program – having a guaranteed spot into medical school would allow me to create a multidisciplinary undergraduate experience. I am particularly passionate about educating and empowering the surrounding community through initiatives like Sowing the Seed of Health, SNMA, and other student organizations. At Dublin High, I was involved in a diverse range of activities, leading our HOSA chapter, NHS, and the Debate team, and tutored the AVID students in math and science. I also volunteered at Stanford HealthCare, helped facilitate fundraisers for the Alzheimer’s and American Diabetes Associations, and researched a possible cancer diagnosis mechanism in ctDNA. I am trilingual in English, Malayalam, and Spanish, and enjoy playing basketball in my spare time. I’m excited to study at UAB, and eager to utilize the knowledge and skills I learn here in an eventual career as a physician-scientist. Go Blazers!


hector caceres

Hector Caceres

My name is Hector Caceres, and I am originally from Guatemala but spent my high school years in Oxford, Alabama. Since I was a kid, I was always attracted to medicine. After discovering the EMSAP program, I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. As I start my journey in medicine, EMSAP will provide me with all the tools needed to succeed: peers who share the same goal and a great mentor, Dr. Pence. Starting in the fall, I will be majoring in neuroscience. While at UAB, I plan to take part in the Honors College, Undergraduate Research, and different internship opportunities.



kierra giles

Kierra Giles

Hello! My name is Kierra Giles, and I am from Mobile, Alabama. While attending UMS-Wright Preparatory School, I was actively involved in many school, church, and community organizations, including numerous honor societies, Youth Judicial, and Spanish Club. As I venture into the next part of my life, I am excited to finally be a Blazer! I plan on majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish during my undergraduate years. After my undergraduate years, I plan on attending medical school in order to become a pediatrician. I was drawn to the University of Alabama at Birmingham because of the Early Medical Acceptance Program. EMSAP will offer me a unique, insightful experience that most undergraduate students do not have an opportunity to experience during their first four years of college. Besides EMSAP, I was also interested in attending UAB because of the many extracurricular and volunteer opportunities that it has to offer and am looking forward to getting involved on UAB’s campus through these opportunities. At UAB, I hope to further develop all of the skills that I will need as I strive to achieve my goal of becoming a physician in the future.


landon dyken

Landon Dyken

My name is Landon Dyken, and I am from Gulf Shores, Alabama. I attended the Gulf Shores school system until sophomore year, when I was accepted into the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile. At ASMS, I was an active member of National Honor Society, Health Occupations Students of America, and Science Olympiad, along with being the captain of Math Team and class treasurer. I am a member of the UAB Honors College and I am majoring in computer science. I am very grateful for EDSAP because it helps me to not only become proficient in the requirements for dental school, but also to use my undergraduate years to explore varied programs, such as undergraduate research and UABTeach, without the stress of dental school applications. Additionally, the EMSAP community is a strong support system to lean on and help me through a rigorous course load in the UAB Honors College.