Executive Student and Resident Committee
Abigail (Abby) Ahyong, MS4
Claire Perez, MS3
She currently attends Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. She is interested in Emergency Medicine or General Surgery and is involved in various student organizations such as Community Health Education Programs, HEARTs the student run clinic, and Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group. She is currently one of the leaders of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group and is involved in research studying residents’ health with Fitbit.
Ms. Perez graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Tumon, Guam. She graduated summa cum laude from University of Guam with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a minor in Biology. In undergrad, her interests focused on helping her island community and being involved in various research, from diatom taxonomy and water quality on Guam to magnetic resonance imaging research at National Institute of Health.
Timothy Corpuz, MS1
Community Engagement Chair
Mr. Corpuz graduated from El Camino High School and majored in Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley.
During high-school, Mr. Corpuz served as the Associated Student Body President. While attending undergrad, he served as the Executive Director of the Suitcase Clinic. He also volunteered at the Lifelong TRUST Center and worked at the Saijo Lab at UC Berkeley. He is currently a research technician at the Knight Lab at UCSF. His research interests center around understanding the impact of diet on neuronal circuits that drive hunger and feeding.
Community Engagement Chair
Ms. Chua graduated with highest honors from Valencia High School. She is majoring in Human Biology & Society and minoring in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
At UCLA, Ms. Chua is the Preventive Health Director for Pilipinos for Community Health, an organization that aims to improve the health literacy and outcomes of the Pilipino community as well as the greater Los Angeles area through its components of Preventive Health, Pre-Health Advising and Mentorship, and Community Outreach. As Preventive Health Directors, Ms. Chua and her co-directors envisioned and executed an event with collaborators entitled, Utakatawan: Physical X Mental Health for Pilipinos to explore the intersectionality between the Pilipino cultural identity and physical and mental health. She is also a tutor for Los Angeles Student Education Outreach -- an organization at UCLA that seeks to foster the academic and holistic growth of underserved inner-city youth by serving as tutors and mentors to middle school students, an undergraduate researcher for the Chute Lab at UCLA which is conducting groundbreaking stem cell and cancer research, and a general member of two cultural organizations on campus, Association of Chinese Americans and Samahang Pilipino.
During high school, she played basketball for her high school girls basketball team and became team captain of the sophomore/freshman team in her second year. She also tutored students at a local elementary school as well as her peers in mathematics ranging from basic mathematical operations to college-level calculus. In addition, she was involved in several humanitarian clubs, such as her high school’s chapter of UNICEF and Liberty in North Korea -- where she sought to raise awareness of human rights issues occurring globally. She was also a part of the teen volunteer program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and continues to volunteer as a member of the adult nursing volunteer program in the oncology and infectious disease units.
Community Engagement Chair
Ms. Orizonte graduated Magna Cum Laude at Independence High School and is majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior and minoring in Psychology at University of California- Davis (UCD).
During high school, she was the Vice President of Ukulele Club, which helped students learn how to play the ukulele, sing, and perform in school assemblies. She was also an English tutor for elementary students at her local library, guiding them on how to study and understand the subject. In addition, she played varsity tennis in which her team won championship for their league.
At UCD, she served as Public Relations Officer and one of the FAHC Representatives for the Filipinx Association for Health Careers (FAHC) organization. Additionally, she was one of the coordinators for FAHC’s 29th Health Conference where pre-health students attended workshops and networking by health professionals to learn more about their future health careers. Also, she is currently one of the Outreach Coordinators at Bayanihan Clinic, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing preventative medical services and care to the underserved Sacramento communities.
Community Engagement Chair
Graschelle graduated top ten at Bear Creek High School in Stockton, California and is graduating from University of California, Davis (UC Davis). in June 2020 with a Bachelor's degree in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior and a minor in Comparative Literature.
At UC Davis, she served the Filipinx-American community on the Filipinx Association for Health Careers (FAHC) Board for three years in which she helped to plan FAHC's Health Conference to empower Filipinx and other minority pre-health students. She worked with the United States Filipino War Veterans Legion (USFWVL) to coordinate a Veterano Luncheon to honor Filipino WWII veterans and also served as the Logistics Coordinator for UC Davis' Filipinx cultural graduation ceremony, Fil-Grad. As a first-year, she was accepted to work in Bayanihan Clinic, one of the student-run clinics on campus, that serves Filipino veterans and immigrants. She now serves as the Undergraduate Coordinator for Bayanihan Clinic. Also, she is a Campus News writer for the campus' newspaper The California Aggie.
In high school, she was the president of the campus' Filipinx organization Kababayan, which emphasized cultural awareness through community building and traditional dance, and the president of the campus' National Honors Society (NHS) chapter. She was one of the founding council members of the Make-A-Wish Club which worked to form a community that fundraises and spreads awareness for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Graschelle served as Editor-in-Chief of the campus' student newspaper The Bruin Voice and was a National Pacemaker Award finalist. She also played volleyball and participated in polynesian dance.
Mericien Venzon, MD/PhD Trainee (GS2),
A Bay Area native, Ms. Venzon graduated as Moreau Catholic High School’s Valedictorian and Associated Student Body President. Figure skating competitively since she was four years old, she also won the 2009 Philippine National Championships, earning her a spot to represent the Philippines at the 2010 Olympic Trials and 2011 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.
At UCLA, Mericien continued to compete internationally while also founding UCLA’s first national figure skating club team. In addition, she was an active member of Pilipinos for Community Health, running senior citizen health screening sites on the weekends. She first got interested in research as an undergraduate and was awarded UCLA's HHMI Undergraduate Research Scholarship. In the ER as part of UCLA’s elite Stroke Team, she assisted in enrolling patients in clinical research trials testing intra-ambulance therapy to more rapidly identify and treat cerebral ischemia. In the Alfaro lab, she pursued her interests in bioinformatics and was the first to apply mathematical models conventionally used in studies of vertebrates to viruses, including flu and HIV, to investigate differential evolutionary dynamics in nonpathogenic vs. pathogenic human viruses. She graduated with highest departmental honors from UCLA in 2014, majoring in Biology with a minor in Evolutionary Medicine. She was chosen as one of five recipients of the 2014 True Bruin Distinguished Senior Award, was honored as a Bruinlife Senior of the Year, and is featured in UCLA’s Optimist Campaign among other prestigious alumni.
She matriculated in New York University School of Medicine’s MD-PhD/Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) in 2016 and joined the Cadwell Lab in March 2018. Currently in her second year of her PhD under the NIH Pre-doctoral Training Fellowship, her thesis project is looking at the interrelationships between the gut microbiome, host immune system, and intestinal parasites to identify new targets for treatment of human parasitic worm infections. She founded NYUSoM’s Women in MSTP group which helps foster community, mentorship, and allyship in a male-dominated field. Most recently, she was one of the founders of ppe2nyc.com, a centralized grassroots solution to NYC’s PPE shortage at the peak of COVID-19 that enabled PPE to be efficiently collected and distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, and homeless shelters where NYC needed it most via a text-in hotline. Her career aspirations include running her own translational research lab and specializing in neonatology. She prioritizes practicing wellness regularly through hip hop yoga, boxing, and trying to find NYC’s best pizza slice.
Angela C. Arata, MS1,
Resident of Napa, California, Angela Arata graduated from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Biology. At UCSD, Angela served as an ambassador for Sixth College, tutor at Gompers Preparatory Academy, volunteer at UCSD Medical Center, and student supervisor at Foodworx.
Following her undergraduate studies, Angela worked as a clinical laboratory technician while completing the Pre-Professional Health Academic Program at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB). At CSUEB, Angela served as Co-President of Global Medical and Dental Brigades, leading two medical mission trips to Nicaragua and Panama. Additionally, she volunteered as events coordinator for AFS-USA’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter, organizing community events for foreign exchange students as well as taking on responsibilities as a student-family liaison.
Angela is interested in preventative medicine, social justice, caring for underserved communities, mentorship, and research. Angela currently serves as Quality Director of the Mabuhay Health Center, a student-run free clinic in San Francisco, and was on the inaugural steering committee of the Filipinx Mental Health Initiative-Solano County. Angela is a Certified Lifestyle Coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program and previously served as a health coach at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, and as a life coach for Girls on the Run.
Angela currently works as a research assistant in a biochemistry lab led by Dr. Jean-Marc Schwarz at Touro University California. Angela will begin medical school this Fall.
Sheena Faye Garcia,
Currently, Ms. Garcia is a third-year PhD candidate in the Molecular Oncology and Tumor Immunology Track at New York University School of Medicine. Her thesis project in the Pagano lab focuses on E3 ubiquitin ligases and their role in oxidative stress and lung cancer progression. She is also involved in the NYU Student Diversity Initiative and the NYC Minority Graduate Student Network, where she helps organize events to celebrate diversity in science. In her spare time, Ms. Garcia fosters her love for running, and has either volunteered or participated at various local road races during her stay in NYC. Her goal before finishing her PhD is to both publish first-author in a top-tier journal and run a half-marathon in NYC.
Ms. Garcia graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto, where she completed a Specialist in Biochemistry and a Major in Human Biology. During her three years at the University of Toronto, she was heavily involved in advocacy work for cancer patients. She volunteered for 2 years as a patient care assistant at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto and helped organize various fundraising events for the Canadian Cancer Society. She was also a public speaker for both the Terry Fox Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society and, in 2018, was even presented the “Celebrating Impact in Community Prevention, Outreach, and Advocacy” award for her volunteer efforts. In between her volunteer work and her studies, she was also a dedicated undergraduate researcher whose efforts contributed to a publication in Cell. Outside of the lab, Ms. Garcia would often share her love for science through her role as Vice President of the Biochemistry Undergraduate Student Society and as a Science Demonstrator for SciHigh.
Born in Brussels, Belgium and raised in Pangasinan, Philippines, Mr. Apostol immigrated to California at the age of 7 and graduated from Lakewood High School with highest honors. He then pursued a double major in Biochemistry and French & Francophone Studies in Literature and Culture from UCLA.
In college, Mr. Apostol was heavily involved with Pilipinx student organizations such as Samahang Pilipino and Southern California Pilipinx American Student Association. He also worked as a research assistant at the UCLA School of Nursing, studying anal dysplasia screening methods in HIV positive men. Now a Bay Area transplant, he works in clinical supply management in pharmaceuticals for oncology medication. Outside of work, he volunteers with the Mabuhay Health Center, Volunteers in Medicine, and UCSF.
At UCLA, he was the recipient of the Martin-Turrill Memorial Award for Best Major — a merit-based scholarship awarded to the top 2 students nominated by instructors and faculty in the French department. Also, he is a research assistant at UCSF’s Emotion, Health, and Psychophysiology Lab that is doing research on the psychosomatic effects of social situations such as sexual orientation disclosure and stress.
Lemuel Rivera, MS2
Mr. Rivera is currently attending the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and is a member of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) PRIME program. He is currently interested in oncology/surgery/ortho surgery as specialties. He is one of the workshop coordinators for CYFAP (wohoo!). He is also the Class of 2023 student representative, medical student coordinator for the Mabuhay Health Clinic, social chair for the Latino Medical Student Association, and a member of HealthLink. He is involved in several research projects with topics relating to alcohol use disorder, physical therapy management and acute trauma. He loves to play basketball and eating Jollibee (spaghetti!!). He hopes to be a physician for California's Central Valley, specifically in Fresno, to address some of the health inequities plaguing this region.
Mr. Rivera graduated from the California State University, Fresno as a Summa Cum Laude with his B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Anthropology. He was involved in undergraduate research studying neurodegenerative diseases, worked as an ER scribe at a county hospital, served as the student body representative for his college for three years, and volunteered at a local free health clinic. He also served as a facilitator for two different high school summer programs for three years and interned for UCLA's Summer Medical and Dental Educational Program in 2016.
Mr. Rivera graduated as a Valedictorian at Clovis West High School taking 11 AP classes. He was a volunteer for the high school's Key Club and a participant for the Science Olympiad and Math team.
Sophia Anne Marie B. Villanueva,
Sophia graduated from Eagle Rock High School and is a third-year majoring in Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). At UCLA, Sophia is an undergraduate researcher in the Colwell Lab which focuses on circadian rhythms and sleep. By better understanding the basic biology of this timing system, their lab is studying new therapies to improve the quality of life of patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders and the people who care for them. She is the treasurer for the UCLA Taekwondo team and served as webmaster and communications officer in her second year. She is also a general member of the Pilipinos for Community Health, an organization that aims to improve the health literacy and outcomes of the Pilipino community as well as the greater Los Angeles area through its components of Preventive Health, Pre-Health Advising and Mentorship, and Community Outreach. During high school, she played varsity tennis for two years and was involved in the swim team for one year. She was an active member of the 2018 Class Officers for multiple years and served as secretary in her senior year. She worked as a tutor at her local elementary school for three years and was an active volunteer in the Diabetes Center and Sterile Processing Unit of Glendale Memorial Hospital. In addition, she completed and received her diploma for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.
Philippe Labrias, MS4,
Mr. Labrias is a rising fourth year medical student at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine Quinnipiac University. He is a first generation immigrant from the Philippines, first generation US college graduate and soon to be a first generation physician in his family. During medical school, he has found his home specialty in women's health, aspiring to become an OB/GYN. He wishes to give back and serve women and LGBTIA+ patients build their families as an obstetrician/gynecologist. He also founded Netter's Notes, a music in medicine interest group and raised money for local non-profit organizations and started "musical missions" where they visit local nursing homes and serenade elderly residents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, became a student lead for the Crisis Text Line at his medical school and led a cohort who signed on to do a total of at least 2,800 hours of crisis counseling work. Currently in CYFAM, he is invested in shaping and establishing in a first of its kind national Filipino American mentorship program to connect future potential Filipinx-American immigrant medical students and to a mentor that will help them shape their future careers in medicine.
Despite his discontinuous education due to his family's financial challenges as new immigrants, he used that has his motive force to succeed--Mr. Labrias not only graduated magna cum laude and departmental honors in biology with his basic science honors thesis in zebrafish genetics while simultaneously working in the Medical ICU as a Patient Care Associate at Yale-New Haven Hospital throughout. He also participated and led the health science delegation alternative spring break trip to Nicaragua for two consecutive years, played men's club rugby and was a founding father for the Beta Theta Pi chapter in his university. Following graduation, he worked as a translational researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai studying Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), co-authoring multiple papers in the genetics, microbiome, and IBD drug development using the zebrafish model in Science Translational Medicine, eLife, and Disease Models and Mechanisms, respectively. During his free time, he is training for the virtual 2020 NYC marathon this November and plays Dance Dance Revolution recreationally.
Marycon Jiro, MS2
Ms. Jiro is a second year medical student and masters student at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program (JMP). She was also chosen to be a part of the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US), a program for medical students committed to serving marginalized communities in medicine. Driven by her passion in addressing systemic health inequities faced by disenfranchised communities, especially her Filipino-American community, and tying in her interest in eliminating eye health disparities, her thesis under her masters degree in Health and Medical Sciences within the UC Berkeley School of Public Health focuses on understanding the knowledge, attitudes, barriers, and practices of the San Francisco Bay Area Filipino-American community in terms of eye care. Her research will be funded by the JMP Thesis Grant and the UCSF PROF-PATH Summer Explore Program. Additionally, she is also a co-founder of the White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL) Berkeley Chapter, organizer for the Freedom School for Intersectional Medicine and Health Justice, National Conference Director for APAMSA, medical volunteer at UCSF’s Ophthalmology Shelter Clinic and medical volunteer at the UCSF’s Mabuhay Health Center.
In 2018, Ms. Jiro graduated from UC Berkeley with Distinction Honors, obtaining a BA in Integrative Biology and minor in Global Poverty and Practice. Here, she advocated for health and educational equity within marginalized communities and the Filipinx community at UC Berkeley. She also designed a research study looking at the potential of gamified virtual technology in addressing physical education budget cuts within low-income Bay Area school districts as a Fung Fellowship for Wellness and Technology Fellow. Additionally, she worked at Kaiser Permanente (KP) for five years, mentoring disadvantaged youth interested in healthcare at the KPLAUNCH program as the Program Coordinator; analyzing patient satisfaction data for KP providers as a Research Assistant; and handling research projects concerning ethical issues within the 21 KP Northern California hospitals alongside ethicists as a Bioethics Research Associate during her gap year. Her immigration experience, family and culture drive her to continue “lifting as she climbs” and prioritize serving her first generation, minority and disenfranchised communities as a medical student at at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program (JMP) and PRIME-US.
Marycon Jiro was awarded Most Outstanding Female Scholar Athlete out of 1000 students for James Logan High School’s (JLHS) graduating class of 2014. While maintaining Summa Cum Laude honors, she played varsity tennis singles and doubles all four years of high school, winning the Mission Valley Athletic League twice with her team and placing third overall in the Northern California Section Women’s Doubles. Notably, she was awarded MVP and Captain as well as helped coach the men’s junior varsity team. Marycon was additionally ranked top 100 in Girls 16 Singles in the United States Tennis Association (USTA). Other activities Marycon was involved in included international and local health advocacy work through Interact Club, American Red Cross Family Links Internship, and Kaiser Permanente LAUNCH Internship.
Resident Special Interest Chair
Resident Special Interest Chair
Rommell Noche, MS1
Rommell Noche is a first year medical student at Frank H. Netter School of Medicine in Connecticut. His current interests include cardiovascular disease, precision medicine, and medical genetics.
Prior to medical school, Rommell worked as a postgraduate research associate at Yale School of Medicine, Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology. While there, he explored recurrent stroke in the middle-aged and the relationship between genetically determined hypertension and brain health. Rommell has presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, European Stroke Organisation Conference, and International Stroke Conference. His work has been published in Stroke and Annals of Neurology.
Rommell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Master of Science in Chemistry in the Vagelos Scholars Program in the Molecular Life Sciences. His master’s thesis investigated the role of activated endothelial cell surfaces in coagulation enzyme complex assembly. Outside of classes and research, Rommell was a volunteer coordinator for United Community Clinic, a student-run, free health clinic in West Philadelphia. He was also a member of the Penn Philippine Association, serving as an officer of the executive board and performing at the annual cultural show. His favorite dance was Sayaw sa Bangko.
Born in Guam, Rommell moved to Southern California at the age of five. He attended Rancho Cucamonga High School and was involved in the Associated Student Body, National Honor Society, and Science Olympiad.
Nina Gutierrez, MS1
Ms. Gutierrez attended St. Francis High School in Sacramento, CA. In high school, community service was something she was passionate about. For four years she volunteered at Challenge Sports, a program that offered a space for children with special needs to participate in soccer and basketball. She attended a service trip to New Orleans and helped my school’s campus ministry. She also participated in the Science Olympiad. She was in the top 10% of her class and graduated in 2015.
For undergrad, she attended the University of California, Berkeley. While at Cal, she was an undergraduate research assistant in the Blackman Lab where she studied monkeyflowers. She also participated in two premedical organizations, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and the Pilipino Association for Health Careers (PAHC). She made some of her best memories in these organizations and later held leadership positions in both for two years. She also had a great time volunteering at the Mabuhay Health Center as a health coach and Fundraising Chair. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Immunology and Infectious Diseases and a minor in Disability Studies.
She took a gap year while applying to medical school where she worked as a medical assistant at Marin Retina, a private practice ophthalmology clinic. Now she is a rising MS1 student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Membership Engagement Chair
Membership Egnagement Chair
Jaira graduated valedictorian at Pacheco High School and is majoring in Physiological Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
At UCLA, she is the Pre-Health Advising and Mentorship Director of Pilipinos for Community Health, an organization that aims to increase health literacy and outcomes by providing services that directly address the community conditions of the Pilipinx community in the Los Angeles area. She works closely with Filipino Americans in Medicine (FAIM) at UCLA, where they collaborate to hold an annual winter conference to provide UCLA undergraduates resources and advice regarding medical school. She is also a Peer Tutor for Carson High School under Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE), an outreach project under the Student Initiated Outreach Center at the Community Programs Office. This project aims to provide culturally relevant education, promote student empowerment, and provide resources to high schools in the Los Angeles area with a substantial population of Pilipinx students. Outside of these two organizations, she is a part of UCLA’s Competitive Badminton Team and works at Ackerman Union as an Events Staff Supervisor.
During high school, she held numerous positions in her school’s Associated Student Body and served one year as president. She was also heavily involved in the Interact Club, in which she participated in local community projects every month, and in her free time helped tutor high school students after school. In addition, she played in her high school Volleyball Team for four years and was awarded Scholar Athlete awards by Pacheco High School and the Western Athletic Conference.