Peer Advocate Program
The Peer Advocates program was created to provide students with non-threatening peer listeners who are available at any time of day or night, to confidentially discuss strategies, reality-test, brainstorm solutions when encountered with challenging personal, academic, or professional situations and point students in the direction of appropriate resources.
Meet Your Peer Advocates
We are medical students chosen by our classmates during the first year of medical school for being approachable, trustworthy, mature, thoughtful and discerning - qualities that hopefully allow us to be good listeners and trusted confidants. The nomination process does not permit campaigning. We serve our fellow students for the duration of medical school.
Peer Advocates (by chronological year)
YSM V (MD-PhD)My name is Ilhan and I’m an MD-PhD student. I grew up outside of NYC and went to Duke for undergrad, where I studied biomedical engineering and music. I plan on doing my PhD in BME and I’m considering internal medicine (possibly cardiology) in the future. Feel free to ask me about research (e.g. finding a mentor/project), G-protein coupled receptors, service in New Haven, classical/jazz music, or just about anything else.
YSM V (MD-PhD)My name is Jovan Lopez, and I am an MD-PhD student from Corpus Christi, TX. I graduated from Stanford University in 2017, where I studied chemistry. Afterward, I lived in San Francisco for three years and worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist doing drug design and development. For research, I’m currently exploring work in chemical biology and pharmacology. I was first in my family to go to university, and now I’m proud to say my sister is following me to New Haven to start her college career at the University of New Haven! I come from a mixed ethnic background of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Haitian. I am a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I enjoy volunteering with HAVEN Free Clinic as one of their pharmacy directors, and I’m one of the leaders of the Bioethics Interest Group. To help keep me centered amongst the myriad duties we have as students, I enjoy hosting friends at my apartment and treating everyone to a good time with homemade cocktails, baked goods, eclectic music, and ridiculous conversations.
YSM V (MD-PhD)My name is Nora O'Neill, and I am an MD/PhD student originally from Washington, DC. I studied the history of disability rights and feminism as an undergraduate at Harvard University, where I also worked as a sexual health peer counselor. During my gap years, I volunteered as a rape crisis counselor and did clinical research in orthopedics. I'm planning on pursuing my PhD in the History of Medicine here at Yale and love to talk about social sciences and medicine. In my free time, you can find me running, baking, singing, and binging the Office on repeat. Reach out if there's ever anything on your mind!
YSM VMy name is Julia Schaffer and I am an MD student. I grew up just 45 minutes south of New Haven, and I am loving being back in CT after 6 years away! I went to college at Cornell, where I studied Chemistry. My time in the “gorges” town of Ithaca nurtured my love of running, and I spent much of my non-studying time out on the beautiful roads and trails of upstate NY. Here in New Haven, I enjoy exploring new running routes and overcompensating for the energy burned by baking and eating lots of bread and treats. I am always, always happy to provide a listening ear to anyone who might want to talk things through.
YSM III (MD-PhD)My name is Samiksha Chopra, and I am an MD/PhD student interested in neurology, pediatrics, and electrophysiology. A few years back I graduated from UCLA where I studied Neuroscience and Art History. When not in lab or cramming for exams, I love going on walks, making a mean chai, hosting movie nights, fostering guinea pigs, learning about apiculture, and just generally hanging out with friends at my apartment. Please reach out whenever you would like to chat...I am always ready with a warm cup of chai!
YSM IIIMy name is Martha Kebeh and I am an MD student. I’m interested in surgery, exploring New Haven and Connecticut, reading for fun, and getting to know my peers! I’m always happy to talk about whatever’s on your mind, so please reach out if you need anything!
YSM IIIHey y’all! My name is Lamley (lam-LEI), and I’m an MD student interested in global and community health. I grew up in Ridgeland, MS then made my way to the Midwest to study Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. Afterwards I did neuroscience research for several years before joining the Peace Corps as a community health volunteer in Senegal. During this time I also served as a trained “Peer Supporter” for my fellow volunteers and am excited to continue supporting my peers here at YSM! No unique hobbies to note here, but I love traveling, watching well-made movies and TV shows, eating other people’s cooking, and hanging out with friends. Feel free to call anytime or stop by with a baked good to chat!
YSM III (MD-PhD)My name is Ryland, and I am an MD-PhD student. I grew up moving around as part of a military family and ended up in California for college where I studied chemical engineering at USC (go Trojans!). Before coming to Yale, I spent two years at the NIH doing research in hematology and immunology. Within YSM, I am involved in HAVEN free clinic and the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. I plan on completing my PhD in biomedical engineering. I love playing basketball, watching movies, and spending time with friends. Please reach out to me any time about anything!
YSM IIHi my name is Billy and I’m an MD student from Massachusetts. I studied neuroscience at Bowdoin College and spent a few years doing ophthalmology research and mental health crisis counseling in Boston. I love getting outside with friends around New Haven and jumping in the ocean after finals! Please reach out anytime if you want to talk, go on a walk, or anything at all!
YSM IIHowdy, Sadde here. I’m an MD student born and raised in Houston, TX. In my gap year I was also in Houston working in liver research. Before that I was at Columbia studying Biology and Ethnicity/Race Studies. In New Haven, you can find me playing tennis, amassing books that I will totally find time to read, losing most trivia nights, and spending time with friends. Please reach out for whatever—advice, a can opener, or swapping good stories!
YSM II (MD-PhD)My name is Matt Ponticiello. I am an MD-PhD student interested in global health and psychiatry! I graduated from Cornell a couple years ago, where I studied Global and Public Health. I love to go for walks, read, write, travel, and talk. I'm always up for a good chat or text and am happy to talk about anything that might be on your mind. I remember questioning during M1 (and sometimes still now!) if I made the right choice going to medical school, so if that is you, too, then you are in good company. Please feel free to reach out about anything!
YSM IIMy name is Elana Straus and I am an MD student from Oakland, California. I studied Public Health at UC Berkeley and worked as a health educator at high schools in the area. After college, I spent a few years doing research and outreach with people with substance use disorders and people experiencing homelessness in California. In my free time, you can find me running with my classmates around New Haven, starting a new audiobook before I’ve finished the last one, or exploring new coffee shops to study at. I’m happy to talk through anything big or small, so don’t hesitate to reach out!