PL3 Pediatric Residents

PL3 Pediatric Residents

Bann Al-Shammaa
University of Virginia

Bann Al-ShammaaGreetings from Charlottesville! I grew up in Farmville, the Heart of Virginia — well known for its furniture shopping and not much else (although not a bad drive from UVA, for those of you who end up here and have houses to fill). I graduated from a small high school with 34 other people, came to the University to study psychology, and haven't been able to leave since.

As hard as I tried during interview season, I couldn't find another residency program that had everything I was looking for in the perfect proportions: a solid foundation in general pediatrics, enthusiastic and practical teaching from sub-specialists, fun residents who all got along, and a city where my love for the outdoors and all things culinary would be fulfilled. After getting to know the department over four years of medical school, I know what a tremendous opportunity it is to train here. I am also thrilled to get to stay in Charlottesville which — in case you haven't heard — has the most restaurants per capita of any city in America (I'm still finding ones I haven't tried)!

I know that the questions I wanted answered during the application process never came to me at convenient times, so please feel free to e-mail me whenever the need arises! Good luck with your interviews, enjoy the traveling, and I hope to meet all of you when you come by to visit!

Cortney Ballengee
West Virginia University

Cortney BallengeeHi everyone, and welcome to UVA. I grew up in southern West Virginia and went to West Virginia University for both undergrad and med school. Although I will always be a die-hard Mountaineer fan, I decided to cross the Blue Ridge for residency. During interview season, I was looking for a large tertiary care facility in a smaller city, and I found that in Charlottesville. Everyone in the pediatrics program made me feel welcome right away and I knew UVA was the right place for me.

I have learned so much in the UVA pediatrics program. The faculty is full of great teachers and I know that by the end of residency I will be prepared for the next step in my career. I am very happy to have matched here in Charlottesville and would be glad to answer any questions you may have. Good luck!

Andrew Berenz
University of Colorado

Andrew BerenzHi everyone! Welcome to UVA. I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO, where I had the mountains as my backyard. I did my undergrad at the University of Colorado at Boulder and took a few years off for research before attending med school at the University of Colorado. I was ready for a change and knew when applying to residency programs that I wanted to find a medium-to-small size program that would allow me to get to know my fellow residents and faculty more closely. However, I didn’t want to sacrifice on seeing the variety and complexity of patients that come with a larger academic center. I thought UVA would be a perfect fit for me, and I now know I made the right choice. The people in the program are amazing to work with and the environment is incredibly supportive. The faculty love to teach, and I’m just trying to soak up all that I can!

In addition to the clinical training, the next best part about our program is the location. I love being outdoors, and with the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park backing up to Charlottesville, I feel right at home. Despite being a smaller town, there are tons of big-town amenities, especially all of the great restaurants, nearby wineries, and music scene. My wife and I have barely scratched the surface of all of the great things we plan to do here.

Good luck on the interview trail and I hope that you seriously consider UVA! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Sarah Hesselmann
New York Medical College

Sarah Hesselmann

Welcome to UVA Peds! I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and enjoyed my time down South during my undergrad years at Wake Forest University. Then, after my family moved to Boston, I traveled up the east coast to go to med school in NY. I spent 2 years north of NYC and 2 years living in Manhattan during medical school, and it was there that I met my soon-to-be husband. Our time in the 'Big Apple' was great, but when it came to applying for residency, while he was simultaneously applying to business school, we knew we wanted a change of pace. Charlottesville and UVA offered just that — a unique blend of small-town feel but also an active, energetic and academic atmosphere. It has been a perfect match!

As I made my way along the interview trail, I knew I wanted a medium-sized residency program, with a close knit group of residents, that provided a broad exposure to general pediatrics, as well as subspecialty care. I have not been disappointed. I love my co-residents and have been amazed by the faculty — they are understanding and supportive, committed to teaching, and ready to challenge you to become the best pediatrician you can.

With respect to Charlottesville, it's definitely a breath of fresh air. My fiance and I love how the town embraces the collegial atmosphere that is found on all levels at UVA. And, despite our busy schedules, we have made time to enjoy several of the fantastic restaurants in town, run along many of the trails, and soak up the beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Charlottesville is a special place, and I am looking forward to spending the next 3 years here!

If you have any questions about UVA Peds or about applying/interviewing for residencies, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Good luck!

Amanda Jacobson
Brown University

Amanda JacobsonHello, all and welcome to the UVA Pediatrics Department! I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I attended Brown University in Providence, RI for college and medical school. I lost my southern accent during my years in New England and am excited to regain it during my residency here in Charlottesville. I absolutely love it here! There are so many amazing restaurants, and it will certainly take my entire residency to explore them all. The Charlottesville area is absolutely beautiful, and the numerous local wineries are also a plus.

Intern year was awesome. I have an amazing group of smart and fun-loving co-interns and senior residents and the attendings and our program directors are extremely supportive! They really want the best for us.

My boyfriend and I are the proud owners of an adorable 7-month-old golden retriever puppy named Addy. She absolutely loves it here. If you have a dog, Charlottesville is a wonderful place for pets. There are many pet-friendly restaurants and dog parks galore.

Thank you so much for looking into our program!

Frank Raucci
Virginia Commonwealth University

Frank RaucciHello everyone, and welcome to UVA Pediatrics! I was born in Pittsburgh but spent most of my childhood in the small town of Jupiter, Florida. I went to undergrad at the University of Florida and after spending a year in grad school, decided to head to a place with more seasons and ended up at the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University for medical school. I met a lot of great people during my seven years in Richmond and discovered a lot that Virginia has to offer. When looking at residency programs, there are so many factors to consider. I was looking for a place that had excellent clinical faculty, great opportunities for research, and most importantly great people with whom to work. UVA had all three! Additionally, Charlottesville is a great place to be if you like to play outdoors, whether with a pack on your back hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains or with a glass in your hand at one of the many local vineyards and breweries.

I am very happy to be here and know that UVA Pediatrics was the right choice for me. Good luck in your interview search and I hope you find the program that is the best fit for you!

Anna Sorenson
University of Iowa

Anna Sorenson

Hi, everyone! Welcome to one of the most exciting and stressful times of medical school - trying to decide where to interview and then rank programs. It really is true that you'll find a place that you just "fit" and will want to match there. It was definitely true of UVA for me.

I'm from Iowa originally - born and raised! I attended the University of Iowa for both undergrad and medical school and really wanted to leave Iowa City and explore a new part of the country, so I interviewed all over. I fell in love with the Charlottesville area. This is a town that, as soon as I drove through it, I felt comfortable. There's a lot of friendly people both in the residency program and in the community, so I can usually find someone to explore the town with me. I have a dog who I like to take on hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and hikes there are hard work (especially since we're used to the Iowa landscape)!

I hope that you'll consider UVA! I was sold on this being the program for me on my interview day. The residents I met were great, and I felt like I'd fit in with them. I was extremely impressed with the staff who interviewed me, that I met on the tour, and at lunch - they took the time to get to know each person in the interview group and I knew they'd be great mentors.

Brynne Sullivan
University of Virginia

Brynne Sullivan

Hi there! Welcome, or good to see you again if you stay, as I did, in Charlottesville! I am a UVA School of Medicine grad who fell in love with life in C'ville, both outside and inside the hospital. I grew up in the suburbs of Richmond, VA and then attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA for my undergraduate education. I then made my way back down I-64 for Medical School here at UVA.

Virginia has been my home for 26 years now, and although I may be biased, it is simply the best place on earth. We have four seasons here and each one is beautiful — a little snow and ice, some hot humid summer days, and gorgeous spring and fall weather that make you want to be outdoors 25 hrs per day. I love all outdoor activities in Charlottesville, especially hiking, running, the Saturday farmer's market, the vineyards, concerts at the pavilion, restaurant patio dining, camping, biking, and sitting on my front porch with our black lab taking in the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My husband and I met in medical school here and went through the couples match (he matched in Emergency Medicine). Scheduling interviews together was hard, so we spent most of interview season in opposite parts of the country. In all our travels we did not find a place that beat UVA in its size, location, and personality. In both of our departments, the residents and attendings were such amazing teachers and mentors throughout medical school, we couldn't imagine a better fit. The transition from a medical student to becoming part of the UVA peds team has been fantastic.

Sylvia Szentpetery
Tulane University

Sylvia SzentpeteryHey all! I'm originally from Virginia – born in Richmond, but also spent several years in Virginia Beach. When college rolled around I decided to take the plunge and head down south to New Orleans, LA. I spent eight fantastic years doing both undergraduate and medical school at Tulane University. So what brings me back to Virginia? While I get the added bonus of being much closer to my family, I can honestly say that I would have gladly traveled to the far corners of the earth for a program like UVA Pediatrics. I was looking for a medium-sized program that was academically focused but brought a balance of both general and subspecialty care. Before I even finished my interview day I could tell what an amazing place UVA is. The residents, staff and everyone I encountered were of a caliber above and beyond my expectations. Outside of academics, the warmth and enthusiasm of everyone I met blew me away.

I can definitely say that my time in Charlottesville has been fantastic. It's a great place to live with all the amenities of a city but the convenience of a smaller town. From dining to live music to athletics, there is something here for everyone. Good luck on the interview trail and please don't hesitate to send an email my way!

Elizabeth White
Medical University of South Carolina

Elizabeth WhiteHey, everyone, and welcome to UVA Pediatrics! Originally from Greenville, SC, I went to UVA for undergrad, which is when I fell in love with Charlottesville and also where I met my husband. After taking a few years off, I went to medical school at MUSC in Charleston, SC. Although it was hard to leave the Lowcountry, it was lucky that UVA had such a wonderful Pediatrics program, and we were so excited to move back to Charlottesville with our yellow lab and 6 month-old daughter.

My experience at UVA has exceeded my expectations of a residency program. The faculty and residents here are all incredibly kind and supportive. The size of the program is also ideal for individualized learning. And there are always so many things to do in and around the city. We love walking the downtown mall, Saturday farmer’s markets, wine tasting, football season, and all the great music that comes to town. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Jameel Winter
University of Minnesota

Jameel WinterHowdy, Folks! I’m a born and raised Minneapolis boy who spent my younger days going “up north” to the lake in the Summer, and learning how to downhill ski on a landfill in the Winter (since we don’t have these fancy hills and mountains you’ve got around here.) I got my undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and returned to my old stomping grounds in MN for medical school at the University of Minnesota. So what is a midwesterner doing in the mid-Atlantic?

Put simply, C’ville is awesome! It’s got all of the perks of a big city (countless fantastic restaurants, a great music scene, the downtown mall is fabulous, and there really is just about anything you could need), without all the hassle (traffic, the impossibility of parking, etc), not to mention the proximity to extraordinary outdoor activities. But, the perks of the location are only part of what drew me to UVA.

After visiting several programs on the interview trail, you quickly figure out that you’re going to get good training in pediatrics wherever you go. What makes the difference is the people you’re going to be working with. The residents here are fantastic and that makes for a great and supportive working environment. Further, the attendings love to teach, and seem to truly value the work the residents do. This is a truly special place! Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information!