Our Residents

PGY – 1

 

Meredith Arra

Where I am from:  I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, completed college up in Boston, and then returned to Georgia for work followed by medical school.  I went to my state medical school in Augusta. The mission of Medical College of Georgia is to train doctors to respond to the health needs of patients all over the state, which means learning to care for people of diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds as well as communities that are urban and rural dwelling.  I spent my clinical year in Rome, GA which allowed me to gain this new perspective on health care in other parts of the state.

Where am I going: I hope that the next few years of experience will guide my career!  I like it all so far, so I currently see myself as a general child neurologist, perhaps with a special interest in expanding health coverage to meet the demands of populations with less access to pediatric specialists. 

Why am I here: The people here are amazing and the opportunities to explore different career paths are endless. St.Louis is a really neat city with a rich history and Wash U is working creatively to address the wide range of needs of a diverse population.

Tanner Hoke

Where I am from: I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, attended Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, and most recently attended Northwestern University Feinberg SOM for medical school.

Where I am going: I am passionate about Palliative Care and am interested in pursuing a fellowship in either Neurocritical Care or Neuro-Oncology. 

Why I am here: A sense of family was one of the most important things I was looking for in a residency program. Wash U is a phenomenal institution, and I knew that this program had so much to offer from an academic and research perspective. I knew that I would work with and be mentored by some of the most renowned pediatric neurologists in the country. While all of those things were reinforced throughout my interview days at Wash U, what stuck with me most about my interview experience was the pre-interview dinner that I attended at Dr. Gurnett's home. The environment was so welcoming, and the camaraderie between residents and attendings was evident. While I haven't been at Wash U all that long, my Pediatric Neurology family has already helped St. Louis feel like a home away from home!

 

Karolina Kata

Where I am from:  I was born and raised in Poland and moved to the USA with my family when I was a teenager. I continued to move about to work and study in Illinois and more recently in Texas. I’m glad to be in the center of it all now and I look forward to experiencing the seasons again!

Where I am going:  I really enjoy topics of Neurodevelopment and Neuro-Oncology. I’m very excited at the prospect of continuing research and creating evidence- based improvement in care and quality of services for those patient populations. 

Why I am here:  I remember the strong and undeniable feeling of belonging on the day of my interview. The generous and genuine hospitality and warm welcome from everyone in the Child Neurology program was unrivaled and left a profound impression on me. It remained unchanged after my departure, and only strengthened in follow-up communications. I felt calm and confident that I would find a sense of family and strong mentorship in this community and that I would enter a supportive environment where I could evolve and grow as a clinician and scientist. I was unsure of what my transition to St. Louis would be like given very unique global circumstances. I quickly discovered that the city and surrounding areas have so much to offer, even amidst a pandemic. There is ample green space, be in the city or in the many beautiful state parks. Hiking, outdoor yoga, foraging wild mushrooms, and archery are some of my favorite adventures so far!

Aimee Morris

Where I am from: I am from Albany, NY with a brief stint in northern Michigan where I attended an arts boarding school. I received my Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY studying French horn performance. I stayed in Rochester for medical school at the University of Rochester where I was part of the Medical Education Pathway and Academic Research Track. A few months into my research year-out, I decided to pursue a PhD and joined the Rochester MSTP. During my PhD, I studied the mechanisms underlying musician dystonia and related movement disorders using functional MRI to examine brain network architecture. 

Where I am going: I plan to pursue a fellowship in movement disorders and am interested in a career in academic medicine as a physician scientist. 

Why I am here: Wash U is a vibrant, rigorous program with a rich history of leadership in child neurology and both clinical and academic excellence. The residents and faculty have a rich diversity in backgrounds and interests. The faculty are incredibly supportive and I am confident they would move mountains to support our wellness and ambitions. Even though moving cities and starting residency in the time of COVID-19 is hard, the neuro family here has made me feel welcome and supported in the transition. I am loving residency so far and am thrilled to be here for the next 5 years. On a personal level, I can’t wait for the social dance scene in Saint Louis to open back up when safe as the abundance of live music and fun, free social dancing opportunities here are super impressive. In the meantime, I enjoy going for hikes, playing my horn, and hanging with friends in my free time.

Saif Sharaya

Where am I from: Born and raised in Amman, the capital of Jordan. I completed medical school at the Hashemite University, which is in a different city, Al-Zarqa.

Where I am going: Originally, I was thinking about pursing a fellowship in either Epilepsy or Neuroimmunology, but I realized that I’d rather explore all my options during residency before deciding on what I want to do next.  

Why am I here: I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St. Louis. It is diverse, welcoming and has a lot to offer. I was also impressed with the program on many levels. It has all the components of an excellent residency: a large patient population, state of the art facilities, tremendous learning and teaching opportunities, great mentorship and most importantly a collegial and supportive environment.

PGY – 2

 

Nicholas W. DeKorver, MD, PhD

Where I am from: I was born and raised just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I went to Central Michigan University for undergrad and studied biomedical science and neuroscience. During my undergraduate education, I developed a passion for basic science and worked in a neuroscience lab focused on stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. After college, I completed a research year at the National Institutes of Health studying mechanisms of stem cell mediated neuroprotection in glaucoma models. I then moved to Omaha, Nebraska for my medical degree and doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. My graduate work focused on investigating the roles of immune proteins in synaptic regulation and functional deficits associated with aging. I met my wife in graduate school (also a neuroscientist) and we moved to St. Louis to complete the next steps in our careers. 

Where I am going: It is my career goal to be active in both clinical pediatric neurology and in basic science. My clinical and research interests are focused in neurodevelopment, neuroimmunology, and neurogenetics. I hope to eventually have a lab focused on studying genetic and cell signaling pathways critical for proper neurodevelopment using clinically relevant mutations identified from patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. 

Why I am here: My wife and I were looking for a program close to family and with a strong basic science and clinical track record. I was fortunate to be able to come to Washington University in St. Louis for an away rotation in pediatric neurology. I really enjoyed the rotation and my interactions with faculty, fellows, and residents. The program has a strong track record of producing pediatric neurologists successful in both clinical practice and basic science. Additionally, my wife found a great lab for completing her post-doctoral training.  

One of the great things about St. Louis is the affordability. We purchased a house in the South Hampton area. We are able to walk to a number of restaurants (Mexican, Afghani, Greek, Nicaraguan, BBQ, Italian, Chinese, American, etc.). There are several parks nearby and it's an easy drive to the medical campus (10-15 minutes). For recreation, I enjoy fishing and you can find both small mouth and trout streams within 1-2 hours. Many state parks around also have great hiking, biking, and camping opportunities. Overall, we love living in St. Louis and our experience 

Michelle Lee, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in Los Angeles and attended college in northern California at Berkeley before moving across the country to New York for work and eventually, medical school in Philadelphia. 

Where I am going: I am really lucky to have had amazing mentors in the field of neuromuscular and neurogenetic disorders! I am eager to pursue training in these subspecialties after residency.

Why I am here: I knew I wanted to be at a residency program that offered me a diverse training experience in many subspecialties of pediatric neurology. But one of the biggest strengths of Wash U is also its emphasis on the importance of mentorship as part of your training experience early on. I feel very fortunate to have access to so many mentors across different fields of neurology! But most of all, my co-residents are wonderfully supportive and often look after my well-being. It really helps that Forest Park is so easily accessible for us to delve into in our spare time! I will also add that getting to know the city’s best cookies, croissants and donuts was a highlight of the past year. And while I do not yet have my own dog (ongoing search), it is very easy for me to get pet therapy. 

Esra Pehlivan, MD

Where I am from: I was born and raised in Turkey. I completed my medical school training and pediatric residency at Istanbul University in Turkey.

Where I am going: I am interested in neonatal neurology and neurogenetics but I am still exploring all the field has to offer and am open to other possibilities.

Why I am here: During my residency interview, the warm welcome and friendly environment at Dr. Mar’s house struck me. I loved the camaraderie between fellows and attendings. As someone who is far away from loved ones, a strong family environment is really important to me.

Not only does Wash U have caring faculty and residents, but it also stood out in terms of clinical and academic excellence. I wanted to be in a program that best supports me to pursue my career according to my interests and provide guidance and leadership skills.

In my spare time, I enjoy running in Forest Park, playing tennis as much as I can, hiking with my co-residents, and hanging out with my roomie (Grace) & our cat Olive and discovering all St. Louis has to offer.

Grace Tabatabai, MD

Where I am from: I hail from Rochester, Minnesota. I attended both college (St. Olaf in Northfield) and medical school (University of Minnesota in Minneapolis) in the northern state before moving to St. Louis for residency.  

Where I am going: I have interests in education, global outreach, neuro-muscle, and sleep neurology. However, I am still exploring various specialties and am keeping an open mind.   

Why I am here: I found a kind, caring, and passionate group of residents and faculty to train with here at Washington University. Coming from a close knit medical school, I was looking for a group of colleagues that felt more like a second family in a home away from home - which I inevitably found. My fellow residents have become some of my closest friends. The faculty is also very eager to support research or outreach interests we would like to pursue. The community as a whole cares about our wellbeing and educational experience.   

I live in the Forest Park area with my co-resident Esra and our new cat Olive!  I enjoy running in the park, knitting many a sweater, practicing hot yoga (in non-COVID times), baking, and guitar. I recently picked up ukulele which is easier to transport for sing-alongs with patients and friends. Saint Louis has much to offer in terms of museums, gardens, bakeries, and English-themed tea houses which are a favorite of mine. 

Gazelle Zerafati-Jahromi, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in Philly, went to Yale for undergrad, and came to Wash U for med school.

Where I am going: My passion within pediatric neurology lies in advocating for the needs of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. As many of these children are NICU grads, this year I am planning to further explore the field of neonatal neurology in order to learn more about how their long-term outcomes can be affected by their newborn course. I am also keeping an open mind to all other subspecialities, as they all work in the service of these children.

Why I am here: Our program has an incomparable combination of excellent training, wonderful teachers and colleagues, and high-quality lifestyle and cost of living. All of our rotations promote the residents as the leaders of the team and patient care starting in intern year. The training here fosters independence and confidence from the very beginning. Our attendings and fellows are passionate about teaching and do so in a constructive and approachable manner. The overall professional atmosphere is genuinely warm and friendly. Prioritization of a healthy work environment is extremely important to me, as it is a significant contributing factor to one's overall quality of life. Finally, the lifestyle and cost of living here in St. Louis is simply not attainable in the vast majority of the country. St. Louis is not so big as to be obnoxious and unmanageable and not so small as to be boring. We have abundant restaurant options, museums and outdoor activities. The Central West End, the neighborhood immediately surrounding the hospitals, is safe, family-friendly and easily walkable. And the rent here is literally a fraction of what other major cities tend to run and will buy you a much bigger and nicer space within walking distance of work. Overall, our program is unique because it offers both an excellent training experience and living experience, both of which are equally important.

PGY – 3

 

Saumel Ahmadi, MD/PhD

Where I am from: Originally from Western India, where I did my Medical school. Moved to Toronto, Canada where I did my PhD and post-doctoral studies at The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. 

Where I am going: Everything in Child Neurology is exciting, but narrowed it down to channelopathies, epilepsy, neurotech, neuroinfectious.

Why I am here: The warm, welcoming, friendly nature of almost everyone at Wash U and especially in the pediatric neurology program is the most important reason why I am here. That combined with excellent clinical services provided to a wide variety of patients, and Wash U being the home to some of the leaders in neurology, make the perfect incubator to kick-start a career as a physician-scientist. This notion has just gotten stronger for me over the past 2 years. This program has naturally molded me into comfortably taking care of a large number of complex patients, while continuing to learn, stay curious and hone my leadership skills. In the busiest of  days I feel responsible to maintain this warm, friendly, and collegial culture.

For me one of the coolest things about living and working here is access to the beautiful Forest Park across the street from the hospital. Missouri has tons of incredible camping sites, breathtaking natural springs and trails around them, million-year-old rock formations to explore both underground in caves and above, the birthplace of Route 66, and so much more I still need to explore. The combination of affordable living and the excellent international connectivity of the airport has allowed me to travel to 4 countries in 2 years. 

 The excellent work-life balance, the support of my extraordinary co-residents and attendings, and their excitement for child neurology, make this a perfect place to live and grow in our academic and personal lives.

Katherine Ferguson, MD

Where I am from: I have spent most of my life in Minneapolis, MN where I went to undergraduate and medical school at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Where I am going: I am currently interested in practicing general child neurology in an outpatient setting. This may change as I get more exposure in the next couple of years!

Why I am here: I was looking for a residency program that was on the larger side because I wanted to see many patients with diverse pathology. I wanted to see plenty of straightforward general child neurology patients as well as more rare, complicated patients in various subspecialties. I have definitely found that here. I also wanted to have a cohort of co-residents to travel through this experience with. On my interview day I was very impressed by the warm, welcoming feel of this program. Dr. Mar invited us to her home for the interview dinner and she and her husband cooked a delicious dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to meet a group of both adult and pediatric faculty, residents and their families. This culture has continued to hold true in my time here and my co-residents have become some of my closest friends.

I have found in St. Louis an accessible city with lots to keep me busy. My husband and I bought a house just south of the hospital. We spend our time exploring local breweries and restaurants, taking our two dogs to the dog park and running in our local parks.

Carley Gilman, MD

Where I am from: I am originally from rural Tennessee. I grew up on a horse farm and even brought my horse with me to college at Vassar in NY! While I still consider myself a southerner, I moved to the northeast for college and had been bouncing around up there for about 10 years. I did a few years of research at CHOP in Philly, completed a post-bac program at Bryn Mawr on the mainline of PA and went to medical school at Brown in RI. My move to St. Louis for residency is the closest I've lived to home since I was 18! 

Where I am going: I really enjoy thinking about neurologic injury in the critically ill child. Even more so, I find the neurodevelopmental trajectory after critical illness to be really interesting and important. While it is still relatively early in my training, neurocritical care and epilepsy are paths that I am considering after residency. 

Why I am here: I actually had a pretty circuitous route to this program. My husband, Matt, and I couples matched here - him for Ophtho and me for categorical pediatrics. Even though I had an interest in neurology and, specifically, neuroimaging, I have always loved pediatrics and I felt like I had not explored enough of pediatrics to know for sure if I could rule out the other subspecialties. Matt and I had trouble finding programs that we both liked in the same city but we both loved our respective programs at WashU and the choice seemed really clear to us. We love the academia, the ability to care for urban/rural/suburban patients of various demographics, and the quality of life that St. Louis could afford us.

After about 6 months of general pediatrics residency, I realized that the only thing I really loved was neurology. Luckily, our amazing neurology program was funded for an additional resident for my class year and I was able to match into the child neurology track for my same post-graduate year. The transition for me was actually pretty seamless thanks to the hard work of many faculty and administrators in the department. Even before I formally matched into the program, our neurology department really embraced me and gave me both an academic and social "home" within WashU which only made the decision that much easier. After the match, I really haven't looked back and am thrilled to be formally part of the department.

Martin Mwangi, MD

Where I am from: I am originally from Kenya and grew up in California where I completed my undergraduate and medical school training at the University of California Los Angeles.

Where I am going: I am interested in neuroimmunology, neuroinfectious disease, epilepsy, neuropsychiatry, and advocacy. I look forward to exploring these subspecialties over my training to further define my fellowship plans.

Why I am here: During my sub-internship at WashU, and now in my continued training, I am inspired by my interactions with very approachable faculty and the excellent learning environment they create. Additionally, the volume of patients we see has been beneficial in developing my skills as a clinician. When I am not at work, it is great to pursue my interests in an area that is not cost prohibitive (hiking, exploring wine country, botanical gardens, museums, restaurants, jazz). I have greatly enjoyed my training and living in St. Louis thus far and I look forward to my years of neurology training still to come.

Rachel Zolno, MD

Where I am from: I was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I moved over to the east coast for undergraduate at Brown University in Providence, RI. After, I spent a year working in an elementary school in Boston, MA. I attended medical school at Albert Einstein in the Bronx, NY. Now I am happy to be back in the Midwest!

Where I am going: I would like to subspecialize and stay in academic medicine, although I have not yet chosen a subspecialty. A few of my interests are neuro-muscle, neuroimmunology, and neurogenetics. 

Why I am here: When I was on the interview trail, I was looking for a program that would offer excellent teaching and patient exposure in all three fields: pediatrics, adult neurology, and pediatric neurology. Wash U is the rare triple threat and is truly exceptional in all of these aspects of training. Perhaps even more important is the sense of support and community within this program. I remember feeling so welcome at the recruitment dinner at Dr. Mar’s house during my interview day, and this sense of belonging continued when I started residency. I really appreciated feeling a part of the pediatric neurology family here, even when I was completing my two years of pediatrics. 

St. Louis has been a wonderful city to live in as a resident. It is an affordable city, and I am able to live in a gorgeous apartment that is a short walk to the hospital. There are so many beautiful neighborhoods and hidden treasures (especially the City Museum). Wineries, hikes, beaches, and float trips are just a short drive away. Forest Park has a ton of free, outdoor activities to enjoy every summer, and as a huge musical theater fan, I personally love going to the MUNY. My co-residents have become my best friends, and we have loved exploring the city during our time off.

PGY – 4

 

Jordan Cole, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in the suburbs on the Kansas side of Kansas City. I did undergrad in Physiology at University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ, and then headed back to the Midwest for medical school here at Wash U. 

Where I am going:  My primary interests include neuropsychiatric disorders and neurodevelopmental/neurogenetic disorders, and I enjoy the diagnosis and management of these conditions across the full range of medical settings, from acute inpatient to long-term outpatient. 

Why I am here: Even as a medical student I felt incredibly welcomed and supported by the peds neuro faculty. I absolutely wanted to stay for residency training because the program has everything I was looking for. Some unique things that we have here that I love include: the extremely collaborative culture among our attendings and residents; the ability for us as residents to follow subspecialty patients in our own clinics; the structure of the inpatient neurology service where we get to function as "fellows" during the 4th and 5th years; the patient population (including urban, suburban and rural patients and patients across multiple cultural demographics); the fact that we function as both a tertiary referral center with a wide catchment area and a local hospital (so we often get to be the first to see and diagnose incredibly rare and unique disorders); our phenomenal neuroradiology colleagues (whom we have weekly meetings with to discuss interesting cases, and also call all the time to discuss images with); our own neurology-specific pharmacist; and our amazing in-hospital neurorehab program, to name a few! 

Laura Gilbert, DO, MBA

Where I am from: I grew up in South Florida, but have fallen in love with the Midwest and haven’t looked back since! I went to Northwestern University for my undergraduate studies, then performed clinical research there for 2 years. I then completed a dual degree D.O./M.B.A. program at Kansas City University/Rockhurst University, prior to beginning my residency here in St. Louis in 2017. 

Where I am going: I am passionate about the field of movement disorders and caring for patients with cerebral palsy. I am hoping to pursue a movement disorders fellowship and will also be applying for the R25 NIH grant. 

Why I am here: Like most residents here, I realized I wanted to be at Washington University in St. Louis after my interview day. The program felt like a family and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it! Every day, I feel lucky to train next to so many intelligent and kind co-residents who I cherish going through this crazy experience called residency with. The faculty here are brilliant, yet humble, and are truly passionate about resident education and support us to the fullest. They will help guide you to be successful in whichever area of interest that you hope to pursue. Washington University in St. Louis is a large academic institution that allows for the best possible training in all portions of the child neurology residency (pediatrics, adult neurology, and pediatric neurology) so that by completion, you are beyond prepared for caring for children with neurological disorders. 

I have loved getting to explore the city of St. Louis. In my free time, I find myself going to the many amazing (and often free) museums, such as the St. Louis Art Museum or the City Museum, which is like an adult playground! There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can do in the area such as hiking, kayaking, or biking, or you can stroll around the St. Louis Botanical Gardens, have a picnic in Forest Park, or spend a day at the wineries! As a foodie, I have been so impressed by the food scene here and constantly find new, innovative, and delicious restaurants. One of my favorite hobbies is dancing and I have been able to find a studio near me for classes as well as fun salsa clubs to work on my latin dancing! There are always fun events throughout the city such as the Festival of Nations, Mardi Gras (2nd largest in the U.S.), St. Patrick’s Day parade, Pride, the Central West End Cocktail Party, food truck nights at Tower Grove Park, and more! No matter what you enjoy, you can find it in St. Louis! Even if I had the chance to choose again where I would go for residency, I would 100% choose Wash U!

Nino Kerashvili

Where I am from: I am from Tbilisi which is the Republic of Georgia's capital city. I graduated from David Tvildiani Medical University, and moved to the US to pursue a career in adult neurology.  During my residency at University of South Carolina, I developed a passion for pediatric neurology!

Where I am going: I am interested in neurogenetics, particularly in mitochondrial disease. I like the idea of building lifelong relationships with my patients and continuing to follow them as they move into adulthood.

Why I am here: Here you will find everyone is generous with their time and knowledge; I have learned equally from the amazing attendings and my co-residents. Every day I go to work inspired by the views of St. Louis's Forest Park and the smiling faces of our patients.  Also, St. Louis is a really fun city to explore with a great art and food scene and all the frozen custard you could ever want. 

 

Erin Langton

Where I am from: I grew up in Lancaster, Massachusetts. I moved to Virginia to attend  The College of William & Mary from 2009-2012 where I earned a degree in Neuroscience. Following undergraduate, I worked as a medical scribe for a year, then earned my M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, Virginia (2013-2017). As a medical student, I completed a visiting rotation in pediatric neurology at Wash U and realized it was a great place to train.

Where I am going: I have a special interest in neuromuscular diseases. My dream is to bring gene therapy to a smaller academic institution to broaden access for patients in rural areas. I am also interested in medical education, and I would love to work with students or residents as a part of my career.

Why I am here:
The Program: As I evaluated my rank list, I realized that Wash U had to be number one. Saint Louis Children’s Hospital is high-volume and never has a shortage of pediatric neurology cases. We also have a huge department with faculty in every major subspecialty who are accessible to residents to staff our cases and teach us. After examining faculty lists from other programs around the country, I realized that pediatric neurology was born in Saint Louis. Our training is strong in all 3 programs we integrate into: pediatrics, adult neurology, and pediatric neurology.

The People: Residency is challenging. I wanted to attend a program where I was not the only resident in my class and could share my experience with others in my year. We mean a lot to each other here, and we work hard to set our rising counterparts up for success. I love my co-residents. You also want leadership that is going to support residents. Our program leadership protects its residents and is receptive to our ideas, making small changes regularly and big changes annually as our hospital and program grow. I am so happy that I matched here.

The Place: Saint Louis is affordable. As residents, we are set up for financial success by living here with a competitive salary. I love being able to enjoy the outdoors year-round. My husband and I love to hike, and there are dozens of places to hike less than an hour from where we live. Float trips are also popular. You can live in the hopping Central West End or the suburbs (and drive a whopping 8 minutes to work) like me, so there is something for everyone. Saint Louis is a great place to be!

Dina Soloveychik, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago but completed both my undergrad and medical school at Indiana University. 

Where I am going: I am interested in epilepsy and general neurology. At this time, I am planning on pursuing an epilepsy fellowship after residency. I also have a special interest in palliative care in the pediatric neurology patient population and integrating palliative medicine into the care of our patients. 

Why I am here: While interviewing for residency, I was looking for a program where I could be taught by the best in the field but also offered a closely knit, supportive community in which to train. Here at Wash U in St. Louis, I have been exposed to clinical and academic excellence across all neurologic specialties as well as a program that values community, wellness and supports its residents fully. I have also grown to love the city of St. Louis during my time here. When I moved here, I realized how much this city has to offer. On my days off, I always seem to be able to find a new restaurant to go to (that was usually recommended to me by one of my co-residents!). St. Louis is also a very dog friendly city and on weekends, one of my favorite activities is going to brunch with my husband and our dog followed by a walk in one of the many parks in St. Louis. I have been surprised by how many really cool places are just a short drive from the city and make a perfect day trip. Some of my favorites are going winery hopping just west of the city and going hiking in the many state parks in Missouri. 

PGY – 5

 

Cameron Crockett, MD

Where I am from: Fairview, OR was home to me until I left for the desert to complete my undergraduate studies at Arizona State University. I went on to obtain my MD from the University of Iowa.

Where I am going: I will be staying at Washington University in Saint Louis to complete fellowship training in neuromuscular medicine. I am excited to be entering a subspecialty making such incredible strides in treating patients with these chronic diseases!

Why I’m here:   When I started my search for a residency program, I knew I was interested in neuromuscular medicine but was far from set on the idea. Because of this, I knew I wanted a program that would provide excellent training in all subspecialties to help guide this decision. At Wash U I found a program that not only had this strength across the board, but really seemed invested in allowing residents to explore their interests. This coupled with the supportive environment built by our faculty and my fellow residents allowed me to learn exactly what I wanted my life as a neurologist to be – and provided me with the training to accomplish it!

Saint Louis has become a place we really love to call home – we are always surprised to find something new to explore! The neighborhoods in the city can give you such a different vibe with just a short drive. As someone who always finds himself wondering what might be up to eat next, the culinary scene in Saint Louis has been a revelation. I asked my wife for help deciding which one restaurant we would send any visitor to our city to, and she replied, “That’s impossible – just send them your spreadsheet!” Let me know if you need my spreadsheet. I would put our local microbreweries up against any city I’ve ever been in – and the festivals that branch out from these spots are pretty great! I always find myself able to scratch the local music itch. Maybe most importantly Saint Louis is very dog friendly, and our pup Avery is always happy to be exploring our city.

At Wash U I found great training and an amazing place to live. I have also found the incredible co-residents to share it all with. I have absolutely loved having the chance to learn with them and from them and I can’t wait to see the way they end up changing the world for their patients!

Sarah Michael Dixon, MD

Where I am from:  I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI. Completed undergraduate studies at Western Michigan University and medical school at University of Michigan.

Where I am going:  I’m planning to pursue a career in general child neurology. I also have special interests in education and advocacy which I’ve been able to grow by starting an advocacy curriculum for our residents!

Why I'm here: I remember the warm atmosphere at Dr. Mar’s welcome dinner during my interview in St. Louis and the sense of family I witnessed then has only grown during my training. I couple’s matched with my spouse who recently completed an Ophthalmology residency at Wash U and is now doing a glaucoma fellowship. Wash U stood out to us among other programs due to the ease of communication between departments as we navigated the couples match process. This excellent communication has continued throughout residency, allowing us to line up all of our vacation time for 5 years in a row!

On a day off, you’ll find me outdoors hiking, kayaking, or enjoying a picnic in the park. The affordable cost of living has allowed my spouse and I to scratch our travel itch and visit numerous domestic and international destinations during residency. Our central location has also made it easy for family all over the country to come visit us regularly. There’s a diverse food scene and I’ve collected several favorite restaurants while living here including Indo (Pan-asian), Nudo House (ramen), Mac’s Local Eats (best burger in town), Fork & Stix (Thai), Vicia (our class favorite vegetarian), and of course plenty of barbecue!

More than anything, I can’t express enough how wonderful it’s been to train and grow alongside my co-residents with the support of our wonderful faculty and program leadership. Given the option to do it all over, I would 100% choose this program again and again.

Maria Milagros Galardi, MD

Where I am from: I am born, raised, and trained in Argentina! I grew up in San Nicolas and went to medical school in Universidad de Buenos Aires in BA. I moved to the US in 2015 and worked in basic research at Yale University in New Haven before moving to St. Louis for residency in 2016.

Where I am going: I am passionate about the care of kids with acute neurologic injury and other critical illnesses from a brain perspective. I am planning on pursuing fellowship to subspecialize in pediatric neurocritical care and cerebrovascular disease after residency.

Why I am here: I knew I wanted to come to Washington University in St. Louis when I got to meet the people and experience the atmosphere in our program, because it struck me as a perfect combination of academic excellence and big-family feel. It has been a privilege to grow into the pediatric neurologists we (almost) are under the guidance of our incredible faculty who are always willing to share their knowledge and support us while fostering our autonomy.  I am  forever grateful for the chance to do this alongside amazing co-residents that I admire and have become my family.

Speaking of family, I moved to St. Louis by myself and met my now husband here! We continue to be surprised with the endless opportunities to explore the outdoors in Missouri and can give you advice on almost every hiking spot around the city. We enjoy running in Forest Park and biking different urban trails. Kayaking, tennis, and golf (the latter of which I am still trying to learn) have been our summer staples.  During the winter we like to explore the city’s museums and occasionally check out whatever play is on at the Fox theater. The food scene in St. Louis is a joy of its own and each neighborhood has its personal vibe. Overall, I have felt at home away from home here… and made friendships for life. 

Cristina Gaudioso, MD

Where I am from: I am originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I later I lived in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii for several years. I completed my undergraduate training at the Evergreen State College and my pre-medical post-baccalaureate training at Portland State University. I returned to the Midwest for medical school at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Where I am going: I am interested in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology and will be starting my pediatric MS fellowship at Wash U in 2021.

Why I am here: Wash U quickly rose to the top of my rank list after meeting the faculty and residents on interview day.  I was struck by the warmth and collegiality of the department. There was a clear emphasis on not only clinical and academic excellence, but also on resident well-being, family, and community. In the past four years my co-residents have become my dear friends and my attendings have become my mentors and role models.  I have also grown to love the city of St. Louis and its diverse communities, historic neighborhoods, and thriving park system. On days off, my husband, dog, and I can often be found hiking, biking, or working in our urban garden. We also love exploring St. Louis’ vibrant, award winning restaurant scene (rated #5 in the country by Food and Wine).