Our Premed Advisory Council

The purpose of the Premed Advisory Council is to offer genuine guidance and mentorship to current or future premed students through webinars, blog posts, and other online info sessions. Since every member of the panel has experienced the medical school application process firsthand, they offer unique perspectives into getting in and getting through medical school. Below you’ll find the names and bios of each member of the Premed Advisory Council.

Chris Koumas

Chris is a neurology resident at New York-Presbyterian - Columbia, an experienced tutor, veteran medical school and residency consultant. As someone who received many medical school offers and succeeded in the Residency Match process himself and frequently helps many students prosper through this same process, you can expect him to know exactly how to guide you to achieve your goals.

You can rely on him to use this experience to help you identify programs that would be an ideal fit and then equip you with all the tips and tools you need to effectively highlight your strengths on your application and nail your interviews. He will be invested in your success every step of the way!

Christine Crispen, PhD

As the former Director of Admissions of the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Christine reviewed 6,000 applications annually. With over 15 years of higher education experience, she has served as an Admissions Committee Member, Admissions Advisor, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical Education. Due to her extensive experience in admissions, Christine is skilled at helping premed students navigate every part of the application process, from choosing the most beneficial extracurriculars as early as freshman year up to final stages of applying to medical school. Christine earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California with a research focus on the experiences of underrepresented students in medical education.

Clair Collins

Clair Collins currently serves as the Director of Academic Infrastructure and Professional Development at the Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She earned her B.A. in English and M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Sam Houston State University. She is currently finishing her PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies at The University of Houston.

Clair has over ten years of experience working in admissions including undergraduate, graduate, and medical school admissions. She has helped start two osteopathic medical schools in that time- NYITCOM at A-State and SHSU-COM. In originating multiple departments and committees, Clair has designed admissions processes, policies and procedures, and been a member of the national and state committees that design the AACOMAS and TMDSAS applications. Her area of specializations within admissions work are bias mitigation and creating data visualizations to help committees make more informed decisions.

While working with committees, faculty, and staff are extremely fulfilling, Clair's biggest passion is working directly with students. In previous admissions roles, Clair read over 4,000 applications a year, created admissions preparatory programs for students, and developed pipeline programs. She's been an invited speaker at universities, churches, residency programs, and high schools where she was able to work one-on-one with prospective medical students and help guide them in their efforts to become physicians. Clair has also been an active speaker on a variety of admissions topics presenting at TACAC, TACRAO, NAAHP, SAAHP, and AACOM conferences. 

In her limited spare time, Clair can be found volunteering at her local food bank or tending to her garden.

Jeunice Owens-Walton

Jeunice is a dynamic mentor and pre-medical admissions consultant with years of experience aiding applicants reach success. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Georgia State University, her M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia, and is currently a Urology resident at the University of Virginia, continuing her training as a surgeon-scientist. Jeunice was a non-traditional applicant and during her three gap years before matriculating she explored other avenues of healthcare delivery such as vision care and concierge medicine.

While at MCG she mentored both professionally and personally and has served in several leadership roles at the institutional, regional, and national levels. As a member of the MCG Admissions Committee, she has become astute at training students for the Mini Multiple Interview format. She was also a pioneering member of the Dean's Taskforce for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion which allowed her to work closely with medical school administration, fostering strong partnerships and advocating for student financial and educational resources, including creating more scholarships and curriculum reform. Her advocacy on behalf of students has earned her recognition as a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and Alpha Upsilon Phi, and the MCG society for service and leadership. In addition to mentoring and advocating on behalf of current medical students, she is passionate about solidifying the pipeline for pre-medical students to forge their journey in medicine, especially those from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds. Additionally, Jeunice opted to enhance her medical education by completing a one-year research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD where she worked closely with some of the world's leading physician-scientists in kidney and prostate cancer research. Her unconventional journey to and through medicine makes her uniquely qualified to analyze and advise both traditional and non-traditional applicants of varying paths, backgrounds, and experiences.

Jeunice is an accomplished mentor and medical school consultant who is passionate about uncovering the unique aspects of each applicant's story, highlighting strengths and talents, minimizing weaknesses, and weaving them into a successful application. Jeunice believes that nobody else can be you quite like You, and that's your superpower.

Joe Larwa

Joe grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA before being accepted into the accelerated physical therapy program at Drexel University, graduating summa cum laude. As an avid soccer player, Joe suffered a hip labral tear during a college showcase tournament which required surgical repair and lead to his interest in health care and medicine. After realizing that he wanted more with his career during physical therapy school, he decided to pursue medicine, taking his MCAT while balancing the rigors of post-graduate education. Joe is currently located in Jacksonville, FL completing his orthopaedic surgery residency where he continues to mentor medical and pre-medical students.

Joe’s atypical path to medicine gives him a unique perspective for non traditional applicants. His passion for mentoring stems from his own prior mentors who instilled in him his motto of “paying it forward.” At Drexel Med, he served on the admission steering committee and was an avid student interviewer during his four years at Drexel. He performed Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) for prospective applicants during medical school and has advised numerous students in their pursuit of medicine and orthopaedics.

Having been through the application process to not only medical school but also physical therapy school and one of the competitive residencies in medicine, orthopedic surgery, Joe understands the ways to make your application stand out. His passion and upbeat personality will be evident from your first meeting with Joe and helps to dampen the stress of application season.

When he’s not fixing bones and musculoskeletal injuries in the hospital, you can find him deep sea fishing, enjoying the Florida weather at Jacksonville beach, and spending time with his wife, Ashley and daughter, Madison. Fun fact: Joe worked for the Philadelphia Eagles for five years as a concierge supervisor, go birds!

Josh McGough

Josh McGough is a husband, father, and resident physician. He is a graduate of Stony Brook’s 3-year M.D. program, which let him shave off a year of training and granted him a guaranteed residency placement at his institution. He was the first student accepted into this program for Emergency Medicine.

Josh completed a B.S. in Biochemistry and BA in Chemistry at the University of Rochester. He then went on to complete an M.S. in Biomedical Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

When Josh applied to medical school, he received a dozen interviews and multiple acceptances. He has also collaborated with admissions committees across multiple medical schools expanding on his admissions knowledge. Josh strives to get his premedical students into their top choice and not just any medical school. He has helped dozens of students become the best applicants they could be at all points in the process, from prerequisite courses through interview preparations. One of his current interests is working with the Stony Brook admissions team on how students can conquer the new virtual interview landscape.

Leo Wang

Leo is an accomplished and knowledgeable tutor and mentor with over a decade of experience working with students at many levels in everything ranging from medical school admissions to USMLE tutoring. Leo is currently a dermatology resident at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned his BA, MS, MD, and PhD. He was accepted to many of the most competitive medical schools and dermatology residency programs in the country. While at Penn, Leo professionally mentored dozens of undergraduate students applying to medical school, graduate school, and for competitive research grants. He has helped numerous college students earn admissions offers from the most competitive medical schools in the country including the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, and University of Chicago. He also served on admissions committees at various levels across Penn.

A dedicated coach, Leo takes his students' success as seriously as his own and firmly commits himself to help them achieve their goals. Leo will take command and establish himself as a strong, solid leader to guide you toward your goals. Throughout your work with Leo, you will not only benefit from his attention to your unique strengths and weaknesses, but also from his constructive feedback, support, and positive motivation as he pushes you to bring out your best. We have no doubt that he will be a terrific match for you!

Maria Evankovich

Maria grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA before studying Psychology, Neuroscience, and Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating summa cum laude. After volunteering at a malnourishment clinic for children in Bolivia, she decided to pursue a career in medicine. Maria’s medical interests include global health, as evidenced by two recent medical missions to Honduras, women’s health, and care for the underserved.

Her belief is that the path to medicine is hard enough so she is committed to making sure that no one has to walk that path alone. At PittMed, she served on the admissions board as an interviewer for potential applicants as well as a mentor for undergraduate pre-med students for over five years.

Maria has provided her expert services to many students ever since she was accepted into the highly-ranked University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine over three years ago! Having recently been through the application process, Maria has a fresh perspective on what medical schools are looking for in their students today. Through personal mentorship, application/interview advice, personal statement and secondaries editing, Maria has assisted students apply to M.D., D.O., and other graduate programs. She has also prepared students for interviews including Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) as well as virtual interviews.

One student Maria advised said, “I could not have gotten into medical school without Maria. I believe Maria’s advice to create unique secondaries for each specific school really helped set me apart and helped me display genuine interest in each medical school. She was very relatable and gave valuable tips.” This student is now a first year medical student at their top choice MD program!

Another student who recently was admitted to the MD school of their choice commented, “She knew what attributes and activities to highlight to make me stand out from other applicants. She was very honest and attentive and I truly felt like we were a team. She helped me choose classes as an undergraduate, pick who should write my recommendation letters, and narrow down my school list.”

Noah Heilenbach

Noah is a medical student at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. In his first year of medical school, Noah was selected for a Population Health Research Fellowship to study the social determinants of ophthalmic disease. At NYU, he has served on the Admissions Committee and interviewed dozens of applicants in the Multiple Mini Interview format. In addition to being an interviewer, Noah has firsthand experience weaving numerous extracurricular activities into a coherent and compelling narrative.

As an undergraduate, Noah was awarded a fellowship to do ophthalmology research at University College London. During his own application cycle, Noah received interview invitations to 16 medical schools, attended 13 interviews, and gained admission or waitlist spots to 10 medical schools. Noah is passionate about translating the lessons he learned from his own application cycle and his time as an interviewer into successful strategies for the applicants he mentors.

Richard O’Neal

Richard O’Neal currently serves as the Director of Curriculum Development & Support at the University of Houston College of Medicine. He received his B.A. in Journalism-Public Relations from Sam Houston State University and completed his M.S. in Leadership Studies from Duquesne University.

Richard has worked as a coordinator, assistant director, program director and director within all four years of undergraduate medical education at five other medical schools—University of Texas Health Science Center–Houston McGovern, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University and, most recently before UHCOM, Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In addition to his work in undergraduate medical education, Richard built the Advanced Premedical Studies Post Baccalaureate Program, a pipeline program designed specifically for underrepresented students pursuing health professions opportunities at Cooper’s Medical School. This included overall program management for student success, managing the adjunct faculty in the program, serving as the official premedical advisor for CMSRU, as well as serving as the front-line admissions and recruitment for the Post Bacc program and serving as the Chair for the PB Admissions Committee.

Richard has served on many major committees and subcommittees at the medical school level, including being elected as COM Admissions Committee Chair at two medical schools, and Vice Chair of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He has a passion for volunteering within medical school recruitment/admissions, counseling and student wellness, career development, and pipeline programs. Medical student wellness has also been a particular area of awareness, given the rising issue of medical student and physician burnout.

Rick Lin

Rick grew up in Weston, FL before later going on to pursue a B.S. in Public Health at the University of Miami where he continued his studies for medical school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He will be graduating medical school in May 2022 and pursuing his internal medicine residency at the University of Florida. During medical school, he has volunteered extensively in free clinics and health fairs caring for the underserved in South Florida and has done research primarily in the hematology/oncology field.

He is passionate about mentoring the next generation of physicians because he understands that this journey is a long and challenging road. He could not have done it without the numerous mentors that guided him along the process and he wants to do the exact same for others.

During medical school, he has had extensive experience mentoring several students applying to medical school. For the past year, he has also served as a voting member on the medical school admissions committee where he has been able to screen medical school applicants, interview and write reports on applicants, and subsequently ballot applicants. After the hundreds of applications that he has reviewed, he knows what kind of applicant can catch the eye of the admissions committee. As an admissions committee member, he has interviewed an abundance of applicants for medical school and will be able to share his tips when it comes to the interviewing stage.

Rick is dedicated and committed to your success and will help guide you to make your goals become reality. Throughout your work with Rick, you will see the detail he puts into analyzing every aspect of your medical school application in order to ensure you achieve the most success.

Samantha Ong

Samantha graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University with a BA in Biology and attended medical school at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. From there, she graduated as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society and received a Distinction in Research award for extensive scholarly activity throughout medical school. After completing a Transitional Year Residency at AMITA Health Resurrection in Chicago, she will return to Saint Louis University for her residency in Dermatology.

In medical school, Samantha’s work outside of the hospital focused on peer and patient advocacy, teaching, and clinical research, which in time developed a passion for academic medicine. Through her school’s Medical Education Learning Community, she was selected to coach pre-med undergraduates on how to ace their medical school admissions interviews. Later, she served on her school’s admissions committee as a senior AOA interviewer. Besides interviewing potential candidates, she hosted many virtual interview day activities and voted at monthly committee meetings alongside faculty and deans. 

Samantha also has three years of experience as a trained writing tutor, working as a Head Writing Fellow at the Barnard College Writing Center. She co-founded the Science Fellows Program to help science majors and pre-med students transfer writing skills from the humanities to the sciences. With this experience and insight into the medical school admissions process, her goal is to help students draw from all aspects of their unique life experiences to paint the very best portrait of themselves and shine before admissions committees.

As someone who just navigated yet another challenging application cycle and conquered the Match, Samantha has turned her own personal experiences into successful strategies. She has always been a devoted mentor and will be completely invested in your success!

Stephan “Zach” Frabitore, MD

Dr. Stephen "Zach" Frabitore began his career as an Athletic Trainer, providing sports medicine services for Division I NCAA Collegiate football, baseball, and soccer programs. Upon deciding to pursue medicine, he trained at East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine as a non-traditional student, serving on multiple curriculum committees and as a full member of the Admissions Committee. He has used his experience as a family man, a career changer, and an Admissions Committee Member to advise many students on their medical journey. He graduated as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and is now an Anesthesiology resident at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he continues his work in medical education.

Will Huffman

 

Will is a first-year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2019 with a bachelor of science in biochemistry. In his application cycle, he received acceptances from several prestigious medical schools, as well as a full-tuition merit scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked extensively with the admissions team at Penn by interviewing applicants and recruiting accepted students. He loves assisting in the admissions process and bringing the best application forward for every student.