Physicians of 2020

October 15, 2017 pixelmark

Physicians of 2020 | Stethoscope
These students just started their second year of medical school at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. See how they plan to change the future of health care in our region after they are physicians.
Photography by Alex Lam,
Shaminder Dhillon, and
Courtesy of BCOM

Andrew Ortega

Physicians of 2020 | Andrew Ortega Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Future Goals: My dream in life has always been to give back to the community that has given me so much. I was born in in El Paso, then moved to Houston, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and back to El Paso. The health disparities between the two countries is appalling and I feel like it is my personal responsibility to help.While it is difficult to change the world as a whole, we certainly all have the power to change someone’s world and that is exactly what I plan on doing by serving people in the Southwest Borderland area and of all walks of life.
Hobbies: Some things I enjoy doing in my free time are playing poker, chess, basketball, reading, and cooking. When I get the chance, I also love to sit back, relax, and watch NFL and NBA games.
Surprising fact: I actually almost majored in history when I began college. I’ve always had a great appreciation for it. It was between biology or history and what helped me decide was shadowing the Medical Examiner in Juarez. That really pushed my decision towards going the physician route.

Roxanne Waggoner

Physicians of 2020 | Roxanne WaggonerHometown: Las Cruces, New Mexico
Future Goals: I want to practice pediatrics in rural areas of New Mexico to help increase access to healthcare. Sometimes I want to practice neonatology working in a NICU. Sometimes I think I want to do pediatric oncology, sometimes I think pediatric sports medicine. Luckily, I still have several years to decide.
Hobbies: I enjoy hiking, playing racquetball, and going to CrossFit classes in my free time. I also enjoy cooking and baking. I never seem to make the same thing twice though so it takes me a long time.
Surprising Fact: I didn’t shadow much before applying to medical school. Most of my experience in the medical field stemmed from being the patient. As a child I ended up in the ER quite a few times due to falling and breaking my arm, choking on a nickel, being hit by a golf club (it was an accident)…the list goes on and on.

John Rajala

Physicians of 2020 | John RajalaHometown: Dallas, Texas
Why BCOM?: It was clear from the beginning that BCOM was going to be different than any other medical school. I knew I wanted to be at a program whose mission was aligned with reaching underserved populations, but a lot of BCOM’s draw was the opportunity to innovate. As the first class, we get the opportunity to set the standard. I liked that idea.
Other Interests: I’m active in the Student Osteopathic Medical Association. This organization provides a way for medical students to get active in healthcare policy and that’s something I care a great deal about.
Surprising Fact: My original career goal was to be an animator with Disney. I got into animation school, but life took me a different direction. I make it a point to draw regularly, and I’m not taking Disney off the table just yet.

Rory Siegel

Physicians of 2020 | Rory SiegalHometown: Stoughton, Massachusetts
Future Goals: I came to BCOM because I wanted to travel to a new area and use my ability to speak Spanish to help more people as a future doctor. There are so many opportunities in this area for the medical field and it is very exciting to be part of this pioneering class. I plan on becoming a physiatrist after graduating and entering the medical field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). In this field specifically, one can focus on rehabilitating the patient from a traumatic injury through non-surgical methods.
Hobbies: In my free time, I teach Bodypump at local gyms and really take an interest in my personal fitness through weightlifting and nutrition. I also really enjoy reality TV shows and hope one day to be on Survivor!
Surprising Fact: I am blind in my left eye and can’t see 3D movies—but they’re too expensive anyway.

Michael Davis

Physicians of 2020 | Michael DavisHometown: Valencia, California
Future Goals: Ultimately, I saw BCOM as an opportunity to help shape the future of healthcare in a region where people need it most. My ultimate goal is to serve and add value to as many people in my community as possible. I want to establish a foundation of friendship and trust with my patients to be able to best assist them in their health and wellness goals. I believe the physician-patient relationship works best when expectations are made clear and communication is consistent. I hope to achieve these goals right here, in the Land of Enchantment.
Hobbies: I enjoy working out, all sporting activities, reading leadership books, going to church, volunteering, taking the occasional trip to El Paso, exploring Mesilla, movie nights, and eating ALL types of food.
Surprising Facts: I was a two-sport athlete in college. I ran track and played football. And I’ve been falsely identified as Kanye West and Kevin Hart more times than I’d care to admit.

Evan Teske

Physicians of 2020 | Evan TeskeHometown: Shippenville, Pennsylvania
Why BCOM?: I have a strong connection to New Mexico because of an internship where I lived and worked in the Pueblo of Acoma and Albuquerque. Everyone from that experience became family to me and I’ve visited them every year since. When I heard that there would be a new school strongly committed to the region, I was interested. From the philosophy that focuses on people coming together to tackle healthcare issues to the spiral curriculum that is fully integrative, I knew I was going to commit to the school.
Other Interests: I’ve been training and practicing martial arts for 11 years, so it’s firmly become a part of my identity. I also love Star Wars in all of its different forms. If I have a break in between studying, I’ll read or watch things I’m most interested at the time.
Surprising Fact: I come from an unconventional academic background compared to most medical students. I went to a small liberal arts school and majored in American Studies (with foci in English and Native American Studies). It gives me a unique perspective, but not having a science major made the learning curve at the beginning of medical school a little more difficult.

Mariah Maestas

Physicians of 2020 | Mariah MaestasHometown: Española, New Mexico
Why BCOM?: I am excited about what osteopathic medicine can do for New Mexico, especially when it comes to the issue of prescription drug abuse. If more patients can be treated using osteopathic manipulations, this has the potential to lead to a decrease in prescription drug availability. My fellow classmates and I genuinely care about the issues New Mexico faces. Those from other parts of the country have embraced their immersion into our culture from learning about Native American culture to finding they will be hard pressed to order any food in the area that doesn’t come with green chile.
Hobbies: I have been a professional auntie since I was four years old and have 11 nieces and nephews between the ages of 10 months and 21 years. I enjoy going home and spending time with them. There is always a new milestone; from graduations, to First Holy Communions, to losing their first teeth, to learning how to crawl.
Surprising Fact: I learned to weave traditional Rio Grande rugs in high school. My rugs won a couple of ribbons in local art shows. I hope in the future to acquire a loom and continue weaving.

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