We are a small team of medical students with a wide range of skills, interests, and experience. We have a fantastic mentor, Dr. Kamran Mirza.

Nate Burstedt


Nate graduated in 2016 from Brigham Young University and is a current medical student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. Between undergrad and medical school he volunteered full-time at the Maliheh Free Clinic in Salt Lake City through the Americorps VISTA program and he hopes to continue working with disadvantaged populations in his future medical career. He grew up in San Diego, and although he’s been studying in other states for the last 8 years he still retains a pretentious attitude about proper burrito composition.

Alek Druck


Alek graduated from Marquette University in 2017 and is a current medical student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. Alek is involved in a variety of programs outside of his usual coursework, from investigating ways to augment the patient-physician relationship to working with underrepresented populations in the Chicagoland area. His hobbies include skiing, dirtbiking, and (re)learning how to play piano and guitar.

Josh Lewis


Josh completed his undergraduate and PhD studies at Brigham Young University before starting medical school at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, earning him the “eternal student award”. Josh loves learning about and contributing to new research but is most excited about being able to use that knowledge to care for future patients.  In his free time, Josh loves spending time in the outdoors, running, hanging out with family and friends, and getting lost in a good book. 

Mara Peterson


An Arizona native, Mara graduated from ASU in 2016- Go Devils! She then bought the warmest coat she could find and moved to Chicago to attend medical school at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. Outside of class, she is dedicated to learning about the healthcare needs of the veteran and homeless populations. She also plays cello in a local symphony and is trying to perfect her chocolate chip scone recipe.

Neal Sethi


A native of Southern California, Neal graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2016 and is a current medical student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. Between undergrad and medical school, he worked as a scribe for ScribeAmerica. Aside from his usual coursework, Neal is involved in research projects through medical school. He also enjoys playing and watching basketball (an avid Lakers fan), working out, and cooking.

Rasa Valiauga


Rasa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 and spent four years as a research specialist studying retinogenesis and using stem cells as therapies for degenerative retinal diseases.  She is currently pursuing her MD/PhD dual degree at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine.  Rasa has leadership roles in numerous student organizations and is passionate about service, especially spending time with veterans at the Hines VA.  She has an adventurous spirit and loves trying out new activities, as well as throwing down in the kitchen.

Dave Lee

Dave graduated from Gonzaga University in 2014, and completed a master’s at Georgetown University in 2016. He is currently an MD/MPH student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, and is passionate about addressing systemic health disparities in our communities. When he’s not at school, you can find Dave dancing, drawing, or hanging out on a trapeze.

Emily Hagen


A New York native, Emily graduated from Cornell University in 2017, where she majored in Human Development. She is a current medical student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. In between college and medical school, Emily helped conduct clinical trials studying kidney cancer treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and volunteered as a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line. She is passionate about all things related to bioethics and has published articles pertaining to wisdom, the autopsy, and discussing death. Emily is also a faculty member of PathElective’s Forensic Pathology/Autopsy module. She is avid about listening to podcasts, writing, and running.

Shawn Choe

Born in Korea and a Chicago native, Shawn is currently a second year medical student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. He graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and joined Medicus because of his passion for hearing people’s stories. He is the current president and founder of Programming in Medicine (PiM) which aims to teach medical students programming so that they can utilize this skill for either research or future projects. His hobbies include watching movies, K-dramas and lifting.

Raj Ramini

Raj grew up in Dayton, Ohio and attended Wright State University for his undergraduate degree. During college, Raj spent a year as an AmeriCorps member where he worked with local high school students to address health disparities in their communities. He is currently a second-year medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, where he is also the outreach coordinator for the PM&R interest group.

In his free time, he enjoys listening to podcasts and audiobooks, exploring the city of Chicago, and beating Shawn at ping pong.

Brendan Connolly

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Brendan graduated from Princeton University in 2013, where he majored in Politics and was Captain of the basketball team. After college, he spent one year in Syracuse, New York with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and two years working as a consultant in Orange County, California before turning to medicine and completing the Post-baccalaureate premedical program at Tufts University in Boston. He also worked as a medical scribe with ScribeAmerica and as a pulmonary function tech at Massachusetts General Hospital prior to medical school. He is now a second-year student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine.

Outside of Medicus, Brendan is the secretary for the Oncology Interest Group and volunteers as a health coach and a hospice volunteer. Hobbies include movies, reading, board/card games, and watching or playing basketball and soccer. He has beaten Raj in ping pong, but not Shawn. 

All opinions expressed on the podcast are ours or those of our guests.

Special thanks to our awesome mentor, @KMirza