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Building Leaders at UNC School of Medicine

At UNC School of Medicine, we believe our students are among the finest in the nation. They are a diverse group with a common goal: to impact medicine through service, innovative thinking, leadership, and academic excellence. Here are a few examples of our outstanding students.

Celeste Brown, Class of 2018.Hometown: Weston, FL
Campus: Charlotte
Potential Area of Interest: OB/GYN, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Activities and Service at UNCSOM: Founder of White Coats Black Doctors, Co-President of the Carolina Obstetrics and Gynecology Interest Group, and Schweitzer Fellowship Project.

Celeste Brown came to UNCSOM after participating in the Medical Education Development Program (MED). She was one of two students selected for the Schweitzer Fellowship in 2015, and completed a project titled “Brains, Brawn, and Beauty,” which developed an after-school program to teach middle school girls of minorities about goal setting and self esteem. A first-generation American, Celeste is passionate about supporting the development of future black physicians. Celeste co-founded White Coats Black Doctors, an organization whose purpose is to celebrate, unite and uplift black medical students and physicians. Celeste will be completing her clinical experiences at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, and is interested in OB/GYN and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She hopes to practice medicine in a way that addresses the health of young people and people of color in a preventive, community-centered way.

Diversity in the UNC Medical School Class of 2020.


Hometown: Wilmington, NCMatt Braswell, Class of 2018.
Campus: Wilmington
Potential Area of Interest: Surgery, Military Medicine
Activities and Service at UNCSOM: President of the Military Medicine Interest Group, Founder of the Military Family Support Program, organizer of multiple veteran service projects.

Matt Braswell is a US NAVY Health Profession Scholarship Program student who comes to UNCSOM from Wilmington, NC. He is a founding member of our Wilmington campus, and active advocate for military and veteran medicine. Matt re-established the Military Medicine Interest Group at UNCSOM, and served as the president. He also founded the Military Family Support Program for service members and their spouses who have children in the NICU. Matt has also worked to integrate veteran health and military medicine into the UNCSOM curriculum through elective rotations, professional development coursework, integrated learning days, and tours of military facilities. Before applying to medical school, Matt was a varsity athlete at UNC, and completed two medical service trips to Central America. When he finishes residency, he will be an active duty physician in the military.

Achievement in the UNC Medical School Class of 2020.

Luisa Paredes, Class of 2019.Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Winston-Salem, NC
Campus: Chapel Hill
Special Program: Kenan Urban Underserved Scholars
Potential Area of Interest: Family Medicine
Activities and Service at UNCSOM: Diversity Council, Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), Free Cardiology Clinic student doctor, Samaritan Health Center Mobile Clinic co-leader, Boomer Hill Rural Clinic, High-Risk Diabetes Clinic patient advocate, CAMPOS, volunteer interpreter, and Give Kids a Smile 2016 volunteer.

Luisa Paredes was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and came to the United States at 15, when her family moved to Brooklyn, NY. Within two years of living in the US, Luisa had learned English, gotten a job to help her mother, and received a travel scholarship to do community service abroad. She was accepted to Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and graduated with honors and two scientific research publications. After college, she worked in the Dominican Republic as a country director for a non-profit doing youth leadership and community development work, before applying to medical school. Luisa wants to use her training to serve underprivileged populations.

Infographic showing key stats regarding research done by students at UNC School of Medicine.


Tyler McKinnish, Class of 2017.Hometown: Canton, NC
Campus: Charlotte
Special Program: LOA
Potential Area of Interest: OB/GYN, Infectious Disease
Activities and Service at UNCSOM: LGBT health education advocate (AAMC subcommittee member, QSA co-leader, and student government representative), Students for a National Health Plan, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Whitehead Medical Society, teaching assistant, Bloomer Hill Rural Clinic, and SHAC free clinic.

Tyler McKinnish is from the small, rural town of Canton, NC. He attended Western Carolina University and worked as a phlebotomist before medical school. During his time at UNCSOM, he has been an active advocate for LGBT health education, serving on an AAMC subcommittee, as co-leader of QSA, and as a student government representative. Tyler is also an active advocate for single-payer healthcare, and is a member of Students for a National Health Plan and Physicians for a National Health Plan. He also serves as a member of the Whitehead Medical Society, is a teaching assistant and peer tutor, and volunteers at various free clinics. Tyler is interested in academic medicine, and will be completing his clinical experiences in Charlotte, a city he had never visited before interviewing for the program!

Opportunity for the UNC Medical School Class of 2020.


Marie VogelHometown: Greeneville, TN
Campus: Chapel Hill
Potential Area of Interest: Primary Care, Ophthalmology
Activities and Service at UNCSOM: Treasurer of the American Medical Women’s Association, Co-Leader for the Ophthalmology Interest Group, Co-Leader of Women’s Bible Study for the Christian Dental and Medical Association, Samaritan’s Health Mobile Clinic, SHAC Eye Clinic, and organizer of eye screenings at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

Marie Vogel comes to UNCSOM from the small town of Greeneville, TN. She is interested in primary care and Ophthalmology, and wants to be in a position to create long-term relationships with her patients. Marie is active in service opportunities at UNCSOM, and serves as the treasurer for the American Medical Women’s Association, co-leader for the Ophthalmology Interest Group, co-leader of a women’s bible study through Christian Dental and Medical Association, and a volunteer for both the Samaritan’s Health Mobile Clinic and the SHAC Eye Clinic. Before matriculating, Marie worked as a CNA and was involved in a soccer ministry for Burundian refugees in Knoxville, TN.

Infographic showing the commitment to the mission of

Rivers Woodward, Class of 2018.Hometown: Franklin, NC
Campus: Asheville
Special Program: MD/MPH, Rural Scholars
Potential Area of Interest: Family Medicine
Activities and Service at UNCSOM: Special Olympics of Orange County, Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteering in youth leadership and entrepreneurship in the Congo, financial consulting for a women’s hospital in Zambia.

Rivers Woodward is a dual-degree MD/MPH student from the small town of Franklin, NC. A Rural Scholar at our Asheville campus, Rivers is passionate about rural healthcare, and hopes to practice small-town family medicine. Rivers started a rural pipeline program to support high school students in Western North Carolina interested in pursuing healthcare professions. He also is an active international volunteer, and has worked in youth leadership and entrepreneurship in the Congo and on a financial and management consulting project for a women’s hospital in Zambia. Rivers was homeschooled before attending undergrad, where he majored in Theater and Biology and spent six months studying Eastern Medicine in India, Nepal, and China.

Primary Care Statistics for the UNC Medical School Class of 2020.

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