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Alexandra Armato

Hometown: Irving, TX
Undergraduate: Austin College
Medical School: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX
Areas of Interest in EM: Ultrasound, Toxicology, Medical Education
Hobbies: Running, reading, hiking
Why I chose: When applying for residencies, I went in with the mindset that the sky was the limit. I had lived in Texas my entire life and wanted to experience a different part of the country, as terrifying as that notion was. On my interview day with UNC, I felt an immediate “click”; I knew that I could feel at home with this program despite a move of more than 1,000 miles. UNC was also exactly what I was looking for – a strong program with a wide diversity of training experiences and faculty who are dedicated to developing strong leaders in Emergency Medicine. I really enjoyed every faculty and resident that I spoke with, and I could tell that they truly were happy with this program and each other. Looking back on my notes that I took that day, I had written an embarrassing number of exclamation points. The last sentence said, “I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!!!!”. Someone once told me that when you are making your rank list the decision should be easy, and UNC afforded me that blessing. I am so excited to start this next step in my journey, especially knowing that it is here at UNC!

Ryan Blanton

Hometown: Lilburn, GA
Undergraduate: Georgia State University
Medical School: Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine
Areas of Interest in EM: Global EM, ultrasound, wilderness medicine
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, golf, and slow-pitch softball
Why I chose: My wife and I moved to Holly Springs, NC at the start of medical school and it didn’t take long to realize that the triangle was where we wanted to be long-term. Not only is this a prime location and close to family/friends – UNC has everything I was searching for in a residency program. I love the early (and frequent) exposure to both academic and community medicine, in addition to the academic diversity among the faculty to help me identify a niche within EM. Every resident/faculty that I interacted with was down-to-earth and there was a strong family-oriented culture. It is truly an honor to be a member of the Tar Heel family, go Heels!

Walker Bussey-Spencer

Hometown: Memphis, TN
Undergraduate: University of Tennessee Knoxville
Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Areas of Interest in EM: Critical Care, Medical Education
Hobbies: Playing basketball, hiking, attending music festivals, die-hard Memphis Grizzlies fan
Why I chose: I chose UNC because I love the beautiful state of North Carolina, and when I interviewed and met the residents I was blown away in a way that just did not happen with any other program. The connection between the residents was obvious, and they made me feel welcome and at ease. I know I will have unparalleled opportunities to mature as a physician under such a highly regarded group of faculty. I also have family living in the triangle that I am excited to be closer to once again!

Margaret Driscoll

Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Undergraduate: University of San Diego
Medical School: Creighton University School of Medicine
Areas of Interest in EM: Medical education, social EM, LGBTQIA+ health
Hobbies: Watching independent films, rewatching Wes Anderson films, Formula One Racing, trying new restaurants, card & board games, and spending time with my husband and our Samoyed, Skylar.
Why I chose: There are too many reasons to list here, but ultimately the genuine and kind people who create a great culture in the department. The location is incredible and has something for everyone, reminding me of my home state in its proximity to both mountains and beaches. The combination of world-class educators, strong female leadership, and diverse training environment exposure (plus longitudinal peds) will allow me to be an expert at adapting my own practice to the population, institution, and resources anywhere I land!

Matt Holloman

Hometown: Severn, NC
Undergraduate: East Carolina University
Medical School: Brody School of Medicine
Areas of Interest in EM: Rural Emergency Medicine, EMS, and mentorship
Hobbies: baseball, watching sports, spending time outside with my dog, Jeter
Why I chose: I chose UNC because of my interview experience which was by far better than all the rest. Although virtual, my interviewers seemed interested in me as a person, and I felt like I would be well taken care of during residency if I were to train here. I was also born and raised in eastern North Carolina and cheered for UNC basketball with my dad growing up. Overall, UNC felt like a place I could happily call home during residency training.

Susan Kennedy

Hometown: Indianapolis Indiana
Undergraduate: East Carolina University
Medical School: University of North Carolina
Areas of Interest in EM: Palliative Care, Social Medicine, Wilderness Medicine
Hobbies: Surfing, knitting, distance running, sewing, card games, board games and hanging with my dog!
Why I chose: I chose UNC because I really enjoyed everyone that I met during my AI. All the residents were kind and supportive and seemed like they were genuinely having fun on shift. I was also super impressed by the attendings and their commitment to education. I really like that UNC EM offers diverse training locations and there is a strong combination of academic and community emergency medicine.

Andres Lopez

Hometown: UNC Chapel Hill
Undergraduate: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Medical School: University of North Carolina
Areas of Interest in EM: Medical Education/Teaching, Ultrasound
Hobbies: Hiking, mountain biking, pickup soccer/bball/rugby, MTG
Why I chose: I rotated through UNC EM’s emergency department and felt instantly hooked. The attendings felt like dedicated teachers as opposed to just preceptors- there to support you in patient care but also actively teach knowledge and procedural skills. My interactions with the residents were great- and there was a genuine interest in pathology and helping each other on shift. Being able to work in both the UNC system and WakeMed allows me to see many culturally and linguistically concordant patients and fill the needs for vulnerable populations in rewarding and gratifying ways. I look forward to seeing how I can explore interests such as US, global health, teaching opportunities, and more in a well rounded setting!

Ben Malinda

Hometown: Kernersville, NC
Undergraduate: NC State – Biological Engineering
Medical School: Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC
Areas of Interest in EM: Education, Ultrasound, Tactical Medicine
Hobbies: Climbing, hiking, spending time with my family and my dogs
Why I chose: As soon as I got to meet the residents and the program leadership, I knew that this program was a family. A family that placed a huge emphasis on wellness and community while remaining devoted to training to be the best emergency medicine physicians possible. The opportunities for learning and growth at UNC are essentially endless which made it an obvious choice for my residency training.

Rafael Ortega

Hometown: Clifton Park, NY
Undergraduate: Rochester Institute of Technology
Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine
Areas of Interest in EM: EMS, Critical Care, Ultrasound, Medical Education
Hobbies: Ice hockey, Alpine skiing, Hiking, Biking, Watching action/horror movies, Xbox, Cooking, Cider and wine tasting, Hanging with friends and family
Why I chose: UNC was my first interview of the season and I knew immediately this would be a perfect fit. It was clear the program has amazing clinical training, welcoming faculty, and really sets their graduates up for success. During the second look, UNC definitely exceeded the “vibe test” and I could see the camaraderie amongst everyone I was searching for. I’m going to miss the snow of the north, but the incredible nature available in North Carolina will be a huge plus for fostering mental and physical wellness these next few years. I’m incredibly honoured to be here!

Jesse Puscheck

Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Undergraduate: Canisius College
Medical School: Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Areas of Interest in EM: Critical Care, Resuscitation, Ultrasound, Global Health
Hobbies: Hiking, spending time with my wife and two boys, fly fishing, athletics, all things cold brew coffee.
Why I chose: The people, the reputation, the location. UNC embodies a one-of-a-kind atmosphere built on strong academics and exceptional people. From the pre-interview social to the interview itself, it became clear that the people comprising the program were my kind of people – authentic and down to earth. Additionally, UNC carries a robust academic and clinical reputation with multiple diverse training centers providing both high acuity and volume. Each site renders a unique experience which generates residents who are proficient and leaders within the field of emergency medicine. The location is also second to none as the Triangle is one of the best places to live for families and individuals alike.

John Riley

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley
Medical School: UNC
Areas of Interest in EM: EMS, Wilderness Medicine, Critical Care, Medical Education
Hobbies: Dad stuff, the outdoors, photography, playing guitar and pretending to play piano
Why I chose: I was impressed by the variety of clinical experiences available at UNC, including at WakeMed Raleigh, one of the busiest emergency departments in the United States. It is also important to me that UNC and WakeMed are safety net hospitals dedicated to serving the people of North Carolina. The faculty at UNC have incredibly diverse experiences and interests, which enriches the didactic curriculum and provides myriad opportunities for mentorship. The residents here are enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and seem genuinely happy to be learning emergency medicine – I am excited to be a part of that community!

Olivia Sneary

Hometown: Bluffton, OH
Undergraduate: Wright State University
Medical School: Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine
Areas of Interest in EM: EMS, Ultrasound
Hobbies: Trying new restaurants and breweries, cooking, spending time with friends and family
Why I chose: I loved my interview day with UNC, even with it being virtual. I could tell the residents genuinely loved the program and that they were very supported. I wanted to get experience in both academic and community medicine, which UNC had to offer, giving a diverse clinical experience with high acuity. Chapel Hill being beautiful with great weather was definitely a plus too! There’s never a shortage of things to do!

Conor White

Hometown: Charlottle, NC
Undergraduate: UNC-Chapel Hill
Medical School: Campbell School of Osteopathic Medicine
Areas of Interest in EM: Ultrasound, Medical Education, Disaster Medicine
Hobbies: Running, traveling, music, sports, and finding new coffee shops and breweries
Why I chose: There is really so much to love about UNC. First, the Triangle area is a fantastic place to live with tons to do, as well as beaches and mountains just a few hours drive if you want to get away. As a program, UNC offers both academic and community training opportunities as residents work in multiple emergency departments, including two level 1 trauma centers.

But, at the risk of sounding cliché, it is the people that make UNC such a special place. Prior to starting medical school, I worked as a scribe in the UNC Emergency Department and had already seen firsthand how passionate the faculty was about the resident’s education. Not to mention, they provided a tremendous amount of support to me both prior to and throughout medical school. As an away student, faculty and residents were excited about teaching and immediately made me feel like part of the team. UNC’s Emergency Medicine program created an environment that I know will support me in becoming the physician I want to be.

Michael Wilinski

Hometown: Dearborn Heights, MI
Undergraduate: University of Michigan
Graduate: Case Western Reserve University, Naval War College
Medical School: LECOM-Bradenton
Areas of Interest in EM: Operational/Tactical Medicine, Combined and Joint Military Medicine, Civ-Mil Relations, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
Hobbies: Sailing, Ballroom Dancing, Gardening, Fishing, Reading, Rugby, Ice Hockey, F1
Why I chose: UNC represents an extraordinary opportunity to prepare for a future in Emergency Medicine across a continuum of training settings to develop clinical excellence. After cold emailing the program with the news I was selected for Navy-funded civilian training, Dr. Binz immediately jumped onto my recruitment. Goodness, was I impressed! She made it her mission to make us feel welcome and ensure the program fits my family and me. In addition, the fact that she went out of her way to arrange multiple clinical work leads for my wife Kirsten, a Primary Care Pediatrician, represents the depth of commitment the program has for its residents and our well-being. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the community and look forward to all the Triangle has to offer.