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Gloria Salazar, MD, Vice Chair of Diversity and Health Equity and Director of the Scholars Program, and Mauricio Castillo, MD, Matthew A. Mauro, M.D.Distinguished Professor in Radiology



June 1-July 27, 2023



Seidah Congleton headshot

Seidah Congleton

Seidah Congleton is ecstatic to work with the Department of Anesthesiology as a Mauricio Castillo Scholar. Seidah discovered her interest in Anesthesiology while watching YouTube vlogs during the early stages of the pandemic when shadowing was not an option.  Working as a Clinical Research Coordinator on a COVID-19 Vaccine Trial taught her that she enjoys working in a fast-paced, patient-centered, collaborative environment.  What she enjoys most about anesthesiologists is their ability to provide nearly instantaneous pain relief and curate a calm, caring, and compassionate environment for patients undergoing surgery. She continues to foster her interest in Anesthesiology through her role as Co-President of the Anesthesiology Interest Group and participating in the Anesthesiology Preceptorship Enrichment Program.  Seidah is also interested in advocacy, community service, and diversity initiatives. She nurtures her interests through her roles as GPSG Senator, Co-leader of Stop the Bleed, Community Service Co-chair of SNMA, and VP of Diversity and Campus Affairs. Seidah enjoys playing with her Yorkie, traveling, and cooking in her free time.

Diagnostic Radiology

Katherine Li headshot

Katherine Li

Katherine Li is a Mauricio Castillo Scholar joining the Department of Radiology. Ms. Li was motivated to pursue medical school because of her experiences as a competitive ultimate frisbee player and former EMT-B. She has personally experienced the isolation that can come with traumatic injuries and supported many teammates and patients through their recovery journeys. For her, injury and illness are not just compilations of damaged body parts but mental and emotional experiences that vary by individual and should be treated as such. During her first month of medical school, she sat in on a chest x-ray lecture and found herself hooked by diagnostic radiology. She was drawn by the constant problem-solving and the way imaging could help tailor each step of rehabilitation to a patient’s specific anatomy and lifestyle goals. Ms. Li has blended her interests in musculoskeletal medicine and radiology by pursuing research in MSK image processing, organizing events as the co-president of the Sports Medicine Interest Group, and working with patients throughout it all as a Bridge to Care clinic manager with SHAC. Ultimately, her goal is to use her perspective on injury, recovery, and identity to not only expand the accessibility and affordability of imaging technology but also to pave a path into this specialty for future Asian American and LGBTQ+ minorities within healthcare.

Emergency Medicine

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Yuka Koyama

Yuka Koyama was born in Japan and immigrated to the U.S. during childhood, bringing a rich cultural heritage and a deep appreciation for diversity.

Growing up in a multicultural environment, Yuka developed a passion for understanding different medical practices and an appreciation for the power of healthcare in times of crisis. Inspired by his experiences as an immigrant and his desire to make a meaningful contribution to society, he pursued a medical education at UNC School of Medicine.

Yuka’s early exposure to healthcare disparities and the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic by marginalized communities piqued his interest in Emergency Medicine. Yuka hopes to bridge cultural gaps and serve as a liaison between different healthcare systems, bringing the best practices from his homeland and his new home. Early in his medical education, Yuka was captivated by the dynamic nature of Emergency Medicine. He grew a deep appreciation for the ability to make split-second decisions and the opportunity to provide immediate care to those in critical need.

Outside of medicine, he enjoys playing soccer, camping, and spending time with his friends.

Interventional Radiology

Estefania Gonzalez headshot
Estefania Gonzales

Ms. Gonzales will join the Department of Interventional Radiology as a Mauricio Castillo Scholar. Before medical school, Ms. Gonzales worked for a health tech company and federally qualified health centers in New York City while completing her MPH in Epidemiology. She was a Carolina Covenant Scholar as an undergraduate at UNC. Ms. Gonzales is fascinated by innovation and creativity in medicine that minimize patient discomfort and improve access for vulnerable or at-risk populations. During her first year in medical school, she was drawn to the breadth of the body’s resilient vascular system. She hopes to continue learning about interventions that preserve the integrity of this network and other systems to provide treatment options to as many patients as possible. Ms. Gonzales serves as the UNC SOM Student Government Co-President for the Class of 2026 and 2027. She is the Co-President of the Interventional Radiology Interest Group and the Association of Women Surgeons, aspiring to uplift women-mentorship among interventionalists and surgeons. Beyond her core studies, she practices medical Spanish in the Comprehensive Advanced Medical Program of Spanish (CAMPOS) Scholarly Concentration and as a student-physician at the Cardiology Clinic. She also is excited to pursue imaging skills in the Ultrasound Scholarly Concentration Program. When not studying, Ms. Gonzales enjoys yoga, running, or simply cuddling up with her two cats, Mirabel and Osito.


Brayan Corona-Macedo

Brayan Corona was born in Albemarle, North Carolina. He will be joining the Department of Neurology. He dreams of one day working in the field of Neurology. His passion grew as he started working with a UNC neurosurgeon and doing neurology research during his first year of medical school. He vividly recalls the moment he realized that this was the field he wants to work in for the rest of his life. Corona is a first-generation medical student and grew up in a family of Mexican immigrants. These are some of the many variables that have compounded to make him the compassionate person he is today. He wants to continue serving the population of North Carolina and bringing affordable and adequate healthcare one step at a time. His upbringing set social barriers that limited what should be possible for himself and his community, but he has redefined hi possibilities.

Orthopedic Surgery

Justin Davidson headshot
Justin Davidson

Justin Davidson is a Mauricio Castillo Diversity and Inclusion Scholar joining the UNC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Growing up in New Jersey, Justin was immersed in different groups and cultures. However, he noticed a lack of diversity in healthcare, particularly among physicians. This sparked his interest in healthcare, which led him to various opportunities to become involved in medicine. Justin’s professional journey thus far has encompassed significant roles, including that of a Mohs Dermatology surgical assistant, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and an Oculofacial Plastic Surgery surgical assistant. Along the way, Justin’s passion for teaching and fostering meaningful interactions with students has played a pivotal role in shaping his path. One of his most memorable teaching moments was teaching K-12th graders about medicine and being a Teacher Assistant for undergraduate biochemistry courses. Building upon his passion for teaching, Justin continues to deepen his pedagogical prowess by instructing an anatomy course to undergraduate radiology students. Justin has chosen to pursue a career in medicine, specifically orthopedic surgery while contributing to medical education for students and residents who will be the future of medicine. Outside of medicine, Justin enjoys playing the guitar, participating in sports, and spending time with his wife and family.


Anysa Fernandez headshot
Anysa Fernandez

Anysa Fernandez is a Mauricio Castillo Scholar, joining the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Growing up, Anysa relished employing the scientific method and developing tangible results, so engineering was a logical fit. Biomedical engineering kept her at the intersection of medicine and technology. Despite seemingly “picking” one side of the equation by choosing a career in engineering and working closely with physicians to indirectly better patient outcomes, Anysa realized that her path had led her to be the one who directly provides care, advocates for her patients, and helps them navigate the complexities of medicine and the healthcare system. However, it was not until her first year of medical school that Anysa became interested in surgical specialties. She is excited to leverage her medical device design and engineering background to develop powerful and effective healthcare solutions in ENT surgery. Anysa is a rising MS2 at UNC School of Medicine. She is a director of the Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC), UNC’s student-run free clinic in Carrboro, president of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), and part of CAMPOS, the medical Spanish concentration at UNC SOM.


Olivia Cain headshot
Olivia Cain

Olivia Cain is elated to be a Mauricio Castillo Diversity and Inclusion Scholar, joining the Department of Pediatrics. Ms. Cain has been interested in being a doctor her whole life. Growing up as a middle child of five, she could see how every time one of her siblings was injured, a doctor could heal them. These experiences and her time as a School teacher a Sunday School and Vacation Bi have led Ms. Cain to be interested in pediatrics, particularly endocrinology. Ms. Cain is also passionate about community building and serves as Social Chair for the Student National Medical Association and Co-Foundation Phase Chief Advocate. In her free time, Ms. Cain enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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Spencer Saunders

Spencer Saunders was accepted into the Castillo Scholars Program in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department. With a strong background in athletics and a deep-rooted interest in medicine, he is poised to significantly impact his chosen field.

During his undergraduate years at UNCW, he displayed dedication and leadership as a four-year varsity soccer team member. He discovered his passion for medicine through his experiences with injuries sustained during his soccer career. Frequent visits to orthopedic and rehabilitation clinics sparked his interest and exposed him to the transformative power of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

After graduating from UNCW, he worked at an orthopedic and rehabilitation clinic for a year and a half, gaining invaluable experience in preventative medicine and rehabilitation techniques. This hands-on experience solidified his commitment to bettering individuals’ lives holistically to prevent future illnesses and injuries.

Beyond his academic pursuits, he enjoys engaging in physical activities such as going to the gym and playing soccer. In his leisure time, he finds joy in cooking, spending time with friends, and learning how to DIY many products, such as kombucha or lotions.

With his unique blend of athletic experience, hands-on medical exposure, and unwavering commitment to holistic care, he is poised to become an asset to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Radiation Oncology

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Kristen Williams

Kristen Williams is an inaugural Mauricio Castillo Scholar, joining the Department of Radiation Oncology. Ms. Williams first expressed interest in oncology as a pre-medical student when she worked as a medical scribe alongside a hematology and oncology physician. She found her passion in breast cancer and plans to change patients’ lives positively. She is currently involved in research with a faculty member within the Breast Surgical Oncology Division to determine the causal effects of breast surgery techniques and associated complications, including lymphadenopathy, axillary cording, and other outcomes. Kristen is working to gain exposure to all aspects of oncology to equip her to become an empathetic, caring, and understanding physician. She displays these characteristics through leadership as well. She serves as the Vice President of the UNC Student National Medical Association and has expanded to the Regional Board, where she leads the minority association of pre-medical students. She attributes her leadership skills to her experience as a student-athlete, where she served as track & field team captain. She likes trying new recipes, exercising, and playing the piano in her free time.


Katherine Poulos headshot
Katherine Poulos

Katherine Poulos is a 2023 Mauricio Castillo Scholar joining the Department of Urology. Her initial interest in medicine stemmed from a love of teaching, inspired by her mother, who is a teacher. She knew she wanted to pursue her passions for teaching and social justice; later, when she became interested in science, she knew medicine was the perfect way to meld them together.  Throughout her first year of medical school, Ms. Poulos explored a variety of specialties. She was intrigued by everything related to surgery but was also drawn to fields that would allow her to develop long-term relationships with patients.  It was a conversation with her father, who had cancer twice, where she first developed an interest in urology; he and his urologist had developed a relationship of trust over a decade. Her work at SHAC, UNC’s student-run free clinic, exposed her to healthcare disparities in this field and connected her with UNC urologists and research opportunities.  Ms. Poulos is fascinated by the variety in urology, the technologically-advanced methods that urologists are developing, and the opportunity to practice surgery and address healthcare disparities as a urologist. Ms. Poulos is passionate about expanding representation and looks forward to working with mentors who support improving gender and racial representation in urology. She leads the LILAC conference at UNC, which hosts incoming female medical students to build leadership and career development skills. Ms. Poulos is passionate about teaching, mentorship, advocacy, and community involvement.  She enjoys lifting weights, playing the guitar, reading, caring for her houseplants, and traveling in her free time.

To support the Castillo Scholars program, please contact Jeanine Simmons, Senior Executive Director of Development, at or (919) 597-9553