Skip to main content

Student Council

The MSTP student body is intimately involved with the administration of the Program. The MSTP Student Council is elected by popular vote at each MSTP Annual Retreat and is comprised of a president, the past president, various chairpersons, and representatives to medical school committees and the American Physician Scientist Association (APSA). The Council conducts meetings open to the Program regularly throughout the year.

Responsibilities of the Council include many essential programmatic functions, including admissions interview weekends and Revisit Weekend, co-curricular activities, and social events. The Student Council also participates in recruiting, programmatic advancement, science education, and many other activities. For full position descriptions, students should reference the MSTP Student Handbook.


Frances "Fara" Zakusilo, PhD, M4

Convenes meetings of the student body and Student Council. Coordinates the various council activities and initiatives. Leads issues of programmatic advancement. Represents student body on MSTP Internal Advisory Committee (1-2 meetings per academic year).

Past President

John Bennett, PhD, M3

Advises the student council and chairs the Medical Scientist Research Symposium for the following year.


Admissions Co-Chairs

Victor Zhang, G3 & Margaux Masten, G2/M2

Aid in coordinating applicant interview virtual social events with current MSTP students and represent applicants on the MSTP Admissions Committee. Organize Revisit Weekend for accepted applicants.

Events Co-Chairs

Maya Anand, G3 & Emily Isenstein, G4

Organizes the Dinner Seminar Series each semester and the MSTP Annual Retreat. Also organizes the BURROW MD/PhD Program Conference every third year.

MSRS Chair

Alison Livada, G4

Organizes and coordinates annual Medical Scientist Research Symposium (MSRS). Requests nominations for keynote speakers from MSTP student body. Invites speakers two years in advance.

Public Relations Chair

Daniel Han, M2

Maintains and distributes minutes from Student Council meetings, maintains program social media pages & assists in Newsletter preparation

Outreach Chair

Michael Vera, M2 & Hannah Bell, PhD, M4

Works closely with the Program Director to promote awareness among undergraduate and high school students about biomedical/ translational sciences and opportunities afforded by MD/PhD training.

Social Co-Chairs

Emma Strawderman, M2 & Levy Sominsky, M2

Organize and coordinate regular programmatic social events. Also organize the annual winter holiday party and assist with the annual graduation brunch.

Information Technology Chair 

Matt Sipple, G4

Responsible for training people on the use of and helping to maintain the MSTP Red Cap account. This enables those in the MSTP and the administration to send out surveys and maintain the data longitudinally. The chair will be in charge of finding other technologies to help more efficiently run and advance the program. The chair will give updates on new technologies and their implementation as necessary to the student council.


APSA Institutional & Working Group Representatives

Anna Kolstad, G1 & Karol Szymula, G2

Represents the MSTP at annual regional and national conferences of the American Physician Scientist Association.

Honor Board

Alison Livada, G3 & Sarah Sandkuhler, G2

Attend regular meetings of the Honor Board and serve as a resource to MSTP students for ethical and professional issues.

Medical School Curriculum Committee

CC3/4 Representative(s): Karl Foley, PhD, M3

MS1 Representative: Herman Li, M1

Represent MSTP students at regular meetings of the Medical School Curriculum Committee. Responsible for ensuring that MSTP educational interests are represented in the MD curriculum.

Wellness and Resilience Committee Representative

Sophie Troyer, M2/G1

Represent the MSTP in the Wellness and Resilience Committee. They will offer the collective voice and opinions of members of the MSTP to the committee, to help assure that any needs uniquely required of those in the program are considered by the committee. The representative will also report any relevant updates from the committee back to MSTP student council. The representative will also be responsible for gathering/maintaining relevant data on those in the program to make sure we’re maintaining overall student wellbeing.