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Orientation First Impressions: Meet 3 New SUNY Downstate Med Students

Tamasha Persaud

Undergrad college or university: I went to Vassar College for undergrad where I majored in Political Science and minored in Chemistry.

Hometown: Guyana/Brooklyn

Potential specialty: I haven’t decided what specialty I would like to go into, but Cardiology is one that I have been considering.

What inspired you to study medicine? It’s hard to pinpoint a singular moment or experience that inspired my decision to study medicine. Growing up I remember being fascinated by the human body and how it worked. Something as mundane the healing of the scrapes on my knee a week after falling off my bike was captivating to me. So I guess I can say that my interest in medicine began before I could articulate it as such; it began with a curiosity about how the body works, how it is able to carry out a multiplicity of functions which keep us alive without us constantly being made aware of it. Moreover, seeing the debilitating effects of our body’s betrayal—when it stops working as it should, and the implications that had for quality of life, especially in communities deprived of adequate health care services, cultivated a sense of indignation which informed my decision to study medicine.

How is your family handling the fact that you’re in med school now? My family and friends are proud, extremely supportive and excited for me.


Nick Santaniello

Undergrad college or university: I went to Georgetown University and studied Human Science.

Hometown: I consider Staten Island, NY my hometown. 

Potential specialty: I am undecided about my medical specialty.

How did you choose Downstate? I chose downstate because I wanted to be in New York City. Brooklyn specifically offers such a diverse patient population, yet isn’t far from my home borough of Staten Island.

How does it feel to actually start med school? Now that I am here starting medical school, I’m excited and quite a bit nervous. I know the path that lies ahead will be difficult but rewarding, and I’m looking forward to it.


Stan Soroka

Undergrad college or university: I attended Union College in Schenectady, NY and completed a major in biochemistry and a minor in economics.

Hometown: My hometown is Far Rockaway, NY, but I have lived most of my life in Valley Stream, NY.

Potential specialty: I am not sure yet, but I have specifically considered anesthesiology or emergency medicine.

How did you choose Downstate? I chose Downstate because of all of the people that I met during my different visits while I was applying. I also really like how collegial all of the faculty and students are, and how well the program prepares its students for residency.

Do you have any “medical heroes?” No medical heroes come to mind, but I definitely have to consider my parents and grandparents as heroes for coming to the US (from Kiev, Ukraine) and providing me with everything I needed to be able to succeed and achieve going to medical school.


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