We are honored to award these well deserved recipients the Natalie Beissel Scholarship Fund. 

Nafee Talukder, 2019 Scholarship Recipient

Nafee Talukder, 2019 Scholarship Recipient

Nafee Talukder is a 4th year Osteopathic Medical Student, passionate in pursuing a career in Neurology working with medically underserved populations in the United States. Nafee received his Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology at the University of Texas at Austin; where he completed additional certifications in Applied Behavioral Analysis (Autism Spectrum Therapy) and became a certified Emergency Medical Technician. During his time in Austin, Nafee worked as a research assistant to Dean Morgan studying derangements of the one-carbon metabolic pathway in neural tube birth defects using mice models, headed his own project studying Parkinsonian-like gait deficiencies in the model nematode C. elegans, and served as a Board Member to a local non-profit organization helping to create tech-based internship opportunities for local socioeconomically disadvantaged high school students. Prior to starting medical school, Nafee developed and helped implement an English curriculum at his family’s orphanage in Baidarapur, Bangladesh; an orphanage he helped to start with his family in his father’s home village in 2006 where he serves as a board member.

Currently, he is pursuing his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) Degree from A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA). Throughout his medical school course, he has served as a Student Ambassador, various leadership roles in student-run organizations, achieved a class rank of 1/105, and has logged over 200 volunteer hours. Nafee was named the Welch Scholar Grant recipient of 2018 from the American Osteopathic Foundation. His well-rounded array of accomplishments ultimately led to his induction into ATSU-SOMA’s honors societies of Sigma Sigma Phi and Gold Humanism Honor Society. Committed to contribute to the advancement of medicine, Nafee has participated in a variety of research initiatives during his time at ATSU-SOMA and has presented at 7 national and regional conferences. He is currently working with his mentor in Houston, TX studying the efficacy of new antisense oligonucleotide promoting therapeutics in atypical, adult-variant Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 3. Having completed his first year of medical school at his home site in Mesa, Arizona, Nafee is currently completing his clinical clerkship at Unity Healthcare in Washington, D.C.

Sabrena Ahmadi, 2018 Scholarship Recipient

Sabrena Ahmadi, 2018 Scholarship Recipient

Sabrena Ahmadi was raised in Hercules, CA. A small community in the East Bay near San Francisco. She graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor degree in Neuroscience. While completing her undergraduate degree, Sabrena worked as an Emergency Medical Technician in West Hollywood for over four years. Following graduation she continued to work in healthcare, managing a workers compensation department at a pain clinic in Walnut Creek, California. In 2014, she began her medical career at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, where she spent 3 years at a Community Health Center in Portland, Oregon. Sabrena is currently seeking a four-year resident position in Neurology. In her free time, she enjoys soccer, travelling,  reading, and spending time with family.

“I am sincerely honored to be the recipient of the 2018 Natalie Beissel Scholarship, as the message of this reward resonates with my own aspirations and attests to the very  reason why I pursued medicine. As I move forward with my medical career and as a future neurologist, I will honor Natalie in my interactions, and I will constantly remind myself of the core values that make up a great physician, the very values that Natalie embodied in her lifetime.”

Bruce Leewiwatanakul, 2017 Scholarship Recipient

Bruce Leewiwatanakul, 2017 Scholarship Recipient

Bruce, a fourth-year osteopathic medical student, who is ranked in the top 15% of his class of 108 students and demonstrated a caring personality toward his patients and co-workers, was awarded the Natalie Beissel Memorial Scholarship on May 24, 2017. Bruce is starting a pediatric residency at Oregon Health & Science University/Doernbecher Children’s Hospital where he is interested in practicing general pediatrics, but is also considering exploring subspecialties of pediatric emergency medicine or pediatric critical care.

“I am intensely humbled at being selected as the recipient of the Natalie Beissel Scholarship
because of what this scholarship stands for and celebrates. It is inspiring to know that Natalie’s essence as an intelligent and caring individual is the selection criteria. I am proud to help propagate and highlight Natalie’s successes and I truly appreciate the honor of receiving this recognition. I intend to uphold the traits that embody Natalie throughout my
career and hope that this spotlight is able to encourage others to do shine in the same
ways.”

Aleksandra Kardasheva, 2016 Scholarship Recipient

Aleksandra Kardasheva, 2016 Scholarship Recipient

The inaugural Natalie Beissel Memorial Scholarship was presented at the ATSU-SOMA gala event held on May 19, 2016 by Natalie’s brother, Nick to fourth-year medical student, Aleksandra Kardasheva.

Aleksandra was born in Bulgaria and moved to Seattle during her teen years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Washington. Before medical school, she spent four years working on global development programs in agriculture, nutrition and health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in
Seattle. In June 2016, she will be starting a three-year residency in Internal Medicine at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends.

“I am truly honored to be the first recipient of Natalie Beissel scholarship, Aleksandra said. I admired her for the beautiful, smart and strong woman and physician she was. I am anxiously waiting to start my internal medicine residency in a few weeks. And when things
go wrong as they sometimes will; when the road I am trudging seems all uphill and when I want to smile but I have to sigh, I will look up and press forward even more, Natalie, to honor you in my interactions with my patients. I love you and I miss you greatly.”