Member Spotlight Archive - May

Seth Ashraf
CSPM Class of 2020

Q: Why did you choose podiatry?
A: I majored in Kinesiology during college with intention of applying to physical therapy graduate programs. As a lover of sports, health, and maintaining an active lifestyle, my passion was finding ways to overcome injuries as quickly and safely as possible and preventing future injuries. My goal was to help people with various ailments to get back to enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle. However, when I did a physical therapy internship after completing all of the necessary classes for my major, one of the physical therapists I worked with suggested that I look into podiatry. So I did. After shadowing a local podiatrist, I realized that, as a podiatric physician, I could truly give patients the best possible care because of the various treatment modalities I could provide them with. Whether it be bracing, orthotic inserts, various injections, exercises, or surgical intervention, I could provide patients with all of the treatment options that they need for an optimal outcome. It became clear that podiatry was right for me.

Q: What made you decide to compete for a spot in the 2019 APMA Quiz Bowl?
A: I wanted to participate in a great learning experience and meet podiatric physicians and podiatric medical students from all over the country.

Q: What makes you stand out from the other contestants?
A: I was a supplemental instructor, aka “Teacher’s assistant,” for organic chemistry in college. After college, I taught organic chemistry and biochemistry for an MCAT preparatory company, which I continued until my second year of podiatric medical school.

Q: If you could have a superhuman power, what would it be?
A: The ability to add time to a day when needed.

Q: Do you have any advice for future pod students?
A: Take pride in what you do - this starts today. Push yourself and take some risks – it might open up doors you never imagined yourself walking through.

Matthew Kennedy
AZPOD President-Elect, Class of 2022

Q: Why did you choose podiatry?
A: I chose Podiatry because of the patient interaction and the broad range of procedures/therapies a podiatrist can provide. During my shadowing experience, I saw several patients that actually enjoyed visiting their Podiatrist. A lot of podiatric patients are seen on a chronic basis, and as their doctor you get to build rapport and develop unique relationships. I enjoy being kept on my toes and learning something new every day. With the broad range of diseases seen by Podiatrists, from chronic wound care to surgical fixation of fractures, I knew I would never be bored in this profession.

Q: What is your most played song?
A: According to Spotify, my all-time most played is “Gold” by Kuinka but in the last month it’s “When The Curtain Falls” by Greta Van Fleet.

Q: What is your favorite meal?
A: I’d have to say roasted salmon with asparagus.

Q: What is your favorite indoor and/or outdoor activity?
A: Favorite indoor activity would be to have a brutal game of Catan or watching a new episode of Game of Thrones. For outdoor activities, I love skiing and just generally being on or around mountains.

Q: Share one small change you made in your life that had a big impact.
A: Saying yes to things, and not worrying about the little details.

Q: If you could choose any mentor (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
A: I would love to be mentored by Teddy Roosevelt. His story of triumphing over adversity and courage is something to be admired.

Alieu Kanu
SCPM President-Elect, Class of 2021

Q: Why did you choose podiatry?
A: After fracturing my lateral malleolus during graduate school at Indiana University while living alone, I quickly learned how difficult life becomes without proper gait. During my treatment period for this fracture, I was informed about the role of podiatry but I had already started my treatment with the orthopedic surgery service at the hospital following my emergency room visit. After my ankle fully healed, I attended an open house at Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine where I was put in touch with an alumni, Dr. Patrick DeHeer, in the Indianapolis area. I shadowed Dr. DeHeer during an outpatient surgery and this solidified my interest in a career in podiatric medicine.

Q: What is your most played song?
A: Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid-Eastside

Q: Where is home for you?
A: I was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa but since my undergraduate studies, Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC area has been my home away from home.

Q: Share one of your secret study habits.
A: I like to “map” out study guides on a dry erase board with a few other students and group concepts while studying. These “maps” then serve as my study sheets during the last 24 hours before an exam.

Q: Finish this sentence, "People would be surprised to learn that I..."
A: …am a big Ed Sheeran fan. I listen to his hit songs in the mornings and several times a week while studying.

Q: If you could choose any mentor (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
A: Jack Ma because I find myself listening to several of his interviews when in need of motivation. Furthermore, his life story and insights are truly phenomenal. His ability to remain quite humble is something I value significantly.

Natalie Moussa
BUSPM Class of 2021

Q: Why did you choose podiatry?
A: Before applying to medical school, I began shadowing physicians, intent on finding a specialty that interested me. While shadowing an endocrinologist, every few cases he would request a podiatrist to consult. I began to take more interest in podiatry and within a few weeks I was sure this was the path for me. The versatility that a podiatrist has in the foot and ankle between the neuropathic, dermatologic, and biomechanical aspect is unmatched. The hands-on approach to treating patients in podiatry provides a unique kind of care which often gives instant relief to the patient but also instant gratification to the physician.

Q: What are you binge watching when not studying?
A: Friends!

Q: Where is home for you?
A: Lebanon, I’ve been going every summer or winter since I can remember.

Q: Share one of your secret study habits.
A: I write everything out, writing has a special place in the memory center.

Q: Finish this sentence, "People would be surprised to learn that I..."
A: …have been playing piano since the 3rd grade. I stopped doing recitals 5 years ago, but continue to practice in my spare time.

Q: What famous feet would you like to work on?
A: Barack Obama. He’s been a crucial part in forwarding the empowerment of women and minorities, as well as advancing healthcare. It would be an honor to treat him.

Miguel Ruiz
WUCPM Class of 2020

Q: Why did you choose podiatry?
A: Seeking an opportunity to serve my community of East Los Angeles, CA I became a volunteer at my local hospital which serves predominately Latino and Spanish speaking patients. Later, while working in the operating room as a patient transporter, I witnessed chronically ill patients undergo preventable procedures such as foot amputations caused by diabetes. Listening to patients concerns while rolling down the hallway, I learned that many lacked access to healthcare and I strongly believe that with proper care and an effective patient/doctor partnership we can prevent this health crises and ultimately reduce healthcare cost. As the Latino population continues to grow, there are more patients who are unfairly deemed as “non-compliant” when their illnesses are the products of the socioeconomic and cultural environments they come from and deserve not our judgment but our understanding and care.

Q: What are you binge watching when not studying?
A: My wife and enjoy watching Master Chef.

Q: If you could choose any mentor (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
A: Billy Graham – for his love of Jesus and message of salvation and forgiveness.

Q: What is something new you learned this week, not related to school, that others may find interesting?
A: I learned that we may not be able to change the world, but we can change someone’s world.

Q: Finish this sentence, "People would be surprised to learn that I..."
A: …am married to my beautiful wife with 2 children while pursuing my dream, despite coming from a broken family and low-income neighborhood.  

Q: What famous feet would you like to work on?
A: Shaquille O‘Neil…..size 23


"The American Podiatric Medical Students’ Association is the national, student-led organization that serves as the collective voice for all podiatric medical students. We are committed to the protection and advancement of student rights and interests by advocating in legislative and educational arenas. We provide resources to our members to assist them throughout their education as they transition into podiatric residents and physicians."