Commencement 2012: Student Bios

Tim AylwardTim Aylward

From 'rock star' to physician assistant, Tim Aylward has taken a not-so-traditional path towards a career in medicine.Tim was a keyboardist with Above the Golden State, a popular Christian rock band, prior to focusing on his strong interest in medicine. Once he set his sights on becoming a physician assistant, Tim worked as a cardiac technician which taught him a lot about the mechanics of health care. His experience, along with first-hand experience viewing international health care needs while in Peru, Australia, and Thailand, furthered his desire to become a PA. Tim was recently commissioned as an officer with the US Air Force and is looking forward to his career in the military as a physician assistant.

cardwellLori Cardwell

Lori Cardwell is a native Oregonian and graduate of Portland's Franklin High. She attended the United States Naval Academy and served as a naval officer in the Supply Corps for a number of years. Following her military service, she worked as a Systems Engineer at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro. She is interested in general surgery and hopes to someday possibly work in rural Oregon.

chengStephanie Cheng

Before medical school, Stephanie Cheng taught English at an orphanage in Thailand, which solidified her desire to live a life in service. While at OHSU, she created two electives on physician wellness and integrative medicine, as well as an elective open to medical students from around the country called HEART (Humanistic Elective in Activism, Alternative Medicine, and Reflective Transformation). Stephanie will pursue a career in family medicine.

"What resonates most deeply with me about family medicine is the emphasis on the patient-physician relationship and caring for patients as whole people. Health and disease take place in the context in which one lives life, and I believe that family physicians are uniquely positioned to empower their patients on individual, family, community, state and national levels."

knoepflmacherDaniel Knoepflmacher

Daniel Knoepflmacher has wanted to be a psychiatrist since high school, but he fell in love with humanities during college and moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school in film. He worked as a motion picture trailer editor for many years until he became disenchanted with the movie business and decided to pursue his teenage dream of becoming a doctor. At OHSU, Daniel served as a dean's adviser, a liaison between students and administration, and volunteered for "Being There," a palliative care program that provides companionship and nonmedical support to patients with terminal diseases and their families. Daniel plans to pursue a career in psychiatry.

"Psychiatry, as a field, allows me to apply my lifelong interest in human stories to help those struggling with mental illness and the painful stigma that often comes with it. This meaningful work is made all the more exciting by our rapidly evolving understanding of the interplay between the brain and the mind, an area of neuroscience that will continue to change the way we treat psychiatric illnesses."

Beverly FordBeverly Ford

As an employee of OHSU Beverly Ford obtained information concerning an emerging MBA Partnership Program between OHSU and PSU. Immediately she assured myself, "I will be in the first class" and therefore she began to pursue her endeavors of working towards getting into the first cohort as well as completing the masters program. After completing the Healthcare Management Certificate Program at OHSU, she is eager to learn more about the many different aspects of the healthcare delivery system.

"Throughout my schooling, I was dedicated to a lifestyle of working a full time job while maintaining a part-time educational endeavor," she said. "The student workgroups assigned each term provided meaningful opportunities to engage and share with other students."

Amy PackardAmy Packard

When searching for a graduate program, Ohio native Amy Packard selected OHSU for its excellent reputation as a neuroscience research institution. She worked in the Mary Stenzel-Poore lab, where she studied inflammation and ischemia. She was able to meet her goal of studying both neuroscience and immunology and will receive the Doctor of Philosophy. While a student, Amy volunteered for several years with the Student Research Forum (SRF), and was a SRF co-chair n 2010.

"I find that neuroimmunology is a fascinating field and I believe that studying the complex interactions among these two systems could provide significant insight to a number of neurological and inflammatory diseases," said Amy. "For instance, we have begun to appreciate the role of inflammation following stroke which opens up a whole new realm of potential neurotherapeutic approaches."

Kaylie ParrishKaylie Parrish

When Kaylie Parrish was 2 years old, she lost her 35-year-old mother to a brain aneurysm. The small town community of Myrtle Point, Ore., very much shared in the family's loss and was supportive as Kaylie's dad raised three young daughters. Kaylie learned much about her mother's life through stories told by family members and the community members.  These stories and her own experiences have led to a strong compassion to connect with patients and the realization of the impact she will have as a health care provider. Kaylie will be returning to the Coos County community to practice in family medicine after graduation.

PilliodRachel Pilliod

Rachel Pilliod graduated from the University of Oregon, where she served as student body president, with a degree in political science. She has worked on education policy for the Nevada State Assembly and for a nonprofit in Washington, DC. While at OHSU, Rachel served on the OHSU Board of Directors, the Oregon Medical Association Legislative Committee and testified in Salem on issues related to health and education policy. Her research projects focused on health economics and medical decision-making, including a recent cost-benefit analysis on doula coverage for laboring women. Rachel will pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology and hopes to practice in Oregon after her residency. Rachel is a 2010 Swindells Family Scholar Award recipient.

"I would like to serve as faculty at a large academic center, specifically OHSU," she said. "In that capacity, I would very much like to help further outreach efforts in rural communities through telemedicine and collaborative partnerships."

Josh SmithJoshua Smith

Josh Smith began working with physician assistants at the age of 19. He was a medic in the Oregon Army National Guard and worked with PAs during a one-year deployment to Iraq, as well as Louisiana shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck the area. Through these experiences, along with the many opportunities to treat patients from across the world and from various cultures, Josh developed a very clear picture of his future as a PA. After graduation Josh is looking at practicing family medicine.

Rod TaylorRod Taylor

After graduating from high school in Hagerstown, Md., Rod Taylor spent six years in the United States Army as a Combat Medic, serving mostly in Germany and also briefly in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq during the first gulf war. After the Army he received his degree in Psychology from the University of Idaho and then did a five year stint as an insurance broker before deciding that he wanted to do something different and went to work as an Executive Specialist in the School of Medicine, Office of the Dean. He will receive his Masters Degree in Health Care Management.

“I hope to have an impact on health care reform and focus on the continuity of care for chronically ill patients and reducing costs due to health care inflation,” he said.

Cathy VillagomezCathy Villagomez

Cathy moved to Portland with her family six years ago with hopes of providing her three children with a better education and more opportunities than she had. "I find no better way to drive home the importance of life-long learning than going to school myself and setting an example for them," she said. Cathy comes from the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (in the Pacific). "Growing up on a small island is much like living in a small town anywhere in the U.S.," she said. "You have a sense of belonging and a safety net of family and friends that support you and care for you. You want to do what you can to make your community better." She wants to use the knowledge she's gained to make her community and those in it better off through improved care and health outcomes.