Meet the 2022 NextGen Fellows - Cohort 1

Meet the 2022 NextGen Fellows. These young adults are interested in careers in medicine, research, and entrepreneurship! 

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Alexandra Firestone
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Alexandra Firestone is a senior at The University of Southern California studying Human Development and Aging. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 7 years old and it inspired her desire to go into the medical field. Upon graduation, she plans on working as an EMT during a gap year before applying to medical school next May. Outside of school, she loves baking and cooking healthy meals, working out, and traveling.

 

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Bailey Cox
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Bailey is a junior at Clemson University studying marketing and economics. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011 at age 10. As a result of this diagnosis, she has a passion for helping others with type 1, and hopes to pursue a career in pharmaceutical marketing for diabetes supplies.

 

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Benjamin Cole is a sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Ben was diagnosed with diabetes at twelve and found support by attending various JDRF Conferences and Camp Possibilities, a summer camp for children with diabetes beginning in 2015. Ben is a member of the Delta Alpha Phi Honor Society where he serves students with disabilities and will volunteer as a diabetes summer camp counselor again this July. Outside of school, Ben loves to play soccer, tutor students of all ages in math, and listen to music. When he graduates, Ben aspires to be a clinical researcher and contribute to the rapidly growing field of insulin therapies.

 

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Celeste Jongeneelen
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Celeste Jongeneelen is originally from Hawai'i, but currently is a rising senior majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She is involved with her campus Student-Alumni Association, Dance Company, tutoring, and serves as a resident advisor. One of the things she is most proud of is starting the CDN Chapter on her campus. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just over three years ago, and having a support network around her has been critical as she's adjusted to living with T1D. So, she is really proud to have started building a community on campus. After she graduates, she is not sure exactly what career path she wants to pursue. However, she knows that she would like to work in healthcare or medical research and likely within the diabetes sector.

 

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Chris Kern
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Chris Kern is a recent graduate of Florida State University holding a major in Finance and a minor in Psychology. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 17. Currently, he is a corporate venture capital analyst at Innoventures, the corporate venture arm of Tampa General Hospital. Innoventures helps steward innovation in healthcare and invest in companies making demonstrable changes in patients' lives. His goals are to work with startups and early-stage companies that improve lives and help drive innovative thinking. He enjoys running, creative writing, and helping type 1 diabetics improve their HbA1c. 

 

 

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Christopher Spencer
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Chris Spencer is a fourth-year B.S. Biomedical Engineering Student at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, with a concentration in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. After being diagnosed with T1D in June 2019, he resolved to use his everyday experiences as a student-athlete to make a positive impact on other patients and contribute to scientific understanding of T1D. Currently, he is conducting research to understand how hyperglycemia affects differential gene expression and mechanical properties in bioartificial blood vessels. As a graduate student, he intends to shift his focus to researching preventive and regenerative solutions to T1D.

 

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Georgia Cheek
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Georgia Cheek attends The Ohio State University. She is a junior studying Molecular Genetics on the Pre-Medicine track in hopes of becoming a pediatric endocrinologist so she can help children just as she was helped. She was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was three years old, and ever since she can remember this has been her dream. She is excited for this opportunity and cannot wait to continue learning and growing with CDN. 

 

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Jada Sanchez
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Jada Sanchez is a current East Carolina University Undergraduate student studying Public Health and Spanish. She will be transferring to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to continue her education this summer. On September 11th, 2015, she was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Since her diagnosis, she has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award through establishing a fifth through twelfth grade type one diabetes support group, became a leader on and off ECU’s campus, and will continue her endeavors wherever life takes her next. After undergraduate, she has plans to pursue medicine as a Pediatric Endocrinologist to provide the same fantastic support her pediatric endocrinologist once gave her, to generations to come.  

 

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Jessica Wisniewski
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Jessica has had diabetes for 18 years.  She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Master of Science in Global Health in 2019. She currently works as a project manager in clinical research. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and playing volleyball. She hopes to work within the diabetes field with her project management and research skills. 

 

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John Brown
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John is a third year Biochemistry major at UC San Diego. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age one, and my experience with diabetes is what inspired him to become a physician. He hopes to connect with other diabetics in a clinical setting and educate those who are newly diagnosed. In his free time, he likes to play soccer, spikeball, and guitar. 

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Kendra Bass
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Kendra is a junior at IUP majoring in biology pre-med with a minor in nutrition. She was diagnosed at 18 years old during her first semester in college. She works as an EMT currently to help reach her goal of being a pediatric endocrinologist. She is excited to be a part of this amazing program and learn many new things. 

 

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Kimberly Stahovich
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Kimberly Stahovich was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2014. She is a junior studying bioengineering at UCLA and is the co-founder and co-president of the CDN Chapter there. She has been involved as a volunteer with JDRF and the ADA. She hopes to become a pediatric endocrinologist and is considering doing an MD/PhD program to enable her to conduct diabetes-related research. Her goal is to use her engineering background to better bridge the gap between patient problems and clinical interventions, particularly in the diabetes sector. 

 

 

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Kristel Aladin
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Kristel Aladin is excited to be a part of the NextGen Fellowship. She attended the University of West Georgia, studying biology and psychology. While being a full-time student, she also dealt with a full-time chronic illness, type one diabetes. She was diagnosed over eight years ago. She hopes to further work in the medical field and conduct research on diabetes.

 

 

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Musaddiq Lodi
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Musaddiq Lodi is a third year accelerated masters student at Virginia Commonwealth University pursuing a B.S and M.S in Bioinformatics. He is originally from Manassas Park, VA but now lives in the Richmond, VA area. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12 in June of 2013. He hopes to pursue a career as a research scientist in the field of pediatric endocrinology, and find new and innovative treatments for diabetes. He is the co-founder and co-president of the CDN Chapter, the Alpha Beta Club, at VCU. He initiates and immerses himself in several diabetes volunteering efforts in the Richmond community. In his free time, he enjoys playing cricket, reading, and producing music.

 

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Nathan Conte
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Nathan Conte is a senior in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University. He moved to Arizona from Iowa in 2018, and is currently a design engineering intern for Sloan Valve Company. He was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 4 years old, and before he joined CDN, he had never considered a career in diabetes. Now that he is about to graduate, he is very interested in working in the biotech field so that he can help influence the future of CGMs and pumps. Outside of diabetes/school, he enjoys pickleball, volleyball, and motorsports.

 

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Thank you to the sponsors of the NextGen Fellowship, CBDCE and Novo Nordisk!