Meet the Team

Eric Thai, PA-S

Hometown: Temple City, CA

Undergraduate/Major: University of California Irvine, B.S. in Public Health Science

Hobbies/Fun Fact: Snowboarding, rock climbing, biking, hiking

Volunteering Experiences:

  • Alpha Epsilon Delta Professional Medical Co-Ed Fraternity Member

  • Kaiser Permanente Emergency Department Volunteer

  • Karate for All, Tustin

  • Project Sunshine, Irvine

Clinical Experiences:

  • Emergency Medical Technician, Ambuserve

  • Medical Scribe, Hoag Medical Group 

  • Medical Assistant, Pacific Rheumatology

  • Medical Assistant, Global Oncology

  • UCI Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care Cahill Laboratory

  • UCI Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Rose Laboratory

How Many Years Post-Grad?  

  • Graduated with my B.S. in 2016 and started PA school in August 2018.

What You Wish Undergrad Students Knew Before Applying:

  • The journey is just as important as the destination. Don't forget about self care and be sure to find time to continue doing the things you enjoy!

Sarah Moreno, PA-S

Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL

Undergraduate/Major: University of Florida, B.S. in Health Science

Hobbies/Fun Fact: I love backpacking! My favorite trip was going to Southeast Asia right after my college graduation. I went to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia!

Volunteering Experiences: 

  • Maria Luisa de Moreno International Foundation

  • Mobile Outreach Clinic, UF Health Shands Hospital

  • Global Medical Training

Clinical Experiences:

  • Internal Medicine Medical Assistant

  • Certified Nursing Assistant, North Florida Rehabilitation Center

How Many Years Post-Grad? 2 years  

What You Wish Undergrad Students Knew Before Applying:

  • Get your clinical hours done early! This will reduce the time you spend post-grad trying to sort it all out. Also, many places will hire MA's without any licensure so it's important to do some research!

Madi Tien, PA-S

Hometown: Cerritos, CA

Undergraduate/Major: UCLA, B.S. in Physiological Sciences

Hobbies/Fun Fact: I have never cried cutting onions before. I actually don't feel any sensation including eye burning when cutting onions. 

Volunteering Experiences:

  • UCLA Flying Samaritans Secretary and Research in Community Health Chair

  • Los Angeles Team Mentoring with Alumni Scholar Club at UCLA 

  • Assessing Residents' CI-CARE (ARC) at UCLA

Clinical Experiences:

  • Pediatric Gastroenterologist Medical Assistant 

  • Dental Assistant in Seattle, WA

  • COPE Health Scholars and Executive Team at St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach

How Many Years Post-Grad?:  

  • 2 years; graduated in March 2016, started PA school in August 2018

What You Wish Undergrad Students Knew Before Applying:

  • Try anywhere to find shadowing opportunities! I realize it is very difficult, and I probably messaged around 40 PAs via LinkedIn before I had one PA that graciously allowed me to shadow him. I also reached out to any PAs my family knew as well. 

Alysza Kristine Ureta Permalino, PA-S

Hometown: Bellflower, CA

Undergraduate/Major: University of California Irvine, B.S. in Biological Sciences

Hobbies/Fun Fact: Basketball, traveling to tropical destinations, anything Disney, going on "food adventures"

Volunteering Experiences:

  • Delta Epsilon Mu Professional Co-Ed Fraternity Executive Secretary and Director of Prospects

  • Beverly Hospital Emergency Department Volunteer

  • Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Orthopedic Trauma Department Volunteer

  • Joshua Medical Community Outreach Program Director

  • High School Outreach Program Peer Counselor

  • Cypress Sunrise, Norwalk Christian Towers, Bel'Age Manor, Anaheim terrace senior home Volunteer

Clinical Experiences:

  • UCI Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Undergraduate Researcher Glabe Laboratory

  • Joshua Medical Internship Program

  • Joshua Medical Center Back Office Medical Assistant and Medical Scribe

How Many Years Post-Grad? Graduated June 2016 and started August 2018

What You Wish Undergrad Students Knew Before Applying:

  • Spend lots of time with loved ones before starting PA school and get lots of sleep while you can!

Salvador Portillo, PA-S

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

Undergraduate/Major: University of Maryland, B.S. in Kinesiology

Hobbies/Fun Fact: Working out, hiking, and spending time with family/friends

Volunteering Experiences:

  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

  • Ready 2 Lead Mentor

  • La Clinica Medical Center

  • Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc.

  • University of Maryland Children's Developmental Clinic

Clinical Experiences:

  • Medical Assistant at Terrapin Care Center

  • Health Technician at AccessAbility Medcare, LLC

How Many Years Post-Grad?: 

  • 4 years. Graduated from University of Maryland in 2014. Started PA school in August 2018.

What You Wish Undergrad Students Knew Before Applying:

  • The importance of starting your patient care hours early and finding a mentor that will help guide you through the application process.

Christina Davidian, PA-S

Hometown: Glendale, CA

Undergraduate/Major: University of California Los Angeles, B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics

Hobbies/Fun Fact: Hiking and camping when I get a chance!

Volunteering Experiences:

  • COPE Health Scholars Program, Glendale Adventist Medical Hospital

  • Armenians for Health Advancement at UCLA

  • Together Educating and Advocating Community Health UCLA

  • Glendale Community Health Fairs

  • Dream Center LA

  • Ascencia Shelter Glendale

  • Community Social Justice Team CRU UCLA

Clinical Experiences:

  • Medical Assistant Harmony Health MD Internal Medicine

  • Medical Assistant Dr. Kay Durairaj Facial Plastics, Head & Neck Surgery

  • Research Assistant Molecular Biology Institute UCLA

How Many Years Post-Grad?  

  • Graduated with my B.S. in 2017 and was blessed to start PA school in August 2018

Why Did You Want To Become a PA:

  • I have always known that I wanted to serve my community through healthcare, but after shadowing and working with multiple providers with my previous jobs, I came to fall in love with the PA profession! I love the way we are trained to care for our patients and also work as a team with our fellow colleagues. I love how versatile we are with our areas of practice and how we are used to close the gaps in healthcare! It gives me great satisfaction to know I am helping my patients, my community, fellow colleagues, partnering physicians, and the healthcare system as a whole, all at the same time!

What You Wish Undergrad Students Knew Before Applying:

  • Work hard, work well, but enjoy undergrad and the community! Take in all the experiences before PA school because it is non stop once you start! Take care of yourself and do the things you are passionate about and brings you joy. That mentality will carry you through PA school!

Mariam Saad, PA-S

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Undergraduate/Major: Cal Poly Pomona, B.A. Psychology

Hobbies/Fun Fact: Hiking, dancing, painting and love trying new/different foods!

Volunteering Experiences:

  • COPE Clinical Care Extender Internship - Queen of the Valley Hospital

  • Arcadia Methodist Hospital Labor and Delivery

  • Ability First

  • Non-profit Clinic - St. John Clinic

Clinical Experiences:

  • CNA

  • Back Office Medical Assistant

How Many Years Post-Grad?  

  • Graduated with my B.A. in 2017 and began PA school in August 2018

What You Wish Undergrad Students Knew Before Applying:

  • Try and complete your pre-requisite classes, anatomy, and physiology specifically, within 1-2 years of application. Keeping that knowledge fresh in your mind will help you build upon it during didactics. Also, don't forget to give yourself grace! You've got this!