Orientation Committee

Hello Everyone!

We’re your Orientation Committee for the Class of 2026! First and foremost, congratulations and welcome! We are very excited for orientation week and the start of the school year in August. 

We will be sending you a lot of information about orientation over the next couple months, so be sure to check your emails regularly and stay up to date with all the information we have provided for you. Our goal is to make this as easy of a transition as possible. So please, if you have any questions, do not be afraid to ask! You can send any questions to our orientation email account jsmbsorientation@gmail.com or directly to any one of our Orientation Committee Leaders. We are here to help! 

Can’t wait to meet all of you! 

Your OC: Adam, Elizabeth, Rose, Renato, Amanda, Lauren, Gretchen

Adam Abbas.

Name: Adam Abbas

Hometown: Deer Park, NY

Undergraduate College and Major/Minor: Neuroscience B.S with a minor in Chemistry

Gap Year (If yes, what did you do during your gap year): 

During my gap year I served as a Visiting Scholar at the Feinstein Institute for Biomedical Research, where I helped pioneer basic science research in cervical vagus nerve stimulation for the treatment of inflammatory disease. I developed surgical mouse models, gave guest lectures at my alma matter, and collaborated with labs around the world.

Favorite Part of Medical School: The people among you are some of the most thoughtful and bright individuals I have come across, my favorite part of school has been the opportunity to meet, get to know, and learn from them.

Medical School Organizations: White Coat Black Diamond Social Media Chair, Orientation Committee Member, Siegel Awards Committee Member,  Student National Medical Association, American Medical Association, Frank Hastings Surgical Society Co-President, Orthopedic Surgery Interest Group, ENT Special Interest Group Co-President

Favorite Restaurants in Buffalo: LLoyd's Taco Factory

Favorite Buffalo Activity: Snowboarding

Hobbies: Volunteering, Snowboarding, Surfing, Soccer, Tennis (noob), Table-Tennis; I'm the athlete that doesn't follow professional sports as much as you might expect.

Fun Fact: I played soccer in Europe and got destroyed. (they're on a different level over there)

Email: adamabba@buffalo.edu

Elizabeth Altman.

Name: Elizabeth Altman

Hometown: Fort Mill, SC

Undergraduate College and Major/Minor: Biochemistry major and Psychology minor at Union College 

Gap Year: I spent two years as a Post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Award Fellow at the NIH studying pediatric obesity in mice

Favorite Part of Medical School: The community is amazing! Both the student population at Jacobs and the local Buffalo community are full of genuinely good people that have so much to offer. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to live and learn with for these four years. The community members I’ve met at Lighthouse and through the Health in the Neighborhood class remind me every day why I want to be a doctor in the first place and make me so happy to get up every day and keep working towards that goal!

Medical School Organizations: Labs Manager for the Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic, member of the OBGYN interest group, plans for summer research with the UB Maternal and Child Health program, volunteer with Jericho Road’s Priscilla Project (not UB-affiliated but a great organization that a lot of students work with!)

Favorite Restaurants in Buffalo: Anchor Bar, Taisho Bistro, Saika Sushi, Dickey’s BBQ, Gabriel’s Gate

Favorite Buffalo Activity: Trying new restaurants - the food here is amazing!

Hobbies: Cooking new recipes, Day-dreaming about traveling, Interior home design 

Fun Fact: My husband and I have a 1-year-old pug named Baxter that we treat like a baby (always happy to provide puppy pictures!)

Email: ealtman2@buffalo.edu

Rose Durnell.

Name: Rose Durnell

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Undergraduate College and Major/Minor: Canisius College, Biochemistry/Sociology

Gap Year (If yes, what did you do during your gap year): N/A

Favorite Part of Medical School: Volunteering! I've had such an amazing time so far going out and giving back to the Buffalo community.

Medical School Organizations: OB/GYN Interest Group, Bioethics Journal Club, Student Wellness Committee, and Orientation Committee!

Favorite Restaurants in Buffalo: Gabriel's Gate for chicken wings, Kostas on Hertel for Greek food, and Wasabi on Elmwood for sushi. If you have a sweet tooth I'd also recommend Lake Effect Ice Cream (also on Hertel)

Favorite Buffalo Activity: Hiking, spending time in Tifft Nature Preserve, shopping at the Elmwood Village Farmer's Market, and Shakespeare in the Park in the summertime. Ice skating in the winter time.

Hobbies: Puzzles, hiking, playing the clarinet, hanging out with my dogs (one of which, Pepper, is in my picture!)

Email Address: rosedurn@buffalo.edu

Renato Quinones.

Name: Renato Quinones

Hometown: Lockport, NY

Undergraduate College and Major/Minor: D'Youville University, Biology BS and Nutrition/Spanish minor

Gap Year (If yes, what did you do during your gap year):  N/A

Favorite Part of Medical School:  My friends!

Medical School Organizations: LMSA, UB BIG, SNMA

Favorite Restaurants in Buffalo: Sabores de mi tierra, Fresh catch poke, and Casa di Pizza

Favorite Buffalo Activity: Going to 500 Pearl St on Saturdays 

Hobbies:  Barber, playing piano, exercising 

Fun Fact:  I was adopted from Bogota, Colombia

Email Address: renatoqu@buffalo.edu

Amanda Szarzanowicz.

Name: Amanda Szarzanowicz

Hometown: Buffalo, NY 

Undergraduate College and Major/Minor: I majored in Human Biology, Health and Society at Cornell University.

Gap Year (If yes, what did you do during your gap year): Yes! During that time, I was a medical scribe at Roswell Park, a research assistant in the Oishei Children's Hospital Emergency Department, and I took every opportunity to travel. 

Favorite Part of Medical School: Gross Anatomy! I had amazing lab partners and we really bonded over late nights and early mornings in the lab - we still study together daily. It was such an incredible learning opportunity and the perfect entry into our medical education. 

Medical School Organizations: Manager at the Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic, Co-President of the UB Association of Women Surgeons, Siegel Awards for Excellence in Teaching Committee, Co-President of the Urology Interest Group, Orientation Committee, Co-President of the UB Biotech Investing Group, Medical Spanish, and Jacobs Wine Club

Favorite Restaurants in Buffalo: Toutant, Roost, Casa Azul, Jack Rabbit, Daniela, Lombardo's, Sato Ramen, Billy Club, Lake Effect Ice Cream, Coco's, Squeeze Juicery, Saigon Cafe, Hutch's, Globe Market, Dapper Goose... so many more, you really can't go wrong! 

Favorite Buffalo Activity: Buffalo Bills games and tailgates are a must! 

Hobbies: I love road trips through National Parks, skiing, mountain climbing, spinning, sporting events, live music, traveling, and hanging out with my Corgi puppy, Stu. 

Fun Fact: I am a scuba diver and spearfisherman!

Email Address: amszarza@buffalo.edu

Lauren Todoro.

Name: Lauren Todoro

Hometown: Buffalo, NY (East Aurora)

Undergraduate College and Major/Minor: SUNY Geneseo, Biology Major/Human Development Minor

Gap Year (If yes, what did you do during your gap year): N/A

Favorite Part of Medical School:  Anatomy! Nothing bonds a group of friends like late nights in the cadaver lab trying to make sense of the Brachial Plexus! This class was so different from my undergraduate classes and made me feel the most excited about medical school!

Medical School Organizations: UB DoctHers Co-President, OBGYN Interest Group Co-President, JSMBS Wellness Committee Co-President, Best Buddies Co-President, Orientation Committee

Favorite Restaurants in Buffalo: Red Pepper (best dumplings), Osteria 166, Paula’s Donuts, Griffin Gastropub (East Aurora), Lake Effect Ice Cream, Coco’s (get the French Fries), Tikka House, Chef’s, JT’s

Favorite Buffalo Activity: Trying a new restaurant, ice skating at Canalside (also have free yoga classes in the summer), concerts at Darien Lake and the KeyBank Center

Hobbies: Baking, cooking, reading, yoga, running, anything to do with dogs

Fun Fact: I’m an American and a Canadian citizen!

Email Address: ldtodoro@buffalo.edu

Gretchen Weiss.

Name: Gretchen Weiss

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Undergraduate College and Major/Minor: Case Western Reserve University, Chemical Biology Major, Philosophy Minor, Bioethics and Medical Humanities Master

Gap Year (If yes, what did you do during your gap year): n/a

Favorite Part of Medical School: anatomy lab! And the willingness of faculty and students to help you out.

Medical School Organizations: Bioethics Journal Club, Orientation Committee, Project Sunshine volunteering, Geriatrics Club, Ophthalmology Interest Group, Oncology Interest Group, Orthopedics Interest Group, Volleyball IM

Favorite Restaurants in Buffalo: Duff’s; Tacos, Community, and Beer (TCB)

Favorite Buffalo Activity: going to Canalside in the summer, Bills’ games, Sabres’ games, biking along the waterfront

Hobbies: lifting, cooking, boondoggling

Fun Fact: I love to waterski!! (even though I don’t get to do it all too often)

Email Address: gweiss@buffalo.edu