Class of 2027


Brief Bio

Shiyu Ponciano, MD
Shiyu Ponciano, MD

Undergraduate: "University of California Santa Barbara – Biopsychology and Applied Psychology
Medical School: University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
Career Interests: Minimally invasive robotic surgery, surgical education
Personal Interests: Powerlifting, dog training, trying new foods, traveling
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: The camaraderie within the residency was unlike any other program I've seen. Residents get early operative experience with some of the most talented surgeons out there and become extremely proficient in both technical skills and medical knowledge by their chief year.

Zachary Mace, MD
Zachary Mace, MD

Undergraduate: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Biochemistry and Biophysics
Medical School: Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
Career Interests: Trauma and acute care surgery, critical care
Personal Interests: Skiing, hiking, eating my way through Phoenix, and Denver Nuggets basketball
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: Broad surgical exposure early in training, excellent trauma experience, a focus on resident wellness, and the people!

Bailey Kuechenmeister, DO
Bailey Kuechenmeister, DO

Undergraduate: Colorado State University – Biomedical Sciences
Medical School: Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine – Glendale
Career Interests: Still deciding
Personal Interests: Hiking, pickleball, reading, skiing, running, card and board games
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: During my away rotation, faculty and residents made me feel included and provided a safe learning environment to foster my interest in surgery. Additionally, I feel the program provides a strong foundation in general surgery while also having excellent subspecialty training and a robust robotics program. 

Samhita Vedula, MD
Samhita Vedula, MD

Undergraduate: Washington University in St. Louis – Biological Sciences and Global Health
Medical School: University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
Career Interests: Still deciding
Personal Interests: Trying new restaurants, thrifting, fashion, photography, eating fruit and sour candies, and of course spending time with my husband, friends, and family
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: This program provides the operative experience, resident-centric teaching environment, and a true sense of community that I was looking for in a general surgery residency. I am confident that the years I spent training here will help me develop the critical thinking skills to become a safe, competent, and compassionate surgeon in the future!

Priya M. Puri, MD
Priya M. Puri, MD

Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania
Medical School: University of Queensland – Ochsner Clinical School
Career Interests: Global surgery, plastic surgery, breast surgical oncology
Personal Interests: Traveling, watching Bollywood movies, dancing, painting, wine tasting, hiking, yoga, spending time with my husband, family, and friends
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: I chose this program for the culture and camaraderie between the residents, the commitment to resident education, the broad clinical and operative experiences in diverse training environments - including the opportunity to train at Alaska Native Medical Center, and the strong presence of female leadership and mentorship in the faculty. I wanted a program that would prepare me to be a well-rounded and technically proficient surgeon, but also provide the support and guidance to pursue any fellowship. From observing the chiefs and recent alumni who have returned as faculty, I am confident this program will allow me to do that. Lastly, after being here for a month, the camaraderie between the residents and support from the upper levels has been a highlight. I am excited to learn from and grow with all my awesome co-residents! 

Jacob C. Thomsen, MD
Jacob C. Thomsen, MD

Undergraduate: South Dakota State University – Biology
Medical School: University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, Vermillion
Career Interests: Rural Surgery, global surgery
Personal Interests: Hiking, biking, camping, construction, and home building
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: Early operating experience, rural surgery tract, many different clinical and operative settings

Lydia Kirillova, MD
Lydia Kirillova, MD

Undergraduate: University of California – Biology
Medical School: University of California, Irvine
Career Interests: Pediatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery
Personal Interests: Hiking, traveling, good eats, playing piano and singing, going to concerts
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: Ideal balance between community and academic, genuinely inclusive and supportive environment, unique opportunity to train in both urban and rural settings, excellent robotics training

Jessica Alfonzo, MD
Jessica Alfonzo, MD

Undergraduate: Oregon State University – BioResource Research
Medical School: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Career Interests: Plastic surgery, breast surgery, rural surgery
Personal Interests: Food, breweries, dogs, hiking
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: 100% the people! And the opportunity for residents trains in so many different settings- city, rural, Alaska, academic, community, VA, etc.