Class of 2023


Brief Bio

Jake Bachofer, MD
Jake Bachofer, MD

Hometown: Belgrade, MT
Medical School: University of Washington School of Medicine
Clinical Interests: Rural surgery, colorectal
Research Interests: Surgical education, patient outcomes, quality improvement
Personal Interests: Any sport/competition, board games, time with family and friends.
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: This is a program that produced strong residents, with an emphasis on a well-rounded general surgeon. I have an interest in returning to a rural community, and I wanted to have the option to do that directly out of residency with confidence; meanwhile, I was looking for a program with the academic opportunities to enable me to match a fellowship of my choice should I elect to do so. In addition to that great fit, the resident camaraderie, palpable from the initial interview, was unsurpassed and has continued to be a highlight.


Valerie Leon, MD
Valerie Leon-Risemberg, MD

Hometown: Lima, Peru
Medical School: UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson
Clinical Interests: Trauma/critical care, colorectal
Research Interests: TBD
Personal Interests: My dog Oscar (the official class mascot), spending time with my nephews and family, traveling, and buying things off infomercials.
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: I did a couple of sub-Is as an MS4 and loved everything about the program, but mostly the people. We really are one big family.

Amanda Mesa
Amanda Mesa, MD

Hometown: Maite, Guam
Medical School: University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine
Clinical Interests: General surgery, MIS
Research Interests: Rural medicine, surgical education, global health
Personal Interests: Snowboarding, golfing, Broadway musicals, sportsball
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: It was a program that not only felt like home, with both the residents and faculty, but also produced quality surgeons. Moreover, the number of these surgeons that make their way back to become teaching faculty, speaks volumes to the character of this program and why I chose it.


Taylor Norton, MD
Taylor Norton, MD

Hometown: Brentwood, TN
Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Clinical Interests: Trauma/critical care, general surgery
Research Interests: Critical care, trauma, patient safety
Personal Interests: Hiking, weightlifting, ballroom dancing, ultimate frisbee
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: It was obvious from my interview and the conversations I had with both residents and faculty that this was a program that prioritized a solid foundation in general surgery. The camaraderie among residents and collegial relationships with faculty were evident from my interview day, and the chief residents with whom I interviewed were the kind of professionals I wanted to be when I finished training.


Kelsey Rupp
Kelsey Rupp, MD

Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Clinical Interests: Trauma/critical care, transplant, vascular surgery
Research Interests: Critical care, nutrition in traumatic brain injuries
Personal Interests: Sailing, photography, yoga, baking
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: The program has a strong sense of community across all resident classes and amongst faculty; there is a broad range of clinical experiences available in the program; and there is a strong emphasis on operative training and resident autonomy.


Alex Vaicius
Alex Vaicius, MD

Hometown: Naperville, IL
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine
Clinical Interests: Trauma/critical care, vascular, minimally invasive, colorectal
Research Interests: Critical care, acute toxic-metabolic encephalopathy
Personal Interests: Drag racing, drone racing, hiking, boating, weight lifting, entrepreneurship, viticulture
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: Great exposure to different surgical fields, abundance of early operating experience, great attendings, supportive staff, great operating facilities, awesome co-residents

Alexandra Weston, MD
Alexandra Weston, MD

Hometown: Chaumont, NY
Medical School: SUNY Upstate Medical University
Clinical Interests: General surgery, trauma/critical care
Research Interests: Resident well-being, critical care
Personal Interests: Hiking, trying new restaurants and breweries, going to drag shows, hanging out with my wife and cats
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: Great “general” general surgery training, exposure to multiple different hospital settings, large amount of operating time, great relationships with attendings and co-residents

Michael Zhou, MD
Michael Zhou, MD

Hometown: Houston, TX
Medical School: University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
Clinical Interests: Trauma/critical care, general surgery
Research Interests: Medical technology, trauma systems
Personal Interests: Triathlons, motorsports, nutrition, traveling
Why UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix: First and foremost, the collaborative culture. This program strives to train adaptable and evidence-based general surgeons with a strong clinical and operative foundation.