Meet the Residents
Meet our current child neurology residents, learn about their interests and why they chose to train at Children's National.
- Emma Hickman
Hometown: East Lansing, MI
Undergraduate School: Amherst College
Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neuroimmunology, neuroinfectious disease
Personal Interests: Reading mystery novels, British television (including The Great British Bake Off), crochet, spending time with family
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? I was very impressed by the passion and collegiality that I observed between the faculty and the fellows on my interview day during the weekly intake conference. In addition, I knew I wanted to train at a large academic institution with a diverse patient population and a wide variety of disease presentations.
Future Plans: Likely fellowship followed by a career in academic medicine with a mix of inpatient and outpatient practice
- Jacklyn (Jackie) Smith
Hometown: Calgary, AB, Canada
Undergraduate School: The University of Calgary, Biological Sciences and Psychology
Graduate School: The University of Calgary, Neuroscience
Medical School: St. George’s University
Pediatric Residency: Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neurocritical care, neuroimmunology and epilepsy
Personal Interests: Adventure and art! Such as travel, scuba diving, hiking, skiing, live theater, painting and gallery perusing
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? I wanted to train at a large independent children’s hospital, with a variety of case presentations, faculty interests and research opportunities. Plus, the faculty and my co-fellows are amazing!
Future Plans: Fellowship and ultimately academic medicine
- Vivien Xie
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Undergraduate School: University of Maryland, College Park
Medical School: University of Maryland School of Medicine
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neuroimmunology
Personal Interests: Indoor gardening, calligraphy, interior design, museum hopping, brunch
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? The faculty and trainees have made me feel welcome at Children's ever since I was a med student! There is a wonderful culture of teaching and mentorship, and everyone is very invested in your personal and professional growth. I love being at a large academic institution that sees a vast variety of neurologic conditions and trains you to work in an interdisciplinary manner. Training here has made me feel like I will be prepared for whatever next step I take.
Future Plans: Neuroimmunology fellowship
- Sanam Zarei
Hometown: Iowa City, IA
Undergraduate School: University of Iowa
Medical School: University of Iowa
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neurocritical care, epilepsy, neuromuscular
Personal Interests: Hiking, pick-up soccer, winter sports, playing music, traveling, baking
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? I wanted a program where the people have a family vibe and I found it here! Children's was unique in encouraging me to pursue and forge connections between my multiple interests. I knew Children's would provide me with the training and wide variety of cases to become a well-rounded child neurologist and I love D.C. as a city!
Future Plans: Undecided, but most likely fellowship
- Mrinmayee Takle
Hometown: Herndon, VA
Undergraduate School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Medical School: University of Virginia School of Medicine
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Still exploring my options!
Personal Interests: Traveling, running at Rock Creek Park, hiking in Shenandoah, and exploring new restaurants
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? The supportive atmosphere, diversity of patients, exposure to different neurological subspecialties, opportunity to see very rare conditions, and city of D.C.!
Future Plans: Undecided, but likely in an academic institution where I can pursue my interests of medical education and global health
- Elizabeth Pickup
Hometown: Woodbury, MN
Undergraduate School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Medical School: University of Minnesota
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: stroke, neurocritical care
Personal Interests: Running, hiking, baking
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? Children's National has a strong emphasis on clinical training, but also provides opportunities to engage with research and medical education. We treat a very diverse patient population, see a wide range of conditions, and have access to every subspeciality within child neurology. Every attending I have worked with has been invested in my learning, and my co-fellows are amazing!
Future Plans: Likely fellowship
- Nouf Alaqla
Hometown: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Medical School: Umm Al-qura University
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neuro-oncology, epilepsy
Personal Interests: Sleeping, music, spending time with family and friends
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? The diverse patient population, supportive atmosphere and great research opportunities.
Future Plans: TBD
- Natalie Kukulka
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Undergraduate School: Lake Forest College
Medical School: University of Missouri School of Medicine at Columbia
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neurocritical Care, Fetal and Neonatal Neurology, Movement Disorders
Personal Interests: Dancing (especially ballroom dancing), photography, traveling abroad and trying new food!
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? For the breadth and depth of professional opportunities, emphasis on education, supportive environment and exposure to a large variety in disease presentation.
Future Plans: Future fellowship
- Marina Eskandar
Hometown: Springfield, Virginia
Undergraduate School: George Mason University, Neuroscience
Medical School: George Washington University
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Epilepsy, Neonatal Neurology
Personal Interests: Spending time with my husband and daughter, music, reading, travel and my Orthodox Church
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? The diverse patient population and interesting cases as well as the approachable faculty who are personally invested in every fellow
Future Plans: I am interested in practicing general neurology at an academic institution.
- Ilyse Genser
Undergraduate School: SUNY Binghamton University, Integrative Neuroscience
Medical School: New York Medical College
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neuro-oncology, Epilepsy
Personal Interests: Skiing, hiking, ice cream, petting other people's dogs
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? I loved the autonomy fellows were given paired with the great support system of attendings and colleagues always available to teach and answer questions. Plus D.C. is a great city to live in!
Future Plans: TBD!
- Molly Moehlman
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Undergraduate School: Trinity University, Biology and Mathematics
Medical School: UT Southwestern
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neuro-immunology
Personal Interests: Reading, golf, knitting and cooking
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? I loved the people that I met and the variety of opportunities available with exposure to every subfield within Neurology. I also was excited to get to explore D.C. for the next five years.
Future Plans: Possibly fellowship with an ultimate goal of working at an academic center and being involved in medical education.
- Mejdi Najjar
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Undergraduate School: University of Miami, Neuroscience
Medical School: University of Central Florida
Areas of Interest in Child Neurology: Neurocritical care, stroke, neurophysiology
Personal Interests: Spending family time with wife and son, visiting various museums, sports (soccer, basketball), music production (jazz, hip-hop).
Why did you choose to train at Children’s National? Great exposure to interesting cases, fellow autonomy, multiple subspecialities, large program with many fellows. All in a really diverse and interesting city.
Future Plans: Epilepsy fellowship at Children's National with plans to continue with Neuro ICU training.