Undergraduate degree: Microbiology, University of South Florida
Why study medicine?
"In spring 1999, I was 14 years old and I was in Albania when refugees started coming in from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. I would see doctors working with the refugees, and I remember being impressed by what I saw. It was painful to see people hurt. But the doctors were inspiring.
"I also always liked science and had curiosity about the human body. And I like having the ability to improve a person's life."
Why choose UCF?
"I applied to seven schools, mostly in Florida. UCF was a good fit. I like the idea that we'll be studying in groups. My sister Matilda will be attending UCF for her undergraduate degree. She'll be my roommate."
On leaving Albania after high school:
"I wanted to become a doctor, but I wanted to study in America. So my parents moved here for me."
On learning English as an adult:
"We were taught English in high school, but I didn't speak it very well. When I got to this country, I went to adult education classes at St. Petersburg College. It was a lot of reading, a lot of vocabulary. I studied every day and just did it. Sometimes I have to search for the right word. But it gets easier."
Other languages spoken:
Italian, Spanish, Albanian.
Just for fun:
"I like riding horses. I got to vacation in Albania this summer and got the chance to ride. I like sports. I'd like to learn Greek. I like visiting Tarpon Springs just to hear it spoken."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times