LCI Student Council 2017-18

Member Bios

Christine Motzkus - Co-Chair
3rd year

Christine is an MD-PhD student anticipating graduation in 2019 from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is one of the student council co-chairs of the LCI, and continues to serve as a member of the Learning Communities Executive Board at UMASS. She hopes to pursue a career in emergency medicine. Originally from Augusta, Georgia, she has continued a steady northward trek after earning her MPH from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Her hobbies include traveling nationally for competitive olympic fencing, Crossfit, and cuddling with her dogs and cat.

Meredith Johnson - Co-Chair
3rd Year

Meredith serves as student research chair for the LCI and represents her class from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.  She joined the LCI because of an interest in a career in medical education and meeting students with similar goals. In her free time, she loves to bake chocolate toffee cookies and decorate birthday cakes. She loves to travel and aims to visit every continent (5 down, 2 more to go!)

Michael Pilla - Advisor

Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


  • Bachelor of Science, Widener University (1990)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Widener University (1990)
  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (1994)
  • Residency in Anesthesiology, Massachusetts General Hospital (1998)
  • Board Certification in Anesthesiology, American Board of Anesthesiology (2000)
  • Acupuncture, Helms Medical Institute / UCLA School of Medicine (2004)

Dr. Pilla joined Vanderbilt University in 2004 following 6 years in private practice.  He is the associate Program Director, Residency in Anesthesiology, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he also serves as a College Mentor in the Advisory Colleges within the School of Medicine.  He is Vice-Chair for the American Society of Anesthesiology Committee on Problem Based Learning Discussions, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Communications for the Society of Sleep Medicine and Anesthesia, and faculty mentor for the Student Council, Learning Communities Institute, his most beloved position.

Family (wife & dogs (6)), music, photography, snowboarding

Christopher Bouchard - Secretary
3rd Year

Chris is a third year student at the University of New Mexico. He is serving as secretary for the LCI student council. He also serves as the student head of strategic planning for learning communities at UNM. He is a classically trained musician and plays in several orchestra and symphonies in Albuquerque, along with teaching drumline and percussion in his spare time.

Paul Alvarez - Outreach
3rd Year

Paul is a current 4th year medical student at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He is the current LCI student outreach coordinator. Paul was born and raised in Miami, Florida before earning his bachelors degree in chemistry from the University of Central Florida. He plans to apply to become an orthopaedic surgery residency within the upcoming year. His hobbies include playing basketball, reading and listening to music.

Samuel Altonji - Research
3rd Year

Sam is a third year student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB).  He is involved with Learning Communities at UAB as part of his role in the Student Senate, and is researching the effectiveness of informal peer mentoring relationships among medical students. When he’s not studying Sam likes to rock climb, read, and play music (mostly bass). When he can get away for a weekend he heads to Auburn where his wife Olivia is pursuing her Ph.D. in nutrition science.

Caroline Gentile - Conference Planning
1st Year

Caroline Gentile is a first year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she is the LCI representative.  Outside of medical school, she enjoys cooking, trying new fitness classes, and exploring New York City.

Christopher Kaperak - Member-At-Large
3rd Year

Chris is a third year medical student at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He has thoroughly enjoyed his LC experiences at UVA, and is interested in being more involved in optimizing LC experiences both at UVA and at other medical schools by joining the LCI student council. You can often find him reading, playing board games, or thinking about a new travel destination. Originally from Seattle, he also enjoys hiking and running, even if there is a bit of rain.

Ammu Vijay - Member-At-Large
3rd Year

Ammu is an MS2/3 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is part of student government at her medical school and has been able to participate in their learning communities through her position. She is passionate about medical education and intends to have a career in academic medicine one day. Her hobbies include reading, travelling, running, and sampling local coffee shops and breweries! One of her bucket list goals is to set foot on every continent – she’s 4/7 of the way there!

Daniel Sack - Member-At-Large

Danny Sack is a second year MD-PhD student at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is looking forward to starting his PhD in Epidemiology, where he hopes to explore how social factors impact health outcomes. He joined the LCI student council because of his interest in the importance of integrating social sciences and the humanities into medical education. In his somewhat limited free time he enjoys running and reading.

Kinnari Ruikar - Member-At-Large
1st Year

Kinnari is a first year medical student at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. She is a Learning Communities (Colleges) Senator and serves on the Student Government for her class in this capacity as well. She has loved working with her LCI peers, and looks forward to continuing to do so. Outside of medical school, she enjoys exploring Dallas, finding new coffee shops, dancing, and reading.

Matt Solomon - Member-At-Large
4th Year

Matthew Solomon (he/him/his) is a fourth-year medical student at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He is currently pursuing a pediatric residency with a special interest in advocacy for homeless and at-risk youth populations. Matt has served for three years on the LCI Student Council and as a leader locally for UNM’s Learning Communities.  He is proud to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee and to be the co-creator of the UNM School of Medicine Zia Bowl Olympic Games. In his spare time, he enjoys CrossFit, mountain biking, playing the drums and occasionally… eating chocolate chip pancakes