Student Leaders

Sani Eskinazi ('20)

President

Sani is a junior at Stanford majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology with a minor in Economics. He enjoys working at the intersection of patient care, neuroscience research, and public service. After joining the club as a freshman and serving in outreach for a year, Sani currently leads the club with Michael’s mentorship. His experiences interacting with post brain injury individuals via his role in outreach allowed him to assume this executive position, and gave him the privilege of leading a team of passionate Stanford students. Having had a brain injury as a teenager, Sani sees Synapse as the optimal platform to learn more about the consequences of traumatic brain injury while giving back to society. Synapse has allowed Sani to further appreciate medicine’s unique role in combining the seemingly distinct fields of research and human interaction. After graduation, Sani plans on becoming a physician and taking care of patients on a daily basis, while also contributing to the management side of healthcare.

Baylee Bakkila ('20)

VP of Quality Improvement

Baylee is a junior studying political science and biology. She is fascinated by the elusiveness of the brain and its functioning - and hopes to be involved in unraveling some of the mystery. After experiencing the impact of traumatic brain injury and neuronal dysfunction in her own family, she decided to join Synapse to help support patients and their families when they need it most. She is excited to improve the Synapse experience for both core members and support group attendees in her role as Vice President of Quality Improvement. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and study public health.

Saket Myneni ('21)

Head of Conference Development

Saket Myneni is a member of Stanford's Class of 2021, majoring in Biology. He joined Stanford Synapse as a freshman in order to support the brain injury community on and around campus. This year, as a sophomore, he is in charge of planning and running the annual winter conference for people in the community and those wishing to support the community. In the future, Saket hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career that will allow him to continue helping this community. In his free time, Saket enjoys playing basketball, reading, and playing the violin.

Andrew Bueno ('19)

VP of Buddy Program

Andrew is a senior majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. Ever since middle school, he has been interested in the brain, especially the plasticity that is demonstrated after injuries. He is interested especially in the connection between the mind and body, a powerful intersection that allows a positive mindset and healthy social environment to have dramatic impact on health outcomes even at the physiological level. He is excited to help lead the buddy program and hopes to expand it this year to maximize the positive impact that it can have on the community of individuals with brain injury.

Rena Jiang ('20)

VP of Events

Rena Jiang is a junior undergraduate student majoring in biology with a concentration in neurobiology, and minoring in chemistry. She joined Stanford Synapse during freshman year as a way of supporting the local brain injury community and promoting awareness for brain injury. Rena is currently the Financial Officer of Stanford Synapse, but she also works with Sophia as part of the Events Committee as well. In the future, she hopes to go to medical school and pursue a career in radiology. In her free time, Rena enjoys drawing and petting cats.

Alessandra Marcone ('20)

VP of Outreach

Alessandra is a junior majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Spanish. Her junior year of high school Alessandra suffered from two concussions that forced her to quit soccer and sent her into a brief period of depression. Upon arriving on Stanford Campus, Alessandra joined Stanford Synapse as a freshman originally as a member of the core Outreach team. She is excited to continue to spread word about Stanford Synapse so more individuals with brain injuries can know about our peer support group -- a resource she believes would have been beneficial to her mental health during her own recovery from a concussion. In her free time Alessandra loves to dance, sing, and ski on the mountains of Alpine Meadows in Tahoe.

Tami Alade ('19)

Historian

Tami is a senior majoring in Human Biology with a focus in child health and development. As a member of the varsity volleyball team at Stanford, she has been made witness to the devastating effect that head trauma can have both on the mental and physical health of the athletes around her. Tami is inspired by the power of support groups to create safe communities that allow for the growth and healing of the individuals who participate. In her year with Synapse, Tami has worked to document and share the photos and memories from the events that took place, and create a medium through which memories can be curated forever. After college, she hopes to pursue another degree in public health, and hopefully attend medical school.

Kevin Supakkul ('20)

VP of Peer Support

I am passionate about Synapse and the Peer Support Group because I believe that those with brain injury truly benefit from empathy and communal support. I have experienced first hand the difficulties of brain injury, having once taken a medical leave of absence from school to recover after a concussion. I saw that brain injury can be very isolating and emotionally painful, so I hope to help alleviate such hardships for others. There aren't many support resources for those with brain injury, so I hope to keep Synapse a beneficial and supportive community for this population.

Advisors

Jamshid Ghajar, MD, PhD, FACS

President, Brain Trauma Foundation

Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical School

Director, Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center

Bio

Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, PhD, CBIST, FACRM

Chief Operating Officer, Brain Trauma Foundation

Immediate Past Chairman of Brain Injury Association of California

Former Director of Rehabilitation Research at Santa Clara Health and Hospital System

Bio

Alejandro Martinez, PhD

Associate Dean of Students at Stanford University

Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Advisor to the Bridge Peer Counseling Center

Bio

Kara Flavin, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery

Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Bio

Robert Medel

Peer Support Program Coordinator and Clinical Support Coordinator at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Rehabilitation Center

Bio

Viet Nguyen, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurological Sciences

Bio

Ronald Albucher

Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vaden Health Center

Bio

Medical Student Liaisons

Alissa Totman

Alissa Totman is an MD/MPH candidate at the Stanford School of Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As an undergraduate she helped lead a student group called the MIT BrainTrust, which provides social support for individuals with brain injury. In fall of 2014 she joined forces with Jaclyn Konopka, fellow BrainTrust alumna and Stanford medical student, to start Stanford Synapse. Then in 2016, she created Synapse National, which provide undergraduates at universities across the US with leadership opportunities expanding social support for individuals with brain injury. After completing her MD/MPH she plans to pursue residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and to further specialize in Traumatic Brain Injury.

Jaclyn Konopka

Jaclyn Konopka is a MD candidate at the Stanford School of Medicine. As an undergraduate she helped lead a student group called the MIT BrainTrust, which provides social support for individuals with post concussion syndrome or brain injury. In fall of 2014, she joined forces with Alissa Totman, fellow BrainTrust alumna and Stanford medical student, to start Stanford Synapse. In 2015, she received the Valley Fellowship from the Office of Community Health to support her work with Synapse. Jaclyn is extremely excited that she has been able to help make a positive impact on the lives of individuals with concussion and brain injury.

Alumni

Michael Zhu Chen ('18)

Co-President (2015-2017)

Divya Gopisetty ('18)

VP of Outreach (2015-2017)

John Morkos ('17)

VP of Peer Support Group (2015-2017)

Yong-hun Kim ('19)

Financial Officer (2016-2017)

Isabel Goronzy ('19)

VP of Peer Support Group (2017-2018)

Claire Woodrow ('18)

VP of Buddy Program (2015-2018)

Sophia Zhang ('18)

VP of Events (2015-2018)