Joanne founded Health Professions Advising in 2014 with the intent to use holistic advising practices to help more students reach their goals. Joanne grew up in Missouri and lived in New York for eight years where she worked at two different medical schools and a nursing college. Joanne earned her first masters in English and her second in Leadership and Policy in Higher Education. Joanne is passionate about helping students succeed.
Meet the Staff Advisors
Manisha is an alumna of UCD and has been with Health Professions Advising since October 2017. Prior to coming to HPA, she worked as an Academic Advisor for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office and served as pre-health advisor and career counselor at another UC and a private school for a number of years. As a first-generation college student, Manisha is avid about supporting students and alumni reach their personal, academic and professional goals. Outside of work, Manisha enjoys baking, reading and planning her next adventure.
Elio Gutierrez-Montoya is a staff advisor for Health Professions Advising. He previously worked at UC Davis School of Medicine, with specific attention on their pipeline program initiatives and most prominently with their Postbaccalaurate Program. His experiences as an advisor particularly have focused on assisting students in reaching their academic goals and in developing students as future professionals. He graduated from UC Davis in 2009 with degrees in Psychology and Spanish. While at Davis he was heavily involved with Imani Clinic, the Filipino Association for Health Careers and the Early Academic Outreach Program. His passion for student advocacy and advising has propelled him to where he is today.
Bryelle McRay is a staff advisor for all health professions. She graduated from UC Davis in 2016 with a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior and she has a minor in African & African-American Studies. She also completed a post-baccalaureate program at CSU East Bay where she served as a pre-health advisor. While she was a student at UC Davis, she co-founded the Black Community of Science organization (BCS) seeking to retain African-American students in the sciences. Bryelle worked with many patients and health care professionals as a dedicated member of Imani Clinic and served on the board as the Electronic Medical Records Specialist. She worked as a clinical research intern at the UC Davis Foods for Health Institute studying human breast milk oligosaccharide composition and beneficial gut bacteria in which she gained a great deal of exposure to the UC Davis Medical Center Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics and Neonatology. Bryelle is passionate about retention and seeing students thrive.
As a staff advisor, Ron Hart advises for all health professions. Ron is a Los Rios Community College District Alumni and a 2016 UC Davis graduate with a B.S. in Global Disease Biology. Before advising with Health Professions, Ron was a major advisor, advising for Global Disease Biology, Animal Biology, and Entomology here at UCD! As a student, he was deeply involved with The Willow Clinic and was one of the founders of the Transfer Pre-Health Mentoring Program. Ron has also worked as a Hospice volunteer, a Home Health Aide, MCAT instructor, and a research assistant studying immunodeficiency viruses.
Cassandra Lai is one of our esteemed staff advisors, advising on all health professions and personal statements. She graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and a minor in Professional Writing. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school to one day work with patients and health professionals as a physician. Along with advising for all health professions and personal statements, she founded HPA’s Pre-Health Ambassador Network (PHAN) and coordinates HPA’s Med Prep Program, High School Pre-Health Symposium, and UCD Pre-Health Conference programming. Cassandra has also worked with other volunteers, nurses, and patients as an intern at the UCDMC Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Orthopaedics Clinic. Currently, she is also a hospice volunteer for Sutter Care at Home, working with terminally ill patients. Cassandra also has a passion for cooking, reading, and writing, having written articles for Morning Sign Out’s UC Davis chapter and Mindfray, Inc. as a featured Contributing Writer.