SOMA Spring Convention 2021: Toolkit to Action & Advocacy

March 5th-6th | A Virtual Convention

For the second year now, the SOMA Spring Convention was online, due to COVID-19. Our community of resilient leaders was still able to gather, virtually, to learn, connect, and gather materials for their Action & Advocacy Toolkit with excitement and preparedness. This conference is a crucial introduction of the organization to our new leaders and is a time during which we conduct necessary business in our House of Delegates. This weekend also included Empower Hours with our National Leadership, a BEL Mentorship/Advocacy Session, an Advocacy Overview with the AOA Policy Team, Resolutions Workshop, Connect and Communicate Improv Sessions, Coping with COVID Letter Writing Campaign, a Keynote Address with President Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board, and a Fourth Year Specialty Panel. We are so thankful for our panelists who provided invaluable insights for our members, and we wish them the best as they pursue their careers. We had many meaningful goodbyes from our outgoing leadership which was a testament to SOMA’s ability to come together as a family that is passionate and active in our profession, no matter the circumstances. Take a look at our conference highlights below!

Bureau of emerging leaders (BEL): Mentorship & Advocacy

Attendees were able to listen and ask questions to Dr Alyssa Cole, Dr Selena Raines, and Student Dr Edie Waskel, all members of the American Osteopathic Association’s Bureau of Emerging Leaders. They discussed what it means to be a leader in advocacy on behalf of osteopathic physicians nation-wide and the importance of finding your voice and using it for the benefit of our current and future colleagues and patients across the country.

Fireside Chat with the Biden COVID Advisory Board

Dr Mike Osterholm & Ms Jane Hopkins with SOMA’s Student Doctor Alana Castro-Gillard.

2021-2022 National Leaders





Board of Trustees

  • AOA Board of Trustees Student Representative: Edie Waskel
  • Region V Trustee: Sidra Ali
  • Region IV Trustee: Heather DeVille
  • Region III Trustee: Courtney Merlo
  • Region II Trustee: Melanie Weyers
  • Region I Trustee: Scott Landman
  • Secretary: Matthew Daniel
  • Treasurer: Amir Khiabani
  • Parliamentarian: Sarah Abdel-Karim
  • Vice President/Speaker of the House: Alana Castro-Gilliard
  • National Board of Directors Chair: Angela Pluguez
  • President: Nicholas Harriel
National Board of Directors

  • Convention Director: Cassandra Smith
  • Public Relations Director: Anjuli James
  • Health Disparities Director: Gilbert Hernandez
  • Research Director: Jantzen Faulkner
  • Community Outreach Director: Polly Wiltz
  • Professional Development Director: Curtis McInnis
  • Junior Pre-SOMA Director: Bailey Borycki
  • Senior Pre-SOMA Director: Amanda Buzzetta
  • Membership & Alumni Affairs Director: Brooke Grill
  • Strategic Partnerships Director: Riddhi Patodia
  • Political Affairs Director: Jacob Nelson
  • Osteopathic Principles & Practices Director: Kayleigh Helgesen
SOMA Foundation

  • Foundation Liaison: Jeffrey Edwards
  • Chairperson: Abbey Santanello
  • Director of Scholarships & Grants: Siddhant Srivastava
  • Director of Public Relations: Agilda Dema
  • Director of Financial Affairs: Ayesha Shah 

Thank you, clara hoffman!

SOMA would like to thank our immediate past President, Clara Hoffman for her leadership and strong representation of the organization this year. You built on SOMA’s identity through your commitment to elevating the student voice and engaging our members. We have a lot to learn from your spirit of perseverance, and we know it will serve you well as you continue in your career. Wishing you nothing but the best!

SOMA & SOMA Foundation Awards


Congratulations to all!

SOMA Awards 

  • Organization Awards
    • President’s Award: Courtney Thrower, Community Outreach Director
    • Golden Femur: MSUCOM
    • Golden Tibia: ICOM
    • Officer of the Year: Heather Jao
    • Distinguished Service Award: Clara Hofman, Matthew Mayeda, Taylor Farish, Alison Markley, Emily Chin, Shikha Patel, Edie Waskel, Jennifer S. Lee
    • Presidential Award: Clara Hofman
  • Region Awards
    • Promotion of Osteopathic Medicine: NYITCOM (Region I), CUSOM (II), WVSOM (III), MWUCCOM (IV), TUNCOM (V)
    • Excellence in Community Outreach: TOUROCOM–Middletown (I), ACOM (II), LUCOM (III), ATSU (IV), WUCOMP-NW (V)
Pre-SOMA Awards:

  • Officer of the Year: Tatiana Rodriguez Vargas
  • Chapter of the Year: Kennesaw State University 

SOMA Foundation Awards

  • SOMA Foundation Northup Educator of the Year: TBD
  • AT Still Memorial Scholarship: Janae Rasmussen
  • Leadership in Specialty Medicine Scholarship: Amna Jamshad, Pascal Vo
  • SOMA Foundation Grants: Burrel College of Osteopathic Medicine “Dinner with Doctors”
  • Coping with COVID-19 Scholarship: Nilsha Khurana, Jennifer LeRose, Elias Makhoul, Thomas Auen, Cindy Chu, Michael John Furey, Heather Marie Pol, Anh-Dao Tran
Summer Leadership Meeting: July 16th-18th