Department of Pediatrics

Fellow Life - First-Year


Maria Gutierrez, M.D.

Why I chose BCM/TCH fellowship: I was impressed by the attention given by the institution to the Heart Center, as well as the volume of patients. The group is impressive in numbers and teams specializing in different subsets of patients. It was evident that here I would be exposed to the bread and butter as well as the most complex of physiologies, enough to be comfortable when I encounter them as an attending. But at the end of the day, what made the final decision was the feel of a supportive group of fellows, with different backgrounds, personalities, life styles, who were happy to be here and work together. There was no sense of negative competition or discordance between them. This was what I was looking for through the interview trail and finally found it here.
Favorite part of BCM/TCH fellowship: The fellows. You are welcomed by a supportive, active, energetic group of people who will teach you, help you and guide you, while letting you explore the field at your own pace.
Career goals /ambitions: Unsure of my choice of subspecialty, currently debating between EP or possibly heart failure. Stay tuned.
This surprised me about Houston: The parks! Memorial is beautiful, lots of outdoor activities. Lots of museums and all the sports, although right now they are not open to explore.
Outside of work, I spend my time: Exercising, eating out (or dining in) with my co fellows, on FaceTime with family and friends far away.
Significant others/pets: My boyfriend Michael, lives in Berlin so long distancing big time, but able to manage that plus time difference while in fellowship. It's doable! 
Hometown: Lima, Peru. Family is all there. My U.S.home is Birmingham where I did residency, so my second family. Now you get my love of FaceTime.

Sonia Kaushal, M.D.

Why I chose BCM/TCH fellowship: the volume and breadth of patients cared for, and the role and impact of the fellows to drive patient care.
Favorite part of BCM/TCH fellowship: my co-fellows, they’re some of the smartest and kindest people I know.
Career goals /ambitions: To be determined, I need some more time to figure out where my interests lie.
This surprised me about Houston: the food scene! It’s crazy how as a city Houston continues to grow and it feels like there’s always something new to try out.
Outside of work, I spend my time: finding my new favorite coffee spot & planning my next trip.
Significant others/pets: Husband (Raj)
Hometown: North Brunswick, NJ

Melodie Lynn, M.D.

Why I chose BCM/TCH fellowship: I wanted a busy program where I would get exposure to the most pathology in three short years. I really enjoyed my interview day and thought the fellows I met seemed like great humans. I am originally from Texas, so being closer to family was also a nice perk. 
Favorite part of BCM/TCH fellowship: The other fellows! We are like a big family. 
Career goals /ambitions: I would like to work at an academic institution because I like teaching and want to make young minds interested in the great field of pediatric cardiology. Currently still undecided on further sub-specialty, but will likely complete a fourth year.  
This surprised me about Houston: There is more green space in Houston than I thought. I really like being outdoors and did a lot of hiking in residency, so was pleasantly surprised that there are some pretty cool outdoor spaces not to far from the Hospital. 
Outside of work, I spend my time: I like to spend time with friends and family. I really enjoy being outside, so if I can combine friend/family time with outdoor time even better! 
Significant others/pets: Blake (husband), Dobby (Chiweenie Dog), Winston aka "Winnie" (French bulldog/Pug mix), and Baby L (currently expecting my first child in September).
Hometown: Sweetwater, TX

Jillian Olsen, M.D.

Why I chose BCM/TCH fellowship: The obvious takeaway from my interview day was that everyone at TCH is outrageously friendly, kind, generous, and brilliant. I knew fellowship would be hard, and wanted to surround myself with people who would make me want to come to work every day. I also knew the patient volume at TCH would give me unmatched exposure to even the rarest forms of congenital heart disease.
Favorite part of BCM/TCH fellowship: The fellows' office. I've never laughed as hard nor learned as much as I have in that room.
Career goals /ambitions: Critical care fellowship followed by (assuming someone will hire me), working as a cardiac intensivist.
This surprised me about Houston: People really do run in this heat, and queso is delicious on literally everything.
Outside of work, I spend my time: Very slowly decorating my apartment and binging on true crime podcasts.
Significant others/pets: Fiancee, Jesse, works for Amazon. Cat, Lorelai, works for Bird Watchers of America. Turtle, Blue, (acquired unexpectedly at a crawfish boil hosted by fellow fellow Melodie) works for Floaters United.
Hometown: El Cerrito, CA

Amna Qasim, M.D.

Why I chose BCM/TCH fellowship: The best program in the country and that also in my favorite city - couldn't have had it any better.
Favorite part of BCM/TCH fellowship: The people - one of the nicest group I have ever worked with.
Career goals /ambitions: Academic pediatric cardiology - unsure of particular 4th year at this time, like non-invasive imaging, ICU and cath.
This surprised me about Houston: The weather - can get from hot to cold in a few hours.
Outside of work, I spend my time: Spending time with family and friends, going for walks/runs, traveling, painting and reading. 
Significant others/pets: A husband, no pets or kids 
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Doaa Shahbah, M.D.

Why I chose BCM/TCH fellowship: I chose TCH as it is one of the biggest and amazing pediatric cardiology fellowships, number 1 nationwide, with a very busy and strong cardiology environment that will heavily enrich my knowledge and experience.
Favorite part of BCM/TCH fellowship: Friendly, very supportive and encouraging environment.
Career goals/ambitions: Interventional cath. Plan to go back to my hometown and establish a unit in my hospital. 
This surprised me about Houston: Interesting parks and great diversity, more than I expected.
Outside of work, I spend my time: Jogging, hanging out with family and friends.
Hometown: Zagazig, Sharkia, Egypt. It is a hub of cotton and corn trade in Egypt and Sharkia is famous for its peoples’ generosity.

Stephen Williams, M.D.

Favorite part of BCM/TCH fellowship: The camaraderie shared among the fellows.  
Outside of work, I spend my time: Chasing the two tiny tornadoes around my house that I call children. 
Significant others/pets: Wife - Jennifer
Hometown: Houston, TX