The official student-produced guide to our school, city, and life in medical school.

Written by first-year medical students for the next incoming class, the Dis-Orientation Guide is the definitive source for how to happily survive and thrive at Washington University School of Medicine.


Take in some words of wisdom from the Dean of the Medical School, the Dean of Admissions, and the medical student editors of the Dis-O Guide.

Why WashU

Every year, about 100 students choose Washington University School of Medicine. Read the stories of our class to see why we chose WUSM.

Community Engagement: In STL, for STL

WUSM is on the cusp of re-envisioning community engagement with a view to making a positive impact on the populations we serve.                                                                

WUSM Experience

You likely have thousands of questions about what it is like to be a medical student. We have answers from the people who know best — actual medical students.


Delve into the unique perspectives of our diverse student body, including cultural backgrounds, relationships, and religion, and see how they impact our studies.


Moving can be scary. Here, we have valuable information that can help make your transition a little bit easier, including information on our favorite apartments.  

Life in the Lou

Our tips to help you make the most of your time in St. Louis. We have tips on how to stay fit, find the best places to eat, travel the world, and get around St. Louis.


Adjusting to medical school can be difficult. Here, graduating M4s and some of our M1 class’s most popular WUSM faculty share words of wisdom for your time in St. Louis.

Meet the Senior Editors

Vinay  Penna

Vinay Penna


I’m from Parkland, Florida, and came to St. Louis for the first time to attend WashU for undergrad, where I studied biochemistry and economics. After college, I spent two years doing research at the National Institutes of Health before deciding to come back here for medical school. In my free time, I love working out, trying new restaurants, and watching sports.

Kristin  Pfeifauf

Kristin Pfeifauf


I was born and raised right here in St. Louis. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and Spanish from The University of Tulsa and a Juris Doctor degree from WashU Law. I then practiced transactional law as in-house counsel for a large institutional asset manager before leaving my law career to pursue my big dream of becoming a doctor. My hobbies include sailing (cruising and offshore passagemaking), cooking/baking, weightlifting, learning to play Irish fiddle, and exploring the great outdoors.

Clara Liu

Clara Liu

Web Editor

Hi all! I am Clara and I am from Beijing, China. Before moving to St. Louis, I studied biology and computer science at Cornell University. I love card games, trying out new recipes and visiting the penguins at the St. Louis Zoo. I am still waiting to see them taking their “spontaneous winter walk” outside in the snow!

Colin  McCornack

Colin McCornack

Visual Content Editor

Hey, y’all. I grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, and went a mere 10 minutes away to do my undergrad at Michigan State University, where I studied biochemistry and music. I like exercising, watching YouTube video essays on inconsequential topics, playing drums, doing martial arts, and baking. I also have a minor loathing of Harry Potter because I spent the formative years of my childhood being called the Weasleys when out in public due to having a family of redheads.

Meet the Section Editors

Showing: All results
Emma Payne

Emma Payne

Perspectives Section Editor

Hi, all! My name is Emma, and I’m originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts. I stuck around for college at Harvard University, where I studied neurobiology and economics and competed as a distance runner in cross country and track. I took three gap years, working in New York City and then Boston at a health care data analytics software startup. This is my first time living in the Midwest and it’s been great so far! Other than running, I’m a big fan of podcasts and audiobooks. I also love dogs, although I don’t have any (the bigger the better).

Alex Kim

Alex Kim

Copy Editor

I grew up in Oak Park, California, just outside of Los Angeles. After spending four years at University of California, Berkeley, studying public health and molecular and cell biology, I went to the University of Cambridge in the U.K. for a Master’s of Philosophy in medical science (see: drink tea and hang out in pubs). In my free time, I like to play the piano and guitar, go to concerts, run in Forest Park, and try new St. Louis restaurants with friends.

Kelsie  Kodama

Kelsie Kodama

WUSM Experience Section Editor

I grew up in Mililani, Hawai‘i, and experienced my first winter when I moved to St. Louis to study biochemistry at Washington University. St. Louis has become my second home, so I decided to come back for medical school. Ask me about kickboxing, Bachelor Nation, restaurants in St. Louis, and the 49ers!

Katie  Carbonell

Katie Carbonell

WUSM Experience Section Editor

My name is Katie and I’m from Springfield, Illinois (only a short drive from St. Louis). I majored in molecular and cellular biology and minored in economics and women’s and gender studies at Vanderbilt University. Outside of med school, I love to cook, and I enjoy everything fitness-related!

Allie Lenyo

Allie Lenyo

Life in the Lou Section Editor

I’m from Huron, Ohio, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2019 with a degree in biomedical science. I love baking, playing golf, and spending time with my amazing friends. I also really enjoy traveling and savoring the occasional road trip from St. Louis!

Collin  Nadarajah

Collin Nadarajah

Why WashU Section Editor

I am from Dallas, Texas, and did my undergraduate education at WashU; I decided to stay here for the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). I am an avid baseball fan and long for the day the Texas Rangers win the World Series.

Marina  Nguyen

Marina Nguyen

Advice Section Editor

I grew up in Cupertino, California. I later traveled a full two hours away to attend University of California, Davis, where I majored in neurobiology, physiology and behavior. In my free time, I enjoy reading fantasy novels, playing video games, singing, and planning theme park trips. Fun fact: In my freshman year of undergrad, I sprained both of my ankles in the first week.

Lane  Parmely

Lane Parmely

In St. Louis, for St. Louis Section Editor

My name is Lane, and I’m a first-year medical student here at WashU. I’m from rural Tennessee. I graduated in 2017 from Austin Peay State University (Let’s Go Peay!) with a degree in chemistry. I then got my master’s degree from The University of Mississippi, where I worked in a biophysical chemistry research lab. I’m excited to continue my research training here at WashU. When I’m not studying, I enjoy spending time hanging out with friends in The Grove.

Karim  Saoud

Karim Saoud

Life in the Lou Section Editor

I grew up in Vienna, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in biochemistry, I returned to D.C. for a gap year before arriving in St. Louis. In my free time, you can often find me playing basketball in the Olin Hall gym; come play!

Haley Sherburne

Haley Sherburne

Housing Section Editor

Hello! My name is Haley, and prior to attending WashU School of Medicine, I was born and raised just north of San Diego, California. I attended University of California, San Diego (Go Tritons!), where I majored in biochemistry and cell biology. When I am not trying to make sense of renal physiology, I enjoy swimming, folding origami, cooking new recipes, and attempting to learn the ukulele.

Our Cover

This year’s Dis-O cover was designed by Barrett Dryden (M1). Thank you to Barrett for his work.

Our Photography

Photo credits are sometimes specifically indicated in our captions. Where not specifically indicated, we would like to acknowledge Matt Miller and Washington University School of Medicine for their photographic contributions, as well as the following classmates who submitted photographs and other visual content for our use:

Aaron Guo, Adam Ostergar, Alex Kim, Allie Lenyo, Angela Cattani, Anthony Wang, Ariella Coler-Reilly, Ashley Amukamara, Arwa Mohammad, Austin Hannemann, Austin Ibele, Avan Anita, Brooke Higgins, Bruin Pollard, Caroline Scott, Clara Liu, Cole Pavelchek, Colin McCornack, Cory French, David Lauzier, Elizabeth Cordell, Emma Payne, Evan Marsh, Faisal Ahmad, Garrett Camps, Gideon Haber, Gopika Hari, Grace Uwasi, Haley Sherburne, Jack Basse, Jackie Hampton, Jazmine Mays, Jennifer Lee, John Daines, Jonathan Yu, Julia Hamilton, Kaamya Varagur, Kamilah Abdur-Rashid, Karim Saoud, Katie Carbonell, Kay Park, Kelsie Kodama, Kevin Naceanceno, Kristin Pfeifauf, Kushi Mallikarjun, Kwasi Enin, Lane Parmely, Laura Baratta, Lizzie Tilden, Madeline Danforth, Maggy Botros, Marina Nguyen, Marina Perez-Plazola, Matt Millet, Nikita Sood, Patrick Ward, Rachel Butler, Rachel Mintz, Rachel Rios, Reyan Coskun, Riley Mullins, Ryan Wahidi, Sam Murphy, Steven Yang, Tim Kong, Vera Thornton, and Vinay Penna.

We would especially like to thank our Dis-O photographer, Colin McCornack, for his many contributions.