Nevada HAND resident Remay T. is a pre-med student at UNLV, and he was recently accepted to a prestigious and highly competitive summer research program at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. A key part of his application? A glowing letter of recommendation from Apache Pines Resident Services Coordinator, Rebekah, who has for years observed Remay’s hard work, passion for learning, and heart for community service. 

The first step in Remay’s journey was a big one.  

“My family came [to Las Vegas] from East Africa, from a country called Eritrea. . . . [I was about] nine or 10. . . There was definitely a lot to adjust to. Just the cultural shock, the language barrier, especially when you add that onto school where you’re supposed to be already adept [at] the language and social interactions. It does make it a little bit difficult to manage your classes or even make friends or be social with people.”

“. . . I had a lot of people that were supporting me. . . . We had family members that already lived here, so they taught us things that we didn’t know before, just social cues or anything like that. . . . And there were also other immigrants, because I was placed in an English class that was for second [language] speakers. So I think that built my confidence a little bit to just approach people.”

“Education is always the top priority.” 

“. . . My parents, they always put school first. No matter what. . . I feel like they pushed me in a lot of ways . . . to jump into things or opportunities that normally, if it was just me without their support, I would hesitate a little bit to go for it.” 

Personal experiences led to a deep interest medicine. 

Remay’s mother experienced a serious medical issue, and being present for her hospital visits made a big impression on him as a child.

“I think that was a big motivator to see and understand what’s going on with people during hospital visits or just in these serious health situations. . . That’s what motivated me the most, just trying to understand what was going on . . . how I can help.” 

“I’m planning to be a physician. . . . I’m at UNLV as a biology major on a pre-med track. So that’s been pretty exciting and exhausting at the same time. . . . My favorite class? I would say actually OChem (Organic Chemistry). It gets a lot of hate . . . but I feel like OChem, once you get the process down, the practicing questions and stuff, it’s fun.” 

The journey to a summer at Cornell started with, “Let me just apply and see how it goes.” 

The Weill Cornell Medicine Travelers Summer Research Fellowship is a highly selective program. Remay is one of only 25 – 27 students from across the country accepted in 2024.

 “. . . I work at a surgery center, and one of the people that I work with actually applied for the program in 2019. [My co-worker Marisol said] ‘You should definitely apply.’ . . . I was hesitant . . ., but I just thought of it as maybe a stepping stone . . . through the physician route. . . . And then I ended up getting an interview.”

“It’s a research program. . . . You get paired up with a doctor . . . and then you do research with them for about seven weeks while also taking a course at the medical school.” 

“I would say outside of my family, Rebekah’s probably the first person that knows me.” 

Rebekah, Resident Services Coordinator at Apache Pines, was honored to help support Remay’s application for the Weill Cornell Medicine summer research program; read her recommendation letter included at the end of this article.

 “. . . . I started volunteering with Rebekah at Nevada HAND, I think eighth grade. . . . And we were just doing simple things where you set up Bingo meetups for the elderly or just pass out flyers to notify [residents of ] things that are changing in the community. . . . I picked up the lesson of the importance of volunteering [from] Rebekah. Helping out your community. . . . I think that even a moment or a second of happiness or just that you made . . . a difference to a community member is interesting. That also led me to do more volunteering opportunities, . . . at a hospital or just volunteering through a pre-med club.” 

“. . . I think she’s seen my progress over the years longer than anybody has. So I feel like she was the one that had a lot to say about my journey from middle school, high school, or even college. . . . She was definitely the first person that I should ask about just my progress through life . . .” 

Advice for others: reach for opportunities and find friends who make you better.

“. . . I think reaching for any opportunities you see, because you don’t know how that will inspire you or just push you to go further into your life or your goal. . . . [Whether] it’s volunteering or summer research or [an] internship, . . . I’m a strong believer in just applying and see how it goes . . .

[And a specific piece of advice for college students:] “. . . study groups. . . .  We all study independently, and then we come in together to . . . bounce off ideas from each other. . . . I think it also builds morale because you see your friends doing well, you see you’re doing well, it just motivates you . . . to achieve higher things. . . . They also help you just to get acclimated into college, because getting acclimated into college alone is pretty scary. I think having friends or a study group helps a lot.”

Excited for a big step, but staying connected to home.

When you go to New York, do you have something that you will miss about Las Vegas while you’re gone?

“I won’t miss the summer heat, but the people for sure, my friends. It is seven weeks, . . . and I think this might be the longest period of time that I’m going to be away from my family. . . . I’m going to miss them.” 

“I recommend him highly for any opportunity he may pursue.” 

Rebekah’s letter of recommendation:

To Whom It May Concern, 

I have known Remay for six years and recommend him highly for any opportunity he may pursue. Remay volunteered for our affordable housing organization for four years, during his middle and high school career, and worked an average of five hours a week throughout that time. He is extremely motivated and has excellent collaboration skills. He responds quickly and is prone to act when needed, knowing when to seek guidance and when to take the lead. 

My outcomes for building a strong community were improved by Remay’s efforts, his rapport with people of all ages, and his skills at supporting and motivating them. Remay is an excellent communicator, which allows him to connect with people from all backgrounds. Our affordable housing community offers supportive services and seeks to create strong neighborhoods by creating opportunities for underserved populations to connect, access resources they are eligible for, and live better. Remay’s genuine care, communication skills, motivation, hard work, and positivity, ensured success in not only meeting but exceeding our goals to build a strong community. 

Your Fellowship will benefit greatly by having Remay as a member. His organizational and leadership skills, as well as genuine care and creativity in all he does, will make him a tremendous asset to your Fellowship. 


Rebekah Fredrickson
Resident Services Coordinator
Nevada HAND 

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