Two Sets of Twins, Biology Alumni, Pursue Dreams of Becoming Physicians

December 3, 2023

Twins Josef and Hannah Iqbal and Camryn and Marisa Warren graduated from Canisius University in May 2023, and are now first-year medical students at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. 

Each knew at an early age they wanted to serve their communities as physicians. The path to their collective dreams began in the biology program at Canisius. Both the Iqbals and Warrens credit their Canisius education for preparing them for medical school.

“The Pre-Health Center at Canisius is extremely strong and helped me make connections during my undergraduate years that are helping me now as a medical student, opening doors and making amazing opportunities possible,” said Camryn Warren.

For Marisa Warren it was the Canisius Honors Program that taught her to think critically and approach problems from multiple perspectives. “My honors classes helped instill in me the confidence to learn in collaboration. Collaborative learning is a central component of our education in medical school, and Canisius helped me foster this skill set.”

The Iqbals note that the ability to conduct research at Canisius alongside their professors (Josef with Katie Costanzo, PhD, associate professor of biology and environmental science; Hannah with Robert Grebenok, PhD, professor of biology, environmental science, and clinical laboratory science) was invaluable. “Our pre-med advisor Dr. Allyson Backstrom (Director of the Dr. George E. Schreiner ’43 Pre-Medical Center) was also instrumental in guiding us through our years at Canisius and the daunting medical school application process,” said Hannah.

Josef adds that Canisius offers many opportunities for its students such as service trips, workshops, and mock interviews. “Leadership was also an important element of our education.”

Each took on leadership roles while at Canisius. Camryn as president of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS); Hannah as vice president of MAPS and Marisa as treasurer.

“My involvement with MAPS was one of the highlights of my time at Canisius,” said Camryn. “I enjoyed hosting events with Hannah and Marisa, and I’m extremely proud of the work we did to provide underrepresented students with the information and skills to find success in professional health programs.

Josef served as president of Alpha Kappa Psi and the Society of PreHealth Professionals (SPHP). “In my position as president of SPHP, I was able to collaborate with Camryn in her role with MAPS, and together we made an impact on the pre-health community at Canisius.”

The twins have fond memories of their time at Canisius. “The small community allowed us to get to know our classmates and our professors,” said Marisa. “It made a big difference in our education, providing us an environment to grow as students and individuals. And we made lifelong friends, who we are now together taking the next steps in our journeys into medicine.”  

The Iqbals and Warrens plan to practice medicine in Western New York to give back to the city of Buffalo.