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UW McNair

2011-2012 McNair Scholars

Edison Amah (Currently doing his Ph.D. in New Jersey Institute of Technology).

Edison is a senior in aeronautics and astronautics engineering. His area of research is computational fluid mechanics, with a current research focus on the simulation of flow over a cylinder in order to determine the drag coefficient. His research in this area of study will broaden his knowledge on the engineering concepts behind the development of current state of the art aircrafts. Edison is also active in various academic organizations such as NACME Scholars, Costco and Boeing Scholars, and NSBE. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in aeronautics with a specialty in propulsions and fluids. He is also looking forward to creating a program in future which would help kids from low-income households with passion for aircrafts expand their understanding in the field.

Teresa Bailey (Currently doing her graduate work in social work at the University of Washington)

Teresa is a student in the Social Welfare program and the Public Health Independent Studies Program. She is interested in making structural changes through policy work and grassroots organizing. She is currently interning with both Lettuce Link and Statewide Poverty Action Network, where she can make connections between her interest in food quality/ access and the policies affecting the issue. On campus she is also involved with the Mixed Club, the multiracial student organization and the start up of the UW Student Food Cooperative. When she has free time she loves to spend it with family and friends.

Merzamie Cagaitan

Merzamie Cagaitan is a senior at the University of Washington and an Honors student in the English Department. Born and raised in the Philippines, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 11.Often presented with cultural, economic, and linguistic challenges, the young Merzamie’s unrelenting drive to educate herself remained undiminished as she pursued her academic and professional goals. The sense of disorientation and alienation she experienced following immigration has given her a heart for the displaced and isolated. The same feelings of initial alienation and disorientation have spurred her to ease the transitions of others, whether culturally or academically. She served as an English and Math tutor at Casa de Los Amigos, a part of YouthCare which houses and educates youths detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where she was able to communicate with many of the diverse group through her skills in Spanish and Tagalog. Merzamie is also a Freshman Interest Group leader, helping ease college freshmen into university life.

The many displacements in her life have instilled in her a passion for literary and cultural studies, and her emphasis in Language and Literature allows her to examine her own personal migration story against the backdrop of the immigrant literary traditions. She wishes to explore, capture, and convey the sense of powerlessness many members of underrepresented and disadvantaged communities often feel upon setting foot as immigrants in the United States, and especially in investigating and documenting people about whom academia has little information. Following graduation, she will pursue a Ph.D. in English, ultimately becoming an English professor at a university. There she desires to research new literary forms such as texting and blogging and explore their role in the formation of individual and societal identity, determining for example the extent of the impact of twitter and social networking on the ongoing Arab Spring.

Alex Catchings

Alex Catchings is an Afro-Filipino in the English department. His research interests include Postmodern African American Literature and Black Cinema. Some of his past research projects have included: explorations of how African American authors utilize pastiche as a tool for political mobility in text; the use of derogatory racial epithets in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; and the interaction of Spike Lee’s cinematography with Stew’s stage musical, Passing Strange. Alex is working to familiarize himself with the broad African American literary canon in order to identify and explore the salient issues of biracial African American art. He is interested in how the aforementioned art affects the development of personhood and the formation of culture among economic sectors. When he is not involved in academic pursuits, Alex enjoys creative writing, composing music, and digital audio recording. He plans to earn his Ph.D. in English and pay forward the dedication his mentors at the University of Washington have devoted to him for future students pursuing academia.

Susana Contreras-Ceballos

Susana Contreras-Ceballos is the youngest of twelve siblings; studying Sociology and American Ethnic Studies with a Minor in Education at the University of Washington. Coming from an immigrant family, raised by a single mother she understand the significance of how education has opened up many opportunities to better her family and community. Her large family had been the rock of her motivation and success. Her community has been the foundation for the work she does. She has been actively involved in community service since the young age of 4. In working with many non-profits such as local food banks, the Ronald McDonald House, ROOTS, Seattle Public Schools, the Denise Louie Educational Center, Northwest Harvest Lifeline Food Bank and El Centro de La Raza. In working with these various communities and through her own familiar experiences she has seen many of the injustices that face the low-income marginalized communities. She sought to change that experience for many other students in her similar situation. So as a freshman she became actively involved in MEChA where she then became chair of one of largest Chicana/o high school outreach conference on campus, Adelante Con Educacion (ACE).

As a Catherine E. Zesbaugh scholar she began to take her work in a different direction by doing research on the US educational system policies and juvenile justice system in order to better understand the way in which the system works or doesn’t work. She has been privileged to study abroad in México looking at the transnational immigration to the United States. As a McNair Scholar she will study the many disparities within the US educational system for Chicana/o Latino/a students. Her objective is to attain a Doctorate of Education so that she may use her education to better that of others. She would like to thank Mama Lupita, Dr. Rick Bonus, Dr. Shelia Lange, Dr. Tom Halverson the Zesbaugh Scholarship and her fellow MEChistas.

Tony Dias (Currently doing his Ph.D. in University of California-Santa Barbara)

Tony Dias is a Senior in the Political Science department. His main focus is on the political economy of Latin America. His past research includes a comparative study of civil wars in Iraq and Lebanon; as well as a study on the dynamics of racism, sexism, and classism underlying the globalization process. He plans to pursue a doctorate in Political Science and closely study free trade zones in Brazil, how neoliberal policies affect surrounding communities, and how this affects gender and workers rights, and social justice. Tony is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society of Political Science. He also volunteers with Our Washington Community Union organizing low to moderate income families to take collective action on important issues. In his free time he enjoys literature, creative writing, and has published several poems.

Bryan Dosono

Bryan Dosono is a Filipino American student born and raised on the Yakama Indian Reservation. He is now a senior at the University of Washington working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Informatics through Full College Honors. He is very interested in researching topics that involve electronic governance, web technologies, information access, and human-computer interaction. Through research, Bryan enjoys exploring, addressing, and solving difficult challenges that are at the intersection of information technology and people of disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. Bryan has been inducted to Golden Key International Honor Society, Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, and Phi Beta Kappa Society within the past year.

Aside from his academic studies, Bryan is very committed to public service and volunteers with several nonprofit organizations within the greater Seattle area through his Ellis Civic Fellowship. He has served as Chair of the Associated Students of the University of Washington Senate and has passionately worked to affirm the student voice on campus. Bryan is now currently Chapter President of Lambda Phi Epsilon, an international Asian American interest fraternity that allows him to promote and learn more about his cultural heritage. As the first member of his family to ever pursue a university education, Bryan guides and mentors his younger siblings and cousins along a road to success.

Alma Emadi

Alma comes from a very diverse background. She has lived in many cities ranging from Tehran, Iran to Orange County, California, and of course Seattle. Alma is a senior double majoring in Industrial Engineering and Mathematics. Although she has senior standing, she will be starting her third year of college in Autumn 2011 since she finished the first two years of community college in one year. She is planning to spend her third year exploring her interests in regard to her graduate studies through conducting research and independent studies. She is passionate about human-centered design and hopes to pursuit a PhD in Engineering Design, but is still deciding between small-scale design such as product design or large-scale design such as Systems Design. While taking a full coarse load, Alma spent her first three quarters at the University of Washington conducting research at the Boeing Company first in route optimization for delivery employees and then in decision analysis. The result of her later work, labeled “A Decision Analysis Matrix for Trade Studies”, was published and presented in the POMS 2011 annual Conference in Reno. She is also starting a new research assignment this summer (2011) at University of Washington Medical Center in regard to utilization of industrial engineering techniques for increasing efficiency in the Health Care Systems. In addition to her plans for working in the Industry after attaining a PhD, she has aspirations for teaching part-time at a community college to inspire more students in realizing the value of a higher education.

Elizabeth Emau

Elizabeth Emau is a junior at the University of Washington pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Cell, Molecular, and Development Biology. She is interested in researching topics involving physiological and neurological aspects of biology. Currently Elizabeth researches in the Raible Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences studying neural crest cell differentiation and migration. Through research and her studies, she has been inspired to reach out to the student community. Elizabeth participates in several associations involved directly in the research community and with underrepresented minority members of the community. Elizabeth is very interested in learning about different cultures and her own heritage. Over the past several years she has been travelling to the northern province of Uganda, working with the people of a small village to support and uplift the community’s health and education. She hopes that the knowledge and experience she gains in research will not only help her to answer her scientific questions, but also to improve the lives of the Ugandan community. Elizabeth aspires to attain a graduate degree in a program that combines biological science research with outreach and education.

Alexandra Gramling (Currently doing her graduate work at the University of Washington in Mechanical Engineering)

Alexandra Gramling is a senior in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Washington, where she plans to focus in energy efficiency. She hopes to work in a variety of areas in the energy field ranging from building efficiency to power generation methods. She is currently an intern with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she has participated in numerous internship programs including the High School Research Internship (HSRI) program and the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) program. Her experiences in both of these programs provided her with valuable networking opportunities as well as a chance to present her research to a wide variety of audiences. During the school year Alexandra also works as a tutor in the engineering study center where she helps pre- engineers with their fundamental course work. Outside of work she is an active member of both the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), as well as a new member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Jacinta Heath

Jacinta Heath is a senior in the Anthropology Department, specializing in Medical Anthropology and Global Health. She is interested in issues of Environmental Justice on the Hanford Nuclear Waste Site in eastern Washington, especially issues of disproportionate impact to marginalized stakeholders. By engaging in Community-Based Participatory Qualitative Research and familiarizing herself with risk science and management, she hopes her research can contribute to the revision of the Hanford Public Involvement Plan. She believes that we can strengthen Environmental Justice at Hanford by increasing Primary Stakeholder Involvement within clean-up decision making processes.

After earning her B.A. and completing the McNair Program, she aspires to continue her education in a concurrent Ph.D./J.D. program so she can pursue a career in Intra-National Environmental Law. While she is interested in research at this point, she hopes to become a professor someday and help train the next generation of leaders. When she isn’t in the academic arena she enjoys spending time with her huge, diverse, fabulous family in Bellingham, Washington, where she herself was born and raised.

Vicky Herrera

Vicky is a senior majoring in Biochemistry with a minor In Chemistry. For almost a year, she has been thrilled every day to be contributing to scientific discovery. She works in the Horacio de la Iglesia Laboratory, which focuses on the pathways, molecular and neural, by which the central nervous system uses to control the timing of behavior and physiology. She started in the laboratory through the Amgen Scholars Program, and continued working in the lab as a Mary Gates Research Scholar. She is working on establishing how desynchronization of SCN neurons and the associated disruption of sleep stages affect memory consolidation. Her experiments will provide mechanistic insight into how disrupted sleep architecture interferes with memory consolidation. This research is significant for people with abnormal sleeping behavior, such as, truck drivers, and people who work night shifts. She loves sharing her work at local and national conferences throughout the year. This summer she has been selected to conduct research in the Cavanilles Institute in Spain as part of the Minority Health Disparities International Research Program (MHIRT) program. She is eager to start her research that will involve neuronal stem cell nuerogenesis. Apart from her studies, her interests include hiking, reading and being outdoors. She is very thankful for the support she has received from the Undergraduate Research Program and McNair Program.

Sherry Kim  (Currently doing her graduate work at the University of Washington in Civil Engineering)


Sherry Kim is a Korean American, born and raised in Kirkland, Washington, and is the first to attend a University in her family. She is currently a senior in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. She is currently concentrating her studies in Transportation Engineering and interested in doing research in Intelligent Transportation Design, traffic detection, data management and analysis, managing congestion, and other interesting innovative transportation topics. While interning at the Bellevue Transportation Department under the Traffic Engineering: Signals and Street Lighting division, she is assisting in research at the STARlab which is recognized as highly innovative and reputable as one of the top transportation research facilities in Washington state. She is also actively participating in ASCE UW Chapter as a Fundraising Coordinator. Due to her religious affiliation with the Jehovah’s Witness, her main priorities are to maintain high moral standards, make positive relationships with others and exercise integrity at all times. Not only is she deeply devoted to her studies of Transportation Engineer, she also likes to have fun, especially outdoors activities and sports. She also enjoys exploring different cultures and their foods. She is grateful to have been selected as a McNair Scholar in preparation of her future career.

Bao Le

(Currently doing his Ph.D./graduate work at the University of Washington in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering)


Bao Le is a senior majoring in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at the University of Washington. His main focus is in Astronautics. He is interested in the control systems field and is planning on carrying out research in that area. Bao is currently doing research within his department’s lab to prepare him for his graduate research. His goal is to see a manned mission to Mars within the next thirty years and a colony in space within his lifetime. He plans on working at a national research laboratory after completing his graduate degrees. He hopes to become part of the team that will create the next generation spacecraft capable of interplanetary travel. Bao enjoys learning various new programs to expand his toolbox and skills. Doing his spare time, he likes to play piano and practice Kendo.

Laura Mayorga (Currently doing her Ph.D. in New Mexico State University in Astronomy)


Laura Mayorga is a senior double majoring in Astronomy and Physics. She focuses on the study of extrasolar planets and currently is working on a process for which to determine the density of these planets through the possible existence of exomoons. Laura is a volunteer at both the Planetarium and the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory (TJO) on the University of Washington campus and a certified observer at UW’s Manastash Ridge Observatory. She is also the lead mentor for Protostars, a mentorship program for girls interested in Astronomy at TJO, and is a mentor for FIRST Robotics Team 2046, known as Bear Metal, from Tahoma Senior High School in her hometown of Maple Valley, WA. When free time arises, she enjoys hanging out with friends, star gazing, and going to the archery range.

Elizabeth Merten

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Merten, is an undergraduate student in the Mathematics and Materials Science & Engineering Department. She is currently an undergraduate researcher in the Sarikaya lab in the Materials Science & Engineering department. She is also the president of a student organization in the department called Materials Advantage which advocates for youths in the field of engineering and science. She transferred into the University in fall 2009 from South Seattle Community College as a non-traditional student. She hopes to one day obtain a PhD in Materials Science & Engineering specializing in nanotechnology and cancer research as well as giving back to the community by teaching as a professor at a local community college.

Austin Montgomery

Austin is an aspiring mechanical engineer in the College of Engineering. A former engineering laboratory technician and nuclear propulsion plant mechanic aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, his research interests mainly reside in the area of energy and fluids. Currently he is an intern at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in the Missile Defense Program where he is tracking and assisting in the completion of defense products. As well as being a father, Austin has volunteered on campus to mentor first year students. He plans on earning his PhD in mechanical engineering and conducting research with the intent of helping the world continue to go green. When not at school, he enjoys spending time with his son, Austin II, and girlfriend Chelsea. Eventually, he would like to speak to children and open their eyes to the possibilities that can come from a college education.

Dustin Neighly   (Currently doing his Ph.D. in History at Rutgers University)


Dustin is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar majoring in History with honours and minoring in Latin. His studies focus on the changing social, political and economic structures of Medieval England. He believes that tracing these changes will help grant insight into the foundation of today’s social-democracies. Dustin recently completed a research project investigating William the Conqueror’s appropriation and modification of Anglo-Saxon methods of governance. His current research project involves reconstructing twelfth and thirteenth century English peasant worldviews through the lens of ecclesiastical literature. Dustin hopes to earn a Master’s degree in medieval studies and medieval history, continuing on to a PhD centred on Anglo-Norman and Angevin England. He intends to become an educator and help future leaders develop a better understanding of the medieval foundations of the modern world.

Stephanie Peña

Stephanie Peña is a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Sociology and Women Studies, with a minor in Education. She takes pride in her Mexican and Dominican culture, and is a member of a multicultural sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma, which has opened her eyes to the importance culture plays in the lives of others; her understanding has grown from an interest to a passion and she is now researching the impact that culture plays on education around the world. She loves to travel and is determined to continue researching on her own. Her next stop is Italy, where she will be helping children learn English while doing her own research. She plans on returning to the Polynesian Islands as well as venturing to countries such as India, Japan, Australia, and Brazil. Stephanie is excited for her bright future and plans on attending Graduate School to continue pursuing her passion for education. She considers herself blessed to be surrounded by professors and peers who have helped guide her into doing what she loves.

Geoff Phillips

Geoff Phillips is a junior majoring in Physics and Applied Mathematics but has myriad interests including Electrical Engineering, Philosophy, Human Cognition, Programming, and Education. Geoff is a first generation, non-traditional student who also conjures financial resources and repose working part-time as a Marine Electrician. He transferred to the University of Washington in 2010 after receiving an extraordinary education and experience from Everett Community College. In his free time, he enjoys tutoring, spending time with family, and learning. Geoff plans on pursuing a PhD in Experimental Physics while gaining a strong background in Mathematics. He hopes to conduct research in Condensed Matter and Nonlinear Dynamics. Although Geoff’s initial aims are toward research and development, he plans to eventually teach. He hopes to one day enlighten and inspire students as well as Professor Mark Kot (University of Washington) and Heidi Weiss-Green (Everett Community College) have inspired him.

Fitradin Shanle

Fitradin Shanle is currently a senior, majoring in Political Science with minors in Education & Diversity. Along with her family, she immigrated to America when the civil war in Somalia erupted in 1992 and has lived in Seattle, Egypt, Djibouti & Kenya among many other locations. Fitradin is an active member in several sub-communities here at the University of Washington. Her interest in promoting education for underrepresented students has led her to be a mentor in programs such as Dream Project, Adult Basic Skills Tutor at SSCC, and SafeFutures in Highpoint. All these programs enabled her to help students who are abandoned by the public education system. Her research focus is centered on higher education attainment in the Somali community here in Seattle. Her desire to further her cultural enrichment regarding her identity as well as to serve bridge to her community has led her to join the Somali Student Association in which she has the honor of serving as Vice-President. Additionally, she is involved in the Black Student Union, African Student Association and has had the opportunity to study abroad in Tahiti with a focus on mixed race theory and colonization. She is also set to travel to Barbados in the upcoming summer with the OMA/D department. Because of her scholastic achievement, she has the privilege of being a member of the prestigious National Society of Collegiate Scholars and is a recipient of both the EOP and Go Global scholarships this year. She has worked as an Administrative Assistant at the Instructional Center on campus, and currently works as a Student Associate at the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. Upon graduation, Fitradin hopes to join Teach for America, before attending graduate school. She is still exploring graduate programs that enable her to actively participate in the academia profession of her areas of interest, but is presently interested in the field of International Affairs.

Henedina Tavares

My name is Henedina Tavares and I’m a junior at the University of Washington majoring in American Ethnic Studies with a minor in Education, Learning, and Society. I was born on the Eastside of Washington State in Toppenish but grew up in Sunnyside; a small town about 20 minutes away from Toppenish. I come from an agricultural migrant family from parents who were both born in Mexico. Growing up in an agricultural family, I always saw the exhaustion of long hours of physical labor. My parents would always tell me to get an education unless I wanted to be working long hours for very little pay. My parents’ scarred hands from working in agriculture labor are a reminder that only through an education can I have a better life. I can’t stress enough what my amazing parents mean to me. They are the reason why I never give up on anything and always give my best. My parents inspire me to succeed in life and work hard and I would like to thank them: Gracias por todo su apoyo y amor incondicional.

During my high school career I had the opportunity to be an intern for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the summer, twice under the public affairs division where I focused my research on diabetes among Hispanics. My first study was on the evaluation of home health parties in improving diabetes knowledge and management practices among Hispanics. My second research project was to provide blood glucose screening, with the help of the Sunnyside Community Hospital, for Hispanics living in the Lower Yakima Valley and assess their understanding about diabetes and their perceptions about the disease. I received a certificate from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for my 360 hours of research for each project. I enjoyed doing research where I had interaction with my community and also educating the public about health precautions. I have also been a tutor to high school students, through the TRIO program, that were struggling with their school work. I would meet daily with students after school to help them with class material that they struggled with by showing an alternative approach of thinking about their homework. For my ESL students I employed special educational strategies and techniques during instruction to improve the development of the English language. My greatest reward working with students was their success in understanding class material after I had explained different methods of approaching their homework. I also gained valuable skills in teaching such as communication skills and the importance of being in tune with students. I was also involved in my high school’s Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, and the Latino Culture Club. I’ve been a volunteer at my church’s food banks every year since I started 6 years ago.

In 2009 I graduated from Sunnyside High School as salutatorian of my class and was the first one from my family to graduate from high school. I entered the University of Washington as a Costco Diversity scholar. My freshman year in college I became a member of the Latino Student Union where we organized events that highlighted our culture and held several fundraisers to provide necessary finances for marginalized Latino high school students. My sophomore year I had the opportunity to work in Professor Parker and Professor Barreto research project by gathering data for their research by conducting questionnaires via telephone. I was also invited to become a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and participate in the National Name Exchange. Currently, I am an intern for the State of Washington Children and Family in Toppenish.

My short-term goals are to graduate from the University of Washington with honors and make investigations about the detrimental health farmworkers experience from working in the fields and implementing a plan to prevent the hazards. I would also like to continue tutoring high school students and elementary students who struggle with their homework to help them thrive in school. My long-term career goal is to become a professor in American Ethnic and Chicano Studies department at the university level. I am interested in doing research in higher education, particularly in the health issues surrounding the Latino community in agriculture labor as well as the educational gap among the Latino youth. Coming from a working-class family and being a woman of color it has been a difficult journey to where I’m at now, pursuing a higher education at a university. I did not have a role model to follow or to ask for help from or guidance in academic measures. I want to be a professor because I want to be an inspiration to many students who have a similar story to mine. I want to guide them and reassure them that dreams can be achieved by providing them with the social and cultural capital to maneuver the university system.

Harrison Togia 

(Currently doing his MS/Ph.D. graduate work at the University of Hawaii in School for Ocean and Earth Science and Technology)


Harrison Togia is a Samoan American, born and raised in Tacoma Washington. Harrison is currently a senior in the Earth and Space Sciences department with a focus on the environment. He is most interested in human-earth interactions; and is presently researching human participation in the increased activity from Pacific faults, such as the Tongan trench southwest of American Samoa. Harrison recently finished an internship in the U.S House of Congress, working for the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, Pacific, and the Global Environment; Representative Faleomavaega. He hopes to combine the lessons he learns from his research with his experience in environmental policy making, to positively influence the understanding of how humans interact with the greater forces of nature. Harrison aspires to attain his PhD in Geophysical Sciences and one day serve as the senior geological advisor to the President.

Aside from his studies, Harrison is also an active member of the student community; serving as this year’s Vice President for the Polynesian Student Alliance and as a member of various other student organizations. When he is not in meetings, Harrison likes to spend his free time volunteering as a high school mentor or performing traditional Samoan siva to help promote higher education to his Polynesian community. Harrison is greatly honored by the opportunity to participate as a McNair Scholar and would like to thank his Holy Father, his family, and the faculty who helped him secure this wonderful opportunity; especially Professor Rick Bonus.

Janelle White

Aspiring to change the world through redefining how the mainstream considers those of mixed-race identity, Janelle White is a History and American Ethnic Studies double major in her junior year at UW. She feels that the future of Race Studies, specifically for those who exist within a grey area of mixed identity, needs to be an equal balance of consideration for the past and integration of contemporary theory. This past year, she interned at the Northwest African American Museum in the Central District with a focus on community outreach. The work she did at the museum, interacting with both youth and the elderly, expanded her critical scope and how she thought about who is affected by the search for identity. It allowed her to realize that at any age, the idea of who you are is not something concrete.

In regards to research, she’d like to focus her work on mixed race youth age 5 to 18; how they negotiate their self-image and concepts of identity, how those around them (family and friends) influence and discuss their racial make-up, and what aspects of their cultures they choose to identify with and what aspects they choose to disregard. Ultimately, she would like to pursue a PH D in American Ethnic Studies as well as initiate a program that offers up a space for mixed-race youth to discuss and navigate their identities in a friendly, understanding, and fun environment.

Outside of her academic studies, she has a deep interest in 20th Century presidential history, pie baking, fashion, The Twilight Zone, and old furniture. She is a UW Honors Program Student, an active member of the UW’s Mixed Club (Multiracial Student Association), as well as a 2011 Killam Fellow who will travel to Toronto in fall of 2011 to learn more about Canadian concepts of identity.

Janelle is very grateful for the opportunity to be a McNair Scholar, as well as the great mentorship and assistance she’s received from all of her Professors and T.A.s within the AES program.

Martha Zepeda (Currently doing her Ph.D. in Biological Science at Harvard University)

Born in Mexico City but raised in Kirkland, WA Martha is a senior double majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology. Since her freshman year she has been conducting research in Dr. Merrill Hille’s lab pertaining to a molecular mechanism for cell migration and adhesion during embryo development in zebrafish. As a past Research Intern Fellow supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a past Mary Gates Scholar she has fallen in love with research. In 2011 Martha was an HHMI EXROP Summer Research Program participant and was given the opportunity to study chemotaxic protein localization in Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Dr.Matthew Waldor’s lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (part of the Harvard University’s Medical School) . Martha aspires to attain her PhD in the biological sciences and someday conduct full-time research either in an academic environment or at a biotechnology company. She hopes that in the future she will inspire other Latinas looking towards higher education in the biological sciences. When not in class, lab, or at the library Martha likes spend time at home with her family.


Contact us today!

173G Mary Gates Hall Box 352803 University of Washington Seattle, WA 98195-1271 Phone: 206-543-6460 Fax: 206-543-2746 uwmcnair@uw.edu

The University of Washington McNair Scholars Program is a TRIO Program funded by the United States Department of Education, and the University of Washington, and the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity(OMAD).