UW McNair

Meet our Scholars


Selamawit Ainalem (Selam)

Selam Ainalem is a sophomore majoring in Material Science & Engineering (MSE) with a minor in mathematics. She is interested in specializing in composites, polymers, and nanotechnology. Her first research project at the UW was entitled “Peptide Mediated Formation and Assembly of SiO2 Photonic Crystals.” She interned on this project for 10 months and through her diligence and hard work was listed as a third author on a manuscript pending publishing. She continued her interest in peptide mediated research by working on a short project that focused on their application in the medical field entitled “Peptide Mediated Formation of Calcium Phosphate Minerals on Titanium Implants.”

This summer, she interned at Boeing where she was exposed to the industry side of the MSE field and began her interest in material engineering research as it applies to electronics. She will begin a new research project this year under the mentorship of Dr. Tamerler-Behar and Dr. Gungurmous to allow her to pursue this interest. In her free time, Selam loves to be involved in on-campus activities, play the piano, learn new languages/cultures, and cook. She is excited to be a McNair scholar and is thankful for all the amazing UW McNair staff.


Misghana Andemichael

Misghana is pursuing a joint MD/PhD Program with a focus in medical anthropology, medical sociology or public health with a focus on community health. Currently, she is a member of the Professor Deepa Rao laboratory where her focus is on the qualitative analysis of data concerning HIV stigma among African-born immigrants. Her interest in science stems from the epistemology of scientific discoveries. To know that no experiment can prove a given hypothesis and that our science textbooks are filled with theories instead of facts made her realize that science is about constant discovery.

Her passion in science has been focused on the metabolizing pathways of our body. To be able to bring that aspect together with the social-economic aspect of nutrition adds a holistic perspective to the foods that we eat and how they affect our bodies. According to the Unnatural Causes….is inequality making us sick? Documentary, immigrants from Hispanic communities who were healthier than the typical Caucasian in America prior to immigration are at a more disadvantaged health status than that typical Caucasian once they have assimilated. She wants to study this paradox in the African born national population and successive generations. Being a second generation Eritrean American, she sees real life examples of specific behavioral patterns in my community here in Seattle. Misghana is planning to conduct her own research project next year that will study a particular measure of nutrition (such as prevalence of hypertension) in the African born population while taking into account their assimilation process. Misghana has conversational, reading and writing skills in the language that most Eritreans speak, Tigrinya. Eventually, Misghana aspires to be a practicing health provider that conducts research concerning nutrition and socioeconomic inequality with a focus on the African born community in the United States as well as a diplomat for universal national healthcare.

 Zoraida Arias

Zoraida Arias is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Law, Societies and Justice, Italian, and minoring in Human Rights and Political Science.  She is the first female in her family to be attending college. Throughout her life, Zoraida has been part of the migrant community moving over thirteen times.  Zoraida has been involved with volunteer work and mentoring since she was in middle school. Throughout high school she was involved in ten extra-curricular activities, sports, and held two jobs.

During her first year of college, Zoraida became a member of the College Assistance Migrant Program. After her first year at the University of Washington, Zoraida was one of four students chosen nationwide to intern for Congress in Washington, DC through the National HEP/CAMP Association. With this experience, Zoraida had the opportunity to learn many valuable life lessons, meet President Barack Obama, and represent not only her community but the entire state of Washington. During her internship, Zoraida would also volunteer at national conferences such as the National Council of La Raza national conference. Being an intern for Congressman Ruben Hinojosa and volunteering changed Zoraida’s views and shaped her decision for studying LSJ and Political Science.

After Zoraida came back from her internship, she was elected to be a CAMP student mentor for the 2011-2012 academic year. She was able to provide an easy transition from high school to college for incoming freshmen throughout their first year in college.  Thanks to the CAMP program, Zoraida was able to participate and present in national conferences such as the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education, the HEP/CAMP National Conference, and the Latino’s Educational Achievement Project. Zoraida decided to also become a student mentor for DREAM Project.

This year, Zoraida has been a volunteer for the University of Washington Youth Center, a mentor for Education Without Borders, and a translator for the University of Washington Law School Clinics and Immigrant Families Advocacy Project. Zoraida is also an Early Identifications Program Scholar and has been working on undergraduate research with five other University of Washington students.

This past spring quarter, Zoraida had the amazing opportunity of studying abroad in Italy through her Italian department where she was able to live in Rome for a month and in the small town of Rogliano for the second part of her stay.  Zoraida was able to experience yet another life changing opportunity. She was able to stay with a host family and improve her Italian as well as learn to live with and embrace a new culture. Before leaving to study abroad, she was able to finish off applying for many scholarships and was selected for most of them. Thanks to these scholarships, Zoraida has the majority of her education paid for this upcoming academic year.  Zoraida was also selected to participate in an Exploration Seminar to study abroad again this upcoming August in Rome.  She is hoping to go continue on to graduate school and pursue a PhD in Social Work.

Kainen Bell

My name is Kainen Bell, I am a senior, and the only student at the UW double degreeing in Business Administration and Social Welfare. Growing up I never thought a PhD or even college was possible to achieve because of the circumstances I lived in. I grew up in a low income and single parent household with my mom in the Hilltop, which is a neighborhood in Tacoma that at the time had a reputation for gang violence. I could have easily went down the wrong path like some of my peers, but support from mentors and community programs such as the Boys and Girls Club inspired me not to go down the wrong path and motivated me to attend college.
Some college experiences include being a Costco and Boeing Diversity Scholar, interning at Boeing and KPMG, working as a Resident Advisor, working as an Office of Minority Affairs Student Ambassador, and participating in a global internship in Brazil for 3 months this past summer. Also, last Spring I was elected to the Board of the Directors for the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW).
After graduating I will pursue a PhD in Social Work and Information Systems and research the intersections between both fields. Research into this intersection is important because the world is becoming more technology dependent. I am interested in researching how this will impact society and if we will be less capable of interacting with people as we rely on more on technology. Also I will investigate whether the pursuit of efficiency in a business at the risk of declining human interaction helps or hinders society. Another area I want to research is the role of corporate social responsibility. Service is a huge part of my life and I want to research the best methods of giving back and creating a community change.
I want to inspire youth and members of my community to pursue their dreams and pursue college and graduate school, despite the adversities and challenging circumstances they may have grown up in.

Mark Syd Bennett

Mark found a passion for academia and mathematics at Seattle Central Community College. At the time, mathematics provided Mark with an opportunity to escape from the realities of homelessness and addiction. As he grew in his abilities, he grew in recovery—eventually earning recognition from Seattle Central in the way of scholarships, such as The Charles Mitchel Fund for Excellence and The Patricia Fleck Mackay Endowed Scholarship, and by being chosen to be the commencement speaker at the college’s 2013 graduation ceremony. Mark became an Onsight Scholar and presented research on the interdisciplinary nature of building a Turing Machine out of LEGOS at The Annual UW Undergraduate Research Symposium. He is currently at the UW working towards a Comprehensive Mathematics degree with a minor in Applied Mathematics. His hope is to earn a Phd in the field. Here at the UW, Mark has received The Wells Fargo Vice President’s Achievement Award and just recently has been selected as a recipient of the Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) Scholarship. He is finishing up research on eigenvectors and eigenvalues of bi-regular networks under the direction of Professor Jim Morrow at the Mathematics Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program here at the UW.

For Mark, mathematics is a passion; however, he finds giving back and gratitude to be the cornerstone of his life. Recovery has allowed him to do many things such as receiving an education, getting off the streets, and becoming the custodial parent to his son, Elijah. Because of this, he feels he is obligated to give back as others have done for him. Throughout his education Mark has tried to be a part of the community through supporting other students and volunteering. Outside of school he works with others who faced similar difficulties as a means to find mutual support. He advocates for the homeless youth community through sharing his experience at certain events and with local officials. When time permits, Mark volunteers at the drop-in centers he has frequented. His primary objective is to provide a healthy, stable, and loving environment for him and his son.

Chelsea Cooper

My name is Chelsea Cooper, I am a senior, and will be the first in my family to graduate with a college degree. I am a double major in Anthropology and History and have minors in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Comparative Islamic Studies, and International Studies: Middle East. Since a young age I have been fascinated by non-Western history and culture, primarily Ancient Egypt. I work with a research team through the NELC department’s Newbook Digital Texts on transcribing historical manuscripts from an Egyptology journal for web and print publication. Thanks to the Mary Gates Research Scholarship I am able to conduct research that explores the historical context behind the archaeological discovery of Akhenaten, an 18th dynasty Pharaoh. Unfortunately, because of the political unrest in Egypt, I was unable to study abroad at the American University in Cairo this past year. But it has sparked my interest in broadening my research to branch out into exploring the impacts that 20th century war and conflict in the Middle East has held on archaeological sites, museums, and the ancient antiquities black market. I plan to pursue a PhD in Egyptology or Islamic Studies so that I can continue my passion for Near Eastern Studies research and become a professor.

Thanks to scholarships such as the Benjamin A. Gilman, Go! and Fritz, I have been able to spend my free time doing what I love: traveling, and learning about new cultures and languages.  This past summer I spent studying Punjabi in India thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship. I also participated in UW’s OMAD Rome Enrichment Program last spring, learning about Roman architecture and history in Italy. My free time is also spent cheering on my twin sister, who plays basketball for Boston College!

Serena Correia

Serena Correia is a junior at the University of Washington pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Education, Learning and Society. Her passion lies in education and would like to research on the most effective educational system.  She grew up in Korea and Tacoma area.  Being educated in these different cultures has shaped who she is now. She has enthusiastic and energetic personality, seeing life as full of potential and possibilities.

This summer, she is interning at SDC international school in Korea as an ESL teacher. She is excited for the new experience this summer and very much looking forward to it.  She has previously worked as a kindergarten teacher and a TOEFL teacher and found out that education is where she wants to make change.

On campus, she is involved in a Christian organization called Cru and she is a community service chair for Korean Students Association.  She plays viola in her free time and loves playing tennis.

Yuri Cortez

My name is Yuri Cortez and I am a rising senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with a minor in Comparative History of Ideas. This summer I was a part of the Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities where I conducted my own research regarding the effects of the 2014 World Cup on the Indigenous peoples in Brazil, specifically in Rio de Janeiro. This research topic emerged from my study abroad trip to Brazil upcoming this early fall start where I plan to further my research of the effects of the World Cup on the Indigenous peoples in the country.

My aspirations for graduate school developed thanks to the constant push and support I’ve received from my family, who has struggled for years to put food on the table to be able to provide my siblings and me with an education. I am a first-generation college student and come from a migrant family who has been dependent on agriculture for a living and has struggled to put me through school.

My interest in race relationships in the Unites States and Mexico, which I plan to continue researching in graduate school, began through my involvement and 2014-2015 Co-Chair position in M.E.Ch.A (Chican@ Student Movement) which has sparked my drive for social justice. I also intern at 21 Progress, where I help coordinate and facilitate our monthly DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) Days, providing undocumented students with loans to pay for the application process to obtain their temporary social security and work permit.

I am also a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society in Political Science, a Mary Gates Endowment Scholar, and a Mary Monroe Davis Scholar.

 Marianne Estrada

Marianne Estrada is a senior pursuing a major in Biochemistry with a minor in Chemistry and Naval Science. As a second generation of Guatemalan immigrants and first in her family to pursue a college education, Marianne has learned to appreciate the smallest things in life, strive for the best, and take advantage of any opportunity to grow mentally and morally. She is driven by her family, as they are the reason why she continues to push herself every day. Her research interests include working in the Department of Pharmacology under the guidance of Dr. Chris Hague. Currently, she is studying the function and signaling of G-protein coupled receptors involved in the inflammation response. Besides working in the research lab, Marianne can be found leading others within the NROTC program, volunteering at Bailey-Boushay, an HIV and AIDS clinic, or relaxing at her favorite coffee shop, Café Allegro. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Immunology and eventually work in a clinical setting to further advance medicine.

Jorge Fernandez

Jorge is a junior currently double majoring in Bioengineering and Computer Science. He is a first generation immigrant from Spain that transferred to the University of Washington in 2012 with hopes to improve the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Jorge strongly believes that only the collaboration between Bioengineering and Computer Science can unlock the future of medicine and medical technologies. He is specifically interested in the treatment of autoimmune diseases through knock out gene therapies and “sharp shooter” drugs. Jorge is also really interested in the research being done in the department of Computer Science. He is fascinated by the possible medical applications of brain computer interfaces that could for example allow a paraplegic person to walk again.

Dorathy-Ann Harris

Dorathy-Ann Harris is a senior at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Neurobiology and Computational Neuroscience. Her passion lies with blending multiple perspectives to better understand how and why things work the way they do. She moved many times growing up, making UW her 11th school. This has helped her understand the importance of perspective, communicating with others, and not being afraid to take initiative.

Her research interests include neurobiology and pharmacology. Her past research includes studying antibiotic resistance in bacteria and G-Protein Coupled Receptors. Currently, she is working in the Department of Pharmacology under Dr. Hague. This summer marks two years in the laboratory. When she is not in the lab or class, she can be found working with the Undergraduate Research Program as an Undergraduate Research Leader, working as a TA in an introductory biology class, and mentoring both high school and college students. She makes trips back to her high school, Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy, to educate others on the importance and opportunities involved in pursuing science and continuing education.

Amir Hassen

Amir Hassen is a junior in the department of biochemistry. He does research on phosphorus NMR analysis of muscle and brain. He uses magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyze the dynamics of metabolism. Part of his research is focused on mitochondrial Pi and trying to explain why there is a decline in mitochondrial Pi in elderly humans. Through his research he hopes to develop a short protocol that can be used by hospitals to acquire a phosphorous spectrum that gives them useful information about the health of their patients. Amir plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biochemistry using methods of spectroscopy. He is involved with the UW Muslim Student Association and is a Costco scholar. In the future he hopes to start a program in this community to help students pursue a field in science.

Anh Huynh 

Anh Huynh is a senior at the University of Washington – Seattle. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Journalism. Her research interest lies in social psychology and anything culture-related. She enjoys observing the world around her and thinking about the ways in which our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are shaped by and shape others. Her past research experience includes examining the effects that different amounts of instruction and academic goals have on undergraduates’ conceptual learning of new material and investigating the foraging behavioral patterns and food intake of the Eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). She’s currently working on an honors project under the guidance of Dr. Anthony Greenwald and other members of the Greenwald lab.

Outside of classes and research, Anh has been actively involved in tutoring and mentoring, having served in various positions such as undergraduate TA, Chemistry and Social Studies tutor, science fair mentor for elementary-school children, tutor/mentor for UW Academic Support Programs, and Seattle Public Library volunteer tutor. She has written for The Daily and is involved in Psi Chi, Golden Key Honour Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), Tau Sigma Directorate Board, and Pipeline Alternative Spring Break (ASB). In the coming fall, Anh will be leading a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) seminar that aims to introduce freshmen to university resources and opportunities while enabling them to acquire valuable college survival skills.

Anh plans to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D. in social psychology. She hopes to become a research professor one day studying decision-making across different cultural contexts while inspiring the next generation of psychology students.

In her free time, Anh likes reading, watching movies, discussing world events, hanging out with family and friends, and daydreaming of traveling around the world.

Fethya Ibrahim

Fethya is a junior in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Washington. After graduating, she hopes to attain a PhD in Applied Physics or Electrical Engineering. She is very interested in studying renewable energy and hopes to do research in finding suitable energy systems for countries like Ethiopia, where her family is from. She is the eldest child and the first to go to college in her family. She is currently working in a cell biomechanics lab in the ME department under Professor Nathan Sniadecki as a research assistant. She also tutors at the Engineering Academic Center and helps lead math workshops for freshmen and sophomores. On the weekends, she teaches, mentors, and organizes activities for the youth at the Ethiopian Muslim Association of Seattle.

Ferdose Idris

Ferdose Idris is a rising senior pursuing a degree in Sociology with a minor in quantitative sciences. She is particularly interested in how religious identity mediates a variety of social outcomes including educational attainment and reform, as well as recidivism. Aside from being a McNair scholar, she is also a research assistant for Dr. Alexes Harris, working on a project related to legal financial obligations within the juvenile justice system. She is also the recipient of the Costco diversity scholarship and Leadership 1000 scholarship, and maintains a part-time job at a local Muslim community center while remaining active in community service as a founding member of the UW chapter of United Muslim Relief, an organization that targets issues related to discrimination and disaster relief around the world.

Saleh Jaber 

I am currently a junior in the Bioengineering department. I am the first person in my family to attend college. I started at Columbia Basin community college in the Tri Cities and ended up transferring to the University of Washington in the fall of 2012. During the course of my college career, I had the chance to get involved in different clubs and participate in different organizations. I developed many interests and gained a passion for research. I worked on several research projects and had the chance to work with extraordinary individuals. After experiencing many different fields in research, I found that my main interest lies in biomaterials and tissue engineering. This summer I will be working in the Elaine Faustman toxicology lab. I will be assisting in the characterization of proteins resulting from the differentiation of neural cells. In the fall of 2013 I will start working in a different lab in order expand my research experience and gain insight on other fields.

Myesa Legendre-Fixx

Myesa Legendre-Fixx is a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in oceanography. She is fascinated by the organisms that thrive around hydrothermal vents and other extreme submarine locations as well as marine microbes in general.
She was introduced to the University of Washington through the UW GenOM Project, where she worked in the Rocap Lab over the summer. There she researched circadian clock genes in Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic organism on the planet. This rigorous learning experience reassured her desire to be a research scientist, and steered her in the direction of studying single-celled microorganisms. During the school year, she presented at the escience conference (held in Mary Gates Hall), and the ERN Conference in STEM in Washington D.C. She was also awarded academic merit scholarships from the School of Oceanography, the College of the Environment, and the EOP.

This summer, she continued to work in the Rocap Lab, funded by the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium and supported by the UW SURP. This time, she improved her knowledge of the bioinformatics “pipeline” analysis done by the scientists in the lab, and worked on an experiment investigating arsenic resistance in the cyanobacteriumProchlorococcus. Myesa also tutored the ALVA students of 2014, and plans on being a part of the GenOM ALVA program next summer.

After her work in the lab, she sailed on the RV Thompson to Southern Hydrate Ridge, an area of methane seeps and rich microbial life off the coast of Oregon, where she gathered samples to investigate the question: how does the occurrence of methane seeps affect the abundance of microbes in the water column?
Myesa aspires to complete her graduate studies at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, or the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

Kenny Lino

Kenny Lino is a junior double majoring in Japanese and Linguistics with a minor in Korean. Growing up under both Japanese and American culture has made him highly interested in other languages and cultures. While many people take language for granted, he sees language as one of the ultimate forms of magic, because of its persuasive powers and its ability to evoke any emotion depending on the speaker.

While he finds all aspects of language interesting, when in graduate school, he hopes to study more about second language acquisition, language pedagogy and accents. In this current day and age where the world is all about globalization, he finds it important to create a mutual understanding between people. Through mastery of a second language, he hopes that people will gain a worldlier outlook. He hopes to uncover a way to help people learn and retain a second language easier and find an innovative method for teachers as well.

Outside of class and his job, Kenny occasionally spends time trying to learn other languages that he can’t fit in his time schedule or unwinding by taking naps or going out to take photos. He also participates in the UW Language Exchange Program by meeting up with foreign exchange students to practice their language and to practice English also.

Azeb Madebo

 Azeb Madebo is a senior majoring in Communication and Culture with a minor in Diversity. Her current research interests focus on exploring topics within Black Cultural Studies – specifically subjects concerning under-researched communities. She’s interested in using her Ethiopian/African American standpoint as an “outsider-within” to explore blackness and its representations within East African immigrant communities living in the United States. Azeb’s future plans involve completing a PhD in order to become a professor within a field that allows her to explore her interests, stay engaged inside the community, and mentor students. In conjunction with the McNair Scholars Program, she is also in the Department of Communication’s honors program.

Jesus Martinez-Gomez

Jesus is a junior at the University of Washington majoring in Biology.  His passion for biology can be traced to his second grade class where he raised butterflies from caterpillars. Since then the right combination of family, good science teachers, elbow grease and luck has allowed him to follow his passion for biology by pursing his Ph.D in Developmental biology (or related fields).
His current research is under the supervision of Veronica Di Stilio and focused on characterizing the floral organ identity genes in the basal eudicot Thalictrum thalictroide.Specifically, he seeks to understand how these genes, which are known to specify petals, function in a species of plant that lacks petals. In addition he spent last summer researching in Dr. Jane Hubbards lab at the New York University School of Medicine. His worked focused on characterizing signaling pathways involved in transmitting environmental factors to stem cells, which then mediate a proper balance between renewal vs. differentiation in the C. elegans germline.
Outside of course work and research Jesus works as an Undergraduate Research Leader helping his fellow peers enter research positions.  Or he can be found walking around the University of Washington Medical Herb Garden admiring nature’s beauty.

Max McDonald

As with every other student here at the UW, I have a unique story…. After high school I moved here from San Francisco and started working in the car business, which is what I did for ten years. Nine of those years were in management where I was a sales manager for six years and a finance manager for three years. During the Great Recession, I decided to go back to school and pursue a business degree in finance.

Areas of research that I am most interested in are consumer finance (loans such as auto and home loans, consumer financial education), public finance, management theory and leadership, and international finance and trade. It is my belief that many consumers were taken advantage of during the years leading up to the Recession, and that the loan models used by loan officers were flawed. In the public finance sector, I am interested in increasing the efficiency of public dollars in rehabilitating youth. Specifically I am interested in youth between the ages of 12 and 18. In the international finance and trade arena, I am interested in the promotion of fair trade and the peace that this fosters between nations. I believe that economically developed nations should recognize a self-interest in establishing win\win terms of trade with developing nations. There is peace through fair trade!!!

I am pursuing B.A. degrees in Business Administration (Finance), Mathematics (calculus, probability\statistics, analysis) and Spanish. I am fluent in Spanish and have spent time travelling in the Philippines and Honduras. My mother is from the Philippines and immigrated here in the late 1960s with her family of 12 siblings and her parents. I am also the father of two wonderful children, David and Jocelyn McDonald.

Outside of school, I am team President and boxer for the Husky Boxers (2 years complete and going on my 3rd), and I am a mentor for at-risk youth through the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, JRA, for Washington State. I love to cook (bbq!!!), read and travel.

I am happy to be a member of the McNair Scholars community and I plan on pursuing a doctoral degree in Finance after graduating in 2015.

Mayra Mendoza (pictured in the middle)

I am a Junior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in History and minoring in French. I am the first person in my family to have the opportunity to attend a 4 year University. My first year at the University of Washington I was a part of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and during Summer Quarter 2012 I was able to be a part of a French Polynesia Exploration Seminar in Tahiti. I hope to be able to study abroad in Germany during my undergraduate years. I also hope to obtain my Ph.D. in History.

I am primarily interested in the pre-World War II and World War II political and social atmosphere of Germany. I am also hoping to focus my research on German Politics from 1920-1945 starting with the rise of the Nazi Party to its fall with Adolf Hitler. I am also very interested in researching Nazi methods to gain popularity in Germany.

Jesse Miles

As a student of the Neurobiology major at the University, Jesse is intensely interested in the study of neuroscience. This passion shows through in his extra-curricular endeavors, both as Senior Editor for Grey Matters Journal – the University of Washington’s undergraduate run neuroscience outreach journal – and as a researcher in Martha Bosma’s developmental neurophysiology lab. So far, his work has consisted of examining the extent and behavior of synchronous, spontaneous electrical activity in the developing mouse brainstem using calcium imaging, with current efforts pointed toward characterizing the electrophysiological properties of specific cell lineages in the hind-and-mid-brain.

Jesse aims to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, focusing on the intricate relationships between developmental neurobiology and the mechanisms guiding memory formation, neuroplasticity, and learning. In conjunction with research, Jesse plans on continuing his neuroscience outreach efforts by going into scientific journalism.


Megan Rue

I am pursuing a double-degree in Anthropology and Biology. My main research interests are Garbology, energetics, trauma patterns on bones, and stigmas associated with PTSD – especially in soldiers. I previously have done research in Garbology and I am currently working on developing a new project that evaluates the actual waste behaviors of those living in the dorms vs. their perceived behaviors. The main goal of the Garbology research is to help increase the University of Washington’s waste diversion rate, educate the public about waste, and to reduce the carbon footprint of UW.

After completion of both of my degrees, I aspire to pursue a Masters and then a PhD in Forensic Anthropology. With this degree I hope to become a professor and develop more Forensic Anthropology programs in the United States. I plan to work on research that focuses on developing methods to better understand trauma patterns in bones. I also hope to work with local, Federal, and International Agencies to help identify victims of crimes.  Most importantly, I hope to invest in the futures of those individuals who so badly desire to obtain an education.

Sarra Tekola 

Sarra Tekola is a senior studying Environmental Science and Resource Management and minoring in Marine Biology. Her research interests include wetland ecology, food webs, sustainability, climate change, and ocean acidification.  Some of the research she has worked on is how ocean acidification affects pteropods, Hypoxia in Hood Canal, using rain gardens to reduce stormwater runoff, and expanding climate change discourse in rural communities. Sarra wants to get her Ph.D in policy and environmental science. She plans to stop climate change, the largest threat to mankind. Her plan is to get educated about the solutions that will include adaptation, regulation and mitigation and get into politics to implement these solutions.


Jessica White


Yan Ting (“Blair”) Zhao

My name is Yan Ting (Blair) Zhao. I am currently a senior in the biochemistory major. Since a young age I dream of becoming a scientist. I am very fascinated about the promising potential of stem cell treatment. I wish to become a scientist one day to research more about this area of knowledge.

I previously worked in Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as a lab assistant. This experience confirmed my interest in laboratory work. I found myself to enjoy the time spent in the lab very much. I was also exposed to the underlying cause, prevention and treatment about cancer.

Since the summer of 2012, I am involved in ongoing research with a radiologist at Swedish Medical Center. Our research focuses on finding an association between cognitive functions and MRI data in Multiple Sclerosis patients. Working as a research intern has opened my eyes and mind to a new world. A world I had only dreamed about as a little girl. I am also learning a lot about neurological diseases and their background mechanisms.

My goal is to go on to graduate school to pursue a PhD in oncology and eventually get into stem cell research to fulfill my passion in life.