Meet the 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Interns at Barrow

Freya Abraham

Portrait of Freya Abraham
University of Arizona

“I am a freshman at the University of Arizona, studying neuroscience and biochemistry. At UA, I am involved with psychology research, work as a biostatistics teaching assistant, and serve as the recruitment lead for Global Shapers Tucson. This March, I co-launched “Give a Book, Grow a Mind,” a grant-funded childhood reading initiative, which will send books to students across the nation this summer. In the future, I aim to become a pediatric neurologist.”

Roberto Diaz-Brown

University of Arizona

“I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, with an emphasis in neuroscience and music. Originally, I am from Tucson, Arizona but had the opportunity to spend most of my upbringing in Mexico City. These experiences that have helped shape me into the person I am today have led me to hopefully wanting to become a physician in the near future. I definitely believe that having the chance to learn from a unique community of caregivers and researchers such as Barrow would only strengthen this passion of mine to hopefully one day make my own mark in the field. I am beyond excited and humbled at the opportunity to be part of Barrow for the summer and can’t wait to get started. I look forward to meeting all of you in person soon!”

Rachel Eder

Arizona State University

“I just completed my junior year at Arizona State University. I am majoring in biological sciences, neuroscience, and psychology and minoring in math and anthropology. I’m really interested in studying the molecular components of cells, specifically in relation to neurodegenerative diseases. Outside of school, I enjoy working out, taking Pilates and cycling classes, and art. I’m really looking forward to my internship this summer and meeting everyone!”

Alexis Giff

Portrait of Alexis Giff
Brown University

“I am a research technician in Dr. Shwetal Mehta’s lab. I studied neuroscience at Brown University and graduated in May 2021. I completed my honor’s thesis in a neuropsychology lab studying obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), with a focus on differences between native and standardized MRI scans for post-operative Gamma Knife patients. I am very excited to join the team at Barrow this summer!”

Harkeerat Halait

Portrait of Harkeerat Halait
University of Arizona

“I mostly go by Harkee. I’m from Tracy, California and am currently studying neuroscience and cognitive science at the University of Arizona, with an emphasis in neurobiology. I am particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms through which biochemical pathways can affect cognition, and I hope to one day apply this knowledge as a clinical neurophysiologist. In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar and trying to cook new dishes. I’m really excited to get started and can’t wait to be a part of the research team!”

Windsor Hall

Portrait of Windsor Hall
Southern Methodist University

“I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I am currently a junior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. I am studying psychology with a minor in neuroscience. At SMU, I work in a psychology lab, studying the effects of stress on physical and mental health. My research interests include how neurodegenerative disease influences cognition and mental health. After graduation, my goals are to apply to grad school and continue doing research.”

Ashley Holtz

Portrait of Ashley Holtz
University of California, Los Angeles

“I am going to be a third-year student this fall at the University of California, Los Angeles. I am majoring in biochemistry with a minor in biomedical research, and I aspire to work in a pharmaceutical industry after college and get a PhD in pharmacology. Outside of classes, I am involved in a lab studying methyltransferases, am on the UCLA Spirit Squad, am a member of a sorority, and am a part of the American Cancer Society on Campus. I am looking forward to doing research at Barrow Neurological Institute in the summer!”

Nicole Houchins

Portrait of Nicole Houchins
Arizona State University

“I just completed my second year at Arizona State University. I am majoring in biological sciences and neuroscience, with hopes of doing biomedical research as my career. Some of my hobbies include reading fantasy books, drawing, playing volleyball, and doing ballet. I am also a huge Marvel fan. I am incredibly excited to meet everyone on the Barrow team, and I cannot wait to do research and learn as much as I possibly can this summer!”

Tiana Hua

Portrait of Tiana Hua
Arizona State University

“I’m from Chandler, Arizona, and I just finished my junior year at Arizona State University. I am pre-med, majoring in biomedical sciences with a certificate in interdisciplinary health solutions. I love going camping to enjoy the outdoors when I have the time. I am extremely honored and excited to begin this research internship! I’m looking forward to learning so much from everyone!”

Nisha Kalmadi

Arizona State University
Portrait of Nisha Kalmadi

“I have just finished my sophomore year with Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. I am currently double majoring in biological sciences (genetics, cell, and developmental biology) and medical studies, and I am completing a certificate in computational life sciences. I’ve worked in research that focused on the correlation between radial artery diameter and the preferred location of treatment for liver tumors using Y-90 spheres. I’ve also been working in a sex chromosome lab under Dr. Melissa Wilson to look at differences in liver DNA between men and women by focusing on the X and Y chromosomes. I’ve learned Java and Bash, and I am currently self-teaching Python and R. I am looking forward to working in this fantastic internship this summer.”

Portrait of Minha Kim

Minha Kim

University of California, Berkeley

“I am currently a freshman at University of California, Berkeley, and I am an intended molecular and cellular biology and economics major. Some of my hobbies include playing the violin and hiking!”

Ateeq Lambay

Portrait of Ateeq Lambay
University of Houston

“I’m going to be turning 19 soon, just in time to attend this excellent internship program. I like to stay busy, so I enjoy taking part in various opportunities and different paths. I’m about to finish my freshman year in college, studying in the fields of biology as well as political science. I’ve been working part-time for over a year as a Starbucks barista, enjoying the service and craft I provide. And now I’m looking forward to joining you all at Barrow Neurological Institue this summer.”

Karen Martin Escamilla

Portrait of Karen Martin Escamilla
Arizona State University

“I am a first-generation college student, studying visual communications at the Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. When I am not working on my studio projects, I am exploring new foods and cafés all over Phoenix and Tempe. I also enjoy participating in my church’s youth group by planning out fun activities. I look forward to meeting and working with everyone this summer!”

Ashley Minks

University of Arizona

“I am from Gilbert, Arizona. I am a junior honors student at the University of Arizona, and I am double majoring in neuroscience and cognitive science and psychological sciences. I also have a minor in biochemistry! In my free time, I enjoy reading and playing badminton. Currently, I plan to attend medical school, become a neurosurgeon, and work in nonprofit medical organizations or research chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

Pranav Anjani Narnur

Portrait of Pranav Anjani Narnur
University of Arizona

“I will be a senior next year at the University of Arizona, studying neuroscience with the goal of going to medical school after graduation. I’m excited to work in the Dortch Lab over the summer, focusing on MRI research.”

Jesus Peralta

Portrait of Jesus Peralta
Arizona State University

“I am currently a first-generation student at Arizona State University, double majoring in biochemistry and microbiology. In 2019, I graduated with an Associate of Science from South Mountain Community College concurrently with my high school diploma at AAEC South Mountain High School. I am passionate about helping other first-generation students find value in obtaining a higher education. In the future, I would love to pursue a career within the medical field while continuing to serve my community.”

Kyle Polen

Portrait of Kyle Polen
Arizona State University

“I am a rising junior in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, studying biochemistry and global health. Building upon my research involvements at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ASU, and Weizmann Institute of Science, I am eager to continue garnering bench-to-bedside research experience with the Hashimoto Lab at Barrow.”

Alan Rivera-Garcia

Arizona State University

“I am from Phoenix, Arizona—born and raised. From all the subjects I have ever been exposed to since third grade all the way up to senior year in high school, the sciences always attracted me. This attraction going into Arizona State University was transformed into something more: a passion, which can only come about from truly liking a subject. With my passion in hand, the next step is to explore and learn how to hone my passion into a useful practice that will help the greater populace.”

Charlotte Rupp

Portrait of Charlotte Rupp

University of St. Andrews

“I was born in Phoenix and grew up in Switzerland. I just completed an undergraduate degree in English literature at the University of St. Andrews and will be doing a master’s in neuroscience this fall. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, reading, and cooking.”

Kamal Shaik

Arizona State University
Portrait of Kamal Shaik

“I am an incoming third-year pre-medical student in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, studying biomedical sciences with a double minor in business and religious studies and a certificate in evolutionary medicine. I am currently an undergraduate researcher with the High Throughput Cloning Team at the Biodesign Institute, where I am investigating methods to optimize the propagation of the pLenti 6.3 plasmid vector in Stbl3 E. coli cells. With a passion for public service and scientific inquiry, I hope to be a physician-researcher in the future.”

Anna Vargas Jordan

Portrait of Anna Vargas Jordan
Arizona State University

“I am an undergraduate pre-medical student at Arizona State University. I am passionate about medicine and hope to one day make a difference within our communities. I am incredibly excited and grateful for the opportunity to be working and learning alongside researchers.”

Priyanka Velu

University of Arizona
Portrait of Priyanka Velu

“I am a pre-medical undergraduate student at the University of Arizona Honors College, studying neuroscience and cognitive science with an emphasis in aging and development. I am currently working in Dr. Chou’s TMS Lab on “Utilizing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Develop Image-Based Biomarkers for Early Diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment.” Our goals include integrating transcranial magnetic stimulation and neuroimaging techniques to develop image-guided therapeutic TMS protocols and exploring TMS-derived and image-based biomarkers for early diagnosis and prediction of therapeutic outcomes for individuals with mild cognitive impairment. My past work includes presenting my project “Exploring Novel Genetic Therapies to Save Children with Werdnig-Hoffmann Disease” at the Honors Pinnacle Virtual Showcase in Analytical Research. I am interested in researching more about neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzeimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”

Cole Wampler

Arizona State University
Portrait of Cole Wampler

“I am a junior at Arizona State University, where I am studying medical microbiology. Outside of what I am studying, I have branched out and gotten experience in other fields. To branch out, I have become the head of experimental design for the Nepal Pyrolyzer Project, where I am leading efforts to prototype and test kilns to be used in Nepal. I am also gaining extensive experience as a researcher in a chemical engineering laboratory at ASU. In this laboratory, I assist PhD students, write protocols for the lab, lead my own experiments, and much more. At ASU, I have become an active member of the community by becoming the president of a community service club and creating another club to help undergraduate students learn how to read and understand research articles. These experiences have helped me grow into the best person I can be, and I look forward to growing even more through my future work during this internship at Barrow.”

Please note: These responses have been edited for style and clarity.

Learn more about our Summer Undergraduate Research Program.