Program Mentors

Deborah Roby, PhD

Deborah Roby completed her undergraduate training at Truman State University in 2010 where she achieved a B.S. in Biology with a chemistry minor. After working in industry for three years, she attended Saint Louis University where she served on the Graduate Student Association officer’s board as Vice President of Medical School Student Affairs. She was also teacher and director for the undergraduate course Drugs We Use and Abuse at Saint Louis University. Deborah defended her doctoral dissertation in 2018, earning her PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology.
Deborah is currently a postdoctoral trainee at Vanderbilt University and volunteers as a youth mentor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN.

Adam Behroozian, M.D.

Adam grew up in sunny Southern California. He obtained his M.P.H. from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology. He attended the University of California San Diego School of Medicine where he was active in patient advocacy at the local, state and national level and served as Class President throughout medical school. He recently completed his Internal Medicine Residency training at Vanderbilt and is currently a post-doctoral clinical research fellow and Clinical Instructor in the Section of Hospital Medicine Hospitalist at Vanderbilt. He is currently applying to Cardiovascular Medicine fellowship training programs and is excited to join the PAECER-SURE program as a mentor.

Charlene Walton, M.D.

Dr. Charlene Walton is a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) alumnae and obtained her undergraduate degree in journalism from Howard University in Washington, DC. She went on to obtain her Medical Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Medicine and completed her Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine Residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Charlene has expansive experience working in clinical practice in both private-based and academic medicine. Prior to her medical career, she was a medical science writer and editor at a HBCU medical school and Urban Health medical journal.

Charlene’s long-term passion has included mentoring students to achieve their optimal success. Throughout her career she has been successful in garnering professional development opportunities to steward the next generation of diverse healthcare professionals and researchers. Charlene has also strategically leveraged her leadership in organizations such as her local National Medical Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority chapter to further her passion in this area.

As Director of Collegiate Diversity Partnerships, Charlene directs the implementation and administration of educational support strategies designed to increase minority enrollment, retention and graduation in the healthcare and science fields. She works directly with students and mentors as a part of the AHA’s HBCU Scholars Program in the Southeast. Her office is based at Stillman College, a partner AHA HBCU in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Stephanie Castillo

Stephanie Castillo is a fifth-year graduate student in the Communication of Science and Technology Program at Vanderbilt University. Stephanie’s research focuses on producing science communication videos for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in STEM. Before diving into science communication, Stephanie was trained in Chemistry earning her BS from the University of Central Florida and MS from Vanderbilt. Her goal after graduate school is to continue to produce inclusive science communication videos through her media company Phuture Doctors.

David Andrew Cappel, Ph.D.

David is a Research Instructor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University.  He graduated from Princeton with a degree in Molecular Biology and went on receive a Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University. He is currently part of the basic sciences project led by Dr. Dave Wasserman in the AHA Strategically Focused Research Network on Peripheral Artery Disease. His research focuses on the links between glucose metabolism, muscle function, and cardiovascular disease. When not in the lab he enjoys spending time with his wife, foster son, and pack of dogs. 

Cassandra P. Awgulewitsch

Cassandra completed her undergraduate French and Biology degrees at the College of Charleston and pursued research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is currently a fifth year PHD student in the Hatzopoulos lab at Vanderbilt in the department of Cell and Developmental Biology. She studies the mechanisms underlying diabetic cardiomyopathy. 

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