Summer 2020 Participants

My name is Alexandra Filipkowski and I am a rising junior from Sharon, MA and I attend Fairfield University, a Jesuit school in Connecticut. I am very interested in cardiovascular research, specifically how different racial and ethnic groups are affected by cardiovascular diseases. In university I have done research on Brassica rapa plants; however, this incredible opportunity with the PAECER program will be my first serious research experience in the field of cardiology. Outside of my research interests, I love to play soccer and currently play at the Division 1 collegiate level and have been selected to the Puerto Rico Women’s National soccer team.

I am Alexander M. Martinez Lopez, a rising senior at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico currently majoring in Biomedical Engineering. My research interests include Cardiovascular Engineering and Nanomedicine.

My name is Daniella Pena and I am currently a rising junior at Cornell University. I am majoring in Health Care Policy and minoring in Inequality Studies with a focus on Health Equity. My career goals include addressing health disparities through various policy implementations, and expanding health care access to all. I recently worked on a project examining how policies like the Affordable Care Act have increased insurance access, however, there has not been a comprehensive policy that has achieved this. Therefore, I hope to be part of a team that does this to allow for widespread improved health outcomes and perhaps even increased life expectancy.

Grace Garrett was born in Nashville, TN with one younger sister. She currently attends Elon University where she is a Biology major and Chemistry minor. At Elon, Grace received a grant to pursue her research studying the effect of the gut microbiome on hormones and fertility in a zebrafish model. Her medical interests include supporting people with non-traditional sexual and reproductive health experiences and genetics. Outside of academics, Grace enjoys reading and playing Mahjong.

Madelyn Terhune is a senior pre-med major at California Lutheran University. On track to graduate after only three years of study, she plans to pursue a career in cardiovascular medicine with a focus on pediatric patients. As a Regent Scholar, Madelyn has also been an active member of the Cal Lu community by serving as a Peer Advisor to the incoming Freshman class, President of the Sister’s Circle for Black women on campus, and an invited speaker for the Matthews Leadership Forum. Madelyn worked various jobs both on and o) campus throughout her tenure as a student while still maintaining her grades. She’s the proud and happy owner of a 10-year Goldendoodle called Manny.

Vivian Iloabuchi is a rising senior majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee. Upon graduation, Vivian hopes to keep conducting research and volunteering with causes close to her heart. She intends to eventually attend medical school and possibly pursue a career in cardiology or interventional radiology.
Health disparities and measures taken to tackle them are growing passions that she is currently exploring. Someday, she intends to be an important figure in driving the change of policies that perpetuate health inequities. She has previously conducted research at University of California, Los Angeles investigating “Transcriptome Analysis of Mice treated with anti-miR-144”. As an American Heart Association HBCU scholar, Vivian worked under the mentorship of Dr. ClarLynda Williams-Devane and Willysha Jenkins investigating “Enhancing Metabolic Syndrome Research Resources Using Machine Learning Techniques”. Vivian is also an active leader on campus; she is the current Student Government Association Vice President elect. Outside of research and schoolwork, Vivian enjoys watching korean dramas.

Brandon Brown

My name is Alexis Edmonds and I’m from Denver, CO. I am a rising senior at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, LA with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and Spanish. Last summer I conducted research with the anesthesiology department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center through the Undergraduate Clinical Research Internship Program. I had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of an updated predictive model for patients at risk of being reintubated following cardiac surgery. I hope to pursue anesthesiology in the future, so that was an awesome experience for me. I look forward to this summer and what this program has to offer us!

My name is C’Aira Dillard and I am a rising sophomore at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, but I am originally from Evansville, IN. Medicine and healthcare has always been an interest of mine and I plan to pursue a MD/PhD program to become an Infertility Specialist. I am very excited to be a part of the PAECER summer program this year and cannot wait to get to know my peers and mentors better as well as enhance my research experience.

My name is Davin Means. I am from Wynne Arkansas and am a rising Junior at the University of Arkansas. I am a Biology Pre-Med major with a minor in Chemistry. I have research experience with mammary cancers, namely their response and resistance to various treatment methods. Optical imaging methods such as diffuse reflectance spectroscopy aided my research experience. I am very interested in the cardiovascular system as well as cardiovascular determinants of disease and health issues that afflict the body. Furthermore, my goal is to develop a thorough understanding of various socio-economic determinants of health, so that I may effectively serve underrepresented communities in medicine. Becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon is my intended long term career trajectory.

I am Hector Haddock, a rising Senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies in Natural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. My main research interests are cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, focusing on the effects of brain damage on normal behavioral functioning. However, my previous research experiences introduced me to cardiovascular research, a field that I also find very interesting. In the future, I wish to become a physician-scientist and conduct research in the field of neurocardiology, focusing on the neuropathology of stroke patients and how this affects behavior and cognitive function.

I am Malik Robinson, a rising sophomore at the University of Missouri. I am a Biochemistry Pre-Dental major from Edwardsville, Illinois. This is my first time doing research but I am very interested in doing research and very excited to have the opportunity to take on this experience!

Ximena Leon began college as a Pre-Health Professions major at Columbia State Community College before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she is majoring in Pre-Professional Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She is a Goldwater Scholar, an Innovations Scholar at UTC’s Honors College, the President of the Sigma Chapter of the Tri-Beta National Honorary Biological Society, and a member of Best Buddies. Ximena is pursuing a Ph.D in molecular and cellular biology and plans to do biomedical research and teach at the university level.

My name is Bianca Walker and I am from Pontiac, MI. In my free time, I love to draw, read books, and volunteer. I am a rising junior at The Tennessee State University. I am a cellular and molecular biology major with a concentration in pre-medicine. Following graduation, I plan to attend medical school in pursuit of becoming an Anesthesiologist. This past 2019-2020 school year, I had the opportunity to conduct research as a scholar of the American Heart Association HBCU program at Vanderbilt University studying arterial pulmonary hypertension and TGFBR3 as a regulator for mitochondria.

Dimitri Johnson has completed his Junior year as a Biology major at Morehouse College. Mr. Johnson has recently been accepted to the Morehouse School of Medicine. During fall 2019, Mr. Johnson presented this work at ABRCMS entitled, “Generating Double Knockouts of GCNA and GCNA2 in D. melanogaster. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Mr. Johnson is currently conducting psychology research with Dr. Chris Markham (Psychology) at Morehouse College. In addition, Mr. Johnson will submit an abstract to attend the 2020 Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington, DC, ABRCMS, and AUC Psychology Research Symposium.

Guyton Harvey is a rising senior Chemistry major and Biology and Spanish double-minor studying on the pre-med track at Morehouse College. Hailing from Washington, DC, his research interests include neurological diseases and disorders which disproportionately affect minority populations. Prior to this experience, he has conducted research pertaining to cancer-related fatigue, spinal cord injuries, and diabetes.  In this program, Guyton hopes to study the physiological basis for stroke and identify those risk factors which ultimately result in higher incidence of stroke and cardiovascular disease in minority populations.

I am Logan Long, a rising senior at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. I’m a Public Health major with a pre-health concentration and a minor in composite science. After undergrad I hope to go to medical school to specialize in ophthalmology then work in an underserved area within North Carolina. Then later open my own practice and work with doctors beyond borders.

Natalie A. Butler is a junior biology major at Fisk University located in Nashville, Tennessee. Upon graduation, Natalie’s goals are to attend medical school or combine her passion for both medicine and research in pursuit of a M.D./PhD. Over the course of her undergraduate career, Natalie has held various leadership positions at Fisk University including her role a peer-tutor and mentor for the Leadership and Enrichment Academic (LEAD) Program, Supplementary Instructor for General Chemistry and co-president of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) – Future Health Professions. Natalie’s current medical interests are in pediatrics, psychology and cardiology. She hopes to further explore her interests through summer research programs and clinical shadowing opportunities that provide invaluable insight to the fields of science and medicine.

I am Kristen Camille Smith, a rising senior Biology Pre-Dental major from Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. I am interested in learning more about cardiovascular-related topics and the issues we are currently facing. I have biomedical research experience involving Angiotensin II, a regulatory peptide hormone essential in regulating blood pressure. I recently conducted research through the AHA HBCU Scholars Program on obesity and heart disease. I am ecstatic about the program.

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