Undergraduate Research Assistants

A small number of undergraduates are accepted into the HDCI lab annually. Past HDCI undergraduate research assistants have present at conferences, co – authored manuscripts, and won various research awards and fellowships. Below are our current research assistants.

Alexander Alou
Biological Science Major, Chemistry Minor

Alexander joined the lab in the fall of 2018. He is a pre-med track as an Honors College student. In the future, Alexander would like to become a surgeon. He is member of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and currently on an internship with FIU’s Office of Sustainability. One of his interests in the medical field is to challenge the health disparities and disadvantages in South Florida.

Ayesha Jean Baptiste
Biology Major

Ayesha joined the lab in the fall of 2018. Currently on the pre-med track, she plans to enter medical school. Ayesha is interested in research that focuses on community development and how socioeconomic and cultural factors shapes a community as a whole and the individuals within a community. She is especially what role these factors play in the overall health and educational choices these individuals make.

Kianna Bruzzo
Biology Major, Psychology Minor

Kianna joined the lab in the spring of 2019. She is on the pre-med track, planning to enter medical school in the coming years. Her interests include helping the medically underserved community. She believes that this lab will help her as a future physician by understanding how different sociocultural factors affect health outcomes. Currently, Kianna is interested in cardiology and pediatrics.

Valentina Jadue
Psychology Major

Valentina joined the lab in the spring of 2019. She is pursuing a major in Psychology and a certificate in Women's and Gender studies. She is interested in studying sexual assault and sex trafficking in minority populations. She is also interested in studying sexual education within the Latinx community.

Yandra Mariano
Psychology Major, Chemistry Minor

Yandra joined the lab in the spring of 2018. She is pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry as a member of the Honors College. She plans on continuing her studies at medical school to eventually become a plastic surgeon. Her primary interests of study are the affects of various STIs amongst minority groups and sexual literacy throughout the college population.

Hector Peguero
Psychology Postbaccalaureate

Hector was a 2017 Global Health Study Abroad (GHSA) Research Fellow and HDCI RA prior to his graduation in December 2017. His GHSA project and Honors Thesis examined Hijra's perceptions of HIV and other sexual health outcomes. Hector was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to continue this research, and is currently leading this HDCI affiliated study in India.

Jeffrey Pierre
Psychology Postbaccalaureate

Jeffrey graduated with is dgree in Psychology and Philosophy in December 2018. He completed an Honors Thesis project which examined Black mothers' discussions about IPV with their adolescent daughters. Jeffrey continues to work in our lab on the GP3 Parenting project.

Laura Ramirez
Psychology Major, Statistic Minor

Laura joined the lab in the Spring of 2019. She is pursuing a degree in psychology and a minor in statistics. She is interested in studying how different socioeconomic and cultural factors influence community dynamics, as well as individual choices pertaining to health and education. Laura hopes to attend graduate school for developmental sciences.

Jason Simm
Psychology Major, Biology Minor

A Pre-Med track student, Jason hopes to further his studies through attending medical school studying to become a neurologist or oncologist. His main interest for joining the lab was to study how people’s socio-cultural environment shape their health choices. Clinically, his interests primarily focus on the study of using immunological approaches to provide a cure/treatment for cancer without the use of radiation and chemotherapy.

Karina Valentin
Psychology Major, Honors College

Karina was a 2018 Global Health Study Abroad (GHSA) Fellow who joined the HDCI Lab in the Fall of 2018. Karina was a Resident Assistant at FIU for two years prior to joining the lab. As an RA, she discovered her research interests centered around college students' mental health. For her Honors Thesis, Karina is studying the Hispanic college women's perceptions of intimate partner violence (IPV). Karina will be graduating in the Spring of 2019, and will be applying to graduate programs in Clinical Psychology.


Students interested in joining the HDCI Lab should review our application information.

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