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.

Shaileen Barberena
Biological Sciences Major, Psychology Minor

Shaileen joined the lab in Spring 2021. She is pursuing a degree in biological sciences with a minor in psychology. She plans to go to medical school to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. Shaileen is interested in women’s health issues and how minorities are affected by social elements.

Melanie Cobo
Psychology Major

Melanie joined the lab in Summer 2021. She is pursuing a degree in Psychology. She is very interested in learning how cultural and social dynamics affect mental health and cross-cultural perspectives. She plans to one day attend graduate school and become a psychologist.

Rozhin Daneshgar
Science Nutrition Major, Chemistry & Psychology Minor

Rozhin joined the lab in the summer of 2020. She is currently on the pre-dental track. In the future, Rozhin would like to become a maxillofacial surgeon. She is interested in research that focuses on the socioeconomic factors which affect the overall health choices of a group. She is especially interested in how gender, race, and nationality influence health outcomes

Alyssa Fernandez
Biological Science & Biological Education Major

Alyssa is a Biological Science and Biological Education major on a pre-medical track. In the future, she hopes to become a physician with expertise in addressing cross cultural health needs and providing culturally appropriate services. Alyssa is interested in research that is closely related to underrepresented individuals and the sociocultural factors that shape health outcomes in their daily lives.

Shadia Sorano
Psychology Major

Shadia joined the lab in Spring 2021. She is pursuing a degree in psychology. Her interests include understanding how diverse communities are impacted by sociocultural and psychological factors. She is also interested in discovering ways to prevent health disparities within the world. Shadia plans to attend dental school in the future.

Riley Strassguertl
Junior Richmond Hill Secondary School

Riley joined the lab in Spring 2021. Riley hopes to pursue an undergraduate degree in kinesiology and nutrition. Her reearch interests include the examination of body image cross culturally (e.g. racial/ ethnic and national identity), and disordered eating perceptions among adolescent high performance female athletes.

Bianka Valentin (Co- Lab Manager)
Psychology Major

Bianka joined the lab in the Summer of 2020. She is pursing a degree in Psychology and a certificate in Women and Gender’s Studies. She is very interested in learning and researching how the differences in socioeconomic factors within a culture dictate the importance of mental health, gender-based violence and physical/emotional well-being. She plans on attending graduate school to receive her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, specializing in Neuropsychology.


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

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