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Meet our 2024 SURF Cohort

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2024 SURF Fellows

Abilene Roberts (she/her) 
Abilene Roberts is a third-year biomedical engineering major at the University of Florida and an aspiring MD-PhD student. Minoring in Spanish and pathogenesis, she is interested in immunology and cancer therapeutics, tissue and cellular engineering, stem cell therapeutics, biomaterials, and linguistically inclusive scientific communication (particularly in Spanish). Currently, she is studying abroad in Colombia and taking courses in Spanish. This summer Abilene will be working in the HR Thiam Lab.

André Victor Oliveira Avellar (he/him)
Andre Avellar is a rising junior at Northwestern University, double majoring in Biology and Psychology. With a keen interest in drug development and biochemistry, Andre's academic and research endeavors are driven by a passion for leveraging biological insights for therapeutic advancements, and he has already done Qualitative Research at Feinberg School of Medicine, investigating the role of Champions on Cancer Control and Prevention. As the President of the Brazilian Association on campus, a teaching assistant for computer science and cell biology, and the Director of a scholarship program in Brazil, Andre is deeply involved in leadership and outreach activities that bridge his love for science with community engagement. Outside of academics, Andre is an active member of the Dance Club, enjoys swimming, and explores the vibrant coffee shop scene in Chicago. This summer Andre will be working in the Abu-Remaileh Lab.

Andrea Sedano (she/her)
As a junior at Saint Louis University, I am pursuing a major in Biomedical Engineering. My research interests lie in developing innovative mechanobiology applications for regenerative medicine, with a focus on tissue engineering and biomaterials. Outside of academics, I am actively involved in outreach and leadership activities, serving as the president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and as an Ambassador for the School of Science and Engineering. A fun fact about me is that I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, immersing myself in the rich culture and history of the city while furthering my academic pursuits. This summer I will be working in the Bao Lab.

Ariana Olivares (she/her)
I am a rising Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University. At Tufts I am involved with the Society of Latinx Engineers, Tufts Solar Vehicle Team, and work alongside Tufts CEEO LEGO Education Outreach. My hobbies include watching all genres of shows, rollerskating, and I love going to concerts! This summer I will be working in the Zhao Lab.

Cassidy Little (she/her)
I am a junior in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona and will be a senior in the fall 2024 semester. I am the president of the University of Arizona chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society and Society of Women Engineers. Through these clubs, I enjoy doing STEM outreach activities with local middle and high schoolers in the Tucson area. My research experience includes working with NeuroImaging, such as 2-photon Microscopy and multiple forms of MRI, to investigate vascular changes in the brain with the onset of Alzheimer's Disease as well as create a machine learning model to predict patient survival using changes in the structure and geometry of a brain tumor during immunotherapy treatment. I have always been interested in both neuroengineering and cardiovascular engineering, so I am excited to get the chance to explore and work on a project in cardiovascular biomechanics in Dr. Marsden’s lab. A fun fact about me is that I like skating and have seen the movie Let It Shine so often that I know the whole thing word for word. 

CJ Oshiro (he/him)
My name is CJ Oshiro and I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. I am a sophomore double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics at Santa Clara University. My current research interests lie in probabilistic machine learning for decision making under uncertainty. In my free time, I like to listen to music. This summer I will be working in the Kochenderfer Lab.

Daniel Ramos Mejía (he/him) 
I am currently a Junior Biomedical Engineering student at San José State University. My research interests lie within the field of 3D bioprinting and cancer research. In the field of tissue engineering, I grew a big interest in 3D bioprinting when I learned of the promising results this technology can provide in regenerative medicine, drug testing and development, cancer research, and personalized medicine. My long term goal is to build a patient-centered cancer center that will consist of different services such as 3D Bioprinting, immuno-oncology, surgical, radiation, stem cell therapy and much more. I am part of the MESA program at SJSU as a peer advisor and am helping students navigate college, manage their daily stresses, and find campus resources. I love to go on hikes, especially those that overlook the Bay. This summer I will be working with the Appel Research Group.

Dayna Jackson (she/her)
My name is Dayna Jackson and I am a third year physics major & math minor from Laurel, Maryland. I attend Howard University and am interested in turbulence. I am currently conducting research in a fluids and thermal engineering lab on campus. I am a student ambassador for our college of arts and sciences, and I have a pet corn snake named Jabba. This summer I will be working with the McKeon Research Group.

Emilio Mendoza Bardales (he/him)
I am a sophomore at Santa Monica College (SMC). I will transferring to a four-year university in the Fall of 2024 as a Mechanical Engineer. My research interest is in the strength of materials, where I hope to continue the development of novel materials to be used in primarily the automotive and aerospace industry. I have led two teams at SMC to finals for two NASA competitions, where my goal as the leader was to develop skills the team can expand on later. Outside of school, I enjoy working out and participating as a tutor and peer mentor at the SMC STEM program. This summer I will be working with the Gu Research Group in Mechanical Engineering.

Erika Noel (she/her) 
I am a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University (FIU). With a passion for leveraging technology to improve healthcare outcomes, I am deeply involved in research focused on drug delivery and imaging guided therapy. Beyond academics, I serve as the Vice President of the Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society and Chair of the Student Health & Wellbeing Committee. In my spare time, I enjoy staying active with CrossFit and exploring the latest developments in tech and medicine. This summer I will be working in the Kogan Lab.

Grace Sánchez Archibeck (she/her)
I am currently a Junior at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Mechanical Engineering. My research interests include biomechanics, robotics, autonomous systems, and controls. Throughout my mechanical engineering studies, I have had the opportunity to work on vehicle mechanics as a co-lead of the Fabrication and Chassis team for the Formula SAE Hybrid Racing Team at the University of Notre Dame. This hands-on experience has reinforced my interest in automotive design and mechanics. Outside of school, I enjoy painting, drawing, and running. This summer I will be working in the Cutkosky Lab.

Ismael González Valenzuela (he/him)
I study Nanotechnology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and during this last year, I have been actively gaining expertise in the quantum computing field, as I started working with a researcher in my school in quantum information. Next year I am going to start my specialization in microelectronics and nanofabrication. My primary interests are in quantum computing, but I am also into electronics, quantum information, computer science, and software engineering. My interest in computer science led me to participate in the ACM-ICPC competition, and during this semester I have been training my algorithmic skills with two other classmates. In my free time, I like playing video games with my friends, and I also like going to the beach whenever I feel like I am into too much pressure. This summer I will be working in the McIntyre Lab.

Jazmin Rentería González (she/her)
I am a dual electrical engineering and physics major with a mathematics minor at the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou). My research interest is at the intersection of electrical engineering and biomedical engineering. More specifically, I am interested in energy harvesting, RF engineering for wearable applications, and smart textiles and sensors. As far as leadership and outreach activities, I was the President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapter at Mizzou for 1.5 years, leveraging my experience in leadership to create DEI initiatives and foster a sense of community for Hispanic/Latino students at Mizzou. I am also involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation as a Scholar Advisory Board member. I also enjoy participating in recreational activities such as rock climbing and weightlifting. One fun fact about me is that I have visited the Great Wall of China. This summer I will be working in the Cutkosky Lab

Johnelle Villalona (she/her)
I'm a third-year Mechanical Engineering student at Columbia University pursuing a future in robotics within medical technology because of a deep desire to make direct positive impacts on people. Beyond academics, I serve as co-Vice President in my campus' Christian ministry, encouraging peers in their faith journeys and organizing events and outdoor campaigns to connect with fellow students. In my free time, I enjoy singing along with my mediocre piano and guitar-playing skills. This summer I will be working with Dr. Okamura in the CHARM Lab.

Jorge Vanegas (he/they)
I'm a rising sophomore studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). I work in a lab studying how microorganisms interact with macromolecules and am interested in various fields related to this, as well as nanotechnology applications in the health field. I had my own research project analyzing biology education in Texas public high schools and am parliamentarian for SACNAS at UTSA. A fun fact about me is that I play the violin, ocarina, and am learning the play flute and accordion! This summer I will be working with the Dauskardt Group.

Joseph Mondragón (he/him)
I am a junior at Boise State University, majoring in Civil Engineering. My research interests are in leveraging technology to solve problems more efficiently. While working with Dr. Jankowski, I became aware of the importance of running simulations to discover better alternatives. In my research, I've learned to use methods such as Monte Carlo and Machine Learning with the main goal of effectively reducing time and computational resources. Currently, I serve as a financial officer for SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) and a math tutor for CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program). I’m a McNair scholar as well as a CAES scholar. In my spare time, I play chess to understand how certain lessons can be applied in real life. Like many aspects of game theory, it demonstrates that even very complex systems can be understood using this framework.  This summer I will be working in the Billington Lab.

Leobardo Guardado Jr. (he/him)
Leobardo Guardado Jr. is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Within his university community, he serves as the treasurer of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Chapter, dedicating his efforts to fostering an inclusive environment for students of color. Leobardo's research interests lie in the applications of electrical engineering, particularly in areas related to medical technology. In his spare time, Leobardo trains for his next triathlon and likes to spend time with friends and family. This summer he will be working in the Dahl Lab.

 Lesly Rodríguez (she/her)
I'm a junior majoring in Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. I'm interested in researching flooding and droughts in projected climate change scenarios in the next decades. Currently, I am the campus ambassador for the Schuler Scholar Program on my campus, which consists of providing resources, like internship information, to other Schuler scholars on campus. A fun fact about me is I love to workout and stay active! This summer I will be working in the Fletcher Lab.

Maeva Tchouaffe (she/her)
I am a junior physics major at Carleton College, and I plan on pursuing environmental engineering as a career. My research interests include sustainability efforts, sustainable development, green/renewable energy solutions, and natural resources management. Outside of physics, I am the Director of Communications for Carleton's Black Student Alliance, a community outreach board member for Environmental Carls Organized, a board member for the French Committee at Carleton, and I am also a part of Carleton's PUGS (Physics for Underrepresented Genders). Hobbies of mine include working out/running, cooking/baking, and watching documentaries. This summer I will be working in the Osman Lab.

Makayla Moore (she/her)
I’m a second year biochemistry major and physics minor at Spelman College, and I’m interested in doing research in the field of computational neuroscience. There’s so much we don’t understand about the brain, but I believe with the development of more sophisticated data collection and analytic techniques we can break into new discoveries about how the mind really works. Outside of my work and academics, I love art of all forms. I’ve spent my first couple of years at college getting into oil painting and fashion design; creating is truly my favorite hobby. I’ve had a couple of my pieces displayed around my campus and some venues in the Atlanta area, and I love sharing my work and creative process on social media! I also love getting involved around my campus by volunteering with my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. I’m a volunteer chemistry tutor and I also tutor chemistry as a part time job. This summer I will be working with Dr. Eshel in the STAAR Lab.

Matthew Soto (he/him)
I’m Matthew D. Soto, a student at Tufts University, where I am double majoring in Computer Science and Cognitive and Brain Science. My research interests include security, robotics, human-computer interaction, and machine learning. At Tufts, I am involved as a research assistant in the Security and Privacy Lab. Additionally, I collaborate with the Office of Information Security and Database team within Tufts Technology Services as a previous intern. Furthermore, I’m a Peer Leader for the FIRST Center, where I help first-generation, low-income, and/or undocumented students navigate Tufts. Similarly, I am a Peer Leader for the Emerging Scholars Program under the CS Department, where I teach first-semester CS students about a variety of CS topics such as AI, ML, HCI, and more. Finally, I serve on the CS Department Student Council to cultivate a respectful, diverse, and inclusive community for all those studying CS at Tufts. Outside of academics, many people don’t know that I make the best chocolate chip banana bread, can juggle, and that I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This summer I will be working with Dr. Monroe Kennedy III in the ARMLab.

Melvin Sánchez (he/him)
My name is Melvin Sánchez, and I am currently a junior at UC Merced pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Some of my research interest include exploration of plasma physics, water management systems, and 2D materials. As a student attending UC Merced, I have held many leadership positions through organizations such as the Education and Leadership Foundation, where I served in one of the offices at UC Merced. In my current role as a College Corp Fellow I have committed to climate action through completing 450 hours of community service completing projects that impact the environment and develop my experience as an engineer. In the previous summer, I worked alongside a graduate student in Dr.Venkatt's lab, exploring the effect of flow rate of methane in the plasma generated by a dielectric barrier discharge reactor. A fun fact about me is that I like to workout, go on runs, and explore new food places. This summer I will be working with the Chueh Group.

Milene Follmann (she/her)
I attend Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil. My major is Aerospace Engineering, and I'm currently in the 5th semester. So far, I've done research on Additive Manufacturing by 3D Extrusion, but other fields that interest me include propulsion, space structures and aerodynamics. I love reading and getting to know other worlds. And I LOVE cats. This summer I will be working with Dr. Manan Arya in the Morphing Space Structures Lab.

Modeste Gihozo Rukundo (she/her)
I am an international student from Rwanda. Currently, I am in my second year majoring in Biomedical Engineering on a pre-Medicine track at the University of Oklahoma (OU). I am involved in different leadership positions and organizations on campus. These include The National Honor Society of Collegiate Scholars OU chapter, of which I am the Secretary, and the OU Honors Students Diversity Council, where I serve in its Logistics and programming committee. I am also a Women in Engineering Wayfinding mentor, a Jerry Holmes Leadership Associate, a member of Crimson Club (the ambassadors and historians of the university), a member of the President's Leadership Class '62, and an Events Coordinator of the African Women's League. My research interests are driven to revolutionize the health sector. A fun fact about myself is that I am a poet, and my hobbies vary from singing, to reading, and playing basketball. This summer I will be working with the DeSimone Research Group.

Nour Tormos (she/her)
I am currently a third-year chemical engineering student at the American University of Beirut at the Baha and Walid Bassatne Department of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Energy. My research interests include nanotechnology, sustainability, water treatment, as well as process control and simulations. I have been involved in numerous leadership activities at university, including the Youth sector of the Lebanese Red Cross where I served as president and facilitator, as well as the "All Girls Code" initiative under the engineering department. I like cats, books, and writing! This summer I will be working with the Cargnello Group.

Oluwaseun Noah Adeyeye (he/him)
I am a sophomore majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science and Mathematics at Howard University. I'm interested in coding and robotics, and I love exploring new technologies. At Howard, I am a part of the Student Government, serving as one of the Senators for the College of Engineering and Architecture, where I enjoy assisting with our college's events and planning events for our community. Outside of school, I enjoy playing video games, reading, drawing, and coding! This summer I will be working in the Congreve Lab.

Paola Urbina Ramos (she/her)
I am currently a senior undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, majoring in Chemical Engineering. My long-term goal is to do research in areas such as sustainable chemistry and materials science where I can contribute to converting raw materials into valuable goods while solving global challenges. In my free time, I like to read, hike, and travel to different places. This summer I will be working in the Mai Lab.

Reihaneh Iranmanesh (she/her)
Reihaneh Iranmanesh is a first-generation rising senior at Amherst College (AC), double majoring in computer science and statistics. Her interests span a wide range of subjects within Artificial Intelligence (AI), including computer vision, generative AI, and mechanistic interpretability. She actively engages in research on explainable AI to promote the safe and transparent usage of AI systems. As the president of the AI Club at AC, Reihaneh is committed to fostering an inclusive space where individuals from diverse backgrounds can discuss the technical and ethical implications of AI. This summer she will be working with Dr. Dorsa Sadigh in the ILIAD Lab.

Sebrina Mudesir (she/her)
I am a fourth year student at Hilcoe school of computer science and technology. My research interest is mainly how tech affects minorities and other underprivileged members of society. I am the founder of the Muslim Student Association Club at my school, which is mainly dedicated to helping Muslim women navigate through the fast-paced university environment. My hobbies include playing basketball, volleyball, and listening to Ethiopian jazz. This summer I will be working in the Department of Management Science and Engineering with Dr. Pamela Hinds

Shiloh Bolden (he/him)
My name is Shiloh Bolden and I am an Environmental Engineering major from San Diego State University. This is my third year as an undergraduate student, and I am currently an NIH-Funded MARC Scholar. I currently work in Dr. Natalie Mladenov's WirLAB where I study how we can clean water with low-cost and low-maintenance systems. My main hobbies are boxing and playing the guitar. This summer I will be working in the Tarpeh Lab.

Stanley Chidubem Akpu (he/him)
As a final-year student of Chemical Engineering at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria, my research interests lie in materials science, particularly in sustainable syntheses of materials for energy storage and conversion, carbon capture, storage and conversion, decarbonization of industrial processes, and sustainable mitigation of corrosion on metallic materials. I served as the president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) for the 2022-2023 academic session, and also organized tutorials for peers and junior course-mates. Additionally, I acted as the coding instructor for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2022 at my home institution. At times, I have wished for the power to make everyone around me successful, which has led me to tutor and mentor junior course-mates in school. This summer I will be working with the Dresselhaus-Marais Research Group.