Cohort - Class of 2022

Johan Carrascoza-Bolanos

Major: Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

Career Interests & Goals: “Through the interdisciplinary approach of the program, I would learn the societal factors behind issues such as benzodiazepine prescription. On a personal level, this experience would help me inform myself and others on the realities of mental illness. As an aspiring physician, I believe educating myself on the social and neurological causes of mental disorders will be key in ensuring a successful dialogue between myself and my patients. Through this open discourse, I hope to prescribe medication responsibly and avoid contributing to crises such as the opioid epidemic.” 

Robin Castillo

Major: Psychology

Career Interests & Goals: “Looking ahead, I would like to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with Neuropsychology concentration. Beyond that, I can foresee myself working in academia or a government agency as a full-time Research Psychologist, or a staff Psychologist in a treatment facility.” 

Angela Grant

Major: Neuroscience

Career Interests & Goals: “I hope to specialize in psychiatry, as it will provide a focus on brain and behavioral development, neuropsychiatric illnesses, and psychotherapy, while still applying the all-encompassing medical knowledge from medical school.” 

Gurleen Kaur

Major: Neuroscience

Career Interests & Goals: “I would like to work as a neurologist in a research hospital that focuses on clinical mental health research. I aim to use research a tool to ease the burden mental illness can have on my loved ones and others who struggle with similar diagnoses.

Christina Lei

Major: Pre-Psychobiology

Career Interests & Goals: “Mental illness has long been a prominent presence in my life. Having a close family member diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder, I grew up with an internalized attentiveness to mental health that has inspired me to pursue psychiatry. Psychiatry would provide the means for me to both research and directly help with mental illness through a combination of pharmacology and psychotherapy.”

Maya Novotny

Major: Psychology

Career Interests & Goals: “As a Native American person, I already faced many issues in society but as a Native American female aiming for a STEM field there is a bigger fight ahead. For one there is an immense lack of presence of Native American females in STEM and I want to make the path for others. I want to be part of brain and behavior research advancement, learn how neurons can combat mental illness and then help native, and other minorities with issues in mental health.”

Johnny Perez

Major: Psychology

Career Interests & Goals: “My primary goal would be to work with individuals within my community through intervention-based programs with the help of my alcoholic father, who, despite being an alcoholic for the majority of his life, is obtaining his masters of social work to become an LCSW.” 

Alondra Prado

Major: Neuroscience

Career Interests & Goals: “My long term goal is to become a physician in a pediatric neurology department. Through my own experiences as a mentor with young elementary students and my background in neuroscience, I hope to be able to become a physician in order to not only identify any health problems, but also make sure than both my patients and community members are able to both understand their problems once identified and be conscious of their lifestyles and how they can improve it even outside of medicine.” 

Liza Strong

Major: Psychobiology

Career Interests & Goals: “I aspire to attend graduate school to become a registered nurse, specializing in mental health and psychiatry. My end goal is to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner and to also continue research on various topics concerning relationships and mental health.”

Katie Sy

Major: Psychobiology

Career Interests & Goals: “My interest in this field, particularly brain and behavioral health, has led me to pursue a career in the area of therapy and counseling, focusing mainly on those with mental illnesses as well as working on improving overall mental health. I plan to obtain my masters in Behavioral Psychology and then attend graduate school to receive a Psychology Doctorate in a similar field. With these degrees, I would like to work in a therapy or counseling setting where I will serve as a clinical psychologist to those diagnosed with mental illnesses.”

Jonny Schindler

Major: Psychobiology

Career Interests & Goals: “I see myself as a researcher in the lab, hopefully working with animals and humans. I hope to use technology like fluorescent protein tagging and light-activated receptors to perform pinpoint analysis on brain activity and its associated behaviors.”

Layla Tondravi

Major: Psychology

Career Interests & Goals: I’m pursuing a career in healthcare as I want to help the global society through the lens of medicine. I’m specifically interested in the field of clinical psychology as my personal experiences in counseling for depression inspired me to help others who have faced similar challenges. I plan on treating individuals from marginalized communities that experience depression or anxiety and providing them with treatment that has proven to be successful, such as CBT.

Anand Narayan

Major: Psychobiology

Career Interests & Goals: My goal is to become a physician treating children with neurodevelopmental disorders. I want to work with children affected with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders. Working to learn the effects, symptoms, and early predictor signs of this disorder is something that drives and fascinates me. Making a difference in one child’s life and reassuring them and helping a family through a difficult time is the most rewarding thing in the world. I have always been a people person; I enjoy interacting with and helping people because to me there is nothing more gratifying.

Randhara Kotuwelle

Major: Psychology

Career Interests & Goals: “I plan on pursuing a career in the medical field, so I want to gain clinical as well as research experience before that time comes. I am in the process of finding research labs to volunteer/take part in, but for now I am focusing specifically on my academics. I am interested in the behavioral development of children but am also willing to go beyond that. Whether it be that of adolescents or even the elderly, I am interested in taking part in behavioral health studies that will expand my understanding of the field.” 

Tommy Lam

Major: Psychology

Career Interests & Goals: “I’ve recently completed EMT school last summer. The combination of being educated in the treatment of medical/trauma patients in the prehospital setting and witnessing both trauma-induced and genetically predisposed psychological issues in my youth sparked interest in various aspects of B&BH. From understanding the mechanisms behind burnout, stress, and depression, how injuries and distressing events provoke trauma-induced mental illnesses (PTSD), how drugs lead to addiction, and especially how the aftermath of a stroke impacts emotional and behavioral health, leading to mental health disorders, I wish to explore these areas in hopes of making a change in my career.”

Andrew Winer

Major: Human Biology & Society

Career Interests & Goals: “I aspire to research and implement new techniques of brain function improvement methods for late stage Alzheimer’s patients. Although I appreciate the non-pharmacological approach, I personally would gather the most aggressive forms of medicine or technology that reverses the effects of Alzheimer’s.”