2023 Summer Scholars
Shivani Ayalasomayajula received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Baylor University in May 2022. She is currently a first year MPH student at Brown University in the Interdisciplinary concentration. Her concentration combines coursework from Maternal and Child Health, Health Behavior, and Epidemiology. She is passionate about researching issues related to racial and ethnic health disparities in maternal and infant populations. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, Shivani will be working with Dr. Alison Tovar to analyze the effects of national health policies related to food insecurity, family income, and insurance on child health outcomes.
Ameerah Battle is a master’s student in Public Health concentrating in health services, policy, and practice at Brown University School of Public Health and is a Health Equity Scholar. She received a B.S. in Biology from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Howard is where Ameerah found her passion for health disparities and public health. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan, she witnessed disparities among her rural elementary school, such as lack of access to a local dentist and grocery store. Ameerah has diverse research interests in health disparities, maternal global health, and how health policy impacts health outcomes for marginalized communities. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, she will be working with Dr. Caroline Kistin on food security projects.
Olivia Choi is a rising second-year MPH student at Brown University’s School of Public Health, where she is concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and was also on the pre-med track. At Villanova, she was involved in mental health advocacy organizations, participated actively in community service & outreach opportunities, and worked as a research assistant in a child developmental psychology lab. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, Olivia will be working with Dr. Tracy Gladstone on a school-based depression screening project, where she will aid in data analysis and program implementation. She is passionate about partaking in research involving preventive efforts for adolescent mental health, increasing mental health literacy, and implementing evidence-based early detection & intervention methods. She hopes to address barriers and facilitators that adolescents face during the utilization of mental health services, as well as work to bridge the gap between community and clinical resources.
Mallory (Mal) Go
Mallory (Mal) Go is a rising junior hailing from Molokai, Hawaii studying Public Health at Brown University. She is particularly interested in maternal comorbidities and their relation to social determinants of health. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, Mal is eager to collaborate with Dr. Shufang Sun to examine the risk and protective factors of GDM among AAPI women, and the overall racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in gestational diabetes via an intersectionality lens. In the future, Mal hopes to broaden her research to include gestational hypertension, maternal stress, and postpartum depression. When she’s not studying or catching up on sleep, Mal can be found in coffee shops around campus, watching horror movies, and reading historical non-fiction or mysteries.
Cambridge Jones is a first year Master's student studying Maternal & Child Health at Brown University School of Public Health. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bennett College in Greensboro, NC. Her past research focused on investigating the role of Glutathione Peroxidase 2 in Intestinal Homeostasis and Early Colorectal Tumorigenesis in the department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her current research Interests include Maternal & Child Health, Maternal Mental Health and Accessibility, and Pediatric Oncology.
Cambridge is from Prince George's County, MD and is passionate about addressing the social determinants of health and disparities that have contributed to the highest rates of Maternal Mortality within the African American community. Her goal is to become a Public Health Physician in Obstetrics & Gynecology to provide minority populations with quality and equitable care. As a 2023 Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, she is excited to work with Andrea Chu and Dr. Emily Miller at the Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, RI.
Aja Tucker is a medical student at Warren Alpert Medical School. In May 2022, Aja obtained her B.S. degree in Biology from the historic Tougaloo College located in Jackson, MS. While Aja has an overall passion for medicine, she is currently working to mitigate the maternal health disparities that affect minority communities, especially as it relates to mental health and healthcare accessibility. With the support of Mama Glow and Tougaloo College, Aja is cofounder of Doulas @ Tougaloo which is an intensive training program that certifies students who have demonstrated community involvement as doulas upon completion of the program. The goal of this program is to promote patient advocacy in maternal patients, especially in underserved populations.
Outside of medicine, Aja’s interests include amateur photography and photo editing. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which is a community service-based organization.
This summer, Aja will be working with Dr. Emily Miller. Dr. Miller’s work centers around creating holistic healthcare for pregnant individuals. Aja will assist in determining the effectiveness of this approach by working with participants enrolled in the mobile app Baby2Home.
Zakiyah Whitaker is a rising second year MPH student at Brown’s School of Public Health, currently a part of the 5-year program to attain her master’s in just one extra year. Zakiyah holds a bachelors in Public Health and her MPH concentration is in Maternal and Child Health. She served as a health advocate through Brown’s Connect for Health program and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion chairman for the public health departmental undergraduate group. Her topics of interest are specifically in the mother during pregnancy, labor & delivery, and during the postpartum period. Food and nutrition is also of interest for Zakiyah with a focus on both the child and mother, as this is a key part to the health and well-being of both parties during critical years. These interests are mainly based in socially disadvantaged groups, with the goal of addressing social determinants of health and health disparities. She is excited to work with Dr. Caroline Kistin on her food and nutrition projects.