Mentor: Dave Kaeli
Hi, my name is Alia Bent and I am a second-year mechanical engineering student from New Jersey. I was drawn to the ROUTES program due to the important and impactful research that they were pursuing as well as the endless opportunities to grow and learn new unique skills. Under the mentorship of Dr. Kaeli, I am working on designing and developing a new data dictionary for the PROTECT Center as well as support the roll out of the collect tool. Through this project, I will be able to very positive impact on the PROTECT project and the activities of the DMAC. By joining the ROUTES program, I look forward to learning new skills, supporting the data management team, and work on things that I usually would not do as a mechanical engineer. I look forward to the next six months with the program!
Mentor: Dr. Andrew Jones
Hi, my name is Rosa Delgado and I am a third-year civil engineering student from Ukiah, California. I enjoy working on water related projects, so I am very excited to be working with Dr. Jones on a project to explore alternative water collection and water reuse systems to bridge the gap between future water demand and water availability in Texas in an equitable and sustainable manner. I am looking forward to learning more about the intersection of public health, environmental health, and social justice through this project. Access to clean and reliable water is a human right – unfortunately in the United States, people of color are disproportionately impacted by plumbing poverty and are often ignored in water planning conversations, this project aims to change that. On campus, I am the president of Engineers Without Borders and a resident assistant. I enjoy cooking and gardening.
Mentor: Dr. Emily Zimmerman
My name is Alicia Iizuka and I am a 4th year Health Science major with a minor in Psychology. Through the ROUTES program, I will be working under Dr. Emily Zimmerman, studying the interaction between sucking, feeding, and vocal development in infants. In particular, I will be analyzing Non-Nutritive Suck data as a way to evaluate neurodevelopment in early infancy, and therefore be investigating the association between environmental exposures and neurodevelopment. I am most interested in the field of public health; specifically, the effects of environmental contaminants on underserved communities. I would like to use the knowledge that I gain during my time at Northeastern and on my ROUTES co-op to advocate for more emphasis on preventative measures against adverse health impacts on populations in order to reduce health disparities and inequalities. I am enthusiastic for all that I have to learn about environmental health research throughout this co-op experience and I hope to become a strong proponent for environmental justice in the future.
Mentor: Dr. Penny Beuning
My name is Mansi Kinare and I’m a second-year Biology & Political Science from Long Island, New York. I’ve always had a passion for understanding the intersection between environmental issues and human health, especially down to the molecular level, which is why I was drawn to the ROUTES program, where I hope to grow my research skills. During my time in the program, I will be working with Dr. Penny Beuning on two main projects. The first being a project that involves studying human polymerase kappa, which is a DNA polymerase specialized to copy damaged DNA. My second project is in conjunction with the Williams Lab, in which I will be working to understand single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB) and its interactions with DNA and with DNA polymerases. SSB binds to DNA to protect it, but it also interacts with “normal” DNA polymerase as well as with DNA damage-bypass DNA polymerases. After my undergraduate studies, I hope to pursue an MD-MPH degree and continue to pursue environmental health research while engaging in clinical practice as well.
Mentor: Dr. Phil Brown
My name is Kira Mok, and I am a second-year honors student from San Diego, CA, pursuing a combined major in Sociology and Environmental Studies. My past courses and research experiences have inspired my interests in community-based research and environmental justice, and I am looking forward to exploring these interests further during my co-op in the PFAS Project Lab with Dr. Phil Brown and Dr. Alissa Cordner. I will be working on a multitude of projects that investigate the social, scientific, and political factors of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination. This includes conducting interviews with activists, collaborating on research papers, updating our website with current PFAS news, and maintaining our contamination site tracker. I am excited to be a part of the ROUTES program to learn more about the intersections of environment and health. Following my undergraduate studies, I would like to continue to pursue research that advocates for communities disproportionately affected by environmental issues and plan to pursue a PhD in environmental sociology.
Mentor: Dr. Loretta Fernandez
Hi, my name is Hannah Mullings and I am a second year Bioengineering student with a minor in Environmental Studies, from Germantown, Maryland. I am so excited to be working with Dr. Fernandez in the Environmental Organic Chemistry lab for my first co-op. Due to the adverse health effects associated with exposure to polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), my project will be working on developing a trans-dermal personal passive sampler that could slowly sample PFAS transferred across a person’s skin and collect these concentrations. Through this project, I hope to be able to contribute to the development of a more cost-effective and efficient way to measure contamination in communities that are heavily affected by PFAS contamination. By joining the ROUTES program, I look forward to exploring my interests in the environmental sciences, the health sector, and be able to receive hands-on experience in a laboratory environment. With the knowledge I gain from this program, I hope to pursue a graduate degree as well as become a strong advocate for communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental issues in the future. I look forward to the next six months with the program!
Mentor: Dr. Mary Jo Ondrechen
My name is Wallid Soukaki, and I am a second-year honors student pursuing a Bioengineering major. I am from Revere, MA. I was drawn to the ROUTES program as it allowed me to work closely in Northeastern Community while being able to pursue research about topics I am passionate about. Working in Professor Ondrechen’s lab I am working to help map the wood degradation pathways of a wood eating mollusk while providing predictions on the functions of host and symbiont proteins which will be testing in the lab. As a bioengineering major, I strive in projects which allow me to visually represent and work. In working I use YASARA and Unix/Linux to model proteins and highlight active sites of the proteins. This model is then ran against a large server of proteins to find the most similar protein to help predict the function. Being able to work on proteins that have not been documented yet allows me to directly contribute to the scientific community which is a great aspect of the work I do! I am looking forward to an amazing 6 months working in groundbreaking science!