West Coast

_H4A5239ed_8x10 3.jpg

Esin Gumustekin

Founder and President

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Esin Gumustekin, the founder and president of the Brain Exercise Initiative, is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) majoring in Neuroscience.  Esin has received numerous accolades in high school and continues to thrive at UCLA with a 4.0 cumulative GPA.  At UCLA she has won the UCLA Library Prize for Humanities and Social Science and has published her work on eScholarship, the University of California’s Open access publishing site.  She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Researcher of the Ozcan Research Group at UCLA.  Some projects she has worked on include “Smartphone-based turbidity reader”, “Automated screening of sickle cells using a smartphone-based microscope and deep learning”, and"Early detection and classification of live bacteria using time-lapse coherent imaging and deep learning" which are published in Nature. Some of her earlier recognitions include being Salutatorian of her high school, Francis Parker, and being invited to present her research at the Oncofertility Consortium at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine.  Additionally, she’s been invited to speak at UCSD’s Rady School of Management for the tutoring program that she established between her high school and KIPP Adelante, a school for the underserved.  

Saksham Gupta 

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)


Saksham Gupta is a senior at the University of California, San Diego studying Physiology and Neuroscience with a passion for working with Alzheimer’s patients. Saksham has cultivated his interest in neurodegenerative diseases by working in multiple labs that conduct neurodevelopmental research such as the Gage lab in the Salk institute as well as the Alvarez-Buylla lab in the University of California, San Francisco. Recently, he went to the leprosy colony of Anandwan, India to experience the medical procedures that were administered to leprosy patients and develop various projects to help with the growth of the colony. Saksham hopes to one day return and be part of a larger impact in such places.

539A8980 3.jpeg

Katherine Xia

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)


Katherine Xia is a biochemistry/chemistry major at UCSD. She is a pre-dental student who enjoys volunteering in her free time and giving back to the community, as well as spending time in her lab where she works as a research assistant. 

Sruthi Srinivas

University of Nevada, Reno

Sruthi is a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Philosophy. She's explored her psychology and neuroscience interests at the Strother Lab on campus, running behavioral experiments intended to test reactions to visual stimuli. She hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the brain, unraveling its mysteries one coffee at a time. 

Aaron Photo 2.jpeg

Aaron Lee

University of California, Irvine

Aaron Lee is a third-year undergraduate student studying Public Health at the University of California, Irvine. Furthermore, Aaron has also interned for multiple non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) as well as Make-A-Wish, where he served as a community outreach intern for both organizations. During his time at Make-A-Wish, Aaron realized the enormous impact that non-profit organizations can make throughout communities and made it his goal to impact as many communities as he can.

 Julia Camilleri

University of California, Davis


Julia is a junior at the University of California, Davis studying Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. Julia developed a passion for working with Alzheimer's patients after serving as an Alzheimer's Buddy for two years, building one-on-one personal relationships with patients in Davis. Julia explored her interest in research working in a lab in the Ophthalmology Department at UC Davis studying diabetic retinopathy, and presented her findings at the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Conference. Julia interned at the UC Davis Medical Center Emergency Department and is currently serving as Research Associate in the UC Davis Emergency Medicine Research Assistant Program (EMRAP).

Marjan Moghaddam

University of California, Davis


Marjan Moghaddam is a senior at the University of California, Davis majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. She is a research assistant at the Center for Neuroscience, studying the influence of consolidation in the stabilization of statistical learning. She is writing her senior thesis in a genetics lab studying protein complexes involved in meiosis. Additionally, she volunteers at a non-profit student-run clinic, serving her community.

Mary Mitchener

University of Southern California


Mary Carton Mitchener is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Southern California majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Health Care Studies. She is a Research Assistant in the Infant Neuromotor Control Laboratory at Keck USC where she codes infant arm movements correlated to EEG data in babies who are preterm or at risk for developmental disorders. She also volunteers in the Pediatrics department at Cedars-Sinai and is very interested in becoming a Neonatologist one day. 


Kamryn McKenzie 

University of Southern California


Kamryn McKenzie is a third-year undergraduate at the University of Southern California. Kamryn is a Neuroscience major with a computer programming minor. She is a research assistant at the Zevin Lab, focused on cognitive psychology and psycholinguistic research.

Lina Park

University of Washington

Lina is a second-year student at the University of Washington in Seattle, studying Neuroscience. From interning at the Seattle Children’s Hospital as a community resource representative to being a student ambassador for the UW Honors program, she is passionate about community building and dedicated to serving the people around her. Aside from dancing and crafting, she enjoys studying Alzheimer’s disease in her lab.


Shiva Areff

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Shiva is a junior studying Biopsychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her passion is helping others and she has implemented this passion through civic engagement in and outside of school. Along with the Brain Exercise Initiative, she has volunteered at the hospital, tutored her peers in STEM classes, and fulfilled leadership roles in various school organizations. For additional information please visit: https://ucsbbrainexerciseinitiative.wordpress.com/

Rachel Woody

UC Berkeley

Rachel Woody is a third-year undergraduate studying neurobiology and computer science. Outside of classes, she researches Parkinson's disease and spinocerebellar ataxia in the Cognition and Action (CognAc) lab at UC Berkeley. She was selected for the Fung Fellowship through which she leverages technology and human-centered design to address public health crises. Rachel also enjoys free-lancing as an ESL tutor for adults and working with BUILD to teach literacy skills to underserved children in the community. She is a finalist for the UC Berkeley Leadership Award, and aspires to become a physician-scientist so she can continue to help those affected by neurodegenerative disorders.