Midwest

Risha Mehta

Indiana University at Bloomington

Risha Mehta is a sophomore at Indiana University double majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience with a minor in Animal Behavior. At IU, Risha is a research assistant for the Comparative Cognition Lab where she studies impairments in cognition related to Alzheimer's. She became intrigued by the intricacies of the brain and wanted an opportunity that would combine her interests of both neurodegenerative diseases and patient care. The Brain Exercise Initiative did just that affording her the experience to interact with patients and form bonds, while improving their cognitive function through daily brain exercises. 

Andrew Baker 

University of Notre Dame

Co-President

Andrew Baker is a Sophomore at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior with a pre-medical concentration. Andrew chose his path of study in accordance with his strong interest in the brain, cognition, and degenerative disease. Having personally witnessed the impact of dementia on his grandfather, Andrew was inspired to get involved with the Brain Exercise Initiative. Now as Chapter Co-President at Notre Dame, Andrew hopes to improve the lives of those afflicted by dementia in the South Bend community. 

Maria Matuska

University of Notre Dame

Maria Matuska is a freshman at the University of Notre Dame studying Neuroscience and Behavior and History. She has held a passion for the sciences since she was young, but has recently developed an interest in neurodegenerative diseases and psychology. At Notre Dame, Maria also is the Music Director for the student radio station and works for the philosophy department.

Co-President

Saja Hamdan

Michigan State University

Saja Hamdan is currently a student at Michigan State University. She is gaining a Bachelor's in Physiology with a Minor in Arabic. She is passionate about helping those who need it the most. She is looking to positively impact those around her and surround herself with people that impact her positively.

Tina Lu

Washington University in St. Louis

Tina Lu is a second-year undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in Microbiology and Global Health. She is passionate about bettering the community around her through tutoring, volunteering with organizations such as Campus Y: Science Olympiad and the Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic, conducting research in a clinical geropsychology lab, and serving as a Peer-Led Team Learning Leader for chemistry. Tina developed a love for working with older adults when she was in high school volunteering at a local nursing home for those living with dementia where she was able to cultivate connections with residents and their caretakers that she continues to hold close to her heart, ultimately fostering a desire to pursue medicine in the future.

Midwest - Mia Utayde.jpg

Mia Utayde

Purdue University

Mia Utayde is a senior at Purdue University double majoring in Neurobiology & Physiology and Brain and Behavioral Sciences. She has a passion for understanding neurodegenerative disorders and mental health. Currently, she is a research assistant in a Neurotoxicology Lab where she is completing her honors thesis. After graduation, Mia plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Celine Bitegeko

Northwestern University

Celine Bitegeko is a sophomore at Northwestern University majoring in Neuroscience on the Pre-Med track. At Northwestern, Celine is a research assistant for a neuropsychology lab where she studies the attribution of P300 signaling to the detection of concealed information. With a lifelong passion to study the brain and improve the lives of those living with brain injuries, Celine hopes to continue her pursuit of knowledge and desire to help through BEI.

Ermina Hassan

Loyola University of Chicago

Ermina Hassan is a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Molecular Neuroscience and minoring in Biology while on the pre-medicine track. She has always been interested in science but cultivated her interest in the brain after seeing her great-grandmother suffer through Alzheimer's which led her to get involved with the Brain Exercise Initiative. With this meaningful endeavor, she hopes to not only bring awareness to the disease but also give back to her community and help those diagnosed with Alzheimer's in the Chicago-land area.