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West Coast


Allison Swift

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)


Allison Swift is a second year biopsychology student as the University of California, Santa Barbara, hoping to attend medical school in the future. She works at the Keiflin Lab at UCSB, a neuroscience lab that seeks to explore the behavioral and neural mechanisms that guide associative learning and decision-making. She enjoys learning about the brain and loves giving back to her community through BEI. She has enjoyed forming relationships and connections with the residents that she works with and hopes to continue this work in the future.

Jenna Lukes

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Jenna Lukes is second year at the University of California Santa Barbara majoring in general biology, planning to go to PA school. She has a passion for medicine and currently is working as an EMT at a fire station. She was an undergraduate research assistant in the Clegg lab, where she researched early recognition of type two diabetes using Nile Rat model organism. She is passionate about working to find solutions for Alzheimer’s Disease and is excited to be leading motivated volunteers in her chapter of BEI. 


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Katherine Downs

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Katherine Downs is a third year student at UCLA majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a member of the Alumni Scholars Club, and serves on the executive board of the BiochemASE club. Katherine is also active in bioinformatics research in the Ping Lab at UCLA. She has been a member of the BEI since 2021, where she has found a fun and impactful way to connect and support her community.

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. 


Ashley Christensen

University of California, Davis

Ashley Christensen is a senior biochemistry major at UCD. She is currently on the pre-med track and hopes to one day join a neurosurgery program. Until then, she loves to pet her dogs and listen to Broadway musicals in her free time. She is passionate about connecting with her community and believes that BEI is an excellent opportunity to do so! 

Abraham Hong

University of California, Berkeley

Abraham Hong is a junior studying Molecular Cell Biology. He is a research assistant at the Smith Lab in UCSF, where he is currently studying Acute Myeloid Leukemia there. Abraham aspires to become a radiologist and has a strong passion in helping others and allowing healthcare to be more accessible to all. Abraham is currently the Vice President of TASSEL at Berkeley, where he primarily provides English education to rural Cambodians and teaches new volunteers how to properly teach and enrich their students' lives. Abraham also volunteers at homeless shelters and provide food to them. He especially enjoys talking to the homeless, and he has a strong passion in eradicating the negative stigma of people experiencing homelessness. 


Karan Bhakare

University of California, Riverside

Karan is a sophomore at the University of California, Riverside studying Biochemistry. Through volunteering at ASD Climber Foundation to support autistic children and interning at Stanford Healthcare, he has understood the importance of supporting people in need and serving the community around him. He also has a strong desire to pursue medicine and is a Research Assistant at the Fiacco Lab. 

Benjamin Katz

University of Southern California

Benjamin Katz is a Sophomore majoring in Pharmacology and Drug Development and a Future Cinema minor. He would like to be a neurologist in the future and help people with neurodegenerative diseases.  He also volunteers to teach elementary students science through interesting scientific experiments and tutors high schoolers in math and science. In his free time, he loves nature and hiking.

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Ivana Lourdes

University of Portland

Ivana Lourdes is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Portland studying Biology with a pre-medical concentration. Her experience volunteering at local nursing homes and caring for her grandfather with dementia fostered the desire for her to pursue a career in the geriatrics field, staying committed to looking beyond health care symptoms to promote high-quality, person-centered care that improves one’s quality of life.

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.


Kevin Huang

Colorado School of Mines

Kevin Huang is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO studying chemical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. As a Colorado native, he wanted to provide opportunities for students while also helping the local community. The Brain Exercise Initiative provided him a great platform to do so and he hopes to extend the organization's goals throughout Colorado in the future. 

Varsha Karthikeyan

Oregon State University

Varsha Karthikeyan is a third-year undergraduate student at Oregon State University majoring in biology with a chemistry minor and an option in pre-medicine. She is a current researcher at OSU’s veterinary college and has also conducted prostate cancer research at Washington State University, through which she has co-authored a research paper. She is an active member of her culture, taking on the role of event coordinator in OSU’s Indian Student Association and is a dancer on OSU’s competitive bhangra team as well. She is passionate about medicine and is excited to be helping the Alzheimer’s community.


Emily Nguyen

Claremont College

Emily is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College studying Science Management with a concentration on Public Health. Outside of BEI, she interns at San Mateo County Health Foundation, a non-profit devoted to providing everybody the opportunity for the healthiest life possible especially for the under-insured and uninsured. Emily hopes to turn her passions of community building and medicine into a profession of strengthening healthcare infrastructures in low-income countries. 

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