West Coast


Juliet Stephenson

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Juliet Stephenson is a fourth year undergraduate studying Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, Juliet is a part of the SEA-PHAGES research program. Juliet has been a part of the Brain Exercise Initiative since Fall 2019.

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! 

Rachel Woody

University of California, Berkeley

Rachel Woody is a senior studying neurobiology and data science. She is a research assistant at both the Cognition and Action Lab at UC Berkeley and the Allen Lab at UCSF and aspires to become a physician-scientist. She is a Leadership Award recipient, Fung Fellow, and BUILD mentor working tirelessly to bridge divides in access to health and education. 

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Aaron Lee

University of California, Irvine

Aaron Lee is a fourth-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.

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/


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. 

Isabella Diaco

University of Southern California

Isabella Diaco is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Southern California majoring in Neuroscience. From working as a research assistant in the Boone Fetter Clinic at CHLA to setting up free healthcare clinics internationally with Global Medical Training, she always aspires to learn as much as possible while also helping those in need. 

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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. 

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A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona - Chicago, Illinois

Aveena Pelia is a fourth-year medical student completing rotations in Chicago and preparing for residency. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Human Biology. She is involved in research and is Gold Humanism Honor Society Vice President at her school. Aveena wants to pursue a dual career in internal medicine and pediatrics. Her inspiration to work with BEI stems from watching her grandma live with Alzheimer's Disease and she is humbled to be a part of this experience. 

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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.