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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 fourth year student at UCLA majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is Finance Director of the UCLA Alumni Scholars Club, and Internal President of BiochemASE. Katherine is also active in bioinformatics research in the Ping Lab at UCLA, as well as metabolomics research in the Dorrestein Lab at UCSD. This is her second year as a chapter president, and she has enjoyed getting to build her chapter and spread the initiative across the great Los Angeles area. She plans to pursue a career in medicine, inspired by her time at the BEI. 

Sanjna Lourduraj

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Sanjna Lourduraj is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. She aspires to become a neuropsychiatrist and help people in the battle against their own minds. By volunteering with BEI, she gets to advocate and apply her passion. Moreover, she enjoys hearing the residents’ life stories and living vicariously through them.

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La Rissa Vasquez

University of California, Davis

La Rissa Vasquez is a first-generation UC Davis Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior major with a minor in Professional Writing. La Rissa participates in research at the Shriners Children’s Hospital with the VMC laboratory in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. In addition to BEI, she is also an editor, graphic designer, and cover artist for an academic publishing platform—The Aggie Transcript. La Rissa hopes to one day merge her passions for writing and neurobiology into a career that helps her be of service to her community.

Abraham Hong

University of California, Berkeley

Abraham Hong is a senior 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 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 provides 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.

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Madeline Inge

Colorado School of Mines

Madeline Inge is a fourth-year student at Colorado School of Mines studying Mechanical Engineering. She enjoys applying engineering principles to the human body and focuses on human movement by helping with research studies at her school’s Functional Biomechanics Lab. What she loves most about BEI is being able to serve and build connections not only with her peers but also with a wider community of people in Golden, CO.

Benjamin Katz

University of Southern California

Benjamin Katz is a Junior 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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Neha Reddy Gujjula

University of California, Irvine 


Neha Gujjula is a second year biological sciences student at UCI, hoping to pursue a career in the medical field. She works as a CNA at a post acute center and is conducting research on auditory processing of athletes at the Hearing and Speech Lab at UCI. She also is a part of her school’s yearbook team and loves performing at cultural events.

Kaitlin To

University of California, Irvine

Kaitlin To is a second-year Ecology and Evolutionary Biology student at UC Irvine who hopes to pursue a career in medicine. She is currently investigating the association between Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes at UCI’s Department of Developmental and Cell Biology and works as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She enjoys birdwatching and hiking in her free time and is very excited to apply neurobiology research while helping others as part of BEI. 

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Emily Hermez

CSU Long Beach


Emily is a senior undergraduate Psychology major and Child Development minor. Her goal is to become a Marriage and Family Therapist where she plans to support minoritized adolescents and emerging adults. Currently she interns at the Long Beach Veterans Hospital in the mental health department where she runs various neuropsychological battery tests on veterans. Additionally, she is president of CSULB’s chapter of Brain Exercise Initiative where she and her club members volunteer at nursing homes providing psychological interventions to patients with Alzheimer’s in order to slow their progressive memory loss.

Fiona Wang

University of Washington (UW)

Fiona is a junior currently studying computer science at the UW. BEI was her very first organization that she joined as a freshman at UW, and she loved her experiences volunteering ever since. Being able to be part of a club where she can see the positive effects that working on “brain exercises” with seniors firsthand has been very rewarding for her, and has even encouraged her to work on similar exercises with her own grandparents. In her free time, Fiona loves to read, watch cartoons, swim, and listen to music. 

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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.

Joban Sohd

University of British Columbia at Okanagan

Joban Sohd is a fourth year student at the University of British Columbia at Okanagan. He is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology. He particularly enjoys interacting with seniors and being a helping hand in his community.


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