Molly Fennig is a rising senior at Swarthmore College, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish and English. As a researcher she has worked on publications addressing risk factors and optimal treatment for strokes and how high school start times affect student health. Molly has also assisted on EEG studies to detect the effect of linguistics and attitudes towards mental illness, survey studies on student wellbeing, and individual research about weight assessment and mental illness. Hoping to become a clinical psychologist, her interest in public health and the GMHP program stems from a desire to help those struggling from mental illness, both one-on-one as a clinician and more broadly through policy.
Shakira earned her B.A. from Smith College in Psychology and also studied Applied Statistics and Spanish. While at Smith, Shakira led a longitudinal study that examined well-being and stress levels in Smith College students of color. Through the Black Women’s Health Imperative MSK program, she received federal and state advocacy training on contraceptive access and reproductive health disparities. Shakira moderated Hill staffer panel discussions in the offices of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey as an MSK student as well. Additionally, Shakira served as a Health and Wellness Representative and connected Smith College residents with health and wellness resources on campus. In January 2019, Shakira spent time at the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital in The Gambia and was introduced to mental health concerns that are prevalent in West Africa. Most recently, Shakira has become increasingly interested in exploring statistics and data science in the field of public health.
My name is Claudonna Hewitt and I am a recent graduate from Montclair State University. In which, I majored in psychology and minored in public health and anthropology. During my time at Montclair State, I worked with many disabled youth. My interest in Global Mental Heath stems from the miseducation of mental disorders, especially in underserved communities.
Maya Jotwani is a rising junior at Pomona College in California majoring in Neuroscience. Her passion in learning about the brain as well as her experience in helping loved ones cope with mental health issues led her to her interests in mental health. Having lived in India, Japan, and now in the U.K., Maya is particularly interested in learning about how mental health programs can be developed and implemented effectively in different international contexts. She is hoping to pursue medicine in the future and is excited to be an intern at the Global Mental Health Program to learn further about the intersections of neuroscience and psychiatry, as well as about effective global mental health interventions.
Aish is senior majoring in Neuroscience at Harvard University. They became interested in working in mental health through experiences with friends and family as a teen. They grew up in New Orleans and were inspired by the mental health support delivered to their school after Katrina that emphasized resiliency and art-based emotional expression. They are involved in research on the mental health of people detained in the justice system and are a peer counselor with a group at school that specializes around gender, sexuality, sex, and relationships. They are excited to learn from the researchers at Columbia’s GMHP this summer!
Sasha Mochida is a rising senior at Macalester College double majoring in Neuroscience and Biology with a concentration in Community and Global Heath and a minor in Psychology. Coming from a myriad of cultures and being an immigrant, Sasha initially became interested in global mental health after witnessing various cultural understandings of mental and physical health from her parents and how it conflicted with American medical norms. She is specifically interested in understanding mental health from a socioeconomic perspective and using cultural contexts to provide treatment, create initiatives to mitigate stigma and promote access to mental health services. She is excited to be a part of the Global Mental Health Program this summer and hopes to learn how to navigate such factors as culture, race, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexuality to develop and sustain accessible, culturally sensitive, diverse, and effective prevention and treatment interventions to improve global mental health.
Karolina is a rising senior at Columbia University, studying Neuroscience and Behavior with Special Concentration in Public Health. In the past, she was working as a research assistant in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at the New York State Psychiatric Institute but she decided to join the Global Mental Health Program to learn how to approach the issues surrounding mental health from the public health perspective. Striving to create a supportive community for college students struggling with mental illness or psychological distress, she is engaged in mental health advocacy on campus as a member of the JED Working Committee and a Director of Outreach at the Active Minds chapter. Karolina had a chance to develop close relationships with patients suffering from serious mental illness while volunteering at an outpatient mental health clinic and in an emergency department. These experiences and interactions motivate her on a daily basis and inspire her to continue her education in the medical school to ultimately pursue a career in clinical psychiatry while staying involved in mental health advocacy and the global health work.
Morgan Silverman is a rising junior at Dickinson College. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and a certificate in Health Studies. Her interest in mental health began in high school when she worked at a summer camp for kids with autism and other developmental disabilities. Morgan’s passion for studying mental and neurological disorders grew when she entered college where she took several courses in psychology and neuropsychology. Her long term goal is to become a neuropsychologist focusing on improving the effectiveness and accessibility of mental health services both in the United States and in global settings. She is excited to return to the Global Mental Health Program as an intern for the second summer, so that she can continue to gain new skills in investigating the impact of factors like culture, gender and socioeconomic status on global mental health.
A recent high school graduate, Matthew Tikhonovsky is spending his gap year before entering college further pursuing his interest in the intersection of global mental health and forced migration. This interest was sparked by his trips as a child to Ukraine, his parent’s homeland, which opened his eyes to the barriers to and stigmas surrounding mental health services abroad. Matthew also shares a passion for refugee advocacy and regularly highlights the stories of refugee youth for UNICEF’s Voices of Youth platform.
Madeline Van Husen
Madeline Van Husen is a rising senior at Boston College double majoring in Islamic Civilization and Societies and International Studies with a concentration in Ethics and International Social Justice. She initially became interested in global mental health after working with resettled refugees in her hometown of Syracuse, NY. This interest was enhanced by her internship at the Institute for Family Health in Amman, Jordan, where she learned about the unique psychosocial support services needed for refugees and vulnerable populations in the MENA region. Madeline looks forward to further exploration in the field of global mental health this summer through the Global Mental Health Programs.
Danielle Wolk is a rising senior at Northwestern University majoring in Neuroscience with minors in Global Health Studies and Psychology. She is passionate about mental health and has spent the past two years working in Northwestern’s Affective and Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory researching the neural mechanisms behind reward pathways in mood disorders. Additionally, Danielle spent last summer volunteering in the acute psychosis division at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Her recent Global Mental Health projects have included researching stimulant abuse on college campuses, the U.S. opioid crisis, the intersection of schizophrenia and poverty, and the transmission of intergenerational trauma of descendants of holocaust survivors. Danielle intends to pursue a PhD in health psychology.
Mental health became a key issue in Jared’s life when, in 2002, his family adopted a little boy. Due to child abuse in his previous home, Jared’s brother struggled with a variety of mental health problems, sexual reactivity being chief among them. Because of his little brother, Jared not only learned about the scarcity of treatment available for children with issues of sexual health, but also the stigma surrounding mental health in general that create barriers for those with mental illness and their families. In his own research in the field of communication, he studies how individuals experience seemingly contradictory values and discourses from within their own families and the personal, relational, and health implications thereof. This fall, he will be attending Illinois State University’s master’s program in Communication.