Ruth Ada

Ruth Ada

Mobile, Wearable, and Home-Based Fall Prevention Technologies for Older Adults

 

Joining the START Program was one of the highlights of my college career. Not only did it give me an opportunity to work in a lab where I had amazing mentors and learning opportunities, but it validated my abilities as a young Asian American woman to be successful in my chosen field. I am so proud of the work that my peers and I have accomplished during our year in the START program. The knowledge and connections that I have gained through research are invaluable, and I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Ruth Ada

Senior in I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Shannon Mejía

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Adult Development, Adaptation, & Technology Laboratory (AdaptLab)

research presentation for Ruth Ada

 

Anya Bhagwakar

Anya Bhagwakar

Perceptions of Meditation among Catholic Latinx

 

"Being someone who had little research experience, the START program was the perfect opportunity for me to dive into the world of academic research. This program taught me the skills that I needed to work in that setting and helped me find a lab that matched my goals as a student researcher. The STAR program gave me all the tools I needed to be successful in the field of research and I am beyond grateful for this experience!"

Anya Bhagwakar

Senior in I-Health

Faculty mentor: Susan Aguinaga

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

research presentation for Anya Bhagwakar

 

Daniel Boachie

Daniel Boachie

Measurement of cognitive benefits following physical activity interventions

 

"Prior to START, I did not see the value of getting involved at the University of Illinois, but the program changed that. Before START, I did not see myself as competent enough to be a contributing factor in a research lab, but the support and guidance I’ve received from Dr. Schwingel and the EPL staff have been invaluable in changing this mindset. I’ve been able to gain novel skills, experiences, and build a relationship with faculty that I believe will be very beneficial in my future endeavors."

Daniel Boachie

Junior in Kinesiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Neha Gothe

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Exercise Psychology Lab

research presentation for Daniel Boachie

 

Vivian Chay

Vivian Chay

Robot and older adults: perceived roles and importance

 

"Being in the START program for two semesters, I have gained a lot of knowledge on research and have developed new perspectives on the different topics on aging. I am also grateful that START has assisted my transitioning into a research lab by giving me prior knowledge and skills of research. Overall, I really enjoying working in this diverse and great START team."

Vivian Chay

Sophomore in Kinesiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Wendy Rogers

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Human Factors and Aging Lab

research presentation for Vivian Chay

 

Cailey Cranny

Cailey Cranny

Fostering Physical Activity for People with Disabilities Through Park District Programs

 

"Difference can be challenging. If you've got a homogenous group of people who all think alike, it’s easier to reach a comfortable consensus. Diversity means including people with different perspectives, different experiences, different opinions, and perhaps different working styles or expectations. The companies that succeed in their diversity initiatives do a good job of managing those differences and creating a harmonious whole.”

Cailey Cranny

Senior in I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Toni Liechty

Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

research presentation for Cailey Cranny

 

Jenna Crean

Jenna Crean

A Multi-Modal Brain Imaging Study of Misophonia Examining its Audiological and Psychological Aspects

 

"I am very passionate about research! The START program has provided me with a hands on experience in research and a better insight into the field of aging. I had an excellent time working with Dr. Husain and her research. I am thankful for her guidance and the support of everyone in the START program. I will carry this experience and everything I learned from it with me as I move forward towards a career in health."

Jenna Crean

Senior in Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Fatima Husain

Department of Speech and Hearing Science
Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

research presentation for Jenna Crean

 

Leah Lasher

Leah Lasher

Improving cognitive function of older adults through exercise intervention

 

"Being a part of the START program has given me so many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. Learning about and being involved in aging research at UIUC is something that is so special and valuable for my future aspirations. I am also grateful to have been surrounded by a diverse group of individuals in this program. It is so important to see culturally and racially diverse perspectives in research."

Leah Lasher

Junior in Kinesiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Neha Gothe

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Exercise Psychology Lab

research presentation for Leah Lasher

 
 

Jessie Li

Jessie Li

The Impacts of COVID-19 on Sex Life

 

"I applied to the START program on a whim, not really knowing the full extent of aging research. Since joining, I have had the pleasure to meet and interact with so many like minded people while learning new skills through research. I’d like to thank Dr. Schwingel and the rest of the START team for empowering me to participate and engage with the resources they have organized. START has definitely become one of my favorite undergrad experiences so far."

Jessie Li

Sophomore in I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Liza Berdychevsky
Diversity Research Laboratory

Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

research presentation for Jessie Li

 
 

Chloe Maghinang

Chloe Maghinang

Attention, Inhibition, & Varying Hearing Ability in Older Adults

 

"As a first-generation Asian American woman and a proud daughter of two immigrant parents, I embrace the values of determination, perseverance, and hard work instilled in me throughout my life. I strive to continuously exercise such principles and conducting research through the START program has given me the perfect opportunity to do so. I am incredibly grateful for everyone who has helped me develop as a student and a researcher."

Chloe Maghinang

Sophomore in Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Raksha Mudar

Department of Speech and Hearing Science
Aging and Neurocognition Lab

research presentation for Chloe Maghinang

 

Vanesa Ramos

Vanesa Ramos

Daily Balance Project & #agingwell Project

 

"The START program gave me the space to voice my thoughts on science/health related topics, and I am grateful for the START program to have given a opportunity for minority students to get more involved in aging research. The adult development, adaptation, and technology lab has welcomed me with open arms and has taught me more about aging research above and beyond what is taught in a typical university course."

Vanesa Ramos

Junior in I-Health

Faculty mentor: Shannon Mejía

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Adult Development, Adaptation, & Technology Laboratory (AdaptLab)

research presentation for Vanesa Ramos

 

Vanessa Romero

Vanessa Romero

Enhancing Quality of Life for Older Adults With and Without MCI through Social Engagement Over Video Technology

 

"Being a first-generation woman of color in my family has inspired me to continue my education for myself and my parents who sacrificed so much by emigrating to the United States. I always wanted to be involved in research but did not know where to begin. The START program gave me the opportunity to learn and be part of a research program that has expanded my professional skills in the field of research and aging."

Vanessa Romero

Junior in Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Raksha Mudar

Department of Speech and Hearing Science
Aging and Neurocognition Lab

research presentation for Vanessa Romero

 

Brianna Silveira

Brianna Silveira

Age Differences in Resilience to the COVID-19’s Impacts on Sexual Health

 

"As a wheelchair user, I had little time to seek out potential research opportunities due to other responsibilities. The START program helped me gain research experience while matching me with a lab, so I didn't have to seek one out myself. Research experience is crucial to being a student at Illinois. The START program facilitated valuable research experience, which I may not have had otherwise."

Brianna Silveira

Senior in Community Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Liza Berdychevsky

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Diversity Research Laboratory

research presentation for Brianna Silveira

 

2019-2020 START FELLOWS & FACULTY MENTORS

Makylah Allen

Makylah Allen

Osteoarthritis Treatment: The Effect of Rapamycin and Metformin

 

Being selected to be a part of the START program opened many new doors for me as a Black woman at a predominantly white institution. This program has enhanced my research experience and allowed me to feel like I can contribute to important conversations regarding the quality of life of the aging population. I have learned a vast amount of novel skills and areas of expertise within the aging research laboratory I am in. The networking and relationships I have built with professors within the college of Applied Health Sciences through START is invaluable!

Makylah Allen

Sophomore in Kinesiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Adam Konopka

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Physiology of Aging Lab

research presentation for Makylah Allen

 

Jessica Escutia

Jessica Escutia

Sexuality in Older Adults: Attitudes, Perceptions and Implications

 

"As a first generation previously undocumented migrant, I didn’t think a pathway towards higher education was possible, the barriers and unfamiliarity with the culture of academia made the journey even more daunting. The START program gave the applied knowledge, understanding and guidance to start my own research focused on aging. This fall I will being attending the University of Chicago to pursue a master’s degree in Social Service Administration to further investigate how to support marginalized populations. I will forever be grateful to the START program for giving me the opportunity to advance and collaborate with such acclaimed faculty."

Jessica Escutia

Sophomore in I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Liza Berdychevsky

Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Diversity Research Laboratory

research presentation for Jessica Escutia

 

Claire Inskeep

Claire Inskeep

Advancing Social Engagement in Aging through Technology

 

"I'm passionate about research! It offers doorways to new information and ideas that feed my curiosity and motivate me to learn even more. Along with this, I was eager to find a research opportunity focusing on the aging population and was excited to be selected for the START program; it was a perfect fit".

Claire Inskeep

Senior in Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Raksha Mudar

Department of Speech and Hearing Science
Aging and Neurocognition Lab

research presentation for Claire Inskeep

 

Diana Morales

Diana Morales

Fighting Health Disparities: Improving the Health of Latinos

 

"What fuels me as a student researcher? Being a First-Generation Mexican-American Woman. Being a proud product of immigrants, I embrace and challenge the world around me, taking advantage of any and every opportunity I’ve earned. Being Mexican-American means I give back to my communities and try to dissolve disparities that exist between them. Being a woman means I show courage and strength, something many are not allowed to do. This is what fuels me as a student-researcher."

Diana Morales

Sophomore in Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Susan Aguiñaga

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

research presentation for Diana Morales

 

Carla Ortiz

Carla Ortiz

Exploring Leisure, Assistive Devices, and Falls among Older Adults

 

"As a Latina woman interested in research, I’ve always recognized the need for more diverse voices in this field. Research is one of the most powerful tools in expanding our knowledge of the world and the START program has given these typically underrepresented voices a chance to be heard. As a START fellow, I have had the perfect opportunity to delve into the world of research in aging, gain valuable experience, and develop as both a student and researcher."

Carla Ortiz

Sophomore in Community Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Laura Payne

Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

research presentation for Carla Ortiz

 

Wallis Peterson

Wallis Peterson

Falls risk: Studying Traumatic Brain Injury and Head Acceleration

 

"Being a member of the START program was a great first opportunity to dip my toes into the research world. It was also awesome during our weekly meeting/seminar to see such a diverse group of students who were all female pursuing the same goal of wanting to get more involved with research. I am grateful for the opportunity to do research in the aging field as someone who wants to study in the field of geriatrics."

Wallis Peterson

Sophomore in I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jake Sosnoff

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Motor Control Research Lab

research presentation for Wallis Peterson

 

Brielle Ross

Brielle Ross

Understanding Chronic Pain Management and Medical Cannabis

 

"Before the START program, I wasn’t as familiar with research that focuses on aging. It was interesting to hear about the different research that Applied Health Science professors are involved in throughout the program. The START program has made me more confident and eager to explore other aging topics in the future. I believe my African American background contributes to healthy aging in different aspects."

Brielle Ross

Sophomore in Community Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Julie Bobitt

I-Health Program
Aging and Health Policy Lab

research presentation for Brielle Ross

 
 

Isabella Russel

Isabella Russel

Promoting Ongoing Participation of Older Adults in Group Fitness

 

"Being a part of the START program has given me experience in research and a better insight into the field of aging. I had an excellent time working with Dr. Liechty and her research. I am thankful for her guidance and the support of everyone in the START program. I will carry this experience and everything I learned from it with me as I move forward towards a career in health."

Isabella Russel

Senior in Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Toni Leichty

Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

research presentation for Isabella Russel

 
 

Siyao Zhang

Siyao Zhang

Promoting Healthy Aging through Human Robot Interaction

 

"I used to think that it was extremely hard for undergraduate students to be involved in research labs, while START program completely changed my mind. In the past year, not only did I learn about the wealth of research resources in AHS, I also got in touch with so many fellow undergraduate student researchers with the same passion in aging field. Especially as an international students, I feel recognized when my understanding of a different culture provides fresh perspectives and makes impact on the research work in lab."

Siyao Zhang

Sophomore in Community Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Wendy Rogers

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
Human Factors and Aging Lab

research presentation for Siyao Zhang

 

2018-2019 START FELLOWS & FACULTY MENTORS

Sonia Cabreara, Community Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Liza Berdychevsky, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

text reading sexual satisfaction and constraints in later life: insights from older lgbt older adults
 

Leonardo Daniel Guzman, Kinesiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Shannon Mejia, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

poster presentation
 

Jennifer Lee, I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Wendy Rogers, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

poster presentation
 

Seungaha (Riah) Lee, I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Adam Konopka, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

poster presentation
 

Jessica Philipp, Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Raksha Mudar, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

text reading What is Missing?: Insights from MoCA-MIS Scores of Individuals with Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment
 

Grace Rochford, Speech and Hearing Science

Faculty mentor: Dr. Raksha Mudar, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

text reading Hearing handicap and cognitive challenges in age-associated hearing loss
 

Nimota-lai (Nini) Sulaiman, Kinesiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jake Sosnoff, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

poster presentation
 

Kathy Tran, Community Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

poster presentation
 

Jenna Vangalis, Kinesiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Fatima Husain, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

poster presentation
 

Emily Williams, Community Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Julie Bobitt, I-Health

poster presentation
 

Alanna Wong, I-Health

Faculty mentor: Dr. Shannon Mejia, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

poster presentation