Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

October 11, 2018

Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

Got a question about Bass Connections? Get to know the members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council, and don’t hesitate to reach out.

The Bass Connections Student Advisory Council serves as a sounding board for student ideas, questions and suggestions relating to Bass Connections and interdisciplinary education at Duke. The council includes Duke students from all levels, representing all five Bass Connections themes and a diverse array of schools, programs and majors. All of the students on the council are current or former members of a year-long Bass Connections project team, participants in affiliated courses and/or participants in Bass Connections summer programs.

This year’s council includes two returning members from 2017-18. Christine O’Connell ’19 is a Neuroscience major and was a member of the Brain-Immune Interactions in Neurodegenerative Disease team. Her Bass Connections research into the role of genetics, the immune system and protein interactions in Alzheimer’s disease will culminate in a senior neuroscience thesis. Jai Eun Huh ’20 is double-majoring in biology and chemistry and is currently a member of the Expressive Writing for Resilience in Adult Pediatric Oncology Survivors and Their Caregivers team. She was also a member of the 2017-18 Blue Devil Resistome Project and is continuing her team’s research on bacterial pathogens and the distribution of antibiotic-resistance genes across Duke’s campus.

The 2018-19 council also includes 19 new members. Apoorva Ramamurthy is a Master of Science student in Biomedical Engineering who is currently a member of the Low-cost Laparoscopic Surgery with Tele-Mentoring team. Her research explores biomedical engineering from the point of view of global health and she’s interested in contributing to the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies.

Shweta Lodha ’19 is a Neuroscience major and a two-year member of the Patients’ Journey to Medication Adherence team where she is studying medication adherence behavior in rheumatoid arthritis patients. After Duke, Shweta plans to continue her engagement with both medicine and research by working as a physician scientist.

Elsa Friis is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology and a Global Health Doctoral Scholar. Her research centers on the development and implementation of sustainable, evidence-based family therapy and parenting programs in developing countries, and she is currently a member of the Global Mental Health team. She has traveled to East Africa multiple times to conduct fieldwork and, in partnership with her team, developed a mobile application to support the training and supervision of lay counselors in Kenya.

Sophomore Nathan Liang is a Psychology and Neuroscience double major who is currently involved in educational psychology research in addition to being a member of the Wired for Learning: Supporting Thinking Skills in the K-2 Classroom team. Nate hopes to ultimately earn a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology or cognitive neuroscience and is fascinated by how cognition, behavior and biology help explain human nature.

Public Policy and Chinese double major Connor Henderson ’19 is also a member of the Wired for Learning team. He and his teammates are working on developing and field-testing a K-2 thinking skills curriculum as well as designing parent and teacher workshops to support critical thinking skills for young students.

Neuroscience major Bruny Kenou ’20 and Global Health and Psychology double major Ameya Sanyal ’21 are members of the Virtual Avatar Coaches: Improving Mental Health Treatment for College Students with Accessible Peer Support team. They are working on improving mental health outcomes for college students through peer health coaching, an effort that includes piloting a virtual support system for students with disordered eating habits.

John Bollinger is a Duke alumnus (Biology and Global Health ’18) and a first-year student in the Master of Science in Global Health program. He participated in the Global Health Student Research Training Program in rural Uganda, an experience that motivated him to pursue his graduate degree in Global Health.

Juliana Zemke is also a student in the Master of Science in Global Health program where she studies infectious disease epidemiology. Before coming to Duke, she served as a Community Health Advisor with Peace Corps Madagascar for over two years. In the summer of 2018, she traveled with the Refining Surveillance for Zoonotic Respiratory Viruses in Sarawak, Malaysia team to study emerging respiratory viruses using the One Health approach.

Katharyn Loweth ’19 is an International Comparative Studies major who was a member of the 2017-18 Stem for All Bass Connections team and the Comparing the Exploration of Academic Majors at Duke Data+ team. After graduation she intends to pursue a career in education research.

Ashton Merck is a doctoral student in History who studies regulatory institutions from a historical perspective, particularly with respect to the development of modern food safety regulations over the course of the twentieth century. She was a member of the 2016-17 Animal Waste Management and Global Health team where she researched challenges and prospects for swine waste-to-energy projects in North Carolina.

Sahil Sandhu ’20 designed his own degree in “Health Innovation: Evidence to Impact” through Program II. He studies the use of evidence-based practice to design, implement and evaluate new health innovations.  Sahil has been a member of the Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovations (GANDHI) team for the last two years and received a 2018 Bass Connections Follow-on Research Award to collaborate on the design and implementation of a “Help Desk” initiative to address patients’ social determinants of health.

Senior Natalie Yu is also a member of the GANDHI team who designed her degree in “Cognitive Science in Society and Innovation” through Program II. Her Bass Connections research in medication adherence, digital health innovation and healthcare dissemination methods informed her decision to spend her summer completing a DukeEngage independent project in Shanghai studying digital health.

Amina Mohamed ’21 is double-majoring in Public Policy and Global Health and is a member of the Evaluating Interventions Aimed at Improving Neurosurgical Patient Outcomes in Uganda team. As part of the Patient-Caregiver Education sub-team, she and her teammates are designing an intervention aimed to reduce aspiration rates among neurosurgical patients.

Junior Nazli Gungor is an Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science double major who was on last year's Image Processing Algorithms for Art Conservation team. She and her teammates worked to develop color remapping and crack detection tools to use on Italian paintings from the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Sam Eure ’19 is a Mathematics major on the Gerrymandering and the Extent of Democracy in America team. His subgroup is working on new sampling algorithms designed to help analyze the extent of gerrymandering across the state of North Carolina.

Chris Hassel ’21 is double-majoring in Economics and Arabic and is the Associate Editor of Research Africa, a Duke-based network connecting African, European and American scholars studying African issues. He is a member of the Moral Economy of Markets: Constituting and Resisting Relations of Power team where he is researching models of resilience and resistance in the context of global capitalism.

Prithvir Jhaveri ’19 is a Computer Science major and a current member of the Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation team. Last year, he was a member of the Energy Data Analytics Lab, where he studied electricity access in developing countries by applying machine learning techniques to data collected through aerial imagery.

Senior Sociology and Global Health double major Luiza Perez has been a member of the Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America team since 2015. With her team, she developed a study on the efficacy of insecticide-treated bed nets and the occupational risk factors of leishmaniasis in the Peruvian Amazon. She also designed food and education interventions to mitigate the effects of mercy intoxication in communities along the Madre de Dios River. In 2017, she was awarded a Bass Connections Follow-on Research Award to continue her work in the Madre de Dios by examining the effects of mercury on mitochondrial health and epigenetics.

Learn More

Top row: Sam Eure, Ameya Sanyal, Ashton Merck, Bruny Kenou, Natalie Yu and Juliana Zemke; Second row: Jennifer Huh, Apoorva Ramamurthy, Katharyn Loweth, Shweta Lodha, Nazli Gungor and Prithvir Jhaveri; Third row: Chris Hassel, Amina Mohamed, Elsa Friis, Sahil Sandhu, John Bollinger and Christine O’Connell; Fourth row: Connor Henderson, Nathan Liang and Luiza Perez