I am a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the Developmental and Brain Sciences program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I work in Dr. S. Tiffany Donaldson’s Behavioral Psychopharmacology Lab where I examine the influence of immune substrates within the brain’s reward and stress systems on the etiology and maintenance of addictive-like behaviors during adolescence. I have had a long-running interest in psychiatric research and have worked on various projects that examined neural underpinnings of depression, anxiety, drug addiction, and status-seeking and hierarchal behaviors. I value an interdisciplinary approach and have employed human and animal models (e.g., rodent and invertebrate models) where I have gained experience in differentiated research design and techniques.
My interest and passion for neuroscience began in a cozy college classroom where I held a plasticized human brain in my hands for the first time. It continued to develop through my undergraduate research and NSF and NIH research fellowships. However, my love and motivation for neuroscience education is only sustained through the myriad social interactions with my students, peers, mentors, and BIPOC community at the various stages of my career. I am constantly inspired by our community, our stories, and our sheer determination to overcome the challenges we face every day in order to manifest our futures, goals, and accomplishments.
Education and inclusivity are two driving factors for my professional development. My work in a lab directed by and comprised primarily of BIPOC and women has instilled an appreciation for gender and cultural diversity in academia. This has led to multiple opportunities for me to instruct and mentor undergraduate students from marginalized populations. Additionally, I have instructed a diverse group of students across community-based and higher education teaching positions, including two sections of an undergraduate Behavioral Neuroscience course as instructor-on-record.
I am a mixed-race Black scholar, first-generation college graduate, and queer-identifying neuroscientist from a low socioeconomic neighborhood in the Los Angeles area. My hope is to be able to use my experiences and knowledge to potentiate the education and mentorship of future scholars that share similar backgrounds, challenges, and goals.