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RECON Mentors

RECON Mentors

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Current Mentors:

Kenneth Adi

Kenneth Adi- Psychology

My name is Kenneth Adi and I am Psychology major and an Organizational Leadership minor. I am currently involved in the research project LEAF, which is a National Science Foundation funded effort towards the improvement of diversity and inclusion at U.C. I am currently working with notable Psychology faculty such as Dr. Steven Howe, Dr. Rachel Kallen, and Dr. Stacie Holloway. I assist them in the Social Identity and Diversity lab, Evaluation, Policy and Program planning, as well as the Human Resource Effectiveness Lab. My career goal is to pursue a PhD in Psychology and balance both industry and academic research.

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Nisarg Bakshi- Neurobiology

My name is Nisarg Bakshi and I am a junior studying Neurobiology, English, and Biology. I have been researching with a graduate student in Dr. Steve Danzer's lab at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center since June 2012. My lab focuses on Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, using an animal model to understand disease progression in the brain and even find a way to ablate malfunctioning cells without damaging the hippocampus. This past summer, I presented a poster at the UC SURF Symposium, and was awarded 2nd place. Besides research, I’ve competed for the UC's Mock Trial team for three years, for which I am currently also the Secretary/Website Manager. For the last two years, I have also worked as a Resident Advisor. Besides work and school, I love to work out, read, write, and play music. My plans after graduation are either medical school or an MD/PhD program.

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Shannon Ballard- Psychology/Substance Abuse Counseling

My name is Shannon Ballard and I am a psychology major and I am also in the process of getting my substance abuse counseling certificate.  I have been a research assistant since my sophomore year at the Cognitive Performance Lab, under the supervision of Dr. John Holden. I have gained experience in APA writing, managing IRB protocols, and creating/presenting research posters. Recently I interned at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital through the Center for ADHD.  I implemented individualized treatment plans targeting academic, behavioral, and social goals for middle school students with ADHD.  Currently, I am working on multiple prevention strategy projects for the Coalition for a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati. I plan to go to grad school for clinical psychology and continue doing research focused on neurodevelopmental disorders and substance abuse.  

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Morgan Bamberger- Psychology/Early Childhood Education

I am a junior in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Education and Development. I’m also pursuing a certificate in Deaf Studies. For the last year, I’ve been working as a Research Assistant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. I’m working with the Center for ADHD under the direction of Dr. Leanne Tamm and Dr. Jeff Epstein. Throughout this experience, I have conducted child assessments, co-lead a research preschool group, as well as various research interventions and data entry. This fall, I’ll begin work on my senior thesis under Dr. Jeff Epstein. Last spring, I was responsible for entering data independently for Dr. Erinn Green. Ultimately, I’m working toward becoming a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician.

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Presley Benzinger - Psychology/Communications

My name is Presley Benzinger, I am a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Communications. I have been a research assistant since my sophomore year at the Children’s Cognitive Research Lab under the direction of Dr. Heidi Kloos. I have also just begun assisting in research in Dr. Sarah Whitton’s Today’s Couples and Families research program. One of my favorite organizations to become involved in at UC is Bearcat Buddies, a program offered by the Center for Community Engagement that allows UC students to tutor underprivileged children from Cincinnati Public Schools. I plan on pursuing a Psy.D. in clinical psychology once I finish my undergrad studies

Sarah Buhr

Sarah Buhr - Health Sciences

My name is Sarah Buhr. I am a fourth year health sciences student. After graduating, I hope to earn my doctorate of physical therapy. I am currently involved in research through the rehabilitation sciences department. The project I am working on is attempting to determine if short bouts of high intensity exercise will improve VO2, gait speed, and overall mobility of persons with stroke. We will be comparing these results to a common exercise prescription of thirty minutes at a lower target heart rate. I am involved in running sessions with subjects as well as analyzing data including VO2 and heart rate data. 

Zechang Cai

Zicheng Cai - Mechanical Engineering

I am a pre-junior student majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2015. I am also an internation exchange from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which is a top notch university in Asia. I have both self-lead research experience and faculty mentored research experience.  The subjects include social science and engineering. My research on transportation and airport system was awarded first prize by the Shanghai Government. This project was with professional guidance from a professor.  As an engineering student, I spend time in laboratories very often as well. I knows how engineering research works and how to learn from the professors. I have a one-semester factory experience in Shanghai, learning basic mechanical engineering manufacture and operation. I have also headed several engineering skill contest teams, and offered solutions to many college engineering challenges. 

Melvi Chacko

Melvi Chacko- Pre-Pharmacy/ Biological Sciences

My name is Melvi Chacko. I am a senior majoring in Biological Sciences/Pre-Pharmacy at UC. During my junior year, I was involved in research at the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies. My research was centered around the effects of anti-psychotic drugs on gene expression in a mouse model. After researching and presenting at the UC Undergraduate Conference, I have gained a great interest in pharmaceutical research. Upon completion of my undergraduate studies, I am planning to attend pharmacy school. Aside from being a clinical pharmacist, I hope to pursue my interest in pharmaceutical research during my career as well.

Justin Christopher

Justin Christopher- English Literature Creative Writing in Fiction and Africana Studies

Hello, my name is Justin Christopher, I am a third year double major.  I am majoring in English Literature Creative Writing in Fiction and Africana Studies with a focus in Urban Sociology. I am the current President of U.S.A.S. (The United Students of Africana Studies). I have done research on The Prison Industrial Complex, and orally presented at the Undergraduate Research Conference in the spring of 2012. Presently, I am a McNair Scholar working on research in regards to the sociology of Hip Hop music. I am also a published author of the book “The Luxury of Misery”, which is my own autobiography. My goals after my undergraduate education are to pursue a doctoral degree in Sociology. 

Charles Ebersbacher

Charles Ebersbacher- Pre-Med/Biomedical Engineering

I am a 4th year Pre-Med/Biomedical Engineering student. I started my research career by participating in REU under Dr. Urmila Ghia in the Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. I am currently working for Dr. Hyo-jick Choi in the Nanobiological Systems Laboratory in the Engineering Research Center. I am interested in applications of nanotechnology in medicine and the design and development of medical devices. My time is also spent with GlobeMed promoting global health, volunteering at the VA Medical Center Cincinnati, and following the Bearcats, Browns, and Cavs.

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Lakmal Ekanayake- Biological Sciences (Pre-Med)

My name is Lakmal Ekanayake and I am a freshman studying Biological Sciences, with a Pre-Med track. I am currently conducting research at Cincinnati Children's Health Medical Center under the mentorship of Dr. Jorge A. Bezerra MD and Dr. Pranavkumar Shivakumar PhD, PharmD in the Bezerra Lab. My goal of conducting research at Children’s is to investigate the effects of complement inhibitors on intrahepatic cholestasis and liver and extrahepatic bile duct (EHBD) injury using a mouse model of experimental biliary atresia. Biliary Atresia (BA) is a life-threatening condition in infants in which the bile duct outside the liver (extrahepatic bile duct) becomes inflamed and obstructed resulting in a failure to drain bile from the liver to the intestine. Another than research, I enjoy my time volunteering at Good Samaritan Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit(NICU), and overall giving back to the community of Cincinnati. My primary goal of becoming a RECON Mentor, is to facilitate the transition and help students become more familiar with research

Yihua Feng

Yihua Feng- Geography

Yihua Feng graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography (Urban Economic Emphasis) and a certificate in Geographic Information System. She has a strong interest in data analysis, data visualization, economics, GIS mapping and applying GIS technology to business usage. She detected the unavoidable data errors of the hot-spot analysis tools in ArcMap and explored the more accurate method to map the robbery rate and economic factors of Cincinnati. After she graduated from UC, she worked as a full time intern for the education division at National Geographic Society in Washington DC for the summer in 2013.

Claire Fischer

Claire Fischer- Criminal Justice/Psychology

My name is Claire and I am a senior majoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I am currently doing research through the criminal justice department under the direction of Dr. Smith. Aside from research, I volunteer at Summit Behavioral Healthcare, a rehabilitative center for offenders suffering from mental illness. For the past two years, I have presented research projects at the Undergraduate Conference at UC. After graduation, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology so I can provide treatment to mentally ill offenders. Of course, I would also love to eventually return to Spain where I studied abroad for a semester.

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Evan Franz- Biomedical Sciences (pre-med)

My name is Evan Franz, and I am a third year Pre-Med/Biomedical Sciences student. I am currently an undergraduate research assistant for a vascular surgery team in Columbus, Ohio, and started working with this research team in high school. I have had the opportunity to work with this team on various research publications. During my freshman year, the research involved a 5-year analysis of lower extremity arterial injuries at a Level I Trauma Center. Shortly after, I aided in research that focused on major upper and lower extremity arterial injuries. Currently, I am part of a vascular research team that is assessing treatment of peripheral vascular disease in regards to brachial artery access. Through these experiences, I have gained a wealth of knowledge. I am also very involved in community service and a multitude of student organizations. My future plan after graduate is to attend a medical school.

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Helen Gamez - Psychology

Although born in Ohio, I was raised across Europe. I grew up speaking English with my father and Polish with my mother, learning French and German along the way as we traveled from Poland to Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and finally back to Ohio. My diverse upbringing motivates me to immerse myself in to every culture I come in contact with and has instilled a natural fascination of people and their behavior in me. I am eager to learn more about psychology and human nature as I work my way towards graduation.

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Jarod Gregory- Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Jarod Gregory is a 4th-year CEAS ACCEND student, earning a B.S. in chemical engineering and M.S. in environmental engineering. Jarod has a 3.98 GPA and has been involved in research projects throughout his time at UC. He was part of a team that won an EPA P3 Award at the 2012 National Sustainable Design Expo for their work on biodiesel research, and was awarded an honorable mention for the nationally-prestigious Goldwater Scholarship in 2013 for his current research project entitled “Microbial Detection in Surface Waters” and classroom accomplishments. He was also awarded Student of the Month for July 2013 by the URSC. Jarod graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2009 with a degree in political science and transferred in to his current program after working on environment-related political issues for a year and half. 

Jake Haseman

Jake Haseman- Aerospace Engineering

My name is Jake Haseman, I am a fifth year Aerospace Engineering student at UC. I was a member of the Track & Field team as a discus/hammer thrower and made it to the first round of nationals the last 2 years. I'm currently performing research under Dr. Jeng at the combustion research center located in Centerhill. The general topic is "characteristics of axial swirlers" and I'm investigating the effect of confinement ratio and vane angle on expansion angle and the size of the central recirculation zone. I plan on pursuing my master's degree once I finish my undergrad studies, concentrating on fluid dynamics/propulsion.

Joe Honeck

Joe Honeck- Aerospace Engineering

My name is Joe Honeck, I am a fourth year Aerospace Engineering student here at UC. I am currently the President of the University of Cincinnati Rocket Club, member of the Formula SAE team, and member of the Nano Satellite team. I am a Co-op at Barnes Aerospace in Westchester as a Quality Engineer and have also worked as a Manufacturing and Process Engineer. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career in the rapid prototyping and manufacturing field using Direct Metal Laser Sintering and other various forms of “3D” printing for the aerospace and automotive industries.

Jacob Kallenbach

Jacob Kallenbach- Biomedical Engineering

My name is Jacob Kallenbach and I am a third year Biomedical Engineering major pursuing a minor in Psychology. I enjoy skiing, mountain biking, watching How I Met Your Mother, listening to Jack Johnson and Macklemore, and I love playing soccer for the UC Men’s Club Soccer team. On campus, I am involved in the Biomedical Engineering Society, CEAS Ambassadors, the National Kidney Foundation’s kidney walk/ 5K, and the Arthritis Foundation’s walk.  Since April 2012, I had the incredible opportunity to work in Hong Lab for Computational and Molecular Biology, which has the vision to understand molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms and their interconnected network with other cellular processes such as cell cycle, DNA damage response, and metabolism in Neurospora Crassa. Specifically, I worked on over-expressing numerous core genes, involved in such cellular processes, and then I observed, collected, and recorded data from these over-expression constructs. I hope to share these eclectic experiences with my fellow undergraduate students and enlighten them to the plethora of opportunities offered at UC. 

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Sruthi Kesanam - Pre-medicine/Biochemistry

My name is Sruthi Kesanam and I am a fourth-year student pursuing pre-medicine/biochemistry here at the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences in the University of Cincinnati.  Last year, I have done research in Dr. Patrick Limbach’s lab in which my project largely revolved around the synthesis of a purified Ribonuclease U2 protein.  After doing a full year of research, I have obtained a great deal of interest in conducting research at laboratories.  At the same time, I would also like to pursue a career in the medical field and become a physician.  As a R.E.C.O.N mentor, I would like to take this opportunity to assist other students with finding research opportunities at UC.       

Stephanie Larios

Stephanie Larios- Mathematics and Economics

My name is Stephanie Larios and I am a third year Mathematics and Economics major. Currently I am working on a research project for the Taft Research Center under the direction of Professor Olivier Parent in the area of urban economics. I will also be starting a new project this semester with Professor Debashis Pal. My interests are mainly in labor economics and game theory. I am a member of McNair Scholars, a program dedicated to helping students reach graduate school. Upon completing my undergraduate studies, I hope to go on to get a Ph.D in Economics, preferrably focusing on one of the more mathematically concentrated areas.

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Rebecca Law- Biology

My name is Rebecca Law and I am a third year Biology major on the cell and molecular track.  I also am pursuing a minor in Information Systems from the College of Business and the Minor in Medical Sciences in the College of Medicine.  I am involved in a sorority, UC Club Swimming, and the CKI club.  In May - August 2013 I worked in a biology lab through the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) program.  I studied the transcriptome of Astyanax mexicanus, or the blind Mexican cavefish.  I specifically looked at the expression of about 40,000 genes at four developmental stages.  This program gave me insight into research and graduate school.

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Sarah Law- Cell & Molecular Biology/ Information Systems & Medical Sciences

I am a junior majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology with minors in Information Systems and Medical Sciences.  I participated in the REWU WISE Program during the summer of 2013.  Through this program, I conducted research under Dr. Grogan studying the genetics of a single-celled organism and I will be presenting this research at the UC Undergraduate Conference in April 2014.  The WISE Program has also given me very valuable information about applying to graduate schools and seeking research opportunities.  After completing my bachelor’s degree, I intend to pursue an MS in Pharmacology and then use this degree to work in industry

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Rachel Mantyla - Neurobiology/Medical Sciences

My name is Rachel Mantyla and I am a junior pursuing a major in Neurobiology and a minor in Medical Sciences. My goal is to attend medical school once I have completed my undergraduate studies. I have been researching at Cincinnati Children’s in the Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology since my freshman year. I research in Dr. Ronald Waclaw’s lab, which focuses on neural development and tumor development in the mouse model organism. Aside from research, I volunteer weekly at Crossroad Health Center in Over-the-Rhine and serve as the VP of External for Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-medical honor society.

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Alex Meredith- Biology/Pre-Pharm

My name is Alex Meredith. I am a senior biology student with an emphasis on pharmaceutical science. During my junior year I was an undergraduate researcher at the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies in the Zang Lab. My work focused on overcoming resistance to tamoxifan resistant breast cancer by identification of ARGLU1-interacting proteins with a golden yeast two-hybrid system. During my time in the Zang Lab I learned the importance of breast cancer research and its real impact on society. After graduation I look forward to applying to pharmacy school and working for a major pharmaceutical company. I can’t wait to guide other students like myself in their undergraduate research endeavors.

Hilary Meyer

Hilary Meyer- Psychology

My name is Hilary and I am a third year Psychology major with minors in Criminal Justice and Early Childhood Education and Development. I enjoy being an active member of the UC community by being involved as a teaching assistant, an Academic Internship Ambassador, a member of Greek life, and of course, cheering on our Bearcats!  I am currently employed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where I conduct research under Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Crosby.  I have had the opportunity to be a part of the research our lab conducts on childhood obesity and early childhood education practices.  I also take part in a Neuropsychology practicum at Children’s in the Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. I am hoping to continue my education into grad school and become a School Psychologist.

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Adam Miller- Biomedical Engineering

As a 3rd year Biomedical Engineering student working at Cincinnati Children’s in the Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology, I study microRNA expression in Neurofibromatosis Type I Schwann cells. My work in the Ratner lab will provide insight to Mir-155’s upstream and downstream targets with hope for future gene-targeting therapy. In addition to my research, I am also a member of the National Honor Society: Sigma Alpha Pi, the Minority Association for Pre-Med Students, and the UC Gymnastics Club. In my spare time I perform for the Cincinnati Circus Company, draw, play piano, and row. My plans after graduating are to enroll in the MD/PhD program at UC Med School and specialize in pediatrics.

Heather Perkins

Heather Perkins- Psychology

I am a Psychology major and Sociology minor who is very interested in the media, stereotypes, and identity, with an emphasis on storytelling and narrative. I am currently a teaching assistant for several classes and am looking forward to graduating soon. In addition to working at UC Human Resources, I also work at the Cincinnati branch of Ohio Mentor, which primarily provides counseling for developmentally delayed individuals with mental health issues. I’m also very active in Dr. Kallen’s Social Identity & Diversity lab, and am hard at work on several studies that investigate stereotype threat inside and outside of the media. When I graduate, I’m planning to attend graduate school with a focus in social psychology.

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Malini Ramudit- Biological Sciences (pre-med)

I am a graduate student of the BS + Non-Thesis Master’s program in Biology. As an undergrad my interest in research sparked after being an ATA for ecology. I have done field research in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and laboratory based research using radioactive tracers to test the occurrence of co-evolution between insects and their host plants. I am continuing this research as a graduate student with Dr. Matter and Dr. Kaneshiro. Though my research is ecologically and evolutionary based, I am a pre-med student and plan to apply to medical school.

Matt Rasch

Matt Rasch- Pre-Med/Biology 

I am a fourth year Pre-Med/Biology student and have conducted motor neuron research in the Molecular Biology Department at the College of Medicine for the past year. I plan to go onto medical school and eventually become a neurologist. Although clinical medicine is my true passion the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research has been incredibly valuable. In addition to research, I have shadowed a number of local physicians and have been a member of various public health volunteer organizations. I became a RECON member in order to share my experiences and to lend a hand to fellow students looking for opportunities that will make them competitive job and professional school applicants.

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Pavel Reshetin - Chemistry/Psychology

My name is Pavel Reshetin and I’m in my senior year pursuing a BS-ACS Chemistry degree and a minor in Psychology. A little bit about me, I like to stay active and that is why I am very involved with fitness. I enjoy rock climbing, snowboarding, biking and swimming and working out. I started doing research in the beginning of my junior year, working with Dr. Pzang. His lab has a lot of various directions of research, but the overall focus is working with nano-particles of various substances and materials. In the lab, I work primarily with synthesis of gold nano-particles of various size and absorption spectrum. The responsibilities that I am in charge of include the synthesis of the gold particles, collection of data, analysis of my findings and creation of new ways to make the synthesis more cost/time effective. I really hope to share my interesting experiences that I had with my fellow undergraduates, who share the same interest as me or help them find their own unique research that they can be passionate about.

Batsheva Serota

Batsheva Serota- Psychology

I am a Cincinnati born-and-raised third year Psychology major who loves everything about UC and my city. I love working with other students as an undergraduate teaching assistant and as a Supplemental Instruction Leader so that I can spread my love for Psychology. As an active member of RECLAIM, you will often find me advocating for women and victims of sexual assault. I am currently doing research in the Language Cognition and PMD labs in the Psychology department, and I am passionate about educating others about my research interests. In my spare time, I am usually at the zoo, watching the The Walking Dead, or making pasta salad.

Spencer Wade

Spencer Wade- Psychology/ Neuroscience / Medical Sciences (pre-med)

My name is Spencer Wade and I am a senior (on a 5 year plan)  double major in psychology and neuroscience.  If that weren’t enough I am also pre-med and am getting a minor in medical sciences to top it all off.  My favorite things to do are ski, watch t.v. and hangout with my friends and family.  As for my future goals I would like to go to medical school and get a MD PhD.  I would love to specialize in pediatric neurology but who knows maybe I will find something in medical school that changes my opinion on that. I love science/medicine and I hope to someday do great things with it.

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Patrick Wolfkiel - Biochemistry

My name is Patrick Wolfkiel and I am senior pursuing Biochemistry major.  I am currently working in Dr.Litosh research lab. I have also done two years of undergraduate research in a Biology Lab at Bowling Green State University. We studied a plant pathogen that affects only soybeans. My main goal is to become a cardiovascular surgeon. I am currently in the process for applying to medical school. My long-term goal is to start my own research in biochemistry that has a medical focus. I also volunteer when I get the chance I have recently been a group leader for Into the Streets of Cincinnati, witch was a program put together by Center for Community Engagement.


Previous Mentors:

Ben Hazen

Ben Hazen- Pre-Med/Biology 

My name is Ben Hazen and I am a senior Pre-Med/Biology student. During my sophomore and junior years, my research focused on the NS5B RNA-dependent RNA polymerase in HCV/HIV co-infected patients in Dr. Jason Blackard’s Lab. Currently, I am the assistant program coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly Endeavors, and Creative Practice. During my time at the University of Cincinnati, my greatest challenge has been applying to medical school. As I look forward to continuing my education in medical school next year, I have come to realization that I could write a small book of the things I did not know when I started the application process. I am passionate about helping as many students as possible learn from the knowledge I have gained and the mistakes I have made in applying for medical school.

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830S- Steger Student Life Center