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Student Interns | Overview

Ziyan Xie Ziyan Xie

Ziyan is a student at Tufts University majoring in Clinical Psychology and Child Study & Human Development, with minors in Computer Science and Film & Media Studies. Prior to joining Faja Lab, she worked as an intern at Twelve Prescott Program at Wayside Youth Family Support Network and Massachusetts Center for Unexpected Infant and Child Death. She is passionate about supporting positive youth development and she hopes to learn more about factors influencing sexual health for adults on the spectrum. She also worked as a research assistant at DICE lab and SED project at Tufts University. Outside of the lab, Ziyan enjoys dancing and cooking. She is a member at Tufts’s hiphop and kpop dance crews.

Raymond Zheng Raymond Zheng

Raymond is an undergraduate student at Harvard College studying Neuroscience on the Mind, Brain, and Behavior track. He is interested in the intersection of neuroscience and psychology and is particularly curious about the role of emotional regulation and early childhood experiences in social development. He is very excited to be working in the Faja Lab, where he gets to work with children and contribute to research that will positively impact the lives of children on the autism spectrum. Outside the lab, Raymond helps direct the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, sings high tenor with the Harvard Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, and works as a student coordinator at the Harvard First Generation Program. He is an avid botanist and loves philosophy, playing ultimate frisbee with his friends, and volunteering at his local flower shop.

Charles Tommy Zigzus Charles (Tommy) Nigzus 

Tommy is currently a student at MCPHS University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in pre-med and health sciences with minors in psychology and business. Before coming to the Faja lab, he volunteered as an ambassador for the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and worked in the emergency department of Emerson Hospital. Tommy grew up in Harvard, Massachusetts, as the youngest of three brothers and enjoys playing baseball, cooking, listening to music, and learning about a range of topics from history to philosophy. He is excited to learn more about research that will benefit those on the autism spectrum including his two brothers.  

Allison Pellegrino Allison Pellegrino

Allison is an undergraduate student at Boston College majoring in neuroscience and chemistry. She is interested in psychiatry and hopes to eventually conduct research on developmental and psychiatric disorders. In high school, Allison dedicated a large portion of her time to tutoring students who struggle with executive function and face challenges in the classroom, so she is excited to participate in research at the Faja Lab. Allison also pursued ballet pre-professionally in high school and still loves to dance as a hobby. Outside of school, Allison is trying to learn to play the piano and loves to play with her family’s dog, Pablo!
Melinda Don Melinda Don

Melinda is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Environmental Studies at Northeastern University. She is very excited to be a part of the Faja Lab and learn the inner workings of the research world while contributing to studies she finds interesting and important. Melinda has experience with children through multiple teaching and mentoring positions, and absolutely loves working with them. Outside of the lab, Melinda works as an EMT and loves playing the guitar, baking, finding new restaurants, and spending time with friends.

Daniella Rothstein Daniella Rothstein

Daniella is an undergraduate student at Tufts University majoring in Cognitive and Brain Sciences and minoring in Child Studies and Human Development. Along with working at the Faja Lab, Daniella does research at the Crehan Lab at Tufts. At the Crehan Lab, Daniella has worked on a study that examines the intersectionality of the female identity with the autistic identity in adult women. She also researched the efficacy of a Sexual and Relationship Education (SRE) curriculum for autistic adolescents. Currently, Daniella is leading a study that works to address SRE gaps in healthcare for autistic adolescents via a gamified SRE screening tool. Daniella is excited to be working at the Faja Lab, where she gets to further her love for applied research in cognitive and developmental science. In the future, Daniella hopes to pursue a PhD in… something exciting! Outside of the lab, Daniella is a big fan of all-things music. She drums in an indie-rock band as well as a jazz band, and she plays the piano and the electric bass. Daniella also music directs a “trash drumming” group at Tufts – do ask her about it!

Sidnie Kulik Sidnie Kulik

Sidnie is an undergraduate student at Amherst College studying neuroscience with a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. She is pursuing a career in pediatric medicine. Sidnie was admitted to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as a part of their early admissions process through FlexMed. Sidnie founded and ran a science club for elementary aged students while in high school. At Amherst College, she is on the board of Emergency Medical Services program, Project Salud, and the Neuroscience Steering Commitee. She works in the Kim lab at Amherst which studies the molecular biology behind Autism Spectrum. She is also on the varsity track and field team. Outside of the lab, Sidnie enjoys running, singing, and spending time with friends and family.

Black and white photo of a woman, Yohana Otto Yohana Otto

Yohana is an undergraduate student at Brandeis University and is interested in pursuing a major in Biology and a minor in both Public Health and Psychology. At Brandeis, Yohana is a Rich Collins Fellow which granted her the opportunity to fully fund and design a program of her choice with a local community partner. Her current project is the Autism Technology Initiative (ATI) which is in collaboration with Opportunities for Inclusion and is centered around teaching the basic technological skills needed for the job field to people on the autism spectrum. She is also a volunteer program coordinator for Kids Connection who partner with local non-profit organizations to create safe and fun environments for the community’s youth. Growing up as an older sister to two brothers on the autism spectrum motivated Yohana to further explore developmental pediatrics and related fields. Yohana is extremely excited to work at the Faja Lab where she will be able to learn more about autism while fulfilling her passion of working with children. Outside of the lab, Yohana enjoys reading, hiking, and trying new restaurants.
Black and white photo of a woman Nasim Sheikhi

Nasim is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Data Science. At Northeastern, she volunteered at the Affective and Brain Sciences Lab, where she studied the neural basis of subjective affective experiences. Before coming to the Faja Lab, she worked with children and teens as a camp counselor, math tutor, peer advisor, and youth recreation coach. Nasim is excited to work at the Faja Lab to continue learning how research can inform clinical practice. After graduating, she plans to pursue doctoral study in clinical psychology. Outside of lab, Nasim enjoys crocheting, taking long walks, and spending time with her cat.
Molloy-Katie Katherine (Katie) Molloy

Katie is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in art. She previously worked as a research assistant at Northeastern’s Affective and Brain Sciences Lab and is currently on co-op as a Newborn Hearing Screening Technician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Additionally, Katie has worked with kids through babysitting for 6+ years, participating in Athletes Helping Athletes in high school, and volunteering in her aunt’s kindergarten classroom. She loves working with babies and children of all ages and hopes to pursue a career in pediatric medicine. Outside of the lab, Katie loves painting, reading, listening to music, and spending time with her friends and family.
Sehgal-Aanya Aanya Sehgal

Aanya is a Behavioral Neuroscience major with a minor in Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. Prior to coming to the Faja Lab, Aanya worked at an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Center providing early intervention services to children on the autism spectrum. In addition to joining the lab, Aanya also works at the Northeastern Vision Lab wherein she identified a relationship between myopia and sensitivity to contrast using psychophysics. She is currently working on a project that is looking at thresholds versus intensity curves. She intends to pursue a master’s degree in ABA in the near future and attain a doctoral degree in neuropsychology further down the line. Aanya is extremely delighted to be a member of the Faja Lab and develop a greater understanding of autism through clinical research with children! In her free time, Aanya enjoys baking, reading, discovering new places to eat, and participating in community service events.
Diamante Balcazar Diamante Balcazar 

Diamante is an undergraduate student at Harvard College majoring in neuroscience on the mind, brain, and behavior track with a secondary concentration in psychology. He is very eager to learn more about the research being done in the Faja Lab that will benefit children on the autism spectrum, such as his younger brother, Diego. He is even more excited to have a hands-on role with the team! At the college, he is a violinist and singer for Mariachi Veritas de Harvard. In his free time, Diamante enjoys listening to music, watching movies, spending time with friends and family, playing basketball, and all things art related.
Oumou Juwara Oumou Juwara

Oumou is an undergraduate student at Tufts University double-majoring in Clinical Psychology and Child Study and Human Development. Before coming into the lab, Oumou worked for a non-profit organization serving high school students in the South Bronx area of New York. The goal of the non-profit is to empower South Bronx youth to achieve their career goals through career exposure, skill-building, and networking. Over the years, Oumou found an interest in child development and hopes to pursue that interest at the Faja Lab. After the passing of her older brother, who was on the autism spectrum, she knew that she wanted to educate herself and others about autism. Working at the lab will allow her to learn more about autism and the connection between research and clinical practice. After she graduates, she plans to go to graduate school for psychology. Outside of the lab, Oumou enjoys reading, cooking, and working at CVS pharmacy.
Yoonseo Lee

Yoonseo Lee

Yoonseo is an undergraduate student at Wellesley College majoring in Neuroscience. She previously volunteered in a psychology lab that aims to investigate the association between one’s self-concept and impostor phenomenon, a neuroscience lab that investigates the P3 ERP auditory signal in rats’ brain, and was involved in another neuroscience lab that explores the association between diet/exercise/menstruation and microbiome population. She was a social chair for Wellesley’s Neuroscience Club and engaged in efforts to improve the visibility of Wellesley’s Neuroscience Department. She is currently a part of the publicity team of Sci-MI, a nonprofit organization that aims to bridge the gap of research knowledge among underrepresented populations using a remote platform. Joining the Faja lab, she is excited to work with children on the autism spectrum and is excited to learn more about conducting clinical research. Her hobbies are drawing and taking walks.