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Student Interns | Overview


Melody Altschuler Melody Altschuler

Melody is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science doctoral program at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development and Department of Psychology. She is interested in the developmental etiology and structure of psychopathology, with a particular focus on autism and internalizing/externalizing symptoms. She also focuses on understanding the processes involved in social cognition and self-regulation. Under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Faja and Dr. Robert Krueger, Melody's research incorporates quantitative, developmental, clinical, and neuroscience methods. By integrating a developmental psychopathology framework with an individual differences approach that considers intersections between normal-range personality, pathological personality, and mental disorders, she aims to delineate the empirically-based structure and mechanisms of psychopathological tendencies. Through her program of research, she aims to inform efforts that promote adaptive functioning across the lifespan. Prior to graduate school, Melody received her B.A. in psychology from Bates College. She then spent two years at the Yale Child Study Center as a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience. In her free time, Melody enjoys running, reading, and drinking mint tea.


Allison Pellegrino Allison Pellegrino

Allison is currently a first-year student at Boston College and intends to double major in neuroscience and mathematics. 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 a senior 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 a 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 Disorders (ASD). 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 a current freshman 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 with autism. 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 with ASD 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 ASD 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 Isabella Rando

Isabella is currently a sophomore at Northeastern University studying Behavioral Neuroscience on a pre-medical track. In high school, Isabella participated in a three-year Science Research program where she designed and conducted her own neuroscience study on fruit flies. She now volunteers as a research assistant in the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern to study how physical activity and lifestyle choices affect cognitive development in children. During the spring 2023 semester, Isabella will be working as a medical practice assistant in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Isabella has observed her mother interact with children with ASD and developmental delays as a school psychologist. Bella is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work in the Faja Lab and contribute to research that will support children with ASD. She is hopeful that the Faja Lab will enhance her passion for neuroscience and child development. Outside of the lab, Isabella enjoys running, cooking, baking, and spending time with her 3 siblings.


Black and white photo of a woman Nasim Sheikhi

Nasim is a junior 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 currently a second-year 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 currently a third-year 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 with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). 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 ASD 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 currently a sophomore at Harvard College majoring in neuroscience on the mind, brain, 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 is helping children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), 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 a 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 spectrum disorders (ASD). Working at the lab will allow her to learn more about ASD 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 a junior 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.