Andrés Alvarado-Avila, B.A., (he/him) is a research study assistant for the SMART project. He is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in applied psychology. Broadly speaking, Andrés is interested in how we can use technology to address health disparities in minority communities. Previously, Andrés was an undergraduate intern in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, where he worked on clinical trial studies related to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Currently, he is also working as a research extern volunteer in the Multicultural and Latino Health Research program and is a Latino Obesity and Cancer Health Equity Research Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Zaina Awad, M.P.H. (she/her) is the communications manager at ISGMH. Her prior experience includes coordinating efforts to rehabilitate schools in low-income areas of East Jerusalem; researching Mozambique’s vaccine supply chain to inform efforts to improve coverage in the country’s most remote areas; and supporting TEDMED (the health and medicine edition of TED) speakers in talk development and presentation. Zaina enjoys translating complex information into engaging and concise messaging, and crafting health communications that effectively educate and empower patients. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Princeton University.
Kate Banner, M.A., (she/her) is a project management associate with the Network Canvas project at ISGMH. Her prior work spans diverse project development and implementation in research and direct service environments. Kate holds a Masters of Arts in Global Politics, awarded with Distinction, from the University of Exeter, and a B.A. in Political Economy from the Evergreen State College. Prior to joining Northwestern, she helped develop and implement a legal education project for detained immigrants in the jurisdiction of the Chicago Immigration Court. Her broad professional interests include supporting projects that expand access to services, address health disparities, and promote rights of marginalized communities. After many years away from the Midwest, Kate returned to Chicago in 2013 to be closer to family.
Emily Bettin, B.A.,(she/her) is a research study coordinator for the Data Management Team, working with multiple IMPACT research projects. She received her B.A. in Political Science and The Integrated Program in Humane Studies from Kenyon College. In 2012, she completed the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Clinical Psychology certificate program from Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. Emily has previous research experience working at The Family Institute at Northwestern University as the Project Administrator for the Epstein Center for Psychotherapy Change, where she was active in the implementation, expansion, and continued evolution of the Systemic Therapy Inventory of Change (STIC©). Her clinical and research interests broadly include issues related to trauma and resilience, particularly among members of underserved and marginalized communities.
Aris S. Brown, M.P.H., (she/her) is a research project coordinator for the Community Development Evaluation project at ISGMH. Her previous research experience focuses on Community Based Participatory Research, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and psychoeducation. Aris’ broad research interests include mental health, reproductive justice, homelessness, and equitable access to quality healthcare for underserved populations. Aris is an alumna of UIC- School of Public Health (MPH in Community Health Sciences with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health) and DePaul University (BA in Healthcare Management and Advocacy). She intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Pharmacology to develop interventions to improve mental health outcomes for racial, sexual, and gender minorities alike.
Rayna N. Brown, M.A., M.P.H., (she/her) is a research project coordinator on a PrEP adherence and usage study lead by Drs. Michael Newcomb and Brian Mustanski. She was born in Chicago and currently lives on the south side. She has done reproductive health, rights, and justice work with communities of color for more than 10 years. She has also participated in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health research at University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago and Northwestern University. She most recently worked on the CFAR funded IKNOW study (Women and PrEP) as the Research Project Coordinator with Dr. Lisa Hirschhorn and team. She’s an alumna of Spelman College (BS in Biology), Roosevelt University (MA in Women and Gender Studies), and UIC-School of Public Health (MPH- Community Health Sciences-MCH). Rayna is an avid dancer and can be found in a dance studio or on stage in her spare time!
Kitty Buehler, M.S., (she/her) is a research study coordinator for the RADAR study with the IMPACT Program. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University in 2013 and her M.S. in General Psychology from DePaul University in 2017. She started at ISGMH as an intern on RADAR and then worked as a research study assistant on FAB 400 before moving into her current role. Her past research has focused on sexual fluidity, science support programs for Latinx high school and college students, and adult support in out-of-school-time youth activities. Her current interests include multi-marginalization, intimate partner violence, and community influences on mental health, substance abuse, and risk behavior in LGBT youth.
Jim Carey, M.P.H., (he/him) is the intervention implementation coordinator for the 2GETHER project with IMPACT. He earned his B.S. from Ohio State University and his M.P.H. from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in Community Health Sciences. Jim has previously worked at the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center (MATEC) as a program coordinator and training specialist where he provided clinical training and education to healthcare professionals, developed new curricula and coordinated large scale conferences. After his tenure at MATEC, Jim became the community engagement coordinator for the Chicago arm of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network at UIC. In his most recent position at the Illinois Department of Public Health, he was a training specialist and curriculum development specialist where he trained all state of Illinois employees in HIV test counseling, risk reduction, cultural competence with LGBTQ clients, and various CDC Effective Behavioral Interventions. In addition, Jim partnered with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago for the “Ready, Set, PrEP!” training series and helped various state health departments implement their new PrEP programs. Jim also guest lectures for the Physician Assistant Program at Northwestern University, the Social Work program at University of Chicago, and the Public Health Program at DePaul University. His research interests include eliminating health disparities within the LGBTQ population, primarily through prevention with positives and advances in biomedical HIV prevention. Additionally, Jim is a three time galleried artist, and studies painting and photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Andrés Carrión, M.S., (he/him) is a project coordinator for the SMART Project. He received his B.A. in Clinical Psychology at Dominican University in 2014. During this time he interned at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at the Center for Applied Psychology, where he gained insight on applied-community research and on psychological assessment. Andres holds a Master’s of Science in Psychology from DePaul University. His master’s thesis examined the association between gender-role expression during childhood and psychopathology in adulthood. Andres’ research interests involve the sexual risk-taking behaviors of sexual and gender minority youth who are experiencing homelessness. Andres hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology so that he can work with Community-based Organizations and evaluate current services being delivered to sexual and gender minority youth who are experiencing homelessness.
Eric Carty-Fickes, M.S., (he/him) is a senior developer with the Research Application Design and Development (RADD) team. He earned his B.S. from Princeton University and his M.S. from Duke University, both in Electrical Engineering. He has worked as a software developer in Academic and Research Technologies, the Department of Radiology, and the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Northwestern. He has built applications of all types, from stereoscopic image viewers for tiled display walls, to a video processing and management platform, to dozens of mobile and web applications for mental health and behavioral interventions. When Eric isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with his family outdoors, cooking, and singing in the Northwestern Music Academy Chorus among other things.
Peter Cleary, B.A.,(he/him) is a research study coordinator on the RADAR project. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University double majoring in Biological Sciences and Psychology. His previous research involved social and media-related determinants of body image, and his undergraduate extracurricular involvement included programming for an LGBTQ+ student community group, peer mentorship, and education for high school students on accessing health resources.
Antonia Clifford, M.S.W., (she/her) is the project director for RADAR, a longitudinal cohort study of over 1,000 participants. She has previously been a coordinator on NHBS-Chi Guys, an adolescent pilot project extension of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance, and Project Q2, the longest running longitudinal study of LGBTQ youth. At ISGMH, Antonia has worked to actively recruit, engage, and retain youth and adult participants on several key projects. She received her B.A. in Sociology and her M.S.W. from the University of Chicago. Antonia has worked on positive youth development in community centers and residential facilities, specifically focusing on the experiences of LGBTQ youth, youth of color, and juveniles in the justice system. She recognizes the unique role of research in synthesizing, innovating, and improving the tools and programs necessary to best support the growth and health of our communities.
Alexandra Coello, B.S., (she/her) is the social media program coordinator for the IMPACT Program. She received her B.S in Marketing and International Business from Marquette University. Prior to joining ISGMH, Alex worked as a Research Study Recruitment Coordinator for NUCATS. She is currently completing a master’s degree in Counseling from DePaul University and is passionate about increasing access to mental health care. Alex enjoys cooking, exploring bookstores, and listening to her favorite albums on repeat.
Adam Conway, M.A., (he/him) is a senior research study coordinator with the 2GETHER Project. Prior to working with ISGMH, he worked as a research and evaluation coordinator with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, evaluating prevention, linkage-to-care, and supportive housing programs and coordinating peer-based linkage and retention interventions. In addition to HIV program evaluation, Adam has five years of advocacy, wellness education, and program and resource development experience with homeless youth, LGBTQ, and HIV-positive populations. Adam holds an M.A. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in History and Gender Studies from Truman State University. He is passionate about queer and feminist research and broadly interested in health disparities and social determinants of health, as well as exploring storytelling and media representation as tools for social change.
Shariell Crosby, B.A., (she/her) is a research study coordinator in the IMPACT Program’s data team, working on the HPV and the FAB 400 projects. Shariell graduated with honors from Middlebury College, where she received her B.A. in Psychology. While at Middlebury, she was involved in sexual violence awareness through the It Happens Here project. Her undergraduate research experience includes assessing pro-environmental behavior and sense of belonging in the Conservation Psychology Lab. She has experience in racial health disparities involving sleep disorders from her time at New York University. Shariell’s research interests broadly encompass psychological trauma and health disparities across race, class, gender, and sexuality. She intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Abbey Dean, M.A.,(she/her) received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Her work focused on Pedagogy and LGBTQIA Health and Education. In the past, she worked as a Youth Outreach Coordinator at the Nebraska AIDS Project, and then as a Teaching Assistant for UNO’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In her role at ISGMH, Abbey works on the Keep It Up! 3.0 project. She loves music, trying new recipes/restaurants, animals, traveling, dancing, and mindfulness.
Dylan Felt, B.A., (they/them or she/her) is a data assistant associate for the CONNECT and EDIT programs. They graduated from Brown University in 2016 with B.A.s with honors in Psychology and in Literary Arts. After graduation, they worked at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI, as a research assistant on a study testing and evaluating the impact of brief CBT intervention to improve functioning in HIV+ individuals with chronic pain and comorbid depressive symptoms. Their research interests, broadly, include stress and trauma resilience in the LGBTQ+ community as well as designing interventions to improve long-term mental and physical health outcomes among sexual and gender minority individuals. They intend to pursue these research interests via graduate study in clinical psychology in the future.
Justin A. Franz, B.A., (he/him) is the biomedical coordinator for RADAR. Justin has over 10 years’ experience conducting HIV and STI clinical trials. He has coordinated HIV and other STI vaccine studies, as well as various treatment trials. Justin has been involved in this research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and most recently at University of Illinois-Chicago, where he coordinated large-scale HIV/STI Vaccine Studies for both NIH-funded grants and pharmaceutical companies. Justin’s research interests include novel HIV prevention tools.
Ricky Hill, Ph.D.,(they/them) is a research associate at ISGMH directing the 2GETHER project. Prior to coming to ISGMH, Ricky worked at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination at the University of Chicago, helping develop and launch a youth drop-in space on the South Side and working on various network-based HIV-prevention and testing initiatives. Before Chicago, they called New Mexico home, developing and implementing various HIV and LGBTQ+ behavioral health interventions across the state and southwest region. They served as a volunteer and youth group facilitator at the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico while completing their doctoral work in Health Communication through the University of New Mexico. Their dissertation project, Trans/formations: A Photovoice Assessment of Transgender People’s Wellness, utilizes Photovoice, a community-centered photography methodology, with transgender and gender nonconforming people in Albuquerque, NM, creating a visual, community-driven health and wellness assessment. Ricky also holds an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas-Austin, and a B.A. in Moving Image Arts from the College of Santa Fe. Outside of the office, they love college (Jayhawks) and professional (Thunder) basketball, all forms of urban gardening, and spoiling their orange tabby cat, Kimchi Lox Fenton Messinger-Hill.
Manuel Hurtado Jr, B.A. (he/his) is a research study assistant with the SMART project at ISGMH. He received his B.A. in psychology with concentration in neuroscience from Marquette University in 2018. While at Marquette, he worked as a research assistant at the UW-Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention in Milwaukee and was involved in two research labs in the Department of Psychology at Marquette. His undergraduate research experience at Marquette focused on LGBTQ+ health, psychosocial outcomes, and identity development. Manuel intends to pursue graduate work in public health with a research focus on HIV intervention implementation and qualitative interviews. Outside of ISGMH, Manuel enjoys running, Brewers and Bucks games, and cooking anything Mexican.
Chika Ike, B.A., (she/her) is a program assistant and the front desk receptionist for ISGMH, CHIP, CFAR, and EDW. She studied theatre and history at Indiana University, where she was active in her local chapter of Amnesty International and several theatre organizations. Prior to joining the Feinberg teams she worked at the Department of Communication Studies as a program assistant, as well as various other Northwestern University offices. Most recently, Chika finished a year in Berkeley, California as the Bret C. Harte Directing Fellow of Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Justin Patrick Jones, M.P.H., M.P.P., M.A., (he/him) is a senior project manager with Keep It Up! 3.0. He earned his B.S. from Northwestern University, during which time he majored in theatre. Later in life, he discovered a passion for public health with a focus on sexual and gender minorities. For his first master’s degree, an M.A. in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University, Justin completed an original, qualitative research study examining discrimination in healthcare among gay and lesbian young adults. In his subsequent degrees, an M.P.H. and an M.P.P. from the University of California, Berkeley, he worked on diverse projects ranging from designing product solutions for San Francisco, CA’s largest farmers’ market to homeless encampment policy for the city government of Oakland, CA to a policy analysis focused on mental health services for youth and young adults living in Chicago neighborhoods highly impacted by adverse childhood events. Combined, he has more than a decade of experience in HIV services, nonprofit leadership, and policy advocacy.
Kyle Jozsa, B.A., (he/him) is a research study assistant with ISGMH. Kyle is currently attending Northwestern University earning his M.A. in Clinical Psychology. Kyle earned his B.A. in English language and literature from the University of Michigan (UM) in 2013. After spending the next several years working in hospitality, he returned to UM in 2017 to prepare for a career in research by completing coursework in psychology and volunteering in Dr. Ashley Gearhardt’s Food Addiction Science and Treatment (FAST) Lab. Broadly speaking he is interested in addiction and health disparities among minority communities. Kyle plans to apply PhD programs after completing his masters, and to focus his coursework in neuropsychology while studying here at Northwestern. Outside of school, Kyle enjoys reading, movies, and spending time with his co-dependent deaf cats, Woodhouse and Dicky.
Grant Kayes, B.A.,(he/him) is an associate software developer creating web applications with the Research Application Design and Development team. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and a minor in Japanese Language and Culture. His professional interests lie in using technology and data to provide insights on how to be your best self in all aspects of life. Outside of work, he can be found producing house and electronic music, exploring local coffee shops, and learning about East Asian languages and culture.
Kai Korpak, B.A., (he/him) is a research assistant for the Bisexual+ Youth Project & Text2Protect studies within the IMPACT Program of ISGMH. He received his bachelor’s degree in 2018 from DePaul University majoring in Psychology with a minor in LGBTQ Studies. Before coming to ISGMH, Kai worked as an Emergency Medical Technician in the Chicagoland area, where he developed a passion for improving medical care for SGM individuals. He started at ISGMH as an intern on ASAP and FAB400 and then worked as a research study assistant on ASAP, Looking, and Bisexual+ Visibility Project before moving into his current role. Kai’s research interests include the mental health of transgender youth, the accessibility of hormone blockers for transgender youth, and resiliency within the LGBTQ community. Kai plans to pursue these interests in the future by completing a Master’s in Social Work.
Yamari Lewis, B.A.,(she/her) is a research assistant for the SMART project. Yamari previously interned with RADAR on Recruitment and Retention. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2018 with a major in gender and sexuality studies and minor in psychology. Yamari’s research interests include health education and health disparities, specifically chronic health conditions, across sexual and gender minorities. While attending Northwestern, she was involved in LGBTQ student groups, community service, and residential life. Also, she likes cool weather, musical theatre, playing the flute, and learning trivia.
Danielle Love (she/her) is a research assistant with the IMPACT Program, working with the RADAR Project on Recruitment & Retention. Danielle has worked in a variety of community settings, particularly in LGBTQ and transgender community centers. She was a consultant on the initial opening of Trans Life Center, a project of Chicago House, and worked as a House Monitor and Outreach Educator throughout the Center’s first three years. In her spare time, she conducts trainings regarding transgender and gender non-conforming issues for social service agencies and community groups. Her research and community interests include transgender health and wellness, as well as violence prevention within the transgender and gender nonconforming communities.
Krystal Madkins, M.P.H.,(she/her)is the project manager for the txt2protect and Keep It Up! 2.0 studies within the IMPACT Program. She also provides technical support for a community based implementation of Keep It Up! in Jackson, MS. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College and her M.P.H. in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health. Prior to joining ISGMH, Krystal worked on a study focused on sexual risk behaviors and substance use among MSM. Krystal’s research interests include health disparities and STI prevention in overlooked populations such as queer women and older adults.
Rachel Marro, B.A., (she/her) is a data assistant associate working with the YRBS project. She received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago, where she was also involved in a number of volunteer and advocacy groups around violence prevention and health. For the past several years, Rachel has worked in direct service as an outreach educator, running workshops for thousands of teens and young adults across Chicagoland on sexual and mental health. She also developed and ran LGBTQ inclusion trainings for professionals and community groups that work with youth.
Maggie Matson, M.P.H.,(she/her) is a research study coordinator working on the ASAP and SLAP-HIV studies, within the IMPACT Program. She received her M.P.H. with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Indiana University’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Human Sexuality from Indiana University in Bloomington. Her recent work experiences focused on identifying barriers to social inclusion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and evaluating a teen dating violence prevention campaign. Her current research interests include STI/HIV prevention, specifically in underserved populations.
Liz McConnell, M.A.,(she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Clinical-Community Psychology at DePaul University and an NRSA predoctoral fellow with ISGMH. She received a B.A. from Oberlin College in English and Comparative American Studies with a concentration in Identity and Diversity. She works with Dr. Michelle Birkett in the CONNECT Program using network, geospatial, and mixed methods approaches to better understand social contextual influences on the health of YMSM, particularly racial disparities in HIV. Liz is interested in the relationships between identity, systems of inequality, and wellbeing, with a focus on racially diverse sexual and gender minorities. Her research has examined factors that promote racial justice engagement among White students, attitudes towards transgender women among cisgender lesbians, and the relationships between social support and mental health among LGBT youth.
Joshua Melville, M.Sc.,(he/him) is the lead developer of the Network Canvas project. Formerly a DPhil (PhD) student at the University of Oxford, Joshua is a sociologist by training, with interests in digital qualitative social research, social network analysis, and human computer interaction. During his time at Oxford, Joshua developed the Network Canvas tool – a framework for collecting personal network data – which was used by the RADAR project to explore complex structural factors surrounding HIV transmission. Building on this success, Joshua is now coordinating the development of the Network Canvas suite of tools. Joshua holds a B.A. in Economics and Social Studies, and an M.S. in Sociological Research Methods from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. A British national, Joshua is the first UK-based employee of ISGMH.
Melissa Mongrella, M.H.S., (she/her) is a program coordinator with the Research Application Design and Development (RADD) team. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish at the University of Chicago and later earned her Master’s of Health Science in Mental Health from Johns Hopkins University. Her master’s thesis evaluated the relationship between experiences of stigma and drug overdose. Her broad research interests include adolescent sexual health and eating disorders in underserved communities.
Kevin Moran, M.P.H., (he/him) is a data analyst for the SMART Project. He has extensive experience using wireless and wearable technologies to passively measure behaviors such as sleep, physical activity, sedentary behavior, eating, and smoking. His previous work has involved the analysis of multi-level data to assess environmental determinants of physical activity, and developing machine learning algorithms to detect smoking and eating using smartwatches. His research interests are particularly centered around eHealth/mHealth behavioral interventions. Kevin holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from San Diego University, concentrating on health behavior and epidemiology. His B.A. in psychology was earned from University of California San Diego.
Julia Napolitano, B.A.,(she/her) is a research assistant for RADAR. In the last five years Julia has volunteered and worked at multiple community-based agencies as a HIV test counselor and sexual health educator. She is passionate about advancing “body literacy” across individuals and communities – this includes advocating for language, tools, and spaces that enable people to explore and feel at home in their intersecting embodied identities. As part of this passion, Julia also works part-time at Early to Bed, Chicago’s oldest queer feminist sex shop, and continues to stay active in Chicago’s harm reduction and needle exchange communities.
Jack Novotny, B.S.,(he/him) an associate software developer creating web applications with the Research Application Design and Development team. He graduated from DePaul University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science and began at Northwestern as an intern at the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies. Aside from coding, Jack loves to play and watch hockey, enjoy the beauty of nature, and explore different genres of music.
Elias Oseni, B.A., (he/him) is a research assistant with the IMPACT Program, working with the RADAR Project on Recruitment & Retention. Elias received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Augustana College, with a minor in Communication Studies. His recent work has focused on mental health rehabilitation, recovery, and resiliency in community settings, and has experience working with youth in a variety of settings. His research and personal interests include the role of cultural stigma and neighborhood factors on health behaviors and HIV, and helping those in need in his community. On his time off, he writes songs and records music.
Josephine Owusu, B.S., (she/her) is a research assistant for the Keep It Up! (KIU) 3.0 study, an online HIV intervention for young MSM who have recently tested negative for HIV. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Josephine has previous research experience working at University of Illinois at Chicago School of Medicine, where she was active in the investigation of the unique and addictive effects of cocaine dependence and HIV infection on behavioral loss aversion and its underlying neural processes. Her research interests also include disparities in healthcare accessibility, the effects of STI and substance use on HIV acquisition, and the impact of care and prevention policies in reducing transmission.
Yelena Pearson, B.A., (she/her or they/them) is a research assistant for the RADAR project. She received her B.A. in Psychology from DePaul University with a concentration in Human Development. During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a research intern on projects focused on mentoring effectiveness for children dealing with environmental-based trauma, ingroup/outgroup dynamics, and effects of high-stress environments for adolescents living in under-resourced areas. Their recent work investigates factors that impact college adjustment and attrition rates for students of color. Their personal work and research interests include community and intergenerational trauma, and recovery through a combination of mental healthcare, community advocacy, and reclamation of cultural spiritual practices.
Esrea Pérez-Bill, B.A.,(she/her or they/them) ) is a program assistant for the SMART and NetCanvas projects. She is a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, holding a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Spanish. Esrea’s senior project was on Critical Whiteness Studies, where she moderated conscious raising groups and crafted curriculum for white-identifying folks to deconstruct whiteness. Broadly, Esrea is passionate about engaging the relationships between postcolonial theory, body politics, and linguistics. She’s also interested in initiatives that merge feminist political theory and public health in order to interrogate power structures and their roles in dictating what health and health education looks like, specifically in regards to consent and rape culture. Esrea is currently enrolled in the Health, Sciences, & Society program at Northwestern, and hopes to begin a Masters program in Gender and Sexuality studies next year. When not working, Esrea enjoys boxing and watching Game of Thrones.
Leishla Pérez-Cardona, M.P.H.E.,(she/her) is a research study coordinator for the SMART project. Leishla was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She has a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Puerto Rico and recently completed a Master’s in Public Health Education from the University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Science Campus. She spent two years as a research assistant at the SexTEAM, affiliated to the University of Puerto Rico. This is a team of professionals dedicated to LGBT health, particularly GBMSM health and HIV prevention. With them she began collaborating on the SMART Project as part of the cultural and linguistic adaptation team.
Michael Pulte, B.S.(he/him) is a research assistant/phlebotomist with the RADAR team. He recently graduated in April 2017 from the University of Michigan with a degree in Biology while minoring in History with a focus on sexual and gender identities. As an undergraduate, Michael worked as a research intern in the Department of Psychiatry on studies encompassing stress and anxiety disorders. He also was very involved in global health and education programs on campus, spending summers participating in medical relief trips while tutoring student in the Detroit Public Schools during the year.
Dan Ryan, M.S.,(he/him) is the data manager for Crew450. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Community Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a specialization in health policy. He has previous experience working at Washington University in St. Louis coordinating data management and analysis for federally funded epidemiologic and occupational safety research projects. He has had the opportunity to conduct statistical analyses for peer-reviewed journal articles, grant applications, and conference presentations as well as teach statistics while a graduate student at the University of Illinois. His interests include conducting research that strives to improve the health of communities, particularly underserved populations,with an emphasis on influencing public or health policy with evidence-based research findings.
Rana Saber, M.S., M.S.L., (she/her) is the director of ISGMH’s Research Application Design and Development team. Rana began working with ISGMH on the SMART, KIU 2.5, and messaging platform while she was the Director of the Behavioral Intervention Technologies Development Core Center at Northwestern. She has Master’s degrees in Immunology, Microbiology and Law (with a focus in Technology related Entrepreneurship and Regulatory Compliance). Before transferring to the health tech world, Rana worked as a basic science researcher and program manager for several years until she ultimately changed her focus to Health Tech.
Shannon Sotomayor, B.A., (she/hers) is the Program Assistant 4 at ISGMH. She earned her B.A. in English and Theatre Arts from Brown University in 2017. While there, she worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant for the performance studies department, and simultaneously as a Communications and Social Media Intern for the Brown Alumni Association. Most recently she worked in administration for Eyas Landing, a Chicago-based pediatric therapy clinic offering physical, occupational, speech, behavioral, and developmental therapy services. Her broad professional interests include LGBTQIA advocacy and workers’ rights. She is also a Chicago-based actress and has worked with Cuckoos Theater Project, Women’s Theatre Alliance, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Reno Stephens, M.P.H.,(he/him) is a research study coordinator for the Keep It Up! 3.0 project. He earned both his Undergraduate and Master in Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the past, he interned with the Chicago Department of Public Health in the HIV/STI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Research Unit where he researched social and societal barriers to accessing HIV care for Young BMSM in the city of Chicago and the racial and environmental disparities based on geographical location of where they lived. Before coming to Northwestern, he worked as a clinical research assistant at Lurie Children’s Hospital in the department of cardiology working on studies pertaining to sudden cardiac death and its relation to potentially preventative genetic factors. He loves to travel, try new and exotic foods, play sports, drum, and serve as an amateur flight agent for family and friends.
Vic Swaney, B.A., (she/her or they/them) is a program coordinator for ISGMH. She received her B.A. in Non-Profit Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago with a focus on women and gender studies. She has been at Northwestern for 5 years and held previous positions at SESP and in Feinberg’s Neurology department. She has always been interested in working for the LGBTQIA+ Community and she is very passionate about gender equality in healthcare and beyond. Outside of work, Vic enjoys theatre, streaming services, traveling, and trying out all the restaurants Chicago has to offer.
Greg Swann, M.A.,(he/him) is a senior data analyst for the KIU! and FAB 400 projects. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Stanislaus, and his M.A. from Arizona State University, both in Psychology. His previous research work has been in quantitative and molecular behavioral genetics. More recently his work has focused on developmental change and health disparities in LGBTQ populations as they transition from adolescence into adulthood. He is currently working toward his M.S. in Predictive Analytics at Northwestern University.
Jeevan Topgi, B.S. (he/him) is an associate software developer on the Research Application Design and Development (RADD) team. He builds web and mobile applications to support ISGMH’s research visions. Jeevan earned a BS in Biology at Loyola University Chicago. Afterwards, he worked for a cancer diagnostics company where he created programs to optimize the researchers’ workflow. He then came to the Northwestern Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies where he developed web applications and eventually joined RADD with his team.
Ro Truong, B.A.,(he/him) is a senior research project coordinator at ISGMH. He is the senior administrator to Dr. Brian Mustanski and currently works on various research projects including RADAR and SMART. Ro has been with Feinberg and ISGMH for 5+ years. Prior to moving into infectious diseases, his previous research work was in immunotherapy regimens and stem cell transplants with hematology oncology patients. Ro obtained his Bachelors in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley; he is currently completing his Masters in Public Health at Northwestern University. His passion lies within health policy and advocacy for underserved and marginalized communities – increasing access to health care, holding pharmaceuticals to equitable drug pricing, and advocating for a single payer healthcare system. Outside of work, Ro is an avid crossfitter and enjoys participating in volleyball tournaments. You can usually find Ro and his pup at Montrose Dog Beach during the Chicago summers.
Jen Zhou, M.B.A., (she/her) is a research and financial administrator for ISMGH. In her most recent position, she was a research administrator at the Washington University in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Siteman Cancer Center (SCC), handling operational and financial affairs relating to the shared resources/cores funded by SCC. Before working at SCC, Jen worked in the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration at St. Louis University managing post-award funding for medical sciences. Jen received her B.S. in Finance and Information Systems Management from Syracuse University and obtained her M.B.A. at the University of Buffalo. She is interested in bridging grant management processes and research schemas to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of conducting research. Outside of work, Jen enjoys watching foreign films and shows, listening to music, and exploring new recipes.
Arielle Zimmerman, B.A., (she/her) is a research assistant working on the FAB 400 and 2GETHER projects. Arielle graduated from Northwestern University in June 2017 with a B.A. in Sociology. Her senior thesis examined the influence of self-tracking devices (e.g. Fitbit) on young people’s health attitudes and body image. Previously an intern on ISGMH’s FAB 400 and ASAP projects, her independent work examined LGBTQ youth’s attitudes in answering survey questions about reproductive health. Arielle’s research interests include how gender and sexuality shape young people’s health attitudes and outcomes, especially in bi+ populations. Her other interests include biking, scoping out the best desserts in Chicago, and making Spotify playlists for her friends.
Hallie Cronin, current student, Northwestern University (she/her)
Caleb Curry, B.A. student, Case Western Reserve University (he/him)
Neil Dixit, B.A. student, Northwestern University (he/him)
Jennifer Holtz, B.A. student, DePaul University (they/them)
Sofia Sytniak, B.S., DePaul University (she/her)
Peggy Tull, Ph.D. student, DePaul University (she/her)