2018 Summer Scholars
Spenser Anderson is a 2018 graduate who is entering the 5th year AB/MPH program at Brown’s School of Public Health. His current interest is environmental health, especially investigating how the built environment influences health. As a Hassenfeld Institute Scholar, Spenser will be working with the Childhood Asthma Research Innovation Program to examine how various maternal exposures influence the development of asthma.
Erin Clements just completed her first year of the Master of Public Health program at Brown University’s School of Public Health. She graduated from Boston College in 2016 with a BS degree in Nursing. She then worked for a year at a reproductive fertility center in NYC which strengthened her interest in Maternal and Child Health. She is excited to contribute to research aimed at increasing the health and wellbeing of mothers and children, as well as decreasing health disparities in this field such as prematurity and infant mortality. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, she will be examining the association between the number of maternal risk factors present at birth and infant mortality in Rhode Island.
Danielle Hollenbeck-Pringle is a rising second year medical student at Alpert Medical School. Danielle received her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health with a concentration in biostatistics in 2014. Prior to medical school, she worked in public health research focusing on community based interventions and clinical trials. Danielle's strong interest in identifying health disparities and finding community focused solutions paved the path to medical school and is the drive behind her interest in working as a clinician and researcher.
Lena Joesch-Cohen is a rising Senior at Brown University studying computational biology with a focus in human genetics. Her primary academic interest is in children’s healthcare, specifically pediatric genetics. This summer she will be working in Dr. Eric Morrow’s lab on a project analyzing genomic and metabolic data from Christianson and Angelman Syndrome patients. She also hopes to spend time volunteering at a new clinic at Bradley Hospital that is working to improve treatment and research outreach to autism patients from low-income and Spanish speaking families.
Juliana Kim is a rising junior double concentrating in biology and visual art. Before Brown, she developed an interest in children with cognitive disabilities by working with children in her community with autism. She hopes to help those with autism by connecting her visual art concentration to art therapy. She is a pre-med student whose strong interests in these genetic disorders led her to Dr. William Fairbrother's lab in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry Department in her freshman year. The Fairbrother lab investigates the sources of genetic disorders through computational biology and high throughput genomics techniques. Juliana is also a licensed EMT and serves on Brown EMS. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, she is excited to continue her research in Dr. Fairbrother's lab concerning the mechanism behind common genetic disorders.
Heather Lee is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at Brown University’s School of Public Health. She works with Professor Stephen Buka and his collaborators at Harvard University on research projects in the prenatal and immunological origins of neurodevelopmental disorders—including schizophrenia and autism—using the Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP). In collaboration with Drs. Stephen Sheinkopf and Eric Morrow at the Rhode Island Consortium of Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART), her group has previously developed a diagnostic algorithm based on DSM-IV-TR criteria for Autistic Disorder and identified 308 children in this cohort with autism. This summer as a Hassenfeld Scholar, she will be working closely with Dr. Sheinkopf to validate the diagnostic algorithm and help RI-CART identify additional adults in Rhode Island with autism. She is also very excited to learn about clinical diagnostic procedures by interfacing with clinicians who work with children and adults with autism.
Cate Marchetti is a rising junior concentrating in public health with an interest in child and maternal nutrition. She has participated in research related to teenage peer perceptions of drinking and the implementation of an olive-oil and plant-based diet in a low-income neighborhood in Providence as an intervention against Type-II diabetes. Ultimately she hopes to study how racial and socioeconomic factors play into maternal and child health outcomes and work on community-level interventions to reduce disparities. As a Hassenfeld Scholar, she will be working on the Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Fitness Initiative researching summer weight gain in children.
Cate Marchetti ’20
Cate Marchetti '20 first became interested in nutrition while running track in high school. Her desire to become a registered dietician led her to study public health at Brown, where her time as a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar sparked a passion for maternal and child health.
In the summer of 2018, Marchetti worked with Dr. Elissa Jelalian and Dr. Whitney Evans of the Hassenfeld Institute’s Healthy Weight Initiative on a randomized control trial of a community intervention in Central Falls, one of the poorest cities in the state. They wanted to examine whether having access to regular, scheduled programming during the summer affected nutrition and weight gain among children.
“We did a lot of data collection and data analyses, but we also spent time with the kids and talked to their parents,” Marchetti said.
Drs. Jelalian and Evans allowed Marchetti to use data from the project to develop her own research project focusing on the relationship between eating meals away from home, the home food environment and children's weight status.
“I definitely became more interested in social determinants of health after what I saw in Central Falls during our study, so I took more classes on how socioeconomic status, race and gender can impact health,” Marchetti said.
Wanting to further develop her budding interest in maternal and child health, Marchetti spent the following summer interning with Brown’s Advanced Baby Imaging Lab (ABI) in Pawtucket, where she supported a study focused on optimizing infant nutrition. There, Marchetti worked with the IRB and interacted with mothers in the community who came from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.
“I learned a lot about balancing responsibility and growing my ability with data analysis. I got to build on a lot of things I had learned as a Hassenfeld scholar,” Marchetti said.
Marchetti graduated from Brown in May and worked for a life sciences consulting firm for a few months, but she missed public health research and the network of colleagues she had created at Brown. In November, she accepted a position with the ABI to work in Dr. Sean Deoni’s pediatric neuroimaging lab. Marchetti is thrilled to resume her work at ABI.
“What I liked about working in the lab was the ability to build more relationships in the community and feeling like I was doing important work,” Marchetti said.
In Dr. Deoni’s lab, Marchetti will have a hand in several studies focused on child health and will play a role in maintaining the integrity of the lab’s data. Marchetti is excited to work in a lab doing cutting-edge research using technology such as Apple watches and other equipment designed to collect health data.
“We’re entering the digital age with health,” Marchetti said, “and it’s great to work in a place that’s so progressive.”
Marchetti says that her time as a Hassenfeld scholar contributed to this trajectory.
“A lot of my passion for this really goes back to that summer when I was given that opportunity to work with moms and kids in Central Falls through the Hassenfeld Summer Scholars program,” Marchetti says.
Learn more about our Summer Scholars Program.
Learn more about our Healthy Weight, Nutrition and Fitness Initiative.
Daneva Moncrieffe is a rising sophomore at Brown University double concentrating in cognitive neuroscience and africana studies. She is interested in examining health disparities, especially those related to mental health, present in minority populations due to racial, cultural and environmental factors. As a Hassenfeld Scholar, she will be working under the Childhood Asthma Research Program to address the high occurrence of asthma in minority children in Providence and the race-related stressors influencing it. She looks forward to working directly with children and families to develop an intervention program that is conscious to culture, living environment and familial habits in its attempt to lessen the severity and frequency of asthma attacks and reduce the rate of childhood asthma.
Rebecca Noga is a rising 5th year masters student pursuing a ScM in behavior and social health sciences at the Brown School of Public Health. She graduated from Brown in 2018 with a BA in public health, focusing on environmental health. She has previously completed research on the impact of various gestational exposures found in the built and natural environment on infant health outcomes. As a Hassenfeld Scholar and as a part of her master’s thesis, Rebecca is excited to work with the Childhood Asthma Research Program (CARP) team. Through this process, she hopes to help improve the health of children with asthma within Rhode Island and to improve upon pre-existing research within the field.
Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph
Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph just completed the first year of her MPH degree at Brown University’s School of Public Health. She is a pediatrician who has worked for 15 years as a medical editor, creating educational materials about children’s health for both parents and children. As a Hassenfeld Scholar, she will be studying the health information needs of parents of newborns. The investigation of how new parents would most like to receive health messages and information will help to inform content for the Hassenfeld Institute website, and will lead to a better understanding of the values and needs of families, in order to ultimately improve the health of children in Rhode Island.
Alyssa Rust is a rising sophomore at Brown planning on studying neuroscience and pre-med. Throughout high school, Alyssa volunteered in her school’s special education classrooms, which led to her interest in studying Autism Spectrum Disorders. During her freshman year, Alyssa volunteered at the Brown Center for Children and Families where she helped code social behaviors for the PHOEBE study, including affect and coping strategies. As a Hassenfeld Scholar, Alyssa will continue her observational coding work at the Brown Center as well as work on a project investigating how the experience of play and playfulness for children with ASD may differ from typically developing children.
Hannah Ziobrowski just completed her second year in the epidemiology PhD program at Brown’s School of Public Health. She studied neuroscience and behavior as an undergraduate at Vassar College, and later specialized in epidemiology-biostatistics in her Master of Public Health Program at Washington University in St. Louis. She is interested in the interrelationships between stress, psychopathology, and weight across the life course. As a Hassenfeld Scholar, she will be examining how maternal stress is related to excess summer weight gain among children ages 6-12 years. She will also be continuing a project examining how the course of depression in mothers across the prenatal and postnatal periods is associated with weight gain in infants over the first year of life. She looks forward to gaining hands-on experience in data collection for a randomized control trial and applying new statistical techniques to examine mood trajectories.