2017 Hassenfeld Summer Scholars

The Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute is pleased to welcome 10 scholars for Summer 2017, all of whom are conducting research on important issues in child health. They are:


Jerson Cochancela

 Jerson Cochancela just completed the first year of his Biostatistics ScM at Brown University's School of Public Health. He graduated with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Statistics from  Stony Brook University in 2016 where he served as an instructor in pure and applied mathematics. As a child, Jerson was diagnosed with asthma and hoped to make meaningful contributions  to pediatric asthma research. As a Hassenfeld Scholar at the Childhood Asthma Research Program (CARP), Jerson will be working with geospatial data to examine whether neighborhood risk  moderates the association between asthma and asthma related emergency room visits.


James Dorroh

 James Dorroh is a rising senior at Brown University concentrating in Health and Human Biology. Before starting his junior year, Jimmy worked for six years in the Wake County EMS System in Raleigh, NC, as an EMT and paramedic. He spent the majority of his EMS career serving in  economically disadvantaged areas, and has a strong interest in analyzing the origins and impact of health disparities in urban  communities, especially regarding the lasting effects of adverse health outcomes in children. Through the Hassenfeld Institute's Childhood Asthma Research Program (CARP), Jimmy will be studying the effectiveness of home, school, and emergency department interventions to  reduce healthcare utilization and disease burden among children with asthma. Jimmy holds an associate's degree in EMS from Lenoir Community  College and is a paramedic supervisor with Brown EMS.

Kate Magid

 Katie Magid is a rising 5th year student in the AB/MPH program at Brown University. During her time at Brown, she has developed an interest in a  number of maternal and child health  issues, including childhood obesity. As an undergraduate, she worked for three years as a student research  assistant on Healthy Start/Comienzos Sanos, an early-childhood obesity  intervention. This work solidified her desire to understand how the built  environment can impact diet and physical activity. Through the Hassenfeld Summer Scholars Program, she is excited  to research weight status, nutrition, and physical activity in the context of studying summer weight gain among adolescents.

Surya Manickam

​ Surya Manickam is a rising second year at Brown Alpert Medical School, pursuing both his MD and Masters in Population Medicine. He grew  up in southern MA and graduated  from UC Berkeley in 2015, with a major in Neurobiology and minor in Global Poverty and Practice. At  Berkeley, his  research explored the relationship between sleep, anxiety, and  gender. He then worked in San Francisco for a year at Joyable, a mental health/tech startup. His minor inspired him to pursue research that was action-oriented and could be  leveraged in the long run to enact real change for  underserved populations. Surya deeply enjoys working with children, especially in terms of patient population, impact, and parent  partnership. As a  Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, he will be investigating neonatal Emergency Department utilization.

Kaley O'Connor

 Kaley O’Connor is a public health concentrator and a rising junior at Brown University. She has a specific interest in investigating health  disparities related to income level,  especially among children. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, she will be working under the Healthy Weight,  Nutrition, and Physical Fitness Initiative to assess summer weight gain  in low-income children from three Rhode Island communities.  Ultimately, she hopes to utilize the data collected on physical activity and diet to determine the risk factors for summer  weight gain and to design  a potential intervention to help children stay healthy during summer vacation.

Jessica Simon

 Jessica Simon is a rising senior at Brown University studying applied-math biology.  As a pre-med student, she has a strong interest in healthcare  and plan to pursue a career as a doctor.  Her  strong interests in child psychiatry led her to start volunteering in Dr. Sheinkopf’s lab at the Brown  Center for the Study of Children at Risk during her sophomore year. Dr. Sheinkopf’s  research involves studying children with Autism Spectrum  Disorder to observe how they respond differently to social and nonsocial stimuli compared to typically developing children. This  summer as a Hassenfeld Scholar, Jessica will pursue a more independent project that combines her applied math-biology background with her interest in  psychology. She hopes to establish  a mathematical tool to analyze the correspondence between physiology data and child behavior, a project that  will help prepare her for her thesis project as well as provide a useful tool for  the lab to use in future analyses. 

Adriana Trejo-Sheu

Adriana Trejo-Sheu is a rising junior at Brown University concentrating in Biomedical Engineering. She is particularly interested in understanding the signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder  (ASD) and their relation to physiological outcomes, such as heart rate, galvanic response, etc. As a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar, she will be based at the Center for Children and Families  at Women and Infants Hospital, and will be analyzing prematurely born infants’ cries, coding social behavior, and developing a pilot for a continuous coding measurement to potentially  correlate physiological arousal and behavioral outcomes. While ASD diagnosis is primarily rooted in social behavior, Adriana is exploring how physiological responses, such as heart rate  or galvanic response, affect or are affected by such behavior. Through her research on ASD, she hopes to increase awareness of the physiological and social symptoms of ASD, and help  improve diagnosis so that children can be helped at earlier developmental stages.

Carolina Velasco

 Carolina Velasco is a senior at Brown University. She concentrates in Public Health and Statistics. Her interest in working with vulnerable and marginalized populations was sparked by  previous experiences conducting research with prisoners and being a development intern at Mali Health - an NGO that seeks to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality in Bamako.  This summer, she will be a Hassenfeld Scholar interning at the Childhood Asthma Research Program (CARP) at the Bradley Hasbro Research Center. She looks forward to interacting with  research participants and community stakeholders in home visits and the Asthma Summer Camp, as well as to gaining experience conducting data analysis and GIS mapping to inform  CARP's research projects and interventions. 

Yokarla Veras

​Yokarla Veras is a rising second year medical student at Alpert Medical School pursuing a dual MD-ScM degree. Throughout her academic career, she has developed a strong interest in health disparities and their effect on overall health and healthcare delivery. At the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute and as her master's thesis, Yokarla is studying how neighborhood or individual attributes in Rhode Island influence unintentional childhood injury visits to the emergency room. She hopes to elucidate factors that increase the risk of childhood injury to inform future prevention efforts.  


Jenna Zagoren

 Jenna Zagoren is a rising senior at Brown University concentrating in Public Health and is extremely excited to be a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar. Jenna's current research interests include  HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C in the United States, as well as child health inequalities (particularly in mental disorders) in the United States. She plans to pursue a masters degree in  epidemiology.