BHRI Fellows

The Brain Health Research Institute Fellows Program offers highly qualified and motivated undergraduate students an immersive program that includes research-intensive experiences in neuroscience as well as mentoring, skills training and career development support.  The culmination of the Fellows' experience is a capstone presentation of their research.

The Summer 2020 cohort of BHRI Fellows includes ten students from nine different majors who worked directly with BHRI-member faculty from three different academic colleges from both the Kent State Main and Regional campuses.

BHRI FELLOWS 2020

Pic of Ayana Getz

Name: Ayana Getz

Major: Speech Pathology and Audiology

Minor: Mild to Moderate Special Education

Hometown: Upper Sandusky, OH

Mentor: Dr. Gregory Smith, Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences

My name is Ayana Getz, and I am a junior Speech Pathology and Audiology student. My topic of research this summer includes testing the effectiveness of an online social intelligence program that is meant to improve the health and well-being of custodial grandmothers and their adolescent grandchildren. I am interested in this research experience because I believe it will serve as an effective catalyst for enhancing my scientific research skills in a field that I feel passionate about. I am originally from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and in my free time, I enjoy gardening, baking, and playing with my two dogs.

Pic of Taylor Joseph

Name: Taylor Joseph

Major: Exercise Science

Minor: Disability Studies/Comm Inclusion

Hometown: North Canton, OH

Mentor: Dr. Angela Ridgel, Exercise Science/Physiology

My name is Taylor Joseph and I am from North Canton, Ohio. I am a junior and will be  graduating in Spring 2021 with a major in Exercise Science. This summer I am researching the effects of menopausal symptoms on training and performance in age-group athletes. I am excited to start because I am very interested in the topic and am also looking forward to the experience of being a leader in a research project! Aside from school, I also love being with friends and family, baking, and spending time outside. I am looking forward to this summer experience!

Pic of Matthew Kern

Name: Matthew Kern

Major: Philosophy

Minor: Latin

Hometown: Munroe Falls, OH

Honors Student

Mentor: Dr. David Pereplyotchik, Philosophy

I am Matthew Kern and I am from nearby Munroe Falls, Ohio. I am a junior Philosophy major at Kent State. I hope that participation in summer research will help me to improve my ability to engage disparate philosophical research programs and to write and speak about philosophical issues. My project will touch on the nature of language, teleology, and normativity through the study of figures such as Noam Chomsky and Robert Brandom. My hobbies outside of class include reading, geocaching, and watching college football.

Pic of Jessica Livingston

Name: Jessica Livingston

Major: Psychology

Dual Major: Music

Hometown: Grove City, PA

Mentor: Dr. Amy Sato, Psychological Sciences

I am Jessica Livingston and am a sophomore Psychology major from Grove City, Pennsylvania. My topic of research for this summer focuses on the influence of stress on an adolescent’s health and weight management. I am interested in the research experience because I wanted to have a more hands-on experience in my major outside of the classroom. Some of my hobbies include being active, hiking and spending time with my friends.

Pic of Nathan Ritchey

Name: Nathan Ritchey

Major: Mathematics

Dual Major: Neuroscience

Minors: Chemistry, Psychology

Hometown: Ravenna, OH

Honors Student

Mentor: Dr. Lique Coolen, Biological Sciences

I am Nathan Ritchey, a freshman Mathematics and Neuroscience major with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. I have lived all over the Great Lakes area but am currently living in Ravenna, just east of Kent. I have always been interested in new discovery and the methodology behind research. I believe that opportunities to engage in groundbreaking research, such as at the BHRI, are life changing opportunities that will inspire my studies for years to come. The topic of my research concerns the effects of spinal cord injury using a preclinical model. On top of my school work, I spend my time as an apiarist, disc golfer and a volunteer at the local food bank.

Pic of Joshua Sanchez

Name: Joshua Sanchez

Major: Music (Voice Performance)

Hometown: Lorain, OH

Mentor: Dr. Joshua Albrecht, School of Music

My name is Joshua Sanchez and I was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. I grew up in Lorain, Ohio, and graduated from Marion L. Steele High School in Amherst, OH. I am a junior Music (Voice Performance) student with a graduation date of Spring 2021. I am interested in the research experience because I find research important for not only innovation but also to gain understanding. Most of my interests have to do with music in some capacity, but primarily opera and other forms of classical music. Currently, my topic of research is melodic repetition in popular music starting from when the Billboard charts started. We believe that popular music becomes more repetitive over time and we will be comparing the top 20 and bottom 20 (ranked 81 to 100) throughout the billboard era (1955 to present). My hobbies are playing video games, going to live shows, taking nature walks, and being around my friends and family.

Pic of Hayley Shasteen

Name: Hayley Shasteen

Major: Biology (Molecular/Cellular)

Dual Major: Psychology

Hometown: Berlin Center, OH

Mentor: Dr. Rachael Blasiman, Psychological Sciences, Salem Campus

My name is Hayley Shasteen and I am from Berlin Center, OH. I am a junior dual major in molecular/cellular Biology and Psychology. I am interested in this research experience as a way to broaden the knowledge of my field and contribute to an ongoing research problem. This summer, I will be researching brain fog, a symptom of many chronic conditions that is best described as subtle cognitive impairments in people with different chronic conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and Chiari malformation. The goal of this research is to be able to create a working definition for brain fog, as there is no current, concise definition that encompasses patients’ experience. Additionally, we are interested in investigating differences of brain fog experiences among patients in different chronic condition groups. When I’m not researching, I enjoy gardening, hiking, watching movies, and spending time with my boyfriend and cat. I am currently training to climb Pikes Peak in Colorado next summer.

Pic of Jason Shea

Name: Jason Shea

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Painesville, OH

Mentor: Dr. Rob Clements, Biological Sciences

I am Jason Shea. I am from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio, and currently a junior at Kent State University where I study Computer Science. I'm quite excited about this research because not only do I have the opportunity to use my computer programming skills but also get to use such skills to assist in important research for brain health. This summer, I will develop a virtual environment in which blindfolded test subjects will be required to navigate using only sounds, the eventual goal being to discover better methods for the seeing impaired to use computers or play video games. Some of my hobbies include reading fantasy, riding horses, and sword fighting. 

Pic of Jenna VanCoppenole

Name: Jenna Van Coppenolle

Major: Biology (Pre-Med)

Minor: Psychology

Hometown: Streetsboro, OH

Honors Student

Mentor: Dr. Gemma Casadesus Smith, Biological Sciences

My name is Jenna Van Coppenolle. I live in Streetsboro, Ohio. I am a junior Biology major with a concentration in Pre-Medicine and a minor in Psychology. I am interested in this research experience because this program is giving me the opportunity to work on my own project this summer and allowing me to further explore a topic that I have developed great interest in. My research is over the effect of the reproductive hormone LH on Alzheimer's related seizures and the genomic changes in an Alzheimer's model that may be related to seizures. Some of my hobbies include reading, baking, archery and martial arts.

Pic of Elizabeth Wood

Name: Elizabeth Wood

Major: Special Education (Mild to Moderate, Moderate to Intensive)

Minor: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Hometown: Norton, OH

Mentor: Dr. Darlene Unger, Special Education

My name is Elizabeth Wood and I am from Norton, OH, and have lived there my whole life. I am a junior and my major is in Special Education with a concentration in Mild to Moderate and Moderate to Intensive with a minor in Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am interested in research because it allows you to ask an array of questions. Research is an endless path for learning. This summer my research will be looking at adolescents with autism who have opted to take a voucher provided by school choice programs and then looking what their experiences were during the transitional years. I enjoy being creative whether that be through painting, drawing, refurbishing furniture or baking!