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2022 Scholars


Naya Ibrahim

Naya Amauri is a native Ethiopian who graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a double minor in biochemistry and philosophy.  As an undergraduate, Naya completed her honor thesis on evaluating changes in vocal timing in a finch model of Parkinson’s Disease and quantifying the effects of optogenetic manipulation on dopaminergic brain pathways involved in social-context-dependent differences in birdsong.  She is planning on pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience, with an emphasis on neural stem cell research. Her research interests include but are not limited to Parkinson’s Disease.  In her free time, Naya enjoys going to the movies, painting, and reading.

    Kinuthia Kabugi, B.S.

    Kinuthia Kabugi was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.  He holds two Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Nutritional Sciences from Tuskegee University and attended Alabama A&M University for a Master of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in Physiology.  He is interested in physiology and pharmacology and seeks to earn his Ph.D. and additional training to support his interests in medical research. Currently, he is leaning towards a future in the biomedical industry but is also considering academia.  A few of his pastimes include science illustration, leading a reading program for children at his church, and volunteering in community health outreach.

      Kole Martin, B.S.

      Kole Martin was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He graduated from Louisiana State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.  During his matriculation, he worked in the Department of Chemistry conducting research involving the synthesis of molecules designed to trigger long-lived, adaptive immune responses that are protective against infection caused by the Gram-negative coccobacillus, Acinetobacter baumannii.  Kole’s research interest includes protein mutation in the central nervous system and ion-channel pathways through the cardiovascular system.  He hopes to strengthen his research skills and broaden his scientific knowledge as he seeks to earn his Ph.D. and become a cardiovascular pharmacologist or neuropharmacologist.  Apart from the realm of science, he enjoys writing songs, singing, bowling, spending time with friends, and comedy shows.

        Adrian Othon, B.S.

        Adrian Othon was born in Miami, FL, and graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University’s honors program with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology.  He aspires to be a physician-scientist to envelop himself in the training essential to conduct basic scientific research and expand the scope of his knowledge while maintaining interpersonal patient connections. Currently, his clinical interest is gastroenterology and endocrinology and a research focus on immunometabolism. Outside of the lab, he is an avid rock climber, gym goer, and home cook.

          Kennedy Reed, B.S.

          Kennedy Reed is a native of Terry, Mississippi.  She graduated magna cum laude from Alcorn State University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Biochemistry concentration.  During her matriculation, she was very involved in her local community by educating grade school children in science through Alpha Chi Sigma.  In 2019, she was awarded the NASA scholarship award for her outstanding achievements and participation in the Alcorn State University chemistry department.  In Fall 2020, Kennedy was initiated into the Gamma Phi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  Her specific research interest is the gut microbiome as it relates to disease specifically skin diseases. Kennedy plans to pursue a Ph.D. in her perspective field.  After completion of her Ph.D., Kennedy wants to become a medical science liaison.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, shopping, working out, trying new food, and going on adventures.

            Messiyah Stevens, B.S.

            Messiyah Stevens was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. He graduated magna cum laude in 2022 from Oakwood University with his Bachelor of Science in Psychology. During his matriculation, he participated and led an undergraduate psychology mentorship program for his department. He interned at the University of Texas at El Paso and studied nicotine withdrawal in females and at the University of Cincinnati he studied TGF-β signaling and its role in microglial repopulation. He spent his senior year practicum at Psychological Counseling Associates in Huntsville while also volunteering at his school’s child development lab. His research interests include sensory perception and its intersection between cochlear implant research and autism. Messiyah intends to be accepted to a clinical psychology Ph.D. program and later become a licensed clinical psychologist. In his free time, he likes to listen to music, spend time with friends, and pretend movie characters are real people.