Graduate students from underrepresented groups can participate in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars Program through funding support from their academic units. The Doctoral Scholars Program provides multiple layers of support including, mentoring, career counseling, a scholars directory of current scholars and alum for networking opportunities and recruiting as well as job postings. Each year participating scholars, mentors and recruiting representatives from IUPUI convene to learn and support one another at the largest gathering of underrepresented PhD scholars in the U.S. the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring. Academic units interested in supporting a SREB doctoral scholar should contact Tabitha Hardy for more information.
Meet Our Scholars
Abdullahi Abdi is a third-year doctoral student at Indiana University School of Medicine in the department of microbiology and immunology. He received his MS in biology from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Abdullahi is currently getting his training at Dr. Dent’s lab, focusing on the interplay between food allergy and the gut microbiome. He uses animal models and bioinformatics to answer questions about how a subset of regulatory T cells generate microbiota-reactive antibodies impacting individuals’ tolerance to food antigens. As an immigrant, Abdullahi is passionate about mentoring refugee/immigrant teens and providing career advice, helping them bridge the gap. He worked with one of the most prominent non-profit organizations that help resettle refugees in the Chicagoland area and now navigating Indianapolis to start volunteering here.
Dom Acri is a PhD candidate in Medical Neuroscience researching in the laboratory of Dr. Jungsu Kim. In the Kim laboratory, Dom studies how genetic screening panels can be used to better understand the mechanisms that underly the aggregation of tau protein in Alzheimer’s disease. As part of his coursework, Dom completed a PhD minor in Bioinformatics from the IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing. After his PhD, he hopes to continue pursuing how the budding field of next generation “Omic” technologies can be applied to neuroscience research. Eventually, Dom aspires to split time between his own research laboratory and an adjunct teaching position at a Tribal College/University. Dom is also the president of IU School of Medicine’s chapter of SACNAS (the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) and a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. He was a recipient of the 2018-2019 IUPUI Graduate Diversity Fellowship, the 2019-2020 Paul and Carole Stark Medical Neuroscience Fellowship, and is a member of the Southern Region Education Board’s Doctoral Scholars Program. Outside of the lab, Dom enjoys trail running, watching Major League Baseball, and reading science fiction novels.
Rafael A. Alamilla
Rafael A. Alamilla is a second-year doctoral fellow in the IU School of Health and Human Sciences (SHHS) working under Dr. NiCole Keith. Rafael's primary interest is in the implementation of community-based physical activity (PA) interventions aimed at promoting PA among minority populations. Rafael has secondary interests in health behavior, health disparities/inequities, health policy, and built environments. He is a recipient of the IU President's Graduate Diversity Fellowship, a scholar in the 2021-2022 ACSM Leadership Diversity and Training Program (LDTP), and is sponsored by SHHS to participate in the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Program. Outside of his work, Rafael is an avid powerlifter, roots on LA sports teams, and spends quality time with his fiancé and Labrador Retriever.
Dominique Baldwin is a PhD candidate at the Indiana University School of medicine in the department of molecular biology and biochemistry. He is currently receiving his doctoral training under the guidance of Dr. Amber Mosley. The Mosley lab as a whole studies protein coding gene transcription using many Omics based approaches, namely proteomics. His thesis works focuses on the characterization of transcriptional stress and the intersectional analysis between transcriptional stress and protein folding stress. Though his doctoral training focuses on transcription, he also has a passion for diabetes related research. As such, he hopes to conduct postdoctoral research that spotlights type two diabetes pathology that will be beneficial to his future endeavors following his PhD.
Jasmine Beecham is originally from Iowa, where she completed her Bachelor’s in Psychology at Northern Iowa. She came to Indianapolis to pursue her PhD at IUPUI in Applied Social and Organizational Psychology. She has completed her Master’s thesis on how illegal interview questions harm women more than men. She successfully defended her candidacy through the defense of a model showing how dress codes and norms create discrimination and bias, particularly towards women and people of color. She looks forward to supporting this model through studies for her PhD dissertation. In the future, she hopes to get more internship experience in HR, DEI, and policy work to see where her skills will best serve minority populations in equity work.
Soumilee Chaudhuri is a PhD student in Medical Neuroscience at the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute. She works at the intersection of multi-omics and multi-modal imaging to characterize Alzheimer Disease (AD) therapeutics, in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Saykin and Dr. Kwangsik Nho. She was recently awarded the 2022 Paul and Carole Stark Medical Neuroscience Fellowship. She aspires to combine her knowledge of neuroscience, computation, and bioinformatics to investigate the molecular mechanisms of AD and research/teach future academics in the field. On campus, Soumilee is an executive member of Underrepresented Professional & Graduate Student Organization (UPnGO) and Recreational Hiking at IUPUI as well as an IUPUI Graduate Emissary for Diversity; she also volunteers at cultural events for Desijgas (Indian Student Association at IUPUI) and the Bengali Student Association at IUPUI. She is also involved with IUSM clubs promoting peer wellness & mental health, science communication and teaching amongst doctoral students. Outside of academia, Soumilee enjoys hiking & outdoor adventures and focuses towards building a safe outdoor environment for BIPOC mid/plus sized women.
Shaquitta Dent is a second-year PhD student in the IU School of Health and Human Sciences (SHHS) working under Dr. NiCole Keith and Dr. Jefferson Streepey. Shaquitta’s primary interest is in understanding postural balance control through tracking center of pressure movement during static and dynamic tasks in clinical populations. Shaquitta is a scholar in the 2020-2021 ACSM Leadership Diversity and Training Program (LDTP) and is sponsored by SHHS to participate in the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Program. Outside of her work, Shaquitta enjoys spending time with her loved ones and friends, binge watching Netflix series, and reading cheesy romance novels.
Tuyen Dinh is a graduate student in the Applied Social and Organizational Psychology program. Broadly, she is interested in examining issues related to diversity and discrimination in the workplace, aiming to contribute to research on creating more inclusive organizational policies and practices. Specifically, she is interested in the effects of power differentials in organizations, leadership development, and ways organizations can engage in effective allyship to support diverse populations. She obtained her master’s degree in Fall 2020 and is currently working towards becoming a PhD candidate.
Ana L. Esqueda
Ana L. Esqueda received her master’s in Sociology and Philosophy from IUPUI. She is a second-year doctoral student in the School of Education at IUPUI. Her research interests include the decolonization of education and leadership and the impact of charter schools among minoritized children in urban cities. On campus, she serves as a representative of the School of Education in the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG). She is passionate about improving education in Urban schools and changing federal, state, and local policies.
Joseph Feldman, LCSW is a doctoral candidate in Urban Education Studies at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He holds an MS in Social Work and a BA in Psychology from the University of Louisville. He has over a decade of experience in the social services field, including work in residential treatment, service coordination, and school based therapy. His research interests lie at the intersection of Social Work and Education. Joseph is interested in trauma and the effects that is has on students’ education, physical health, and emotional wellbeing. In particular, he is interested in better understanding the ways that urban schools can be sites of trauma for students. He is committed to engaging in conversations that expand the current conceptualization of trauma—moving away from a definition that focuses primarily on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) & toward a definition that includes more systemic and historical traumas. Additionally, he advocates for the implementation of trauma-informed and restorative practices within schools to advance equity and interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Joseph is an adoptive father who has both personal and professional experience working with individuals who have experienced trauma.
Daniela Gonzalez Salcedo
Daniela Gonzalez Salcedo is a second-year graduate student in the Applied Social and Organizational Psychology Doctoral program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Daniela was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. When Daniela came to The United States to pursue higher education, she learned about some of the challenges that underrepresented students face in academia to succeed, inspiring her to develop an interest in ways to effectively promote diversity and inclusion in academic settings. Her current research interests focus on helping college students succeed by identifying potential mechanisms that might contribute to disparities in academic outcomes and lead to worse health, especially among underrepresented students.
Maribel Hernández received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. After graduation, she joined AmeriCorps and worked as a college access coach helping first generation and/or low-income high school students with the college application process and transition. Maribel joined Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2017 as a Post Baccalaureate Fellow (IPREP) working in the Addictions Neuroscience department under the mentorship of Dr. Stephen Boehm and Dr. Nicholas Grahame. Currently she is a third-year graduate student in the IUPUI Addictions Neuroscience department where she is interested in investigating the behavioral genetics of alcohol use disorder as well as how early-life chronic low-level lead exposure produces altered responses to drugs of abuse in adulthood. She has since obtained her Master of Science and is working toward her PhD. Her long-term goal is to remain in academia, with the ultimate hope of both teaching and conducting research, while simultaneously advocating and working towards improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Neuroscience field.
Nina Johnson is a PhD student at the Indiana University School of Social Work. Nina holds a PhD minor in Public Health. Nina received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Coe College and her Master of Science of Social Work from Columbia University. Nina’s research interests include understanding the holistic health needs, self-care practices, and coping mechanisms of minoritized and multicultural undergraduate and graduate students. Nina is committed to understanding the needs and barriers of minoritized and multicultural students accessing holistic wellness resources through a multidimensional and social justice lens. Nina is interested in how campuses function as ecosystems for health empowerment, and promotion for the overall well-being for students.
Shirin Khazvand (she/her), MS is a 5th year doctoral student in the PRISM lab. Her research interests include examining risk/protective models for substance use and other negative health outcomes among adolescent and young adult populations. She is specifically interested in studying mechanisms to explain risk for negative health outcomes as a consequence of racial discrimination and other race related stress among people of color. She aims to work to improve prevention and intervention programs and tailor them to better serve underrepresented populations.
Moraima Noda is a PhD student at Indiana School of Medicine in the department of Microbiology and Immunology. Moraima received her Bachelor’s in Biology from Northeastern Illinois University. She is currently conducting research in the laboratory of Dr. Matthias Clauss and her thesis focus is investigating the role of HIV proteins on cellular senescence in endothelial cells. She is the Co-chair of professional development of IU School of Medicine’s chapter of SACNAS (the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science). Her long-term goal is to conduct research and teach in academia, with a focus on mentoring and helping promote diversity in the STEM field.
Nicole Y. Oglesby
Nicole Y. Oglesby, MA currently serves as Director of P-20 Education Alliances with Family, School and Neighborhood Engagement, a unit of the Office of Community Engagement at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). This is a shared position with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Her current work includes co-leading the IU Student Success Corps, a pipeline program for 6-12th grade students and their families where IU college student provide virtual tutoring, mentoring, and post-secondary readiness workshops. Additionally, she is a member of the advisory committee for the Community Engagement Research Group (CERG) and oversees the FSNE scholars who in partnership with community organizations around the city. Nicole has over two decades of experience working in higher education in areas such as community engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion, student affairs, and pre-college programs.
As a doctoral student in the Urban Education Studies Program at the IU School of Education, Indianapolis, she has co-instructed several high school, undergraduate, and graduate courses. In addition, Nicole serves on the editorial board for the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Her current research interest includes Black and Brown mothers pursuing post-secondary degrees, Community Based Participatory Research, and High school to college transitions for minoritzed groups in the urban context.
Isheka Orr is a fourth-year student pursuing her Ph.D. in Applied Earth Sciences with a minor in Public Health at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. She works in Dr. Gabriel Filippelli's lab, where her research focuses on identifying and understanding the health risks associated with Combined Sewer Overflow events in urban waterways.
Isheka strongly believes in giving back to the community in whatever way possible and, as a result, volunteers as a mentor and/educator with various community programs such as School on Wheels (SOW)-Indy, Sea Scope Incorporated, and Passport to College (PTC). Isheka has also served on the Executive Board of the Underrepresented Professional and Graduate Student Organization (UPnGO) at IUPUI and currently serves as a Graduate Emissary for Student Diversity and the Secretary for the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG).
Oladele Oyedele (Del)
Oladele Oyedele (Del) is a student at the IU School of Nursing (IUSON). He is from Nigeria, and his passion for oncology research began with his past experiences witnessing the lack of proper medical care of patients with cancer in Nigeria. He witnessed many patients who suffered and died without adequate support for their physical and emotional distress. After gaining admission to IUSON, he began working as a research assistant and Honors student with Dr. Haase in 2013. Dr. Haase’s research focuses on developing and testing interventions designed to foster resilience among adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer. She developed the Resilience in Illness Model (RIM) for AYA with cancer. While working with Dr. Haase, Oyedele became interested in the concept of the spiritual perspectives of AYA, which is the key protective factor that promotes resilience in the RIM. His research experience with Dr. Haase inspired him to apply to the BSN to the Ph.D. nursing program. And he also enrolled in the MSN to gain more advanced clinical experience in caring for children and AYA with cancer and their families. His future goal is to obtain an F31 grant to continue his post-doctoral fellowship training before starting his research career.
Eduardo SalgadoEduardo Salgado, M.S. is a 4th year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at IUPUI. He currently works under the mentorship of Dr. Michelle Salyers and Dr. Matthew Aalsma. His research interests include understanding how to best engage diverse youth, particularly Hispanic/Latine youth, with psychotherapy services. He is also interested in understanding how certain cultural factors, such as ethnic identity and acculturation, impact relevant mental health and substance use outcomes for these youth.
Jared Thomas, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biology at IUPUI, working with Randall Roper, Ph.D., a biology professor who specializes in Down syndrome research at the School of Science at IUPUI. The lab focuses research on bone density abnormalities that cause individuals with Down syndrome (DS) to have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis or bone fractures. Our research focuses on sexual dimorphism in skeletal abnormalities in DS, and identifying disrupted molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to bone deficiencies seen in DS. Long-term goal is to elucidate prospective molecular targets that can lead to therapeutic treatments to improve skeletal phenotypes seen in individuals with DS.
Alan Tyson is a PHD student in Music Technology at IUPUI. He is also the CEO and founder of MuSciQTM. His primary interest is exploring how music applications can be used as a tool to teach STEM related concepts. As his research topic, Alan is seeking to explore how a musical curriculum for math may have an impact on math related variables such as math anxiety, math self-efficacy, math motivation and ultimately math achievement. Alan currently works remotely with elementary school students across the nation. In the future he plans to make MuSciQTM more broadly accessible to students, especially those in under-serviced communities.