Meet the Fall 2019 Minerva Scholars

Brianna Azua (Creative Writing)

Brianna recently graduated with an English major and minors in Creative writing and Women and Gender studies from Trinity University in San Antonio. She is from Sudan, Texas.

Jennifer Bailey (Community Health Education)

Jennifer Ann Bailey is currently pursuing a PhD in Community Health Education with a focus on mental health in minorities. She received a full academic scholarship to Norfolk State University and earned her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. During her enrollment at NSU, she was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greater Research Opportunity (EPA GRO) Fellowship to fund her research.

Bailey has also earned a M.S. in Community & Environmental Health from Old Dominion University. These programs allowed her to understand the deeper connections between our environment and human health.

After earning her PhD, she plans on continuing to perform research as an academic professor. She hopes to make a difference in underrepresented minority communities and believes that there is power in the voices of the people we serve.

“My time so far at UNCG has been wonderful and my department has played a large role in that. I am so grateful to be a Minerva Scholar because it has allowed me to meet colleagues from various departments while also providing an opportunity to attend various professional development and cultural events. It has been an amazing experience so far, and I’m excited to see what is planned for the future.”

Jenny Beck (Computational Mathematics)

Jenny Beck is a PhD student in Mathematics. A perennial Spartan, she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UNCG. Her current interests include mathematical logic, algebraic geometry, and geometric group theory.

Joy Birabwa (Human Development and Family Studies)

Joy Catherine Birabwa founded and runs the After School Hub, a program that strengthens non-academic, social and professional skills using reading and promoting extracurricular activities; and whose ethos is ‘learning beyond the classroom’. Promoting literacy amongst children is the passion that spurred her on to apply for the Human Development and Family Studies program (HDFS) at UNCG.

For several years, Joy has worked as a Communications practitioner in various capacities with advertising agencies, organisations in the private sector and International development agencies including Plan Uganda and UNICEF. It is the period spent with international development agencies that provided exposure to community work, especially working with children. Community experience provided additional experience and a strong foundation that she found particularly rewarding, albeit, the many challenges that hindered development programs.

Joy is excitedly looking forward to commencing the Human Development and Family Studies program because the knowledge and skills gained will facilitate her transition from Communications practitioner to a skilled practitioner who will positively impact on Education and learning amongst children in her country, Uganda.

Catherine Bowlin (English)

Catherine Bowlin is a first-year doctoral student in English literature at UNCG. Her research interests include 19th and 20th century American literature, environmental literature, and ecocriticism. She is currently teaching a section of College Writing I as a Teaching Assistant in the English department. Catherine is from the Atlanta area and graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English literature from Georgia College in Milledgeville, where she studied Southern literature. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading.
“My experience thus far as a UNCG graduate student and a Minerva Scholar has been overwhelmingly positive, as I feel support from many different parties: my department, my peers, my students, the Graduate School, and my Minerva cohort. My first semester here has reignited my passion for teaching, reading, writing, and research, and I hope each subsequent semester will be just as stimulating and productive. It has been wonderful to get to know other graduate students across campus through our Minerva Scholars program. “

Greg Carlton (Geography)

My name is Greg Carlton, and I look forward to attending UNCG as a Minerva Scholar starting this Fall Semester, 2019.

I will be persuing a doctoral degree in Geography under the guidance of Dr. Selima Sultana, where I hope to continue my research into alternative and active transportation systems. I am particularly interested in studying the emergence of bicycles, scooters and other non-motorized transportation forms as viable modes of transportion in the United States over the past few decades.

I recently completed my M.S. in Geography from Western Michigan University, where I wrote a one of a kind thesis on campus bicycle parking that explored how bicycle parking is managed and treated in a landscape of automobile dominance.

Prior to becoming a scholar I worked in private industry as a purchaser for a natural product distribution company. I completed my B.S. in Geography from Ball State University in 2015. I enjoy hiking, voluteering and watching live sports in my free time.

Satyaki Chakravarty (Economics)

I am a student at the Department of Economics. My interest and work are primarily on issues pertaining to economics of innovation. Prior to UNCG, I worked as a research assistant at India Development Foundation (IDF) on questions related to economics of patents. Along with that, I also assessed the impact of certain adult literacy programme.

Kellee Church (Music)

Ms. Kellee Church was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey.  She started taking piano lessons at 8 years old. She competed in numerous ATA piano competitions from the age of 9 until the age of 17. She also sang on the worship team and played piano in her church.

Ms. Church attended Campbell University in 1997. She majored in piano, minored in voice, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2001. In 2001 she attended University of North Carolina at Greensboro and graduated with a Master in Music Education and teacher certification K-12 in 2004.

In 2005 she began teaching general music education in Winston- Salem Forsyth County Schools. In 2008 she attended Level 1 Orff Schulwerk certification at Winthrop University. In 2009 she received Level 2 Orff Schulwerk certification at the University of Memphis. In 2010 she received level 3 Orff Sculwerk Certification at Winthrop University. In 2011 she became a National Board Certified Teacher. In 2011 Ms. Church became the director of Carol Choir at Centenary United Methodist Church for 3 years where she connected Orff Schulwerk with Sacred music.  In 2011 Ms. Church attended the Ron Clark Academy for Teachers. In 2011, Ms. Church taught Orff Schulwerk at Summer Sing music camp for 3 years. She worked with elementary, middle, and high school students at the camp. She currently serves as Singing Angels  Children Choir Director for United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church. She currently serves as a member of the worship team at Awake Church in Winston-Salem.  Ms. Church teaches piano privately. In June 2017, Ms. Church completed World Music Drumming level 1 certification in Greensboro. She began her pursuit of PhD  at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in January 2019. In her spare time Ms. Church enjoys spending time with her 2 nephews and niece. She enjoys going to the movies, salsa dancing, hiking, and biking.

Ruben Cieza (Nanoscience)

Ruben Cieza is originally from Tuman, Peru, where he gained experience in the sugar, dairy and brewery industry after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. In 2015, Ruben decided to pursue his master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, where he strengthened his research skills. Today, Ruben lives in Winston-Salem with his wife, Angelica, who is an ordained minister of the Moravian Church and they have two beautiful girls, Hilda Elizabeth and Jael Esther. This Fall 2019, Ruben will start the Nanoscience Ph.D. Program at UNCG.

Grace Clark (Studio Art)

Visual and social practice artist Grace Clark was born in Idaho and raised in Florida and Minnesota. She attended the Perpich Center for Arts Education (2011), Utah State University, and Minnesota State University Moorhead – where she received her BFA in studio art with an emphasis in photography (2015). She has worked as a studio assistant and art fabricator for numerous artists as well as institutions such as the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Her personal work has been exhibited nationally and focuses on the visuals of various cultural landscapes, organizing emotional experiences, and questioning accessibility within the arts. Her free time is best enjoyed working on personal projects, traveling, and camping from her homemade teardrop camper.

Basheerah Enahora (Nutrition)

Basheerah Enahora, RDN, LDN, MS, MBA is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, certified mindfulness meditation teacher, adjunct professor at JCSU and owner of BE Nutrition LLC. Through her one-on-one and group work with clients, writing and speaking, Basheerah helps people who are frustrated with dieting reach their health and weight goals while rediscovering the joy of eating. She also works with those suffering with diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome/disease, chronic migraines, food allergies and sensitivities.

Basheerah holds a Masters of Science in Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is licensed as a dietitian in North and South Carolina. She has worked clinically in Illinois, North Carolina and South Carolina, providing patients with medical nutrition therapy and acute and chronic disease management. Basheerah also holds an MBA from Duke University, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. As a Nutrition doctoral candidate at UNC Greensboro, starting Fall 2019, Basheerah plans to focus on the use of technology to impact nutrition and weight loss behavior.

A few fun facts about Basheerah, she’s an amateur chef, food blogger, serious foodie, chocolate lover, wanderlust traveler, runner and wine enthusiast. You can typically find her running to and from the kitchen.

Josh Frost (Medicinal Biochemistry)

Josh Frost is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro studying Medicinal Biochemistry. He holds an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and minor in Philosophy from Washington and Lee University, and a master’s degree in Bioethics and Science Policy from Duke University. In addition to organic and biochemistry, Josh is interested in the ethics of science and research, science communication, and the broad issues facing the future of science. Outside of the lab, Josh enjoys reading, competitive video gaming, and spending time with his wife and two cats.

Joseph Gazing-Wolf (Environmental Health Science)

Joseph Gazing Wolf fell in love with the African savanna as a tribal shepherd in upper Egypt. Wolf recalls how the morning mists hovered over the Nile waters, infiltrated the Papyrus reeds, tumbled across the grass, and dissipated into the Sahara, which seemed to stretch forever. Birds of every kind tilled the soil foraging for food and bathed in the waters while singing songs of the wind. His sheep grazed the savanna grasses and took comfort in his presence as lions appeared out of the Sahara like a mirage. Wolf knew this was home, and as human settlement continued to spread, he knew his home was in trouble.

As a young boy, Wolf found himself in the Northern Great Plains of the US where he continued his journey as a shepherd, and later a range rider. His adoptive parents’ ranch at Standing Rock reservation was a haven for native plants, animals, and humans, all of whom had been displaced from their homes. He saw how the introduction of non-native species, overgrazing, poor management, climate change, and the commodification of land and living beings had degraded the prairie that had become a part of his identity. Hence as a Lakota rancher he focused intensively on building resiliency on the range through the reintroduction and restoration of native plants, herbivores, and predators.

Grasslands cover 50% of Earth’s ice-free surface and are the most resilient terrestrial ecosystems in the battle against climate change. Thus, an emerging theme of Wolf’s research is the optimization of range management for the restoration of heterogeneity, productivity, and resilience. He explores the specific ways in which management practices interact with ecosystem processes so as to allow grasslands to become repositories of biological diversity, produce desired ecosystem services and healthy food, allow for profitable livelihoods in marginalized rural communities, and increase system resilience. As a rancher and a student, Wolf has been involved in the restoration and conservation of the grey wolf, bison, prairie dogs, and many native grassland species. He is also interested in developing methods to integrate traditional ecological knowledge into quantitative research design and actively recruits and mentors underrepresented students into STEM fields. As a PhD student, Wolf works with tribal communities and government agencies to study and reintroduce keystone species such as bison and prairie dogs. Amongst other things, he investigates the top-down effects of the removal of native herbivores on grassland plant communities and soil microbiota across different gradients of precipitation, fire regime, and soil nutrients. When he’s not riding his horse out on the range, Wolf spends his time in his martial arts practice, bow hunting, fishing, woodworking, and competing in 3-gun tournaments.


“As a PhD student and Minerva Scholar at UNCG, I have the privilege of being part of an academic community filled with intelligent, creative, and compassionate people that inspire me to pursue excellence in everything I do.”

Ashley Gentry (Special Education)

My name is Ashley Gentry and I will begin my studies for my Ph.D. in Special Education in Fall 2019. I recently graduated from East Carolina University with Magna Cum Laude honors with a Master of Arts in Education degree specializing in special education with a concentration in learning disabilities. I previously taught special education for four years working with students with a wide range of disabilities. During this time I received the Exceptional Leadership Award from the Director of the Exceptional Children’s Department.

Lucas Gianini (Music)

Lucas Gianini is a clarinetist currently teaching and performing in the Charlotte/Greensboro regions of North
Carolina. As an orchestral musician Lucas has performed with the Lima Symphony and, more recently, the
Charlotte Symphony. He was also a member of the Carolinas Wind Orchestra for the 2017-2019 seasons. An
advocate of contemporary music, Lucas was a founding member of the Noise to Signal Ensemble, which has
toured the Midwest performing chamber and solo works by living composers in 2016 and 2017, many of which
were world premieres. This Summer Lucas will perform Flammes, by Janos Komives, for solo clarinet at
ClarinetFest 2019 in Knoxville, TN.
As a teacher Lucas has taught clarinet, saxophone, and flute privately in the Charlotte, NC area. He has also
taught several masterclasses and has been the woodwind instructor for various local middle and high school
programs. Lucas was also a middle school band director for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in the 2017-2018
years. During his masters Lucas taught single reeds and woodwind methods courses to undergraduate music
majors and was the band director of the Music Plus program at Bowling Green State University.
Lucas has a B.M. in Music Performance and in Instrumental Music Education from The University of North
Carolina at Greensboro and a M.M. in Clarinet Performance from Bowling Green State University. His primary
teachers include Kevin Schempf, Anthony Taylor, and Kelly Burke. In the Fall of 2019 Lucas will return to
UNC-Greensboro for his D.M.A. as the clarinet studio teaching assistant and as a Minerva Scholar.

Joanna Gontarz (Nursing)

I live in Raleigh, North Carolina and work as a nurse for Duke Health.  Graduated with a BSN from the University of Virginia in 1992 and received a MSN from Duke University in 2006.  I enjoy traveling around the world with my significant other John Douglas and hope to continue traveling during school breaks.  Looking forward to pursuing my PhD in Nursing at UNCG!

James Green (Educational Research Methodology)

I’m originally from Colorado and moved to North Carolina to continue my education at NC State. I studied advanced analytics and now I use analytics to help evaluate and improve clinical programs. In my free time I enjoy playing golf, basketball and table tennis. I love to take road trips and have traveled extensively in Colorado and in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Lindsey Grossman (Counseling and Counselor Education)

Lindsey Grossman is originally from Tallahassee, FL, and has made several exciting stops on her way to UNCG. First, she went south to attend the University of Florida. While in college, she explored several majors before narrowing her focus to the study of people and earned a degree in Sociology. After graduation, Lindsey moved up north to Washington, D.C. to intern for her Congresswoman in the U.S. House of Representatives. From there, she began working for the JDRF Advocacy office on the Grassroots team. She collaborated with volunteers across the country to coordinate local fundraising efforts as well as fly-in lobby events in D.C. Lindsey eventually moved down to Atlanta, GA, to be closer to family and figure out next steps. Atlanta ended up being the perfect next chapter as she attended Georgia State University’s clinical mental health counseling program. In her time at GSU, she worked as a graduate research assistant in a developmental psychology lab studying engagement between toddlers and their parents. As a clinical intern, Lindsey worked in an inpatient psychiatric hospital as well as a public high school. While the hospital setting exposed her to the experience of living with severe mental illness and the effects that can have on one person and those who love them, the high school enabled her to explore working with adolescents experiencing a broad range of presenting concerns. Lindsey is interested in researching the effects of trauma across the lifespan, specifically through the lens of development.

Connor Harris (Environmental Health Science)

I am Connor Harris. I was born and raised in Northwest Florida and then traveled to Orlando, FL to get my degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Central Florida. The last two years of my bachelor’s degree I was able to conduct research in two different settings with the last one being an immunology lab focusing on the common hospital bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. During my time at UCF, I gained a love for honeybees and beekeeping. I then found and reached out to Kasie Raymann here at UNCG to discuss research opportunities. After speaking to her, I knew I had to come to UNCG to pursue my degree in Environmental Health Sciences and work with my two passions: bacteria and honeybees! When I am not doing research you can easily find me at home with my soon-to-be wife Hannah and our two cats: George and Burt! We love hanging out watching football and futbol or playing a good board game.

Renee Harrison (Nursing)

Renee Harrison is from Winston Salem, North Carolina.  Bachelor of Psychology from North Carolina A&T State University, BSN Winston Salem State University, and MSN in Nursing Education from Winston Salem State University. Almost 15 years of nursing experience, 10 years of nursing education experience.  Clinical Nursing Experience: Critical Care, Adult Medicine, Post- Operative Care, Trauma, and Transitional Care.  Nursing Education Teaching Experience: ADN, BSN, and RN-BSN.  Married with two children, currently resides in Winston Salem, NC.

Zeinab Hassan (Nursing)

My name is Zeinab Hassan. I have been  a nurse at Moses Cone for two years. I love to travel and learn about different cultures.

Sabine Huber (Psychology)

I graduated from the University of Maryland in 2017 with a BS in psychology and a minor in neuroscience. After graduating from UMD, I continued to work on campus as a faculty research assistant at the Child Development Lab under Dr. Nathan Fox. My main responsibility was running the Temperament Over Time study, where I collected EEG, ambulatory electrocardiography, and other developmentally relevant data on our research participants. At UNCG, I am a doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program and my main research topics are developmental trajectories, early risk factors and psychopathological outcomes.

Jessica Hudson (Theater)

Jessica Hudson is currently working on an MFA in Acting at UNCG. She is a North Carolina native (Durham) but spent most of her adult-life in Chicago working as a theatre artist. Jessica also worked as a teaching artist in Chicago, integrating the performing arts into the curriculum in classrooms across the Chicago Public Schools. Jessica believes that artistry feeds teaching feeds artistry feeds teaching. Her future endeavors will follow that cycle of performance work and teaching here in North Carolina and beyond.

Md. Arif Iqbal (Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies)

I am Md. Arif Iqbal from Bangladesh, 30 years of age, a PhD student of Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies at UNCG and a proud Minerva Scholar. My academic focus is on sustainable textile product development, cultural diversity & consumer behavior and textile economics. Before joining this PhD program, I worked as an Assistant Professor of the department of Textile Engineering Management at Bangladesh University of Textiles(BUTEX). Prior to becoming a faculty member of BUTEX, I was in professional and industrial practice where I worked as a textile engineer at Merchandising department of different multinational apparel manufacturing industries.
I enjoy sharing knowledge and experience with my students and take pride in empowering the next generation of textile professional. After the successful completion of PhD, I want to work for my own University as well as for my country.
My father is a high school teacher and my mother is a homemaker. My younger brother is a graduate student of English literature.
My wife is a zoologist and my only loving son is 2.5 years old.

Cameron John (Interior Architecture)

From Charlotte, NC, he spent his formative years at Northwest School of the Arts studying studio arts in drawing, painting, jewelry, ceramics, and sculpture. After attaining a B.F.A. in Interior Architecture at UNCG, he worked in woodworking and millwork fabrication doing custom design work and schematics. He returned to UNCG to focus on expanding the creative and theoretical context for interior architecture in academia and in the profession. He hopes to teach and inspire the next generation of creative minds to reconsider how design is conceptualized and represented across culture, process, and industry.

Joti Kaur (Information Systems and Supply Chain Management)

Ms. Joti Kaur holds a graduation degree in MBA and a Masters in Public Administration. She has worked in the banking and software industry for more than seven years. Building on the experience and knowledge gained, and her multi-disciplinary background, she is keen on pursuing her doctoral work in the subject of Information Systems. She hopes to bridge the industry-academia gap by undertaking a theoretically grounded study, which is relevant to both.

Maggie Kelly (English)

Maggie is originally from Fayetteville, NC. She graduated from NC State University with a B.A. in English Education. After graduating, Maggie taught high school English for six years. She graduated with her M.A. in English from UNCG in 2018 and is returning to UNCG to begin the PhD program in English. When she’s not at school, Maggie enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two children, Piper and Huck.

Paige Kemp (Psychology)

Paige Kemp is an international student from Essex, England. She completed her B.S. in psychology at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. For the past year, she has worked as a Teaching and Research Assistant at various European schools such as University College London, London Business School, and INSEAD. While attending UNCG, she will be pursuing a Ph.D in Psychology and working as a research assistant in the Memory and Cognition Lab. She is broadly interested in studying memory and attention, especially in the aging population. Outside of her studies, Paige enjoys playing competitive golf and going for bike rides.

Doreen Larvie (Nutrition)

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” by Steve Prefontaine, is her personal life mantra.

A native of Ghana in the West African region, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from the University of Ghana and is a current MS Nutrition student at UNCG. Back home, she worked as a Registered Dietitian in leading health care and organizational settings. She believes that every individual can achieve whatever they set their minds to and that was a guiding principle during counselling sessions with her clients to equip them with skills to make lifelong changes to their diet and health. She is passionate about community volunteerism and has worked with ‘Feed the Hungry’, a charity-based organization which aims to feed the hungry around the world as well as helping to develop a cooking curriculum to equip kids with skills to make healthy eating choices.

Her research work is focused on utilizing whole foods to mitigate iron and zinc deficiencies among at risk populations. Her thesis work engendered her as a finalist for the Young Minority Investigator award at the Nutrition 2019 conference. She is also a recipient of Summer Assistantships for two years in a row and a Sue Ramsey Johnston Ferguson scholarship from the School of Health and Human Sciences, UNCG.

She enjoys hanging out with friends and outdoor activities such as hiking. She has a weak spot for movies and her all-time favorites are “Revenant” and “Age of Adaline”. TV shows are not left out as her Thursday evenings are devoted to “Greys Anatomy” and “Big Bang Theory”, which she will probably binge on when they end. She hopes to travel around the world one day and wants to visit Paris and Malaysia sometime in the not-so-distant future.

She is fortunate to have a family she adores of two brothers, a mom and dad who have been a pillar of support. After graduation, she looks forward to working in the area of sustainable nutrition policy aimed at reducing the inequities and challenges in the global burden of chronic disease, particularly, obesity.

Heather Lofdahl (Music)

Heather Lofdahl is a string teacher, conductor, and violist who is pursuing a PhD in Music Education at The University of North Carolina Greensboro. Ms. Lofdahl teaches orchestra classes through the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program and at Guilford Preparatory Academy. She is the conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Strings and also has a private violin and viola studio at The Music Academy of North Carolina, where she was awarded the Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award in 2014. Prior to moving to Greensboro, Ms. Lofdahl taught orchestra in Cobb County (GA). She has also taught elementary through university orchestra students in Illinois and North Carolina. She serves on the faculty of the Florida State University String Orchestra Camp every summer.

Ms. Lofdahl is published in the String Research Journal and American String Teachers (AST) Journal. She is an active member of the American String Teachers Association and the National Association for Music Education, and she serves on the AST Editorial Committee. Through these organizations as well as the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the International Society for Music Education, Ms. Lofdahl has presented research at the Symposium for Music Teacher Education, International Society for Music Education Conference, American String Teachers Association National Conference, and various state conferences.

Ms. Lofdahl holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music Education and Viola Performance from Augustana College and Master of Music degrees in Music Education and Viola Performance from The University of North Carolina Greensboro. She is an active guest conductor, clinician, and violist throughout the United States.

Stuart Marshall (History)

Stuart Marshall received his BA from St. Andrews University and his MA in History from UNCG. As he continues his research with UNCG’s doctoral program in History, his primary area of focus is Eastern Cherokee sovereignty in the Civil War era. Another research area relates to the Carolina backcountry in the Prerevolutionary era. In addition to his studies in history, Stuart performs and competes with Scottish bagpipes, also teaching that tradition.


“UNCG has provided me with many valuable opportunities far and wide, enabling me to further my research and refine my skills as a historian on a daily basis. The ability to connect with other Minerva Scholars who excel in their own disciplines has motivated me to push myself to high standards.”

Tyler Mitchell

I am a Ph.D. student in the Carolina Tree-Ring Science Laboratory in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability.  My primary research interest is in climatology and in my work I use data from tree rings to examine historic variations in weather and climate.

Emily Monge (Nursing)

My name is Emily Monge. I am a Greensboro native. I originally graduated from UNCG in 2007 with a Bachelor’s in Spanish. I worked as a paralegal at a local immigration law firm and then decided to pursue a career in healthcare. I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from UNCG in 2011. I have since worked for Cone Health as a Registered Nurse in the Cardiac Progressive Care and Cardiac Rehabilitation departments. I am currently enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice-Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program at UNCG, with the support of my husband and my two amazing daughters. I enjoy traveling and working with people. I love dachshunds, all things Disney, coffee and chocolate. I am honored to receive the Minerva Scholar designation.

Pauline Privitera

Pauline Privitera is a PhD student within the department of public health education, and is a graduate assistant with the Institute to Promote Athlete Health & Wellness at UNCG.  Her research interests include social determinants of health, and interventions aimed towards the socioeconomic context within which populations live.  Pauline’s research goals are primarily focused on promoting positive health behaviors in underserved/marginalized youth.  Prior to attending UNCG, she served as a full-time lecturer in the Kinesiology Department at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke teaching health promotion courses.  In 2018, Pauline was awarded the Diane O. Jones Excellence in Service-Learning Award at UNC Pembroke for her work developing and instructing service-learning courses.

A native of Toronto, Canada, Pauline came to the United States in 2001 on a duel NCAA division II basketball and soccer scholarship. Pauline served as a division II assistant women’s soccer coach at UNC Pembroke from 2007-2016, during this time she also taught part-time in the Health, Physical Education & Recreation Department.

Pauline holds a masters degree in Education Leadership from Salem International University, a masters degree in Physical Education and Sports Administration from UNC Pembroke, and a third masters degree in Heath Education from East Carolina University. Pauline also earned a graduate certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling from ECU, and is a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Detric Robinson-Miller (Educational Studies)

Detric Robinson-Miller (he/him/his) is a native of Darlington, South Carolina, and is pursuing his Doctoral degree in Educational Studies with a concentration in Higher Education. Detric is passionate about issues and topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially those relating to policy, practice, and experiences in a higher education context. Professionally, Detric is a student conduct professional with a strong background in housing and residence life programs, having served at NC State University, Winston-Salem State University, and Elon University. In his personal life, Detric enjoys spending time with his husband, John, and their two pups Kai and Carter. Detric considers himself a bit of a nerd, enjoying gaming, sci-fi/fantasy genres, comics, and anime. He enjoys tasting craft beers and wines, with a specific interest in local and microbreweries. Detric considers himself a strong extrovert and getting to know new people and exploring unfamiliar places brings him joy!

Miranda Roesing (Nanoscience)

I grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC. I attended College of Charleston and graduated in May 2018 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Physics. I am now a graduate student pursuing a degree in Nanoscience at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

Fridah Rotich (Medicinal Biochemistry)

My name is Fridah Rotich. I am from Eldoret town in Kenya (East Africa). I have five siblings and everyone in my family is in Kenya. I got married a month ago to Edwin Too.

I did my undergraduate at Davidson College, NC USA and majored in Chemistry. I am enrolled in the Medicinal Biochemistry PhD program starting this fall.

Caitlyn Schrader (Dance)

Caitlyn Schrader is originally from Upstate New York, but has since called Boston, MA and Melbourne, Australia home, among other cities in between. As a freelance dance artist, she has had the privilege and opportunity to study, perform, choreograph, teach, and produce dance throughout the Northeast/New England region for the past 10 years. Additionally, as a certified French and English Second Language teacher, she has taught within private and public institutions in New York State and Massachusetts. In 2011 Caitlyn was accepted into the Fulbright Franco-American Teachers-in-Training Program, where she spent part of the academic year in Northern France teaching English to middle school and university students. She is an avid traveler, coffee enthusiast, film buff, and yoga teacher. Caitlyn holds a BA from Hobart & William Smith Colleges and MS in Education from the University of Rochester. Caitlyn is very excited to be continuing her education at UNCG, in the MFA in Dance program, for which she has also been awarded a Graduate/Teaching Assistantship.


“To sum up my experience at UNCG thus far, and as a Minerva Scholar, I find myself building united forces, on common ground, from different perspectives.”

Wenhao Shou (Computational Mathematics)

Wenhao Shou is a Ph.D. student in Computational Mathematics at UNCG. She received her Master in Statistics from Indiana University Bloomington in 2019.

Nathan Southwick (Music)

Currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where he has been named a Minerva Scholar, Nathan Southwick is a vibrant and active violinist and musician. As a soloist, Nathan has appeared with the Utah State University Symphony, New American Philharmonic, on tour with the USU Chamber Singers throughout northern Italy, as well as multiple composer “projects” including the Mozart Project in Boulder, Colorado and the Vivaldi Project in Lubbock, Texas. An avid chamber musician, he has participated in master classes with groups such as the Shanghai Quartet, the Emerson Quartet and the Jerusalem Quartet. Nathan performed with the Elysian Quartet, the Graduate String Quartet at Texas Tech University, totaling over 70 outreach concerts during his tenure with the ensemble, as well as the first violinist of the Permian Basin String Quartet’s 2018-2019 season. As a symphonic violinist, Nathan has held leadership roles in Utah State University Symphony, University of Colorado-Boulder Symphony, Texas Tech Orchestra, Utah Festival Opera Orchestra, as well as the Lubbock and Midland Symphonies. In addition to performing, Nathan is an active educator, having taught in the College of Continuing Education at the University of Colorado and maintaining a private studio. After graduating Magna Cum Laude under the instruction of Rebecca McFaul from Utah State, Nathan was head teaching assistant to Charles Wetherbee at the University of Colorado-Boulder (MM-Violin Pedagogy), and again head teaching assistant to Annie Chalex Boyle at Texas Tech University (MM-Violin Performance).

Christina Stephens (Human Development and Family Studies)

Christina Stephens will attend UNCG as a PhD student in the Human Development and Family Studies Program. She has a B.A. in Psychology from The Catholic University of American, with minors in Spanish and early childhood education. She also has earned an M.S. in Developmental Science from the University of Rhode Island (URI). Her research interests focus on disparities in education and academic achievement among children and youth from historically marginalized backgrounds. Additionally, she has an interest in the role that classroom characteristics, environmental factors, and quality of student-teacher relationships have in promoting the academic achievement of vulnerable students. Christina has worked as a graduate research and teaching assistant at URI, and also as an assistant instructor for a horseback riding program offering therapeutic lessons to children and adults.


“I’ve really enjoyed being in such a diverse community at UNCG and learning from some amazing scholars. I’ve gained so much from my classes but it has also been refreshing to accompany my HDFS training with the interdisciplinary perspectives brought by the co-curricular programming. I think that this opportunity can allow me to take my graduate journey to new heights!”

Tahima Sultana (Information Systems and Supply Chain Management)

Tahmina Sultana is a doctoral student of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management department at UNCG. She is an international student from Bangladesh. Before leaving Bangladesh for her doctoral program, Ms. Sultana was working in a various technology leadership capacity in the ready-made garment industry. She obtained her Bachelors and Masters degree in Information Systems from Bangladesh’s top public university, namely the University of Dhaka. Ms. Sultana was the first person from her family and her entire village to attend the University of Dhaka, and now she has also become the first to start doctoral study. She has a wish to contribute to her society with the research training gained from UNCG. Her preferred areas of research are cybersecurity, business analytics, and women empowerment through technologies.

Caroline Trustey (Counseling and Counselor Education)

Caroline was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Following high school, she relocated to South Bend, Indiana to attend the University of Notre Dame, and graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Behavior and a minor in Theology. Caroline then relocated again, this time to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she completed her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an addiction’s specialization in 2019. While at Marquette, Caroline completed internships working with women with mental health and substance use disorders, worked on two research projects examining the influence of the #metoo project on survivors’ decision to report sexual offenses and the efficacy of a mindfulness app with substance abuse counselors, and served as the president of the department’s graduate school organization. Caroline relocated once more to Greensboro, NC and will begin her doctoral studies in Counseling and Counselor Education in August 2019. Her research interests include substance abuse and the outcomes of drug courts as opposed to incarceration for nonviolent, drug-related offenses. Beyond the classroom, Caroline enjoys running, exploring new places, eating ice cream, and getting lost in a good book. She looks forward to beginning her UNCG journey and is grateful for this opportunity!

Shruthi Venkatesh (Psychology)

From the shores of Dubai to the beaches of California, Shruthi’s journey has finally led her to the beautiful town of Greensboro to pursue a PhD in Developmental Psychology. Shruthi graduated with a BA in Psychology from Claremont McKenna College and was the research coordinator at the Berger Institute, Claremont. She is interested in exploring parental involvement on child emotional and social outcomes with a cultural lens. She is very excited to join Dr. DeJesus’ Development, Culture and Health Lab as she embarks on her graduate school career. When she is not in lab, you can find her curled up with a book, practicing Bharatanatyam, or watching cute baby videos.

Indya Walker (Human Development and Family Studies)

Mrs. Indya Walker is a native of Raleigh, NC and a proud alumna of UNCG. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Indya went on to work with a local non-profit organization, Communities in Schools of Greater Greensboro. Her professional experience involved helping youth and families access resources and opportunities that encouraged them to grow and succeed both inside and outside of school. Indya plans to conduct valuable research centered around Black and African American males and families, and their unique experiences. The goal of making developmental research more comprehensive, holistic, and culturally representative is one that motivates her to remain dedicated to her research interests. Her passion is to continue to impact underserved children and families in ways that address their needs and propel them forward developmentally. Indya is pursuing her master’s and PhD in HDFS and plans to utilize her graduate studies to refine her knowledge and find more ways to uplift the Greensboro community through a developmental, family-focused lens. Greensboro is Indya’s second home and when not studying, she enjoys visiting local parks and traveling with her husband.

Mariani Weinstein (Psychology)

Mariani Weinstein, B.A., is an incoming graduate student to Dr. Michaeline Jensen’s Interactions and Relationships Lab. She completed her B.A in Psychology at Northwestern University as a QuestBridge College Match Scholar. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant at The Family Institute for Dr. Lynne Knobloch Fedders and at The Cognition and Language Lab for Dr. Dedre Gentner. Her undergraduate Honors Thesis, supervised by Dr. Gentner, examined metaphor processing in monolingual and bilingual speakers of Spanish and English. Prior to entering UNCG, she volunteered with Dr. Emily Georgia Salivar assisting with lab management and couples research at Nova Southeastern University.

Mariani’s early years in Colombia and experience of immigrating to the United States with her parents at age seven, shaped her clinical and research interests in working with recent immigrants. Her specific research interests are in the intersection of family relationships, psychopathology, and culture, with a focus on the Latinx community. Her goal is to contribute to the development of culturally-tailored and accessible interventions for underserved youth, so they can develop into emotionally-, socially-, and vocationally-fulfilled adults.

Mitchell Zaplatosch (Kinesiology)

Originally from Homer Glen, Illinois, Mitchell Zaplatosch will be entering the PhD program in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Physiology this fall under advisor Dr. William Adams. He received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Diet and Exercise in 2018 from Iowa State University. Since then, Mitchell recently completed the dietetic internship program at the Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital in Illinois. His primary research interests are in strategies for assessing and regulating fluid balance as relates to both human health and performance.