2021 – 2022 FERBS Scholars

Anisa Robinson

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Wood Lab, Department of Biology

Anisa is a freshman from Jersey City, NJ, currently pursuing a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. As a Penn FERBS Fellow, she is expanding her research experience into the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. This Spring, under the mentorship of PhD Candidate McCall Calvert in the Wood Lab, she plans to further examine both the causes and effects of conflicts that arise as Medicago truncatula interact with mutualistic rhizobia and parasitic nematodes. When she isn’t working in the lab or studying for her next biology exam, she enjoys finding ways to stay physically active, catching up with friends, and binge-watching Anime on Netflix.

Arianna Mejia

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Guo Lab, Department of Biology

Arianna is originally from San Juan Texas. At Penn she is interested in pursuing her major studies in Biology, History and Sociology of Science, and Philosophy with broad interests in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Outside of the classroom Arianna is a member of PennBand. Interestingly Arianna is certified in phlebotomy and plans to earn her EMT certification in 2022.

Abetzi Vazquez Ochoa

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Taabazuing Lab, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

Abetzi is originally from Houston, Texas.  Now at Penn she intends to major in Cognitive Neuroscience with a minor in Anthropology. She is also a part of the Johnson Scholars Program at the Perelman School of Medicine and a Benjamin Franklin Scholar. Generally she is interested in understanding humans and the neurodegenerative diseases affecting us. Abetzi thinks that having an understanding of cultural human history can benefit a lot of scientific research — specifically, those relating to behavior. That integration is something she hopes to corroborate and accomplish through her future research, as well as expanding accessibility (both the tangible and intellectual) of the health science being done today. In addition to all of this, Abetzi is an admirer of art and the occasional cello player and writer. She is excited to get a chance to conduct research and work in a real lab–which is something I never thought she would be doing. Additionally she is excited to explore as many topics in biology as she can while at Penn.

Angelina Jala

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Johnson Lab, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Angelina is from Philadelphia, PA. For her, science is empathetic because it’s about understanding the very essence of others and the life around all of us. Within science, Angelina hopes to build a career whatever field she is in advancing while also bringing more people with her and making science more accessible. Currently she has interests in both cognitive science and biological sciences. She finds it fascinating how there are as many worlds as there are minds because of all the factors that shape someone’s perception of the world. While at Penn Angelina intends to major in Cognitive Science with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience while taking biological science courses along the way. Outside of the classroom she is involved with Penn’s Cheerleading Team, the Penn Philippine Association, and various volunteering opportunities. Outside of school she enjoys thrifting, cake decorating, and watching anime.

Brian Dinh

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Ding Lab, Department of Biology

Brian is originally from San Francisco, California. At Penn, he intends to pursue a major in Neuroscience with a minor in Health Care Management. Brian is particularly excited to dive into all topics of neuroscience and biology while at Penn. Outside of class, he is involved in the Vietnamese Student Association and MEDLIFE. Aside from school Brian’s hobbies include art (painting, drawing, etc.), ice hockey, and outdoor physical activities. 

David Kedeme

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Ma Lab, Department of Neuroscience

David is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His interests and intended major are in the field of neuroscience, specifically in neurobiology and how the brain leads to both intentional and unintentional functions. Other activities David is involved in are Matriculate, Crisis Text Line, and the Brain Exercise Initiative. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, letting loose once in a while and is left-handed.

Diego Barragan

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Cormode Lab, Department of Radiology

Diego is originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Now at Penn Diego’s current interests are in the biological sciences and in particular the study of diseases. His intended major is Biology. Outside of the classroom, he is a member of the Penn Chess Club and the Penn Astronomical Student Association. For fun Diego enjoys going on runs and simply enjoying the sight of the sky at night.

Marco Garcia

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Pohlschroder Lab, Department of Biology

Marco Garcia is a junior in the Vagelos Life Science and Management Program studying Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences and Business with a concentration in Health Care Management and Policy in Wharton. Marco is originally from Fontana, California, and has lived there all his life until coming to Penn. With a diverse range of interests in the biological science, Marco is engaged in research within microbiology and vaccine development labs during his time at Penn. Beyond the lab and classroom, Marco is a musician, having been a member of multiple ensembles in high school where he played the clarinet. Furthermore, Marco actively participates in various campus activities including Penn Benjamins – a peer counseling group, and Penn’s Social Planning and Events Committee (SPEC).

Peace Oloko

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Holzbaur Lab, Department of Physiology

Peace is originally from Long Island, New York. She is currently interested in majoring in neuroscience. Peace is always amazed when she can apply the things that she learn in class to the real world (after taking psychology, she started to diagnose herself and others, although her teacher said not to). She often finds her self noticing things that she normally would not notice because she took a course which brings her a lot of joy and awareness of the world around me. In her first year at Penn she spent her time exploring various clubs like Nigerians at Penn and Penn Women’s Biomedical Society. Outside of classes and clubs, she enjoys watching shows and spending quality time with her friends. One fun fact about Peace is she finds her self exploring new hobbies from drawing and sewing to learning to speak a new language. Another fun fact about her is that she loves learning about different cultures and backgrounds.

Reginald Kwarteng

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Wagner Lab, Department of Biology

Reginald is a first-year student from The Bronx, NY in the College of Arts and Science currently pursuing a major in General Biology on the Pre-Med track. Reginald is a PennFERBS fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah Matar in the Wagner Lab focusing on the role of mutations in the LFY protein of Arabidopsis thaliana, and its effects on plant development and growth. Some of Reginald’s outside interests include swing dancing, exploring cities, gaming, and browsing through Twitter all day. 

Rhoda Kaddu

FERBS Fellow 2021-23

Brisson Lab, Department of Biology

Rhoda is originally from Uganda but grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. The heavy presence of herbal medicine in her childhood sparked an interest in biology. Rhoda’s intended major is Health and Societies with a Bioethics minor. She is currently a member of the Shea Collective, a club for people who experience misogynoir. Every morning she begins her day by listening to Opera music.

Ummayh Siddiqua

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Center of Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Ummayh was born in Bangladesh and moved to the US as a child. She has always been filled with curiosity about the world around her and this is what drew her to an interest in science. Ummayh’s area of interest includes neuroscience, genetics, immunology, and pulmonology. At Penn, she is involved in Penn Traditions and works as a Weingarten Biology Tutor. Her hobbies include photography, learning new languages, and traveling.

Winson Liu

FERBS Fellow 2021-24

Schmidt Lab, Department of Biology

Winson was born and raised in the City of Brotherly Love, right here in Philadelphia not traveling too far at all for Penn. Winson keeps himself motivated to study sciences at Penn by thinking about the prospect of standing in a moving field with many secrets being uncovered day by day. He admits he really just wants to see things of science-fiction turn into reality like silicone-based organisms on exoplanets many lightyears away. Winson has really been enjoying the lab PennFERBS has matched him with… he just never expected to aspirate flies with his mouth!

Yasmeen Haruna

FERBS Fellow 2021-22

Wood Lab, Department of Biology

Yasmeen is a first-year student from East Orange, New Jersey. She is a Health & Societies major with research interests in genetics and ecology. On-campus, she is a StudentsCare Hospital Buddy volunteer and a Service Link volunteer. She enjoys spending time with her family, eating new foods, and aspires to be a world traveler!