top of page

2022 Project STRIDE Cohort 

Kazi Ahmed

My name is Kazi Ahmed, and I am currently an incoming Senior at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science.

I joined Project STRIDE to gain experience from doctors and lab assistants. By learning more about lab procedures and medical policies, I would be able to take another step in my educational journey. Pursuing the medical field is no simple task, but if doing so means helping others, then I am more than willing to do so.

This summer, I’ve learned more about notorious diseases like cancer and diabetes with my mentor, Dr. Kamrul Hasan. We studied a gene classified as P53 and I conducted a research project to learn more about P53’s impact on cancer. Analyzing cancer cells and performing gel electrophoresis helped with my project. 

My goal for the future is to alleviate the chronic illnesses that our society suffers from. These include but are not limited to cancer, diabetes, and asthma. Project STRIDE has provided immense medical experience and research opportunities to support my educational career.

Quetzal Beltran

My name is Quetzal Beltran, and I am a rising Senior at King/Drew Medical Magnet High School. Being in Project STRIDE, has been an amazing opportunity were I have developed a more in depth understanding about research than I have throughout all my years in High School.

I have been working on a project regarding the connections and effects between HIV and COVID-19 with my wonderful mentor, Dr. Pearson. Being guided by my mentor and leaders here at Project STRIDE, I have learned so much about research and all the steps that go into it.

With the experience and education from this program, I have gained a preview of what work I can join in the future. I am grateful to Project STRIDE and hope to continue my interest in research and the medical field later on in college and so forth.

Andrew Castro

My name is Andrew Castro and I am an upcoming senior at Verbum Dei Jesuit High School. I am not entirely sure what I want to become in the future but I do know that I would like to affect my community and communities similar to mine positively.

Participating in Project Stride has given me the opportunity to see the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income communities in relation to high-income communities. With my research, on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities similar to mine, really has had its impact on me. Seeing the struggle of those who come from low-income communities really motivates me to continue my research and see the problem and eventually later on in the future I can help or be a part of the group that finds the solution of the problem whether it’s anything in the medical/medicine field or any other major I choose in the near future.

Maylee Diep

My name is Maylee Diep. I am an upcoming Senior at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. In my Junior year, I took a career exploration course, and I learned about the various healthcare providers in the medical field. I applied to Project STRIDE because I wanted to further my career goals, gain research skills, and share my findings with my community in an impactful manner.

Throughout my research, I have learned about the responsibilities needed to address HIV prevention among adolescents and young women, as I worked alongside my mentor, Dr. Lejeune Y. Lockett, who is the co-founder of the Rise Up! program in Zambia. The efforts she is making to maintain her program in Zambia and with her latest partnerships are inspiring. Besides Project STRIDE introducing me to an influential figure in International Affairs, Project STRIDE’s staff has prepared me to conduct my own individual research and have boosted my character through their collaborative activities and our exchanges of opinions. 

Ash Foster

My name is Ash Foster, and I am an incoming Senior at Synergy Quantum Academy. Project STRIDE has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about science and medicine, as well as opened my eyes to the many disparities and flaws we have in our healthcare system. As part of the generation capable of making a change, I aspire to do so by utilizing my time in this summer program.

At Project STRIDE, I collaborated with Dr. Senait Teklehaimanot, an Internal Medicine Specialist and Biostatistician. My focus of research is HIV/AIDS and its psychological impact on women and gay men. Not only have I learned effective ways of how to research and synthesize what I am researching, I have learned to manage my time more effectively and use the resources provided to me in a more applicable manner. These skills are very important to have because they will certainly need to be applied in the future whether it be in my desired field of work or another. This research is also very important because it shows me, and others who are interested, what information there already is on the matter and what gaps need to be filled.

Ivan Ixtlilco

My name is Ivan Ixtlilco, and I am a rising senior at King Drew Medical Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. My time at Project STRIDE has been splendid, connecting with my peers making the time here exciting, and helping each other with tips on getting through a particular course in school and sharing resources.

My project “How the Urban Ecology Affects the Epigenetics of People Living in poverty” looks at epigenetics and how one’s environment and behavior can affect the individual’s genetic expression. I chose the topic on Epigenetics because this is a topic that was covered in my AP Biology classes and I wanted to further look into this field of study.

I am interested in pursuing a medical career, although which part of the medical spectrum I want to pursue is still in the thought process, which thanks to Project STRIDE has connected me with professionals in the field of Research and Healthcare careers I now have a new understanding of the variety of careers and pathways available to me.

Virginia Sanchez

My name is Virginia Sanchez-Nunez and I am a rising Senior at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS). Due to my long-time interest in STEM, specifically the medical research sector, I decided to participate in Project STRIDE. Through this wonderful program, I have been exposed to many important STEM topics like academic research and writing.

I had the honor of being mentored by Professor Senait Teklehaimanot, and with her guidance I learned how to write an efficient abstract on a topic very important to me: Depression in Type 1 Diabetes youth. 

The skills and knowledge I have acquired in Project STRIDE are valuable and I will take them along with me throughout college and my career. I am thankful to Project STRIDE for giving me my first exposure to academic research in STEM. One day I hope to work on improving – and possibly even curing – the treatments and technologies for people with chronic illnesses. 

Shaun Thomas

My name is Shaun Thomas, and I am a rising Senior at Academy of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. I am interested in pursuing a career in healthcare/research that will combine my passion for journalism to further pave way for the future of healthcare. I believe that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing healthcare as the stakes were raised when the entire global community was put on lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID revealed many disparities within healthcare from unequal resource distribution to disease vulnerability.

Throughout my research project, I worked with my mentor, Dr. Juanita Booker-Vaughns, I realized that there were many racial disparities within the SPA 6 area when it came to colorectal cancer, and wanted to examine the factors into why this may be and how this aligns with one of my personal projects, Medicina MLC, and its mission of promoting interdisciplinary ideologies in healthcare.

So far, I am having a great experience with my mentor as I continue to work on this research project. I am excited to see what comes of it!

Crystal Varela

My name is Crystal Varela and I am an incoming Senior at King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. I decided to participate within Project STRIDE due to my interest to pursue a career in the field of neurology and radiology. I hope to be able to impact and save many lives.

While I have been part of Project STRIDE, I have learned various methods of research and what more there is to discover from it. This summer since I began, I have been helping my mentor in many ways by contributing to her work and gaining integral experience and practical skills in different research methodologies. I look forward to obtaining even more experience in this field and I hope it will help get into a good school.

Furthermore, I plan to attend to a top university that will allow me to further improve the skills that I have gained this summer. This Program has inspired me to continue on with my plans and goals, to find further success in the future.

Project STRIDE has been an outstanding opportunity for me to explore different medical fields. It has motivated me to accomplish my goals that may seem extremely difficult but not impossible, and to push for more.

What A Great Experience it has Been!

2022 Project STRIDE II Cohort 

Afia Ahmed​

My name is Afia Ahmed, and I will be going into my second year at the University of California, Irvine! I am a Public Health Sciences and Education Sciences double major with hopes of one day attending medical school to become a Reproductive Endocrinologist. My passion for this field stems from my desire to help those who are having difficulty conceiving a child and sustaining a pregnancy. 

As a Project STRIDE II student, I am working with Dr. Shahrzad Bazargan on developing a scoping review paper that analyzes the impact of female infertility on the mental health of Asian Americans. I am investigating sociocultural factors and other barriers to care that this population experiences, as well as assessing the effectiveness of current mental health resources and proposing refinements. I am grateful to have this opportunity to build upon the skills I gained in Project STRIDE while also becoming more knowledgeable in my field of interest.

Jesse Amaya

My name is Jesse Amaya. I am an undergraduate at UCLA , I will be starting my second year this upcoming fall. My major is Cognitive Science, and I hope to become a psychologist in order to perform research and work as a licensed therapist.

My interest in psychology began with my grandpa who had dementia. Watching his cognitive decline inspired me to get into the field to help with the situation. Unfortunately, my grandpa passed away while I was taking AP Psych. My passion for psychology would have dwindled but I realized how psychology affects my entire neighborhood.

In 2020, I was able to participate in Project STRIDEtride where I was able to view the effects of quarantine through literature review and I explained the disparities in levels of stress between areas of higher privilege compared to South Los Angeles. This year, I am participating in Project Stride STRIDE II where I will study the relationship between Urban Ecology and General Mental Health. As I move forward in my field, I will continue to fight for the underprivileged living in my community. 

bottom of page