Current SURE-EH Trainees

Gabino Junior Abarca is a senior in Public Health. He joined the program in June 2016 under the mentorship of Dr. June Spector, Assistant Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Inspired by the work experiences of his parents and himself harvesting fruit, Gabino’s research investigates the association between heat exposure, volume/hydration status and kidney injury using data collected from orchard workers in Eastern Washington state. He presented his research project, “Relationship between Heat Exposure, Volume Status, and Kidney Injury in Washington Crop Workers” at the 2017 UW Undergraduate Research Symposium. 
As a first generation college student and the son of immigrants, Gabino experienced some culture shock upon entering the UW. But his desire to earn a college degree combined with the support of his family have helped assure him that he was on the right path. Since that first year, he has also become a UW McNair Scholar and received the “Exceptional Student Award” at the Washington State Public Health Association's Annual Conference in October 2017.

Jannah Amaly is a junior majoring in Public Health. She joined SURE-EH in June 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Vanessa Galaviz, Lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and Director of Community Engagement and Education for the PNASH Center.   Jannah’s research is currently focused on working with Columbia Valley Community Health to develop a ‘voting board’ to measure the needs of migrant workers in Wenatchee.  Voting results will guide her in identifying specific areas of health/safety need that are in need of further education and/or research.  As a first-generation student, a South Seattle native, and as a Cham-Javanese Muslim, Jannah shares an especially strong passion for public health and education with her parents who are both refugees of the Khmer Rouge and the communist wars. Farmworker health and safety is a topic that resonates with her because of the related experiences some of her family members had after emigrating to the US.  She hopes to leverage the experience she will gain with SURE-EH, PNASH and her academic studies in public health to further explore the social determinants of health and economic barriers faced by underrepresented communities. 
 
Mae Coker is a senior in Public Health. She joined SURE-EH in June 2018 under the mentorship of Dr. Chris Simpson, Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. 
 
Karissa Crawford is senior majoring in Microbiology. She joined SURE-EH in June 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Scott Meschke, Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Her research will investigate polio virus detection in environmental samples to determine how RT-RPA assays perform when compared to other polio virus detection methods. With her interest in clinical microbiology and experience as laboratory assistant, Karissa will be applying to the UW's Medical Laboratory Science post-baccalaureate program this spring to continue her education in the microbiology field.

Matthew Gomez is a sophomore in Microbiology. He joined SURE-EH in June 2018 under the mentorship of Dr. Julia Cui, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. 

Samara Kleinfinger is a junior in Environmental Health / Environmental Studies. She joined SURE-EH in September 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Tania Busch Isaksen, Lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.  Samara’s research will be analyzing trends and barriers in the disposal of (food) waste of individuals by looking at both quantitative and qualitative data and creating a targeted solution to overcome them. Samara is currently interested in pursuing a career in an environmental and/or health related field.


Divya Naidoo is a pre-science sophomore and plans on applying to the Public Health major. She joined SURE-EH in June 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Jerry Cangelosi, Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. The goal of her research will be to understand how oral microbiota differs by regions of the mouth in TB patients and healthy controls, and what opportunistic pathogens are present by sampling for pathogens, particularly Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Divya hopes to go to medical school upon graduating from the UW.

Kimanh Tran is a sophomore and is a Public Health major. She joined SURE-EH in June 2017 under the mentorship of Drs. Nicole Errett and Tania Busch Isaksen, Lecturers in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.  Kim’s research will analyze heat and air quality related risk communications made by news media for ethnic minority (Vietnamese, Somali, and Spanish speaking) communities in King County, WA during the summer of 2017. Kim believes strongly in advocating for more diverse healthcare professionals and hopes to work within community outreach programs.

Camila Valdebenito Baeza is junior studying Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. She joined SURE-EH in June 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Scott Meschke, Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Camila’s research will ask if the Bag Mediated Filtration System (BMFS) technique is efficient for detection of bacterial indicators and pathogenic bacteria in environmental waters. She hopes to eventually pursue a PhD in Epidemiology to research and model the impact of climate change on the occurrence and magnitude of infectious diseases. By studying this, she hopes to help establish needed health care policies, preventive measures and treatments to eradicate global infectious diseases in developing countries.

Maedot Yidenk is a junior majoring in Microbiology. She joined SURE-EH in June 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Lianne Sheppard, Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and Director of the BEBTEH Program. Maedot’s research will focus on determining if there is an association between high air pollution and low socioeconomic status (SES). Maedot plans to pursue a PhD in Neurobiology hoping to investigate and understand the effect of the environment on brain development in children.