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.

Arthur Aquilar is a junior majoring in Public Health. He 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.  Art’s research seeks to understand the impact of assessment and education tools on dairy worker health and safety in Skagit County by utilizing community-based participatory research methods to evaluate environmental and occupational risk among at-risk populations.  His experiences in the private sector and volunteering with youth-programs in El Paso, TX have exposed Art to different populations that are struggling with having their health needs met and have inspired him to pursue an education in Public Health.


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.

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.

Yasmin Everson is a senior in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Sciences. She joined the program in September 2016 and works with faculty member Dr. Julia Cui, Assistant Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. In her junior year, Yasmin worked on understanding the relationship in gut microbiome to the ontogeny of drug-processing enzymes in liver of germ-free mice. Yasmin’s current project will focus on determining if the dysregulation of epigenetic marks may lead to adverse drug reactions in vitro by altering the expression of drug-processing genes using HepaRG cells as a model. Additionally, understanding the potential hepatotoxicity of Dechlorane 602, BDE-99 and BDE-47 to the liver. Her research is relative to her previous work of establishing the expression of drug processing genes during development. Yasmin’s future aspiration is to become an Environmental Health Specialist. Yasmin is passionate about addressing public health issues such as how health workers evaluate environmental health concerns, minimize exposures to the public, and communicate the health risks to vulnerable populations. Currently, she works weekends at the Haselwood Family YMCA in her hometown, and she has become active in the UW’s Peer Health Educators program.

Shamey Kassim is a sophomore planning to major in Neurobiology and Public Health. She joined SURE-EH in June 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Nicole Errett, Lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Shamey’s research will look into current recommendations to increase preparedness of methadone clinics affected by disasters such as 9/11 or devastating natural events. Specifically, she is trying to determine what evidence-informed interventions have been implemented to enhance emergency preparedness clinics located in King County, WA. Shamey hopes to one day go to medical school.

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.