Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors, seniors 2019

2018-2019 Student Ambassadors

Malikah Ajose

Expected Graduation Date: May 2020

Major: Clinical Neuroscience

Bio: Being a Neuroscience Ambassador allows me to connect with the future neuroscientists at Virginia Tech. I am able to mentor students and guide them in their academic and personal careers, as they allow me to. I love being able to be a friendly face that is associated with the School of Neuroscience, so students know that they have an outlet, other than an advisor or professor. I'm always happy to answer questions, give guidance on research opportunities, and talk about personal dilemmas. I love the ability to connect to students and facility through this position in terms of open houses and presentations, among other events. Being a Neuroscience Ambassador is a very rewarding experience and one that I value greatly!

Nitin Chetla

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2021

Major: Clinical Neuroscience

Bio: I’m currently a rising junior. I enjoy reading books and hiking. Currently, I’m teaching myself how to code with Python and how to rap (I still can’t drop any bars). I am involved with the Red Cross Club and am doing Neural Engineering research (working on Brain-machine interfaces). For postgrad, I plan on doing an MD/PhD with a Phd in biomedical engineering. I love being an ambassador because I get to meet new people and see how our Hokie community is growing!

Danielle Garrett

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience & Psychology, with a minor in Leadership and Social Change

Bio: Although I grew up in a Hokie family, Virginia Tech was not always the school I envisioned myself attending for college. However, learning more about the School of Neuroscience and all its unique attributes was what affirmed my desire to become a Hokie! Looking back on the past four years at Virginia Tech, my memories as a neuroscience major resonate as being some of my favorite! From working my summers as a neuroscience teaching assistant for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, to volunteering in Dr. Bowers' lab, it is evident my time as a neuroscience student has propelled me to succeed in college. Additionally, serving as an Ambassador for the School of Neuroscience has been a remarkably rewarding experience since I have loved helping other students find their avenue to excel within this great program. Outside of being a neuroscience student, I spend most my remaining free time giving campus tours as a Hokie Ambassador and cheering in the stands at VT sporting events! I will be branching out of Blacksburg this fall to attend graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology, but will always cherish my time as a student at Virginia Tech.

Natasha Doshi

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2021

Major(s): Clinical Neuroscience and Biology

Bio: Hey y'all! My name is Natasha Doshi and I am a sophomore majoring in Clinical Neuroscience and Biology in the Honors College. I can easily say that the best decision I made during my college career was to change my major to Clinical Neuroscience. The School of Neuroscience offers a plethora of fascinating courses, fantastic advising, and opportunities to get involved. As a School of Neuroscience Ambassador, I have utilized my public speaking skills, been able to mentor and assist freshmen and students interested in adding a Neuroscience major, and built closer relationships with faculty members. During my time at Virginia Tech I have accumulated a wide variety of experiences from coaching a youth soccer team to teaching an ethics class to coordinating Finals Extravaganza, an event on the drillfield for students to de-stress prior to finals week. After graduation, I hope to attend medical school to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Go Hokies!

Sarah Dodson

Expected Graduated Name: May 2019

Major: Clinical Neuroscience

Bio: I am a junior from Richmond, VA studying Clinical Neuroscience in order to prepare me for a future career as a dentist. In my free time, I enjoy trying new restaurants around Blacksburg, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. I love being an ambassador because it’s awesome to be able to share my passion for the School of Neuroscience with others! 

Soad Elziny

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Major: Experimental Neuroscience

Bio: I was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to VA when I was in 2nd grade and grew up in Newport News (near VA Beach). During my time at VT, I’ve served as an RA in Pritchard Hall and Orientation Leader for the summer of 2017. I’ve loved my experience mentoring incoming students and helping them navigate college, which can be daunting to most. Being a first generation college student, I’ve had to tackle a lot of the obstacles of college with no previous knowledge-- which is where I came to learn of the many resources VT has to offer to help its students. I’ve loved being an ambassador because it’s helped me not only express my passion for neuroscience, but also give back to my community and offer help/advice to others who may very well be the future of neuroscience. 

Christine Faunce

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2020

Major(s): Experimental Neuroscience and Chemistry with a minor in Science, Technology, and Law

Bio: Hi, there! My name is Christine Faunce, and I am in my third year at Virginia Tech. I was drawn to the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience because of the School’s mission for embracing individuality and creativity. Being someone with a variety of interests, finding a community which could support my academic ambitions was crucial for me in my college search process. I am currently pursuing a dual degree in Experimental Neuroscience and Chemistry with a minor in Science, Technology, and Law. After graduation, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in neuropharmacology and have further considered a career in pharmaceutical patent law. My time at Virginia Tech has made me aware and determined to join the fight against drug addiction as well as related psychiatric disorders such as Major Depressive Disorder in whatever way I can. In addition to my required curriculum, I avidly enroll in Spanish literature and culture courses as well as ethics courses.

During my time at Virginia Tech, I have supplemented my coursework with volunteer ambassador programs, extra-curricular clubs, and cultural enrichment programs. As a former Honors College Admissions Liaison, School of Neuroscience Ambassador, Student Intellectual Property Society Vice President, LCI Conversation Partner, and Resident Advisor, I strive to positively represent women in STEM to underclassmen and cultivate strong communities among students of diverse backgrounds. However, my most impactful experience at Virginia Tech has been getting involved in undergraduate research since my first year. I currently work with the Buczynski Lab studying drug addiction and pain. If you have any questions at all about any of communities at Virginia Tech which I am a part of, please do not hesitate to reach out!

Kathie Gradinetti

Expected Graduation Date: May 2021

Major: Clinical Neuroscience (Spanish Minor)

Bio: My name is Katie Grandinetti and I am a second-year student studying Clinical Neuroscience. I have enjoyed biological sciences since high school but was always particularly fascinated with the brain. I was excited to declare my major in Virginia Tech's School of Neuroscience, and I immediately involved myself in the many of the opportunities that the School of Neuroscience has to offer. I was a member of the Neuroscience Club my freshman year and began to surround myself with the many different approaches that neuroscience can take.  I became an Undergraduate Laboratory assistant in Dr. Georgia Hode's Laboratory at the end of my freshman year where we look at the contribution of sex-specific immune interactions with the brain to mood disorders for future clinical application. I plan to attend Medical School following my graduation and hope to involve myself in clinical translational research.  I spend time with my Greek organization Zeta Tau Alpha. My love for serving others drives me to actively participate in the many service projects offered within the local community. I recently joined ZTA's philanthropy committee for Breast Cancer Awareness and Education and look forward to assisting with this important cause.

I am minoring in Spanish and hope to use it for my future endeavors. I will be attending The School of Neuroscience's first study abroad program: “Global Perspectives in Neuroscience and Medicine” in May 2019. I am looking forward to being immersed within different cultures while simultaneously expanding my perspective on neurological conditions, healthcare, and treatment on a global scale. My passion for sharing science led me to not only become a Neuroscience Ambassador but also propels me to pursue opportunities to share and grow in curiosity of the physical world. My fascination of this coupled with my appreciation of the humanities drives my intent to utilize research to help the most amount of people. I believe this combination gives a new, sometimes uncommon, but necessary perspective that I’m excited to use now and throughout my future career.

Seth Herndon

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2021

Major: Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience

Bio: I decided to be a School of Neuroscience Ambassador because I have a passion for helping new students in their transitions to college. The summer after freshman year I was an Orientation Leader and loved helping new students and their families. The Ambassador position allows me to continue this passion by mentoring new students and answering questions for  prospective families when they visit. This position enables me to help grow the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience and showcase the amazing work we do here.

Jonathan Huaman

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Major(s): Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology

Bio: Hello! My name is Jonathan Huaman, I am a senior studying clinical neuroscience and psychology. I am interested in entering the field of medicine and becoming an emergency medicine doctor after graduation. I have also been involved in research, previously working with Dr. Sarah Clinton's lab.  In my free time, I work with the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, play guitar, and enjoy hanging out with friends. I became an ambassador because I love helping other prospective students find a major that they are passionate about. 

Asma Ibrahim

Expected Graduation Date: May 2021

Major: Clinical Neuroscience with a minor in Arabic

Bio: I love to write and create films, and I have also recently begun to pursue a passion for fitness. In an effort to combine two of these hobbies, I have created a health blog to track my fitness journey. Within the Neuroscience field, I have been doing research for about a year the Robel Lab at the Virginia Tech Carilion center in Roanoke, studying how astrocyte dysfunction can lead to epilepsy, and I hope to continue my work in the Fall 2019 semester. I enjoy being an ambassador because I have gotten so much more in touch with my school. I have learned a lot more about the resources Tech has to offer, and get to be a first point of contact for prospective faculty and students.

Sid Madhavan

Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2019

Major: Clinical Neuroscience

Bio: Hello! I’m Sid and I’m currently a junior in Clinical Neuroscience. I was born and raised in Michigan, but I’ve spent the last 7 years in Virginia. After I graduate, I’m planning on pursuing a PhD and continuing my research in neurodegenerative diseases. On campus, when I’m not in lab, you can find me TAing for both Introduction to Neuroscience and Organic Chemistry, swiping cards at the front desk in McComas Gym, founding our Neuroscience Honor Society (Nu Rho Psi), and being an ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research and School of Neuroscience. If you bump into me off campus, expect to see me playing guitar, biking, reading, hiking, or cooking (I’m currently reading Lord of the Rings and listening to the Allman Brothers Band). My involvements on campus stem from a belief in teamwork and helping others out. I love the School of Neuroscience because everyone, ranging from faculty, advisors, ambassadors, and your fellow students, is always ready to help and support you with anything you might need. Our department is so unique and successful because we’re one big family; I really believe we have Hokie Spirit. I love being an ambassador for a department that takes the time to invest in their students, and nothing is more enjoyable than playing a part in helping students reach their goals. Feel free to reach out to me for anything, I’m always excited to meet someone new!

Madeline Musaus

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2021

Major(s): Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology and minor in Medicine and Society

Bio: Hey y’all! I’m Madeline Musaus and I’m a second-year student from Raleigh, North Carolina and I’m double majoring in Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology.  Along with the beautiful campus and friendly atmosphere, I chose Virginia Tech because of all the research and academic programs the School of Neuroscience has to offer.  I knew it was the place for to become a competitive applicant on my journey to attend medical school and become a practicing physician. As a student ambassador, I have had the opportunity to mentor others, share my love for Virginia Tech, and build close relationships with the faculty members.  Additionally, I’m involved in a student run organization called Synapse, co-founder of a discussion group called “So You Wanna Be a Doctor?”, and in the process of becoming a member of Delta Epsilon Mu, which is a pre-health fraternity. I am also part of MEDLIFE, which is an organization that partners with low-income communities in foreign countries to help combat medical inequality and developmental issues. In my free time I enjoy playing with my dogs, going on hikes, and watching Grey’s Anatomy. I am thrilled to represent our student ambassador program and I’m excited to continue spreading my passion for neuroscience, as well as encouraging and inspiring other students. Go Hokies!

Tracey Myers

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Major(s): Experimental Neuroscience and Biological Sciences

Bio: Hello! I am a first-generation college student and I grew up here in Southwest Virginia. I started at Virginia Tech in the Fall of 2015 and have absolutely loved my years here. I decided to major in neuroscience and I have definitely found my passion within the neuroscience program at VT. I love being an ambassador for the program because it allows me to help others find their passion, and allows me to stay in touch with and help out my younger classmates. I have been doing undergraduate research for three years, focusing on neurodegeneration, and would love to talk to you about getting involved with research. After graduation, I hope to obtain my PhD and start a career within academia. When I am not in class or in the lab, you can often find me volunteering around the community in my service organization, or hanging around outside with friends. Go Hokies!

Madison Lee

Expected Graduation: May 2020

Major(s): Clinical Neuroscience and Creative Writing

Bio: Hello! My name is Madison Lee and I’m from Falls Church, VA. My favorite part about being a School of Neuroscience Ambassador is sharing with prospective students how well Virginia Tech caters its programs to its students, especially students with multiple interests. VT really allows us to pursue multiple interests and passions, which I love since I’m able to pursue both neuroscience and creative writing. Previously, I've done neuroscience research exploring the microbiome’s involvement in prenatal microglial development, particularly in relation to autism and schizophrenia, and in my own time I love reading novels and attempting to write my own stories. You could also find me cooking or baking something and then making my friends test it out like guinea pigs. 

Mohammand Sabbagh

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Major: Clinical Neuroscience

Bio: I transferred to Virginia Tech as a junior from community college. Part of why I chose Tech was the school motto, Ut Prosim (That I may serve). I wanted to continue my academic journey yet still serve my community by engaging with younger students and minority groups much like myself. As a first-generation American born to two Syrian immigrants, I am constantly reminded of the privileges I enjoy, and the opportunities available to me that weren’t available to my parents and peers. The Ambassador program allowed me to channel my passion for neuroscience in three different ways: (1) tutoring, (2) peer mentoring, and (3) recruitment. My favorite part of being an Ambassador is helping my peers navigate the endless academic and research opportunities available to them. Of course, my motives are not purely selfless. I have come to discover that by advising and helping others, I grow personally and professionally as a student and as a scientist. There is a lot of gratification to be found in helping someone succeed. I am hooked on being able to positively influence other students in a way that leads to their personal growth and development. This is my interpretation of Ut Prosim. Although I will be graduating soon, I’m proud of having such passionate and capable fellow Ambassadors who will continue their efforts to create a sense of community between the School of Neuroscience and the surrounding communities in the New River Valley. 

Reilly Scott

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Major: Clinical Neuroscience

Bio: Having been at Virginia Tech for almost four years now, I have enjoyed many different experiences the School of Neuroscience and the university have to offer.  Some of my favorite School of Neuroscience memories have been being part of the Clinical Neuroscience in Practice class, taking Disease of the Nervous System, and attending the Society of Neuroscience Conference in Washington, D.C.  My freshman and sophomore years I was part of the Integrated Science Curriculum in which I took biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and statistics in one hybrid class. Over the summers, I have done clinical research for breast cancer and laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair at Anne Arundel Medical Center in my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. I currently do research in Dr. Buczynski’s Lab in the School of Neuroscience developing a model of addiction for and studying the behavioral effects of nicotine vaporization in mice. I am part of the Honors College, where I was an Honors Ambassador and College of Science Representative in the Honors College Student Council. I have enjoyed being a mentor to other students as an Honors College First-year Seminar peer educator, College of Science mentor, Neuroscience lab TA, and Neuroscience of Addiction TA. I love being a student ambassador because I can continue to mentor and help students navigate the many opportunities the School of Neuroscience has the offer. In addition, I enjoy having an effect on the future of the school through meeting faculty candidates and prospective students. While I am sad to be graduating, I look forward to attending medical school this fall.

Alexandra Toloczko

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Major(s): Chemical Engineering, Clinical Neuroscience

Bio: Over my time at Virginia Tech, I have gotten to experience so many unique opportunities. I have spent almost 3 years in research so far, created and carried out a research project through the SURF program, and have been able to present my work at multiple different schools. This past year I had the idea to create the first, Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference at Virginia Tech, which will allow students from all across the country to share their research. In addition to research, I have spent my time in two Greek organizations, Zeta Tau Alpha and Delta Epsilon Mu, I volunteer at the local hospital and through College Mentors for Kids, and I have helped run Relay for Life. One reason I love being an ambassador is that I get to share my stories and experiences with younger students, so that they can make their own unique experiences at Virginia Tech.

Andrew Weko

Expected Graduation Date: May 2019

Major(s): Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology

Bio: As an individual who started off college not as a neuroscience major and fell in love immediately with the program, I wanted to show my passion through the Ambassadors program. I became a neuroscience major in my sophomore year along with my psychology major, and have let it propel me forward in my own studies. I've been fortunate enough to not only be a Teaching Assistant for the School of Neuroscience twice, but also at Duke University's Talent Identification Program. Exterior of academics, I have assisted with research in the Department of Psychology under Dr. John Richey in the Social Clinical Affective Neuroscience Lab, and have also volunteered to assist with William & Mary's Psychopharmacology research. Even with all of this, I've still had plenty of time to lead within my service fraternity on campus and assist with outreach for Cook Counseling Center as a Peer Assistant for Learning. The School of Neuroscience has without a doubt been the best mechanism for my own personal and academic growth, and I think it is growing to be one of the strongest programs at Virginia Tech.

Sarah Woolverton

Expected Graduation Date: May 2020

Major(s): Dual Degree in Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology, University Honors

Bio: I am a junior from Winchester, VA pursuing dual degrees in Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology. I came to Virginia Tech in University Studies, unsure of what I wanted to do. I decided to take a psychology class during my freshman year and instantly fell in love with the brain. I am currently involved in research in the lab of Dr. Mike Bowers where we are investigating speech and communication disorders.

In the Summer and Fall of 2019, I will be participating in a Neuroscience Drug Discovery Research Co-op at Merck in West Point, PA. This experience would not be possible without my participation in research at Virginia Tech. I am excited to learn how research is conducted at a pharmaceutical company in order to create new drugs to treat neurological conditions.

Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a DPT/ PhD program with a focus in neurorehabilitation. By combining my passion for research with physical therapy, I will provide the best care for my patients.

I love being an ambassador because I am able to be a mentor to freshman neuroscience students. Many of these students are coming to Virginia Tech, unsure of their future plans just like I was. I enjoy being able to talk to these students and answer their questions about the path I took and about research. I am grateful to be an ambassador for the School of Neuroscience.