These scholars were selected from a competitive pool of applicants possessing the skills needed to work on their chosen projects, their personal connections to and passion for the issues their projects address, and the many ways they have already impacted campus and the community.
Nia Aldridge (she/her) is a senior majoring in psychology with plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical or school psychology to conduct research, provide counseling services, and teach abnormal psychology in higher education. Nia is passionate about helping communities of color and people with disabilities, and her research interests include finding early interventions for autism and bridging mental health disparities for Black adolescents. She has worked as a summer school paraprofessional in K-12 special education. She works in the Cultural Heritage and Racial Identity Lab under Prof. Carla Hunter & the Trauma Race Identity and Development Lab under Dr. Jarrett Lewis at Illinois. Nia will work with Special Education Prof. Emily Tarconish and Community Choices to conduct a qualitative study of an "accessible business" project and those involved, exploring their motivations and desired outcomes to produce a case study of how to replicate a similar project via similar academic/community partnerships. Learn more about the project.
Emma Darbro (she/her) is a sophomore studying brain and cognitive science with a double minor in gender and women's studies and public health. She is passionate about reproductive justice and aspires to pursue a career in inclusive reproductive healthcare. At Illinois, Emma serves as a Sexual Violence Prevention Outreach Intern at the Women's Resources Center, where she also facilitates the First-Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education (FYCARE) workshop. In addition, she's the President of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, a Sexual Health Peer Educator at McKinley Health Center, and volunteers on the Rape, Advocacy, Counseling, and Educations Services (RACES) Hotline. Emma and fellow 2023 scholar Stella Emezue will work with School of Social Work Prof. Karen Tabb Dina and Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to identify major risk factors associated with depressive disorders for women in order to improve maternal health through early identification of risk factors during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Learn more about the project.
Learn more about the sixteen other students chosen and their fantastic work from Hannah Wirth's article HERE.