Emerging Scholars Fellowship

Meet Our 2017 Emerging Scholars Fellowship Class

We’re excited to introduce you to the incredible Class of 2017 of our Emerging Scholars Fellowship, an Active Minds program that grants funding to young researchers studying mental health.

Over the course of the next five months, the scholars will be conducting research and working on their fellowship projects. They’ll post updates on the blog, so keep an eye out!

Let’s meet our superstars:

Alexandra Budenz, Drexel University

Research project: Social Media Communication about Bipolar Disorder: Implications for Stigma and Social Support

Alexandra Budenz (Alex) is currently a doctoral student of public health at Drexel University. Her research focuses on how stigma and social support towards bipolar disorder, and largely towards mental health conditions, are expressed on social media. Her goals as a researcher and in her career is to leverage media to reduce stigma towards mental health conditions. Read more about Alex’s background and research.

Andrae Laws, DePaul University

Research project: The Role of Critical Consciousness in College Students’ Psychological Well-Being

Andrae is a first-year Ph.D. student in Community Psychology at DePaul University. He is interested in the intersection of critical consciousness, social activism/civic engagement and psychological well-being, specifically as it relates to young people from marginalized communities and identities. Andrae’s professional goal is to generate research that can be applied to communities to support them thrive. Andrae is our 2017 Stephen C. Rose Legacy Scholar. Read more about Andrae’s background and research.

Katherine Nieweglowski, Illinois Institute of Technology

Research project: Bridging the Gap on the Trigger Warnings Debate

Katherine Nieweglowski is currently completing her final semester in the M.S. Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is also a research assistant at the National Consortium of Stigma and Empowerment, where she conducts research on the stigma of mental illness and health disparities. Katherine’s long-term goal is to receive her PhD. in Rehabilitation Counseling Education and continue her work on stigma research involving disability populations. Read more about Katherine’s background and research.

Natalie Oman, University of California, Berkeley

Research project: Mental Health and Sexual Assault on University Campuses

Natalie is currently a 2nd year in the MPH, Maternal and Child Health program at the University of California, Berkeley. Her public health interests focus on underserved populations, immigrant and refugee health, adolescent health, mental health, and trauma. She passionate about interventions that use rigorous methods for identification, measurement, and evaluation, and at the same time utilize knowledge and expertise from within the community they serve. Read more about Natalie’s background and research. 

Khushbu Patel, University of Chicago

Research project: Transgenerational Perceptions of Mental Health Among South Asians 

Khushbu is a second year Master’s student at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. In her social work program, she is exploring many interests including U.S. urban public school systems, juvenile justice systems, and mental health research focusing on Asian American ethnic groups. A native of Philadelphia suburbs, she completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology at Drexel University, while working in the Nezu Lab where she served as a Research Assistant on various projects. Read more about Khushbu’s background and research. 

Alyse Ruriani, Maryland Institute College of Art

Research project: Building Resilience and Emotional Regulation through Interactive Journaling

Alyse Ruriani is an artist and designer studying graphic design, book arts, and culture and politics at MICA in Baltimore, MD. She works in mixed media and enjoys taking graphic design beyond the screen. Alyse believes in the relationship between art and healing and has a passion for using art as a catalyst for change and advocacy. Much of her work revolves around exploring the human experience, evoking emotion, making sense of her place in the world, and reflecting upon the dichotomies in life. Read more about Alyse’s background and research.

Nathaniel Sawyer, Emory University 

Research project: Dear Emory: Exploring Student Narratives through Performance

Nathaniel Sawyer (Nate) is currently a senior at Emory University majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on mental health. As his Taiwanese-Jewish upbringing, filled with meals of Matzah Ball soup and 锅贴 (potstickers) have taught him, the epistemic value of approaching questions of mental health from a variety of academic and methodological perspectives is critically important and something in which he deeply believes. Nate is passionate about not accepting the status quo as “normal” or “natural” and critically re-imagining a world without mental health stigma, both at an individual level and structural level, and with accessible, effective mental health support for all. Read more about Nathaniel’s background and research.