Our company's expertise reflects the professional experience of its employees as well as a personal understanding of the disease. A number of team members, including founder Kelly Close, have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Table of Contents

Kelly L. Close, President

Kelly Close founded Close Concerns in 2002; its mission is to make everyone smarter about diabetes and pre-diabetes. At Close Concerns, Kelly and her team write approximately three million words each year on diabetes, pre-diabetes, obesity, digital health, and connected care for Closer Look, a highly-praised service covering the goings-on in the field. Kelly's passion for the field comes from her extensive professional work as well as from her personal experience, having had diabetes for over 30 years. Kelly is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as “Targeting A Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Do We Have to Wait?” a widely-praised book published by the ADA in 2013. She also wrote the forward for the “Bright Spots and Landmines” by Adam Brown, published in 2017, that has been read by many tens of thousands of people with diabetes. Kelly is an associate editor of Clinical Diabetes, a journal focused on diabetes for primary care physicians published quarterly by the ADA.

Kelly also chairs The diaTribe Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2013 to improve the lives of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes and to advocate for action. She is also the founder of diaTribe.org, begun in 2006 as an educational resource for people with diabetes; diaTribe.org’s free educational mailers go to nearly 200,000 people every week and over two million people visited the website last year. Before starting Close Concerns and The diaTribe Foundation, Kelly’s work focused on life sciences more broadly. Over nearly a dozen years, she worked on Wall Street (investment banking at Goldman Sachs, equity research at Merrill Lynch) and at McKinsey & Company. 

Kelly has a BA from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She was a founding board member of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, led by UCSF’s Dr. Robert Lustig. Kelly and her husband John are co-hosts of the popular San-Francisco-based discussion series CPS Lectures.


Richard Wood is CEO of dQ&A, the diabetes market research company which he founded with Kelly and in 2009. dQ&A focuses on helping companies understand the diabetes patient and healthcare provider landscapes through syndicated and custom research programs. Richard was previously Vice President of Consumer Insights at Nielsen, where he managed all consumer market research programs for the mobile telecoms industry in the USA, Europe and Asia. He has extensive experience from a 20-year career in consumer and industry research, software, and publishing; and holds an MBA from INSEAD.

Lori Bamberger, EVP and Senior Advisor, close concerns

Lori Bamberger serves as EVP and Senior Advisor to Close Concerns. For the past decade, Lori was the Executive Director of a consulting practice for entrepreneurial impact ventures, specializing in building cross-sectoral leadership networks and equitable economic development strategies. She’s seeded and grown networks focused on women and minority investors and entrepreneurs, women’s (student) professional learning and mentoring communities, and women’s sports. Her work for government, nonprofits, & financial institutions helped families build credit, enter affordable homeownership, adopt clean energy, reach higher education, finance long term health care, and thrive. Lori's prior roles include: Director, Economic Equity Network; Director, Mills College Public Policy Graduate Programs; Deputy Director, San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing; Assistant Chief of Staff, HUD; and VP of Providian Financial. Lori launched her policy career in public health for the Massachusetts Medicaid program. Lori was an early CEO cohort member of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (now Watermark), and is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Yale Law School.

Senior Associates

Ursula Biba

Ursula Biba joined Close Concerns in 2019 after graduating cum laude from Tufts University with degrees in Biology and Community Health. As an undergraduate, she researched how different psychosocial and systemic factors influence health outcomes as part of Tufts’ Psychosocial Determinants of Health Lab and as a clinical research intern at Massachusetts General Hospital. At Tufts, Ursula held positions on the Executive Boards of GlobeMed and The Tuftscope Journal, and served as a writing tutor with Tufts Literacy Corps. Her interest in exploring the different facets of health found outside of the clinical environment attracted her to the interdisciplinary work at Close Concerns. In her free time, Ursula enjoys listening to music and attending as many concerts as she can, traveling, and exploring new art museums.

Albert Cai

Albert Cai joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2018 and returned as a Full-Time Associate in 2019. He graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2019 with a major in biomedical engineering. Aspiring to a career in healthcare, Albert came to Close Concerns in order to absorb knowledge about diabetes, obesity, and public health and to figure out where his future role might be in healthcare. As a native Southerner, Albert has particular interests in rural health and football. His favorite movie is Wreck-It Ralph. In his free time, Albert enjoys fishing, listening to country music, and reading.

Rhea Teng

Rhea Teng joined Close Concerns in 2019 after graduating cum laude with distinction from Yale University with a degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. As a senior, she completed her thesis research on studying the effects of m6A RNA modifications on blood system development and leukemia. Outside of the lab, Rhea immerses herself in the sustainable food scene at Yale by leading the pop-up restaurant group Y Pop-Up and heading the undergraduate beekeeping club Yale Bee Space. In her free time, Rhea can be found experimenting in the kitchen, reading poetry, or playing the cello. 


Ani Gururaj

Ani Gururaj graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Anthropology - Global Health and the Environment and a minor in Chemistry. He is interested in becoming a public health physician and has held summer internships at Partners in Health sites in Boston and Haiti, the World Health Organization, and Novartis. Ani is also passionate about amplifying the narratives of marginalized communities.  He wrote a thesis on mental health outcomes among the Bhutanese refugee population and conducted independent journalism on resettlement policy through a fellowship at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. In his spare time, he loves playing any sport that requires a racket, traveling, and trying new restaurants.

Joseph Bell

Joseph Bell joined Close Concerns in 2020 after graduating magna cum laude from Columbia University with honors in Biological Sciences. As an undergraduate, Joseph researched the mechanisms of human parainfluenza infection and later the neuronal underpinnings of long-term memory deterioration as part of laboratory projects at Columbia Irving Medical Center. Outside of academics, Joseph additionally studied jazz guitar at The Juilliard School as part of the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange program and managed a folk music venue for local NYC performers. He was a semi-finalist in the 2019 Herbie Hancock International Jazz Guitar Competition and has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Macy Gray, the GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble, and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra across the US, Japan, and Europe. 

Hanna Gutow

Hanna Gutow joined Close Concerns in 2020 after graduating from Swarthmore College with a major in Peace and Conflict Studies and a minor in Biology. As a senior, Hanna completed her Peace and Conflict Studies capstone on utilizing community resources to improve maternal healthcare for rural women. She has also spent time researching Women’s Health at Stanford with the OBGYN Clinical Family Planning team. Hanna is passionate about health as a human right and was drawn to Close Concerns to learn more about diabetes and related public health challenges. Hanna was captain of her Cross Country and Track & Field teams at Swarthmore and enjoys traveling, eating good food, watching sports (football and the Tour De France are her favorites), and reading.

Katie Mahoney

Katie Mahoney joined Close Concerns in 2020 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Williams College with a major in Chemistry and a concentration in Public Health. As an undergraduate, Katie researched novel B-cell lymphoma drugs at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, as well as best advance care planning practices in hospice organizations at the UCSF School of Medicine. Outside of her research, Katie was involved in the Rape and Sexual Assault Network, which supports survivors of sexual assault on campus, worked as a tutor in chemistry and biology, and mentored high-achieving, low-income high school students throughout the college application process as a Matriculate advising fellow. As a senior, Katie founded the Williams Appreciates Staff club to foster gratitude for staff and stronger student-staff relationships. In her free time, Katie enjoys hiking, cooking, doing yoga, and listening to podcasts.

Kira Wang

Kira Wang joined Close Concerns in 2020 after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University with a degree in psychology and minors in biology and chemistry. At Duke, she wrote a senior thesis on the coping strategies of parents and youths with chronic illness and spent over two and a half years researching retinal imaging techniques in the Duke Eye Center. She also designed an educational resource for pediatric leukemia patients and worked as a chemistry teaching assistant and MCAT instructor. At Close Concerns, she is interested in merging her interests in healthcare and education to improve patient lives. In her spare time, Kira loves playing tennis, hiking, and searching for the best ice cream spot in every city.  

Austin Zhang

Austin Zhang graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with honors in neuroscience. In his undergraduate research, Austin studied viral vector design using cis-regulatory elements found in wild type HIV-1. He is interested in studying global/public health and aspires to become a physician. Outside of the classroom, Austin enjoys playing the piano, dancing, and boardgames. Finally, he likes to boast that his group was first in line for the Duke-UNC 2020 home basketball game after sleeping in a tent for 6 weeks to secure tickets.



Spencer Brooks and his team of mission-driven technology experts have provided Close Concerns and The diaTribe Foundation with online technology consulting through his company, Brooks Digital, since 2011. After studying Computer Science at Boise State University, Spencer worked with the State of Idaho as a web development specialist and interim webmaster before venturing out to start his own digital agency for mission-driven organizations, which he has been operating successfully for the past six years. Among many other projects, his team created and continues to maintain the Close Concerns, diaTribe, dQ&A, and CPS Lectures sites, as well as the Close Concerns Knowledgebase, in addition to a suite of custom publishing tools for Close Concerns. In his free time he moonlights as a professional drummer, recording on albums in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, as well as filling in on tour for the occasional band.


Michael Dougan is Gastroenterology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and a postdoctoral associate in Hidde Ploegh's lab at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He received his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School in 2011. Michael has had a longstanding interest in the interaction between the immune system and cancer. He conducted his dissertation research in Dr. Glenn Dranoff's lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where he studied novel approaches to enhancing anti-tumor immunity. In addition to his research, Michael has been a teaching fellow for several graduate and undergraduate courses; his teaching was recognized in 2008 by Harvard's Levenson award. Michael received his AB from Amherst College in 2002, where he majored in Chemistry and English, graduating summa cum laude (both majors) and Phi Beta Kappa. Michael has worked with Close Concerns part-time since 2006, primarily on Closer Look publications and also serving as an advisor to countless Close Concerns and diaTribe Foundation full time associates.


Sam Haque has worked for Close Concerns since 2013, first as a winter associate and then as a summer associate. He is currently a masters student in Engineering Sciences at Louisiana State University, with a concentration in Biological Engineering. As a Research Associate at LSU, his work aims to synthesize sets of experimental data to develop mathematical models for biodiffusion. After completing the masters program, he plans to attend law school and eventually work as a patent lawyer in the field of healthcare technology. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he has held a deep interest in healthcare innovation and its implications for insurance programs, hospitals, and most importantly, patient outcomes. Beyond his academic pursuits, he is actively involved in student government, and currently serves on LSU's Judicial Branch as an Associate Justice, as well on the Graduate Student Association as a Board Member. He continues to contribute to Close Concerns and the diaTribe Foundation part time, on matters relating to public policy, technology, and therapies.

Xzalyn Hernandez

Xzalyn Hernandez started at Close Concerns as a high school intern during her fall semester of senior year at Gateway High School, San Francisco. She is currently at San Francisco State University, majoring in Health Education along with a minor in Women’s Health Issues to later pursue a master degree in Nursing. In her free time, Xzalyn enjoys going to the gym, playing soccer with her nephews and nieces, and dance.


James S. Hirsch, a former reporter for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, is a best-selling author whose most recent book is "WILLIE MAYS: The Life, the Legend", the first biography of Mays written with his cooperation. Hirsch has also written "CHEATING DESTINY: Living With Diabetes", "HURRICANE: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter", "RIOT AND REMEMBRANCE: America's Worst Race Riot and Its Legacy," and "TWO SOULS INDIVISIBLE: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam." Hirsch has an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a graduate degree from the LBJ School of Public Policy at the University of Texas. He lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sheryl, and their children, Amanda and Garrett. Jim has worked as an editor and contributor to Close Concerns since 2004 and as senior editor and columnist of diaTribe since 2006.


Stephanie Kahn, a Close Concerns summer associate in 2013, is a recent graduate of Haverford College where she was pre-med and an Anthropology major. In the summer of 2012, she worked for the Section on Growth and Obesity at the NICHD on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, where she studied the effect of melanocortin-3 receptor mutations on weight gain, and also contributed to a clinical study of patients with Bardet-Biedl syndrome who exhibit hyperphagic symptoms. At Haverford, she was the president of the Pre-Health Society, an avid runner for the track team, and was active in working with kids at Creative Clubhouse, a local studio dedicated to helping children cultivate their creativity through art and music. Stephanie continues to contribute to Close Concerns part time, on matters relating to diabetes technology and public policy.


Bradford Lee has covered basic and clinical research for Close Concerns since 2004. He graduated from Stanford Medical School in 2009 and from Harvard College magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in biochemistry in 2004. He was awarded a master's of science in health policy, planning, and financing as well as the Brian Abel-Smith Prize from the London School of Economics in 2005. He has conducted research at the National Eye Institute, Harvard University, San Francisco General Hospital, and the Aravind Eye Care System in India. He finished his ophthalmology residency at the renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida in 2013 and recently rejoined as faculty, having completed a prestigious fellowship at UCSD in between. He is an advisor on eye disease to Close Concerns and the diaTribe Foundation; he is particularly interested in the role of diabetes and obesity in minority populations, diabetic eye diseases, and global health.

Daniella Main

Daniella Main joined Close Concerns in 2017 as a Gateway High School intern. In high school she worked with the San Francisco Public Defenders Office and was involved in Debate Team and Community Service Club. Daniella will be attending Middlebury College, where she intends to pursue a major in International Politics & Economics with a minor in Psychology. Outside of academics, Daniella enjoys hiking, reading, and traveling.


Ilana Orloff joined Close Concerns for an associate internship in the spring of 2015 after working for five years as an Equity Research Analyst with Fidelity Investments. Ilana graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College in 2010 concentrating in Economics and Mathematics. Ilana was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13 and currently is on MDI with a CGM. She has served as the co-president for the Young Leadership Committee for JDRF New England and as a non-voting member of the JDRF New England Board. Ilana received her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2017 and shortly after began working as a product development specialist at Medtronic Diabetes. At Medtronic, she is focused on incorporating the patient perspective in the future of diabetes care options. In her free time Ilana enjoys playing sports, exploring new cities, hosting dinner parties, spending time with friends, and cheering on the Red Sox.


Mark Sorrentino joined Close Concerns in 2009. Mark graduated from Middlebury College in 2011 with a BA in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a minor in Economics. He completed a senior thesis on the therapeutic relevance of noncoding RNAs in Streptococcus mutans. After graduation, he worked as an analyst at Chestnut Partners, a Boston-based healthcare investment bank. Currently Mark is working as a Business Development Associate at Kendall Research Systems, a Cambridge, MA startup developing a wireless optogenetics platform.


When it comes right down to it, there's little more important to Kerri than her family, her friends, and the Red Sox. Well-known in the diabetes community for her personal diabetes blog www.SixUntilMe.com and her position as Editor and Community Leader at dLife, Kerri has been living with type 1 diabetes since the second grade. She hides out in Connecticut with her husband and their parade of annoying cats.


Cullen Taniguchi finished his MD/PhD at Harvard Medical School in 2008. He completed his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology in 2005 working with the former President of the Joslin Diabetes Center, Dr. C. Ronald Kahn. Cullen's research examines the molecular mechanisms of type 2 diabetes, particularly insulin resistance in the liver, and how it may be a significant factor in how people develop the disease. Cullen attended Occidental College where he obtained an A.B. in Chemistry and a minor in Music. Cullen then spent two years in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar studying for a master of philosophy in Economic and Social History. Cullen completed his MD in 2007, and finished his residency in radiation oncology at UCSF in 2014. He is now an assistant professor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston. There, he specializes clinically in treating tumors of the GI tract, and runs a basic science laboratory on the links between metabolism defects (such as diabetes) and cancer. One of Cullen’s primary areas of focus is pancreatic cancer. Cullen has worked as an advisor for Close Concerns over the past decade with a focus on helping the firm on basic science.


Mallika Tamboli joined Close Concerns as a full associate intern in Spring 2015 after having graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in anthropology. During her undergraduate career, she devoted much of her time engaging in both orthopedic biomechanics and gerontology research, completing a senior honors thesis on public representations of normative aging for Indians in the diaspora. Mallika is currently a student at Stanford University School of Medicine. Aside from her academic and medical interests, Mallika enjoys running, hiking, and exploring new places.


Lisa Vance joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2011. She attends Barnard College and is a senior there, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History with a German Language minor. During her senior year at Staples High School, Lisa was the first Web Editor-in-Chief of Inklings, an award winning high school newspaper. The website she developed that year has won the prestigious Silver Crown Award from Columbia Scholastic Press Association for the past two years.


Katrina Verbrugge joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2012. She graduated from Harvard College in 2013 with a degree in Neurobiology and a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. At Harvard she was Editor in Chief of the Harvard Science Review and conducted an independent research project on the historical role of midwives in American healthcare. She is currently working at Putnam Associates, a healthcare strategy consulting firm.


David Zhang joined Close Concerns in 2011 as a part-time summer associate and returned as a full-time summer associate in 2012. During his first two years at Amherst College, he conducted basic biochemical research involving the structure and mechanism of P4-ATPases; in his junior year, he studied abroad at Oxford University. In his senior year, he wrote a statistics theses on the compositional analysis of proteins, and an economics thesis on managerial incentives in oligopoly competition. He currently works as a Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.


Jenny Tan joined Close Concerns in February after graduating early from University of Chicago with a major in Biological Sciences and general honors. Apart from her time in the library during college, Jenny volunteered in public health clinics with Health Leads, connecting low-income patients to community resources like food pantries, housing, and employment; conducted immunology research on the stem-binding activity of human influenza antibodies; and spent the latter half of 2013 assessing the impact of an integrated care model for diabetes and outcomes in the low-income, minority community of South Side Chicago. Aside from her academic and social justice interests, she organized campus faith events. At Close Concerns, Jenny focuses on diabetes technology and devices, internal Information Technology efforts, and the launch of the new Close Concerns KnowledgeBase website. She currently attends the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.


Tanayott Thaweethai joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2012. He graduated from Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa, with a concentration in Applied Mathematics and Biology in 2013. He was one of two senior orators selected to deliver the commencement address at his graduation. His honors thesis focused on understanding evolutionary opportunities for horizontal transmission of antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria. While at Brown, he coordinated the New Scientist Program, a mentoring program dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields. Following graduation, he joined Acumen, LLC as a data and policy analyst, using Medicare data to contribute to disaster preparedness initiatives with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and postmarketing surveillance efforts with the FDA. He is currently a PhD student in biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Close Concerns Associate Program Alumni


Adam Brown started as a summer intern at Close Concerns in 2010, returned as a full-time associate in 2011, and held various leadership roles through 2019. In his role as the head of diabetes technology & connected care, Adam brought nearly two decades of personal experience with diabetes to all of his work – including extensive writing on CGMs, insulin pumps, automated insulin delivery, glucose meters, mobile apps, and wearables. He also served as a senior editor and regular contributor at diaTribe.org, where his acclaimed column (Adam’s Corner) has brought diabetes tips to over 1 million people since 2013. His first book, Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me, was published in 2017 and received immediate praise for its actionable advice on food, mindset, exercise, and sleep. To date, over 180,000 copies of Bright Spots & Landmines have been distributed via name-your-own-price downloads and purchases on Amazon. Adam has also presented at high-profile public venues, including FDA and NIH meetings, major scientific and technology conferences, and patient events. He graduated summa cum laude in 2011 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing concentrations in marketing and health care management & policy. Adam was a Joseph Wharton and Benjamin Franklin Scholar and completed his senior thesis on the motivational and financial factors associated with optimal diabetes management. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology at The Wright Institute, ultimately towards becoming a licensed therapist focused on diabetes and mental health.


Melissa An joined Close Concerns as an associate after graduating from Dartmouth College in 2014, with a major in Neuroscience and minor in the Anthropology of Global Health. She was promoted to Senior Associate in 2015 and focuses much of her time on obesity and public health. She also serves as the company’s Chief Technology Officer and is involved in leading conference planning, recruiting, and budgeting. Throughout her undergraduate years, Melissa explored her interests for global health by leading Dartmouth’s chapters of GlobeMed and China Care. In addition, she served as Executive Director of the Dartmouth Global Leadership Program and as a residential advisor. Melissa also conducted psychiatry research on treatment that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Currently, Melissa is in medical school at the University of Missouri.


Dan Belkin joined the Close Concerns team in 2006 after graduating from Amherst College magna cum laude with a degree in Philosophy and worked full time with Close Concerns before starting medical school at Weill Cornell Medical College in 2007. At Cornell he was awarded both Honors in Service for his leadership at the medical student free clinic and Honors in Research for his work in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. He also won several research awards for this work. He has contributed to Diabetes Close Up and diaTribe and has attended various conferences globally for Close Concerns. He is a board-certified dermatologist who is fellowship-trained in cosmetic dermatology, laser surgery, and Mohs micrographic surgery. He is currently an Associate dermatologic surgeon, specializing in Mohs micrographic surgery, laser surgery, and cosmetic dermatology at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.

Ann Carracher

Ann Carracher joined Close Concerns in 2017 after graduating cum laude from Dartmouth College. As an undergraduate, she majored in Biology and Classical Studies, for which she spent 3 months in the Aegean studying Greek archaeology and completed a Presidential Scholars research project on the ancient craft of tablet weaving. During college, Ann spent off-terms studying adolescents with type 1 diabetes from the perspective of behavioral psychology, working on incentive-based behavioral interventions to improve glycemic control and learning about the psychosocial aspects of health. Ann was drawn to Close Concerns by her interest in pediatric endocrinology, prompted by her younger sister’s diagnosis in 2007. In her free time, Ann enjoys trying to cook healthy food, getting new passport stamps, and playing tennis. 


Eric Chang became a member of Close Concerns in 2009 after graduating from Pomona College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Neuroscience. At Pomona, he received the Rena Gurley Archibald Prize, presented to the highest ranked student in the class of over 450 students. He spent the early years of his university life in the laboratory and clinic, investigating the therapeutic potential of homing endonucleases with Dr. Lenny Seligman at Pomona and volunteering at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Following a semester abroad in Beijing and Inner Mongolia, he developed a passion for holistic approaches to healthcare. This interest translated into his senior thesis research in which he examined the neuroprotective effects of Panax ginseng and its constituent active compounds. After developing an interest in regulatory policy at Close Concerns, he additionally completed a summer research internship at the US Food and Drug Administration in the Division of Psychiatry Products. Eric earned his MD degree from UCSF School of Medicine in 2015. He completed a preliminary internship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and is currently in residency in Radiation Oncology at UCLA.


Hannah Deming joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College with a major in Biology and a minor in Public Policy. She wrote a thesis examining differences in the quality of care and outcomes uninsured patients incur when treated in a nonprofit or for-profit hospital. In the summers before her junior and senior years, Hannah performed computational neuroscience research with Dr. Paul Prucnal at Princeton University resulting in a publication. During the second summer she also performed clinical research in Cooper University Hospital's Emergency Department. Outside of the academic setting, Hannah played four years of varsity soccer and was a co-captain her senior year. She also organized and led science experiments for low-income children. She is now a fourth-year medical student at UCSF.


Jessica Dong joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Studies. During her undergraduate years she devoted much of her time to biomedical research, completing a senior honors thesis investigating the structure and function of G0S2, a gene implicated in tumor suppression and the regulation of fat breakdown. In previous summers Jessica volunteered as a Community Health Educator in the western highlands of Guatemala and worked as an Environmental Education Intern at the Audubon Naturalist Society. Outside of the classroom she has also participated in a range of women's interest groups; in her free time she enjoys playing volleyball and reading. She is now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania and completing a MD/MBA dual degree, on track to graduate in 2019.


Abigail Dove joined Close Concerns in 2016 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College with highest honors in Neuroscience. She was awarded the Leo M. Leva Memorial Prize for a graduating student showing unusual promise in the field of biology and spent her undergraduate career heavily involved in basic neurobiology research, ultimately producing a thesis examining the capacity of social experiences to alter sleep and circadian behavior in the fruit fly. Abigail is inspired by Close Concerns’ core mission of providing synthesized insight on scientific issues as complex and consequential as diabetes and obesity; she learned to appreciate challenge and importance of communicating science effectively over several semesters of work as a biology and chemistry TA at Swarthmore. Her free time is spent reading, biking, and attempting to visit all 50 states.


Katelyn Gamson has been a contributor to Close Concerns since 2005-2006, when she worked for the company as an associate. Katelyn graduated from Amherst College in 2005 with a degree in Chemistry; she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Katelyn's experience with diabetes is prodigious; in 2003, working under the famed Dr. Lois Jovanovic, she conducted clinical research at Sansum Diabetes Research Institute to develop an algorithm that would suggest insulin dosages for patients with type 1 diabetes. While at Sansum, Katelyn co-authored an article on the safety and efficacy of insulin analogs in pregnancy; this article was published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, with Katelyn as the primary author. While at Amherst, Katelyn was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for her research on diabetes. Katelyn is devoted to community service, and in addition to her work with Close Concerns, she also worked as an AmeriCorps member of the National AIDS Fund, in Washington, DC from 2005 to 2006. Katelyn completed her medical school degree at UCSF and went on to complete her Internal Medicine residency and Chief Residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She now works at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City as a full-time hospitalist.


Helen Gao joined Close Concerns in 2015 after graduating with general honors from the University of Chicago. She majored in Biological Sciences with an Endocrinology Specialization and minored in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine. In college, she spent three years with Health Leads, providing case management services to connect patients of community health clinic to resources to address their social determinants of health. She also spent her last year of college learning the ins and outs of Affordable Care Act implementation as a policy fellow for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. During her summers, she worked as a residential assistant for UChicago-run high school academic programs and pursued a social justice-focused internship with the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, exploring new places, and listening to audiobooks. Currently, she is a MD/MPH Candidate at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.


Varun Iyengar joined Close Concerns in 2014 after graduating magna cum laude from Amherst College with an honors degree in Neuroscience. As a senior, he wrote a thesis characterizing spontaneous hair-cell activity and spike encoding in the zebrafish lateral-line system. In previous summers, Varun focused largely on building his research repertoire, volunteering in the motion laboratory at Shriner’s Hospital for Children and studying the effect of low oxygen tension on stem-cell chondrogenesis for articular cartilage repair at Oregon Health and Sciences University. During his undergraduate career, Varun was also active in the surrounding community, as a Community Engagement Leader for a middle school tutoring program and as a nurse’s aide in the telemetry ward of a local hospital. He wrote for the Amherst Student and was a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team. Pursuing this passion for sports, Varun also spent one summer working as a copy editor at ESPN. His free time is often spent reading, on running trails, or cheering for his hometown Portland Trailblazers.


Jenny Jin joined Close Concerns in 2006 after graduating Harvard College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Chemistry. During college she devoted much time to basic science research beginning in summer 2004 when she studied the organ-specificity of eukaryotic heat shock protein TCP-1 at the Nanotechnology & Astrobiology Research Group at NASA Ames Research Center. Subsequently, she joined Harvard Professor Greg Verdine's lab and worked on the crystallization of prokaryotic sporulation protein SpoIIIE. She received the Herchel Smith Undergraduate Research Fellowship to fund her research in summer 2005. In addition to her experimental work, Jenny has instructed in science as a Teaching Fellow for organic chemistry at Harvard. In college, she also served as captain and president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Kendo Club and organized the 8th Annual Shoryuhai Kendo Tournament in April 2004, the largest intercollegiate kendo tournament in North America. During her medical school training at UC San Francisco she studied the use of nano-aligned tubular conduits for the use of nerve repair in a rat model in Dr. Hubert Kim's lab. She is completed her residency at the Harvard Combined Orthopedic Residency Program and was the Chief Resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. She completed her fellowship training in arthroplasty at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Currently, she is a practicing physician at the Joint Reconstruction practice at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho. She enjoys playing with her son Nathan, rock climbing, and hiking in her spare time.


Erin Kane joined Close Concerns in 2005 after graduating from Harvard College with a degree in History and Science, magna cum laude with highest honors in field, and a Certificate in Health Policy. At Harvard, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She also received the Detur Book Prize, awarded to the top 10 percent of the freshman class, and the John Harvard Scholarship for academic achievement. Erin graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2010. She worked at McKinsey & Company in Washington, DC, where she served a range of hospital, health system, and payor clients in public and private sectors. Erin has done research at the Joslin Diabetes Center, the Centers for Disease Control, the Pasteur Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. She has published on a range of topics, including obesity education in medical school and cell signaling in glucose metabolism. She finished her medical training in Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins as Chief Resident. She is currently an emergency physician and the Assistant Medical Director at Johns Hopkins Capacity Optimization.


Ben Kozak became an Associate at Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating from Pomona College magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Biology. At Close Concerns, Ben specialized in type 1 and type 2 diabetes drug development. He served as Co-Managing Editor for the diabetes patient newsletter diaTribe, and through this role, Ben co-authored a patient-centered book on type 1 diabetes cure research entitled "Targeting a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Will We Have to Wait?" With other members of the Close Concerns team, Ben also contributed articles quarterly to the Journal of Diabetes on topics related to diabetes and obesity drug development and public health, with a particular emphasis on Asia. Ben earned his MD degree from UCSF School of Medicine in 2016. He completed his internal medicine internship at Kaiser San Francisco Hospital. He is now training to be a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. In his spare time, Ben is an avid sports fan and loves to play tennis and golf.

Martin Kurian

Martin Kurian joined Close Concerns in 2018 after graduating from Princeton University with a degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering and a minor in Engineering Biology. As an undergraduate, he was heavily involved in scientific research that focused on the physical mechanisms that cells use to organize their contents. This research culminated in a senior thesis project on using optogenetic tools to study the assembly and dynamics of germ granules in the model organism C. elegans. He also enjoyed leading freshman orientation trips based on environmental service projects and dancing with the Princeton NAACHO dance company. In his free time, Martin enjoys playing basketball, watching basketball, and reading about basketball.  Martin will be starting at the Perelman School of Medicine in the Fall of 2020. 


Brian Levine joined Close Concerns in 2016 after graduating magna cum laude from Williams College with highest honors in Biology and a concentration in Neuroscience. He worked in various neurobiology labs during the summers of his undergraduate career and during his semester in Spain, studied the molecular mechanisms that regulate peripheral nerve development and repair. Brian completed his senior thesis at Williams using optogenetics to investigate the effect of hypothalamic hunger circuit activation on sleep/wake architecture. Outside of the scientific realm, Brian is an avid drummer and music aficionado, enjoys traveling, and cheering on the UConn basketball teams.


Kira Maker joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating with distinction from Stanford University in 2011 with a degree in Human Biology. As an Associate at Close Concerns, Kira specialized in diabetes devices and mobile health. Kira has been teaching high school Biology in Oakland since earning her Master's in Education from Stanford University in 2015. 


Payal Marathe joined Close Concerns in 2016 after graduating magna cum laude from Yale University, where she studied Neuroscience and Psychology. As an undergraduate, she dedicated much of her time to writing and journalism, and wanted to apply these skills to improve science communication, especially in the healthcare space. She was editor-in-chief of the Yale Scientific Magazine, a science journalism publication. Payal also enjoyed creative writing and screenwriting, working on student mental health initiatives, and performing with her dance team while in college. In her free time, she reads fiction, chats with her three sisters, plays cards, and watches sports. She was excited to move from the East Coast to San Francisco — not only to join Close Concerns, but also to be closer to her favorite professional sports teams. She is currently a MPH Candidate at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.


Hannah Martin joined Close Concerns in the spring of 2013 after graduating from Swarthmore College with a major in Psychobiology and a minor in Cognitive Science. Her focus at Close Concerns was on medical technology advisory and operational and strategic objectives. She was the editor of Close Concerns quarterly newsletter Diabetes Close Up. Throughout her undergraduate career, Hannah performed research on a variety of topics including the evaluation of the prenatal risk of Down syndrome, the pathways of blood pressure regulation, and the cellular abnormalities in developmental bone mutations. Although her major interests lie in biological sciences, she enjoyed completing her senior thesis and expanding her knowledge psycholinguistics by understanding the brain processes behind sentence construction. Hannah also tutored elementary school children in nearby neighborhoods and at a school for children and adults with mental disabilities. In 2015 she became an assistance clinical research coordinator at UCSF and is currently a Medical Student at Tufts University School of Medicine.


Brendan Milliner joined Close Concerns in 2008 after graduating from Amherst College with a degree in neuroscience. After a year with the team, he headed to the east coast for med school, and completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City in 2013. He has a strong interest in global health and the use of portable ultrasound in areas without access to other advanced imaging. When not at work he can be found rock climbing, biking, and perfecting his dumpling recipe. Currently, he is a Wilderness Medicine Fellow at University of Utah.


Martha Nelson served as a medical writer and researcher at Close Concerns from 2003 to 2005 and continues to engage with the company. After graduating with a Biology degree, magna cum laude, from Amherst College in 2004, she served as a full-time writer for Diabetes Close Up and worked on special reports and projects related to new scientific studies, drugs, and technology. Martha was a Howard Hughes summer research fellow at the Indian Health Service in Albuquerque, N.M., where she investigated how infectious diseases such as HCV contribute to diabetes progression among Native Americans. She continued to study infectious disease dynamics during her doctoral study, completing her PhD at the Pennsylvania State University in 2008 with a thesis titled 'The genomic evolution of influenza A virus.' Martha is now a Staff Scientist at the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. Martha's father, paternal grandfather, great-grandmother, and grand-uncle all have had type 2 diabetes, and Martha retains a keen interest in diabetes therapeutics, prevention, and basic research.


Margaret Nguyen joined diaTribe in 2013 after graduating from and working as a research assistant at Pomona College. She completed an experimental senior thesis investigating the role of the HSPG Syndecan in nervous system development and earned a degree in Neuroscience. While she was an undergraduate student, she worked with her community by tutoring high school students in the Upward Bound program and by volunteering in hospitals with the Clinical Care Extender (CCE) program. After graduating, she continued to study HSPGs and their interactors in the regulation of synapse development. Outside of the laboratory, she volunteered with the CCE program—in the hospital and on their leadership team—and in elementary school classrooms where she introduced students to neuroscience through games and experiments. She currently attends New York Medical College.


Nina Ran joined Close Concerns in 2012 after graduating with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Neuroscience. She wrote her senior thesis on the etiopathogeneses of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and their interface. In previous summers, she conducted research on intracellular trafficking at Dr. Frederick Hughson's lab at Princeton and helped developed a new mouse model of Schizophrenia at Dr. Joseph Neale's neurobiology lab at Georgetown University. Nina received her MD from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was inducted into the AOA Medical Honor Society. At Penn, she was awarded a CTSA TL1 training grant to also obtain a Masters in Translational Research. Nina is a currently a dermatology resident at the University of Pennsylvania. 


Emily Regier joined Close Concerns in 2014 after graduating magna cum laude from Brown University with a BS in biology. During her undergraduate career, she volunteered as an EMT at Brown for three years and devoted much of her time to developmental biology and toxicology research, completing a senior honors thesis about the effects of digoxin on embryonic development in zebrafish. Aside from her academic and medical interests, Emily participated in the Brown Madrigal Singers and the Brown University Chorus, served as president of the Brown chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, a coed literary society, and volunteered for several political campaigns. In her free time, she enjoys running and reading, and spending time with family and friends. Currently, Emily is a student at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Peter Rentzepis

Peter Rentzepis joined Close Concerns in 2018 after graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Pomona College with a major in Chemistry and minor in Computer Science. Over the course of three years, he constructed and optimized a novel TIR-Raman spectroscopy system for the detection of low concentration volatile organic compounds in breath to diagnose respiratory diseases. He was awarded the Stanley D. Wilson Prize for creativity in his research and presented his work at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting. Outside of the lab, Peter has worked as a phlebotomist and was the captain of the Pomona-Pitzer soccer team. He spends his free time reading, hiking, and biking.


Lisa Rotenstein graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 2011 and earned her MD and MBA at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School. Most recently, Lisa served as Editor in Chief of Diabetes Close Up, Close Concerns’s quarterly roundup of diabetes news. While a Senior Associate at Close Concerns, she focused on novel therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Fueled by this interest, she initiated and was the lead author for the patient-centered book “Targeting a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Will We Have to Wait?” Lisa additionally spearheaded Close Concerns’s Information Technology efforts from 2011-2012 and was the lead author on Clinical Diabetes articles on the ideal diabetes therapy and biosimilar insulins. Lisa has continued to pursue her interest in improving chronic disease care while at HMS. As an Innovation Fellow at the Jen Center for Primary Care, she led a multidisciplinary effort to develop an electronic care plan tool for complex primary care patients. Her clinical research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital demonstrated that the blood pressure drug spironolactone improves hippocampal memory in obese subjects. Lisa also leads innovation efforts for the Center for Primary Care’s Student Leadership Committee, served as Co-President of Harvard’s American Women’s Medical Association Chapter, and directed Clinic Operations for the Crimson Care Collaborative student-faculty clinic at MGH Chelsea. She was listed as one of MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators in 2017. She is currently a Resident Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is the Co-Founder of CareZooming.


Joseph Shivers joined Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating cum laude from Harvard University with an AB in Chemical and Physical Biology. As a full-time associate at Close Concerns he specialized in diabetes devices, emerging technologies, and mobile health. Joseph is the former Editor in Chief of Diabetes Close Up, a quarterly round-up of news in diabetes and obesity products and research, and has drawn dozens of cartoons for the patient newsletter diaTribe. He completed medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2017 and the following year was an intern at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine Internal Medicine Intern. He is currently a resident at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.


Jessica (Swienckowski) Fried joined Close Concerns in 2009 after graduating in 2008 from Vassar College Phi Beta Kappa with general honors and departmental honors in Neuroscience and a correlate in Molecular Biology. Jess will graduate from the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine in 2015, moving on to Lankenau Medicine Center for an internship in Internal Medicine prior to starting her research-track residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Maeve Serino

Maeve Serino joined Close Concerns in 2017 after graduating magna cum laude from Williams College as an inductee of the Phi Beta Kappa Society with an honors degree in Biology. During her senior year, she wrote a thesis investigating the role of heat shock proteins in cardiac left-right asymmetry using the CRISPR/Cas9 system in zebrafish. In addition to her pursuits in the laboratory, Maeve also gained clinical research experience as an intern in the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where she initiated several projects concerning topics ranging from neonatal outcomes and food deserts to idiopathic toe-walking. In previous summers, Maeve has spent her time volunteering for Unite for Sight in Chennai, India and working as a sailing instructor. During her undergraduate career, Maeve was an active member and captain of the Williams College Sailing team and enjoys hiking, skiing, and playing guitar in her free time. 


Melissa Tjota joined Close Concerns in 2008 as a full-time associate after graduating from Harvard College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Biochemical Sciences and a secondary field in Spanish. During college she spent much of her time conducting research at Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Cambridge, MA, the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Experimental Immunology in Bonn, Germany, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. Her undergraduate thesis work was carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Shannon Turley in which her project examined peripheral tissue antigen and cytokine expression in murine lymph node stromal cells and human mesenchymal stem cells. Melissa received a MD and PhD from the University of Chicago. She recently finished her PhD coursework in immunology and is currently in medical school at the University of Chicago.


Sanjay Trehan joined Close Concerns in 2009 after graduating from Brown University with a BS in Computational Biology. He has conducted computational biology research at Children's Hospital's (Boston) Informatics Program and Brown's Center for Computational Molecular Biology. He also interned with Brown's Molecular and Cell Biology department, studying the genetic mechanisms that lead to aging in the fruit fly. At Close Concerns, he led the company's research and writings on obesity and pharma and was very active in market research through dQ&A, Close Concerns' sister company. After Close Concerns, Sanjay held multiple roles at Genentech, including Market Planning and R&D Portfolio Management. He pursued a MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and is currently an Associate Director of Business Development at Sanofi Genzyme.


Manu Venkat joined Close Concerns as a full time associate after he graduated from Brown University in May 2013, Phi Beta Kappa, with a joint concentration in Neuroscience and Urban Studies. Manu’s primary focus at Close Concerns was on basic and clinical science; he led Close Concern’s writing on oral and injectable therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes during his two years with the organization. Manu holds a longstanding interest in the life sciences, and enjoys drawing connections between biology and other subject areas. His interest in diabetes and obesity grew through a summer research project with Dr. Suzanne de la Monte of the Brown University Liver Research Center, in which he investigated possible connections between insulin resistance and neurodegenerative diseases. During his free time, Manu is an active member of Brown Model United Nations and a volunteer science teacher for Providence-area high school students. He is also a certified private pilot and general aviation enthusiast. He is currently pursuing his MD at UCSF.


Nick Wilkie has worked with Close Concerns since 2009. He graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA in Chemistry and Psychology and then earned his master's degree in neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. For his master's research, he investigated the molecular biology of the neuroendocrine system and the effects of synthetic steroids on brain tumors. Following graduate study, he worked in a clinical DNA microarray laboratory analyzing small genetic aberrations in congenital developmental disorders. His primary interest in diabetes is the role of the nervous system and diabetes-related pathologies. He has a strong focus at Close Concerns on diabetes market research. Currently, Nick is pursuing an MD degree at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.


Vincent Wu joined Close Concerns in 2010 after graduating with Distinction from Stanford University with a BS in Biological Sciences. During his undergraduate career, he conducted research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and at the Heller Laboratory at Stanford University. Vincent also served as a Teaching Assistant for a course on human nutrition, and volunteered at an after-school program during which he taught students lessons on health, physiology, and nutrition. At Close Concerns, Vincent specialized in obesity and type 2 diabetes therapeutics. He also served as Managing Editor for patient newsletter diaTribe (diaTribe.org). Vincent worked as a Research Analyst for dQ&A, Close Concerns’ sister market research company. Currently, he is a Program Manager at Omada Health.


Mark Yarchoan joined Close Concerns in 2007 as a full time associate, where he was an editor of Diabetes Close Up and a frequent contributor to Closer Look and diaTribe. Mark received a BA from Amherst College and an MD degree at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was a medical oncology fellow at The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. He completed his residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is now an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins medicine.

Dartmouth Fellows

Close Concerns and Dartmouth College collaborated in 2012 to establish the Dartmouth Fellows program. Each quarter, one Dartmouth student is selected to come to San Francisco (all expenses paid) to work with the company on an entrepreneurial project for eight to twelve weeks. If you are interested in applying to this project, please contact Kelly Close and Ann Carracher.

Cindy Takigawa

Cindy is a rising senior at Dartmouth College, where she majors in Biology with a concentration in Biochemistry. She joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in June 2020. As a pre-med student, Cindy is passionate about the research process and learning how clinicians, researchers, and policy makers can improve the patient experience. Her interest in medicine was sparked during her freshman summer, when she interned at a non-profit clinic assisting patients with applications for subsidized healthcare coverage. On campus, she volunteers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, conducts cancer research with the Geisel School of Medicine, and serves as the co-director of Camp Kesem, a national non-profit that serves families who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. To get fresh air, she loves to go on long runs and is training for the 2021 LA marathon.

Bradley Fox

Bradley is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in March 2020. He is a pre-med majoring in Applied Mathematics and Biology, with a concentration in Cancer Biology and Dynamics. Bradley enjoys the research process; he appreciates its potential to challenge “status quo” treatments and inform patients and providers alike. Just last term, he fell in love with mathematical biology research during a 10-week Dartmouth Study program at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, where he created models to simulate and minimize the in-vitro evolution of major cancer cell lines. On campus, Bradley has the pleasure of serving as an EMT and CPR instructor for Dartmouth Emergency Medical Services, a captain for the Dartmouth Running Team, and a mentor for the Dartmouth SIBS program. Off campus, he loves long trail-runs, TV nights with his family, and cats.

Sahaj Shah

Sahaj Shah is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in January 2020. He is majoring in Computer Science and Biology. Sahaj is passionate about the intersection of technology and healthcare and his academic interests include machine learning and its applications in precision medicine. On campus, he is involved with Health Access for All, a non-profit organization dedicated to tackling health care disparities around the Hanover area, and volunteers with Memory Café. He performs cancer research at Norris Cotton Cancer Center and serves as a study group leader for courses in computer science and chemistry. He is also an undergraduate resident advisor for the Thought Project, a living-learning community on campus. In his free time, Sahaj loves hiking, traveling, reading, and spending time outdoors.

Becky Milner

Becky is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in September 2019. She is majoring in Anthropology modified with Global Health with a minor in French. Becky loves learning about how health and wellness are experiences by different communities and is especially interested in ways that the healthcare system can best support and treat diverse populations. On campus, she mentors low-income children from the surrounding area as a part of the DREAM program, gets outside with Women in the Wilderness, and is a member of Dartmouth College Hillel. She enjoys hiking, paddleboarding and trying new breakfast foods.

Meghna Ray

Meghna is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in March 2019. She is a pre-med and majoring in Quantitative Social Science with a focus in global health and sustainable development. Meghna’s interest in global health stems from her many moves; she was born in India, moved to England at a young age, and immigrated to the United States in middle school. Seeing the inequality in healthcare inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. Her strong interest in global health has led her to work closely with the Healthy Heart Initiative, a non-profit focused on cardiovascular health awareness and early detection of risk factors. She has published and presented her findings at the American Heart Association and Indian Heart Journal. On campus, Meghna is involved with Dartmouth EMS, the Political Violence Lab, Global Health Fellows, and the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling.

Peninah Benjamin

Peninah joined Close Concerns in 2019 as a Dartmouth Fellow and is now a Senior Summer Associate. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2020 with a major in Economics and Design, and a minor in Spanish. Diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes at the age of 7, Peninah has always been passionate about health, helping others, and raising awareness for diabetes. Her strong interest in global health led her to spend five summers setting up camps for children and adults in the Dominican Republic with AYUDA (American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad). On campus, she was on the Varsity Sailing Team, the Triathlon Team, and involved with the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and Hillel. Come October, she will be working in Boston at Putnam Associates, a healthcare consulting firm. In her free time, she loves being outdoors, hiking, cooking, and traveling.

Sarah Kolk

Sarah Kolk joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in September of 2018. She is a junior at Dartmouth College, majoring in anthropology modified with biology with a focus in public health. Sarah loves learning about the way illness impacts communities differently across the country and world. Her studies have focused on emerging disease and cross-cultural differences in healthcare, as well as the intersection of geography and public health. Sarah is passionate about the outdoors and loves kayaking, hiking, and skiing. She spends her free time on campus leading trips for the Dartmouth Outing Club and volunteering as a National Ski Patroller.

Kenneth Zhu

Kenneth (Ken) Zhu is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in the spring of 2018. He is a pre-med Biology major and will likely focus on Biochemistry. Outside of the sciences, he is interested in Japanese language and culture and studied abroad in Japan his freshman summer. Around campus, Ken volunteers with VCP (Volunteers for Cancer Patients) and Art Cart at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). Also at DHMC, he is involved in research that synthesizes and purifies peptides that display potential anti-pancreatic cancer activity. In his free time, Ken enjoys running (especially outside), cooking/eating, traveling, and discovering new music.

Megan Clyne

Megan Clyne is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in the winter of 2018. She is a pre-med Spanish major and Global Health minor. Passionate about healthcare and language, she attended medical classes and observed surgeries in a Spanish-speaking hospital in Argentina. She continued to pursue her interest in healthcare when she participated in a program called Project Healthcare at Bellevue Hospital. During her time at Bellevue, she worked in different areas of the emergency department, such as the Adult, Pediatric, and Psychiatric Emergency Services, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Operating Room, and Trauma Unit. She is also interested in design and enjoyed constructing a prosthetic hand using a 3D printer as part of the e-NABLE foundation. At Dartmouth, Megan is a member of the Nathan Smith Society Executive Board, and she is excited to co-lead the Nathan Smith Society Good Neighbor Health Clinic Project. She also likes writing for The Dartmouth, the oldest college newspaper in America. In her free time, Megan enjoys skiing, baking, trying new foods, traveling, and spending time with her friends.

Amanda Jiang 

Amanda Jiang joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in December of 2017. She is a freshman at Dartmouth College, considering the pre-med path and planning to major in either biology or biomedical engineering, with an emphasis on global health. Passionate about combating life-threatening diseases, Amanda has conducted molecular biology research to find solutions to topics ranging from invasion and metastasis in uveal melanoma to calcium-dependent platelet formation to diabetic retinopathy. Outside of research, Amanda is working with America Reads to bring more reading and arts and crafts to children around the Hanover, NH, area. She is also part of the Sugarplum student dance group, an avid member of the Dartmouth ping pong team, a researcher as part of the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team, and a writer for the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science. In her free time, Amanda enjoys baking, reading, skiing, spending time outdoors, and exploring new coffee shops with friends. 

Anna Nguyen 

Anna Nguyen joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in December of 2017. She is a freshman at Dartmouth College considering majoring in Biology and minoring in global health while on the pre-medical track. Her academic interests include global health and environmental science. In addition, she has a strong passion for nutrition, healthy living, and sustainable living. She is also heavily invested in her living learning residential community where she helps organize student-run events. At Dartmouth, she is a part of the Dartmouth College Fencing Club, where she fences foil. In her free time, Anna enjoys experimenting with healthy recipes, reading, running, knitting, and traveling. 

Ben Ose

Ben Ose joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in fall 2017. He is a Junior at Dartmouth College majoring in Biomedical Engineering and on the pre-medical track. Ben is a tutor in math and science courses on campus. He is also involved with the DREAM program, mentoring kids from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Upper Valley. He has been involved for the past five years with Healing Haiti, a nonprofit mission organization serving the greater Port-au-Prince area where he has worked to plan and set up short term mission trips. Ben is a member of the Track and Field team at Dartmouth where he competes in the Heptathlon and Decathlon. In his free time Ben enjoys being outdoors, hiking, boating, snowboarding, fishing and being with friends. 

Lisa Maslak

Elizaveta (Lisa) Maslak joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in fall 2017. She is a sophomore majoring in Engineering and Economics and considering minoring in Neuroscience or Chemistry. Her academic interests include global health, public policy, finance, and environmental science. In addition, she has a strong interest in research and has completed several internships and independent research projects in genetics and ocean sciences throughout high school. Lisa is a research assistant working on projects related to identifying Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) risk factors in the Neurology Department at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. At Dartmouth, she is an economics tutor and is involved in the Smart Woman Securities program, which is focused on investment education for undergraduate women. She has a passion for dance and has been involved with the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble since her freshman fall. In her free time, Lisa enjoys reading, playing tennis, painting, and traveling. 

Emily Yang

Emily Yang joined Close Concerns as the Dartmouth Fellow in the summer of 2017. She is a Biology Modified with Anthropology major on the pre-medical track. She began research on p53 tumor suppressor pathways her freshmen year, working as a Sophomore Science Scholar and publishing in an encyclopedia her sophomore year. Due to her interest in primary care and public health, she currently conducts research with the Geisel School of Medicine on the relationship between the timing of circumcision and breastfeeding patterns as a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar. On campus, she is a freshmen residential advisor, a leader of pre-medical societies, a teaching assistant in the biology and psychology departments, and a volunteer with the Patient Support Corps. In her junior year, Emily interned with a community health center in the Mission District of San Francisco, organizing diabetes support groups and improving patient education. In her free time, Emily enjoys going to art museums, playing the flute, running, and baking. 

Jacqueline Anders

Jacqueline Anders joined Close Concerns in the spring of 2017. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College where she is a pre-medical student double majoring in Biological Chemistry and Spanish. She is a member of the Gamma Sigma Alpha and the Order of Omega Honor societies. Jacqueline has a strong interest in research, working in a genetics lab as a Women in Science intern her freshman year and a Barbara E. Crute memorial intern her sophomore year. Her junior year she became a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar and began her work in a biological inorganic chemistry lab, focusing on metal protein interactions in insulin. On campus she is the treasurer for Colleges Against Cancer, Vice President of the Argentine Tango society, a chemistry teaching assistant, a snowboard instructor, and a volunteer for the cancer and patient services. In her free time Jacqueline enjoys reading, skiing and snowboarding, hiking, and cooking. 

Hae-Lin Cho

Hae-Lin Cho joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in the spring of 2017 during her senior year of Dartmouth College, where she is a pre-medical student, majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a Rufus Choates Academic Scholar. Due to her strong interest in oncology, Hae-Lin has been doing undergraduate research on the role of regulatory T cells in melanoma tumorigenesis in the Turk Lab at Geisel Medical School, which she started as a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, and has taken part in the Dartmouth Cancer Scholar program. At school, she is a part of GlobeMed at Dartmouth, the editor in chief of the Dartmouth Journal of Undergraduate Sciences, and volunteers with Cancer and Patient Services. In her free time, Hae-Lin enjoys painting, reading, writing, and going on hikes.

Jennifer Zhao

Jennifer Zhao is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in fall 2016. She is a Biological Chemistry major, a Chinese Language and Literature minor, and is very interested in the complex world of healthcare, especially from the drugs perspective. She is pre-pharmacy and dreams to practice clinical pharmacy in the future. She has extensive research experience, having spent her sophomore year as a Sophomore Science Scholar working in a biochemistry lab with the fungus Candida albicans and her freshman year as a Women in Science Project intern studying the materials science of chocolate with frozen sugar scaffolds. Outside the lab, Jennifer is involved in the Nathan Smith Society, Dartmouth's pre-health student group, and carries out events with pharmacists and doctors. She is also heavily engaged within her living learning residential community and aims to build stronger relationships with students and faculty members outside the classroom. Jennifer is passionate about social issues on campus, and during summer 2016 trained to be an OPAL IMPACT fellow and has funding to carry out a social change project for the academic year — she has been thinking about promoting resources for the Asian American community on campus. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time outdoors, running, biking, rock climbing, and writing poetry.

Sadie Bronk

Sadie Bronk is an incoming sophomore at Dartmouth and joined the Close Concerns team as a Dartmouth Fellow in summer 2016. She is pre-med and is considering majoring in Neuroscience or Biology. Sadie has worked with a number of non-profit organizations including Mercado Global, a non-profit organization that works with indigenous women in Guatemala to sell their products for fair trade prices in the US and other countries while helping these women become financially independent and send their children to school. She received a grant from the HAND Foundation to travel to Guatemala to interview artisans and family members to better understand the impact Mercado Global has had on them. Additionally, Sadie developed a Mother-Daughter trip to Guatemala where she taught young girls how to fundraise in order to raise $12,000 to support a new cooperative of artisans to join Mercado Global. She has also focused on mentoring teens through the Jewish Teen Foundation on how to effectively fundraise and allocate funds to organizations that fit a mission statement. At Dartmouth, Sadie is a member of the Club Tennis Team and enjoyed participating in the shadowing program with the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. In her free time Sadie enjoys skiing, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with friends.


Amy (Shu Ting) Liang was invited to join CPS lecture as a Dartmouth Fellow in Winter 2016 during her junior at Dartmouth College, where she majors in biomedical engineering. She is a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, a Rufus Choate Academic Scholar, Professor and Mrs. John E. Richards Memorial Fund Scholar, and Cancer Scholar. Passionate about innovation and medicine, she works on intraoperatively detecting prostate cancer margins as a research assistant at the Thayer School of Engineering and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She builds and characterizes EIT probes compatible with the da Vinci robot, and presented her findings at conferences, including Harvard Medical School’s New England Science Symposium. She is a dedicated EMT with Dartmouth EMS, residential advisor, co-coordinator of NSS executive board, and undergraduate leader for Sununu, dancer with the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble, and co-president of the Chinese Dance Troupe. Passionate about healthcare access, she is involved in the RICE trip to Vietnam. In her free time, she enjoys singing, dancing, hiking, travelling, and cooking. Amy is so honored and excited to be a part of this team and enjoys working as the Community Manager for CPS lectures.


Jonathan Busam, a junior at Dartmouth College majoring in Biology and Economics, joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in fall 2015. Excited to help design and discover novel, personalized healthcare delivery strategies that enable populations to thrive, Jonathan worked on performance improvement initiatives at Morristown Medical Center (MMC) and conducted research on the effectiveness of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) at Dartmouth prior to his time at Close Concerns. Jonathan has an additional passion for social entrepreneurship. He helped establish the Healthcare Policy, Innovation, and Delivery LLC, a healthcare themed residential community focused on enhancing creativity and design thinking skills on campus, and ChathamSTEM, a non-profit organization focused on reducing inequality in STEM fields in his hometown. At Dartmouth, Jonathan also writes for various publications and helps captain the club tennis team. In his free time Jonathan enjoys hiking, skiing, and exploring new places to eat.


Esther Wu joins Close Concerns as the Dartmouth Fellow in Summer 2015. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College and is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Biology. She is a Presidential Scholar working on developmental prosopagnosia in a Neuroscience lab under Bradley Duchaine. Esther is Co-chair of ASPIRE, a group of students that volunteers with children on the Autism spectrum, and is a member of the Dartmouth Figure Skating team. In her free time, she enjoys journaling and walking her dog.


Sally Kim joined Close Concerns as the Dartmouth Fellow in Spring 2015. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College and is double majoring in Biology and Psychology. She is a research assistant working on reprogramming tumor-associated macrophages at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Sally works on campus at the Jones Media Center as a technical assistant and graphics designer. Additionally, Sally has been the Editor in Chief of the Aegis, Dartmouth College’s yearbook, since her junior year. She also serves as the president of Active Minds, a mental health awareness group on campus. In her free time, Sally enjoys taking photos and eating all kinds of desserts.


Leda Espinoza is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined the Close Concerns team as a Dartmouth Fellow for the winter of 2015. She is pursuing a Biology major and an Ethics minor. She conducted research as a Sophomore Science Scholarship Program Intern at the Geisel School of Medicine, analyzing epidemiological data to examine potential genetic components of gastric disease in a Colombian population. Leda is also a mentor and chair for Dartmouth SIBS, a mentoring program that matches Dartmouth students with underprivileged children from the area surrounding the college. Leda is an executive member of the Dartmouth Bioethics Group, a club that organizes discussions and events regarding controversial medical and bioethical issues, and she served on a support crew for Dartmouth’s DOC First Year Trips Orientation Program. She is Wilderness EMT certified and loves spending time outside climbing, hiking, running, and skiing.


Madellena Thornton joined Close Concerns in December of 2015 during her junior year at Dartmouth College. She is majoring in neuroscience and is incredibly passionate about the intersection between medicine and social justice as well as global and public health. At Dartmouth, Madellena works in the Department of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine where she interviews caretakers of patients with mental and memory disorders. She also participates in “Telling My Story” at Valley Vista Rehabilitation Center - an interdisciplinary arts program in collaboration with recovering addicts and/or inmates to study and reflect on the root causes of social isolation and invisibility. Madellena competes for the Dartmouth Figure Skating team and is an active member of Dartmouth on Purpose - a student group that promotes mindfulness and intentionality through reflection for all members of the Dartmouth community. In her free time, Madellena loves to skate with her 85-year old grandfather, travel, mountain bike, kayak, ski and go on spontaneous adventures.


Mitchell Huang joined Close Concerns as the Fall 2014 Dartmouth Fellow. He is a Biology and Spanish double major and member of Dartmouth College’s Class of 2016. As a Presidential Research Scholar at the Geisel School of Medicine, he is involved in a project investigating nanoparticle delivery of ACAT1 siRNA to the brain for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Outside of his research, he spends his time on the management teams of Big Brother Big Sister and the Upper Valley Special Olympics and as a sports writer for the school paper, The Dartmouth. In his free time, he enjoys running, tennis, hiking, canoeing, watching his beloved Seattle Seahawks, and playing the classical guitar.


Rebecca Xu joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow for summer 2014. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College pursuing a double major in Biological Chemistry and Psychology. In the past, she has performed research in cross-cultural usage of social media at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, as well as research in implicit racial bias and its social consequences in Dartmouth’s education department. Most recently, she helped synthesize novel phosphorus-carbon compounds to be used in asymmetric catalysis in Dartmouth’s chemistry department. On campus, she is the leading layout and design editor for the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science. She is also an undergraduate advisor (Dartmouth’s version of an RA) to upperclass students. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys painting her nails, trying new foods, reading, and drawing.


Alex Ganninger joined Close Concerns as the Dartmouth Fellow in spring 2014. He is a rising junior at Dartmouth College and is majoring in English with a German minor. Since his freshman year, Alex has served as a reporter for the campus newspaper The Dartmouth and has been involved with Club Swimming. After spending the 2013 summer studying German language and culture in Berlin, he elected to return for a second program abroad in the fall, concentrating on literature and history. This year, he has conducted research on computational intertextuality as a Junior Research Scholar and will serve as a first-year Undergraduate Advisor. Additionally, Alex is the Vice President of Penpals United a 501c(3) nonprofit, which conducts monthly, online support groups for individuals with type 1 diabetes in India and Africa. In his free time, Alex enjoys reading, swimming, and skiing and is currently learning to sail.


Andrew Foley is a senior at Dartmouth College and joined the Close Concerns team as a Dartmouth Fellow for the winter of 2014. He is pursuing a major in Biology and a minor in English Literature. He spent the fall of 2013 studying English Literature in Glasgow, Scotland. Andrew has worked with the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Sciences since his freshman fall, has served as a managing editor for the journal since the spring of 2012, and will serve as the Editor in Chief of the journal over his senior year. He has a passion for running and is in the process of training for his first marathon, and has served as a volunteer cross-country coach at the Indian River Middle School near Dartmouth. Andrew has also served as the president of Ecovores, a sustainable foods group at Dartmouth, and as the summer president of his fraternity. Over the summer of 2012, Andrew worked as a marketing and communications intern at HUB International Insurance. In the summer of 2014, he worked as a research intern at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on several projects relating to phantom limb pain and prosthetic limb development and testing.


Christiana Johnson joined Close Concerns in December 2014 during her sophomore year at Dartmouth College. She is studying neuroscience and sociology and is very passionate about public and global health. Christiana recently pursued these interests as a DarDar Pediatric Program intern in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. In addition, Christiana competes for the Dartmouth Figure Skating Team and is an executive member of Dartmouth on Purpose—a student group that promotes mindfulness and wellbeing across campus. In her free time, Christiana also loves to hike, ski, and travel.


Hongyu Chen is a junior at Dartmouth College and joined Close Concerns as a Dartmouth Fellow in the fall of 2013. He is majoring in Computer Science. Hongyu has been involved with computational linguistics, cheminformatics, and bioinformatics research at Dartmouth College, the University of California Riverside, and the National Institutes of Health and led Close Concerns work on estimating. As a freelance computer scientist at the National Institute of Aging, he conceptualized and developed a suite of bioinformatics tools (Pancreas++, Plurigon, VennPlex, Textrous!) that have since been published in peer-reviewed journals and receive usage worldwide. During this time, he published a review paper that integrated the fields of linguistics, computer science, and biology through Latent Semantic Indexing. In addition to research, he served as the president of the Dartmouth Chess Club and the Hanover Chess Club, the chair of the Haven Adult Shelter, and a mentor for Big Brother Big Sister. Following his fellowship at Close Concerns, Hongyu is interning at IXL Learning and Epic Systems in winter and summer of 2014 and continues to contribute to various organizations as a freelance software developer. In his spare time, Hongyu likes playing the piano, running, and going on outdoor adventures.


Adam Kraus joined Close Concerns in Summer 2013 as the Dartmouth Fellow, after which he graduated from Dartmouth College in Spring 2014 with a degree in Anthropology modified with Global Health. He is very passionate about social justice and global health and spent a year after college working for a rural primary care clinic in Thomassique Haiti where he managed community health programs and worked with local staff to build capacity. Currently, he is an MD/MPH candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he is a Dean's Scholar in Global Health. His academic interests include the intersection of medicine, global health, and social justice, especially as it relates to migratory populations. He has spent time in Peru, New Zealand, Thailand, Haiti and most currently in the Dominican Republic addressing health disparities. Currently, he is working on a project to better understand the unique barriers to perinatal healthcare faced by Haitian women and their newborn babies living in the Dominican Republic. He is also very involved in the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership – Sinai's student-run free clinic offering care to the uninsured populations in East Harlem, New York City. In his free time he loves running and also exploring New York.


Marissa Lynn is currently an MD candidate at Harvard Medical school and graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 2013. While at Dartmouth she majored in Biology and minored in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. She completed biomedical research focused on developing novel therapeutics for pancreatic cancer for which she was recognized with a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. After college she spent two years in South Korea on a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Fellowship, where she taught English in an all-boys middle school and served at the Fulbright Korea ETA Program Coordinator. Now in medical school she plans to pursue residency training in ophthalmology.  


Tiffany Wang, a Close Concerns Dartmouth Fellow for Winter 2013, is currently a sophomore at Dartmouth College. She is pursuing an Anthropology major with concentrations in medical anthropology and global health and minors in Chinese and Chemistry. Her current research project involves synthesizing peptides in a pharmacology lab at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. She is also Programming Co-Chair for Dartmouth Programming Board, a group that organizes campus-wide events and a residential First Year Undergraduate Advisor. She is also a mentor and a member of the executive board for Link Up, a women's mentorship group on campus. In her free time, she enjoys exploring, experimenting, and searching for experiences.


Katherine Sanders joined Close Concerns in 2013 after graduating from Dartmouth College with a BA in Biological Sciences, modified with Global Health. During her undergraduate years she devoted much of her time to HIV Immunology research and global health student groups. In previous summers Katherine volunteered at the DarDar Pediatric Program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and worked with the Dartmouth Center for Healthcare Delivery Science in Lima, Peru. Following graduation and prior to coming to Close Concerns, Katherine worked as both a paralegal in intellectual property law and an analyst in healthcare strategy consulting. She is currently a medical student at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. In her free time she enjoys running, reading, and trying new foods.


Melissa An joined Close Concerns as an associate after graduating from Dartmouth College in 2014, with a major in Neuroscience and minor in the Anthropology of Global Health. She was promoted to Senior Associate in 2015 and focuses much of her time on obesity and public health. She also serves as the company’s Chief Technology Officer and is involved in leading conference planning, recruiting, and budgeting. Throughout her undergraduate years, Melissa explored her interests for global health by leading Dartmouth’s chapters of GlobeMed and China Care. In addition, she served as Executive Director of the Dartmouth Global Leadership Program and as a residential advisor. Melissa also conducted psychiatry research on treatment that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Previously, Melissa was a Dartmouth Fellow at Close Concerns in 2013 and interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Close Concerns and diaTribe Summer Associates

Wania Ahmad

Wania is a rising junior at Wellesley College, where she is majoring in Philosophy and Chemistry. She is also pre-med and hopes to one day attend medical school. She joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in June 2020. She hopes to use her experience at Close Concerns to raise awareness about diabetes and understand the science behind therapies used to treat those with diabetes. In her free time, Wania enjoys spending time with her friends and watching Netflix.

Lorena Bergstrom

Lorena is a rising sophomore at Amherst College, where she plans to major in Biochemistry.  She joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in June 2020. She hopes to pursue a career in medical research in the future. She first became interested in medicine when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four. Lorena formerly volunteered as an Administrative Assistant and Lead Newsletter Author at the JDRF Northern California Inland Chapter. Outside of biochemistry, she plays flute in the Amherst Symphony Orchestra. She is also studying Japanese at Amherst and hopes to become nearly fluent over the next three years. She loves her dog and two cats at her home in El Dorado Hills, CA. In her free time, Lorena enjoys reading, writing, watching crime and medical dramas, listening to unusual music, traveling, running, and attempting to paint.

Nena Kotsalidis

Nena is a rising junior at Wellesley College, where she is majoring in Biochemistry. She joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in June 2020. At Wellesley, Nena is a Supplemental Instruction leader in the Chemistry Department where she leads collaborative sessions outside of the classroom to help students better understand the concepts covered in the courses. She enjoys being part of the cross-country skiing team. She is involved in an organization that volunteers at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she helps coordinate events at the Hale Family Center for Patients and Families. Nena has worked at a biotechnology company where she studied the role of lysosomal function in neurodegenerative diseases. In her free time, Nena enjoys baking and spending time with her pets.

Rosalind Lucier

Rosalind is a rising senior at Wellesley College, where she is majoring in Chemistry and History. She joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in June 2020. In the future, she hopes to ultimately pursue graduate studies in Organic Chemistry. She is interested in science education and public health, so this summer will hopefully be an interesting look at the role of education in public health through Close Concerns. She also enjoys being in nature, preferring to spend her free time outside and taking hikes.

Lucy masto

Lucy is a rising junior at Brown University, where she is majoring in Biology with a focus on immunology. She is on the pre-med track, though she is still deciding what health-related career she wants to pursue. She joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in July 2020 and hopes the experience will offer insight into patient advocacy and disease research. In her free time, Lucy enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family, and surfing. 

Monica Oxenreiter

Monica is a master's candidate at the Brandeis Heller School of Social Policy, where she is pursuing a dual degree Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in health policy. She joined Close Concerns as a Senior Summer Associate in June 2020. She hopes to use her education to address disparities in health equity, especially in those with chronic conditions. This July will mark her 25th year with type 1 diabetes, which has helped her to be a lifelong, passionate advocate for those with diabetes. In her spare time, Monica is training for the Chicago Marathon this October, which will be her second of the six World Major Marathons. 

alia rizvon

Alia is a rising senior at Wellesley College, where she is majoring in Philosophy. She joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in June 2020. After college, she hopes to attend medical school and advocate for health equity and adequate patient education. The experience at Close Concerns will hopefully give her more insight into how health disparities play out in the United States. She likes to spend her time playing with her two cats and baking new recipes.

Junior Summer Associates

Jamie Kurtzig

Jamie, a rising high school junior at Marin Academy, is thrilled to join Close Concerns as a Junior Summer Associate again; she first worked as a JSA in 2019, and is back again in the summer of 2020. Since being diagnosed as a one-year-old, she has helped raise over $3.8 million for diabetes research, has been the Fund-A-Cure speaker and an Honoree at the 2018 JDRF Hope Gala in San Francisco, has advocated for increased funding and insulin affordability with the US Congress, has helped bring the first artificial pancreas clinical trial to India, and has published a diabetes-inspired poetry book called “Onederland.” Currently, Jamie is blogging about life with diabetes, volunteering with The Sugar Science and AYUDA, and working as the Director of Scientific Communications for SURF Stanford Medicine. As a Junior Summer Associate, Jamie is excited to meet new people, develop her writing skills, and have fun. In her free time, Jamie loves playing violin, playing with her puppy, and watching Marvel movies.

Marie Tetsu

Marie is a rising senior at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA. She joined Close Concerns as a Junior Summer Associate in June 2020. At College Prep, Marie is involved in the Partners Program, debate team, varsity swim team, and writing coaches. She is also leader of the math club. In 2016, Marie co-founded the Booksprout Project, a not-for-profit organization that has donated thousands of English children’s books to schools, hospitals, and orphanages in Asia. Born and raised in San Francisco, she is also the co-creator of Braintree, a website that promotes mental health awareness and teen stress relief. As a Junior Summer Associate, Marie hopes to improve as a writer, gain workplace experience, and deepen her understanding of diabetes and obesity. In her free time, Marie enjoys volunteering to tutor younger students, crafting, and trying new cuisines.

Close Concerns Previous Contributors/Summer Associates

Ammara Aqeel

Ammara joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2019 after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University with a B.S. in Biology. During her time at Duke, Ammara was extensively involved with on-campus research. She was part of the Bass Connections Blue Devil Resistome Project, an interdisciplinary research initiative bringing together faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from different fields to construct a map of antibiotic resistance loads and species found on Duke University’s Campus. For her dissertation, Ammara worked on a project aiming to dramatically increase the throughput of bacterial drug screenings. Furthermore, as a student in the Science and Society certificate program, she has been part of a team conducting research to help the preprint server bioRxiv analyze and improve its current preprint feedback and commenting model. Apart from her studies, Ammara has worked as a college counselor and is passionate about mentoring high school students and helping them achieve their dreams. Currently, she is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Triangle Science Share, an organization working to instill a passion for science in middle/high school students from the Triangle area by exposing them to research being conducted in the region. In her free time, Ammara loves taking long walks, exploring new places, drawing, and having tea with friends.


Alisa Bekins joined Close Concerns in 2005 as director in operations and marketing after working in the travel, entertainment, and PR industries for 15 years. She graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BA in Aviation. She has studied diabetes and diabetes-related complications for years, stemming from experiences with multiple family members and friends with diabetes. She has a keen interest in and knowledge of type 1 diabetes, medical devices to treat diabetes, and diabetes education. Although she has departed full time work at Close Concerns, Alisa is today an occasional contributor to diaTribe and Diabetes Close Up.


Shivani Chandrashekaran joined Close Concerns as a Summer Intern for 2016. She is a rising junior at Duke University pursuing a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Computer Science. At Duke, she worked as a research assistant in a neuroeconomics lab this past year and is also on the executive board of Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science, which helps engage young girls in the community in STEM fields through fun activities. She is currently the co-president of Project Sunshine at Duke, a nonprofit that provides arts and crafts and other recreational activities to pediatric patients and their families in the hospital. She is also a member of Lasya, a dance team at Duke. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and watching basketball.


Lucy Chu joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. She is a rising junior in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a major in biochemistry and a minor in mathematics. Looking to broaden her perspective of the healthcare system and to pursue a career in medicine, she is involved as a board member in the Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club and volunteers at the hospital and in patient-care facilities over the weekend. In previous summers, she has worked as a data operations intern within the oncology space at MedImmune, investigated nucleosome morphology at a biophysics lab within the NIH, and spent time as a summer research assistant at George Washington University. In her spare time, Lucy frequents art museums, watches films, and strolls through various neighborhoods in Philadelphia.


Poonam Daryani joined Close Concerns as a 2013 summer associate after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Scripps College with a BA in Biology. Poonam is invested in health equity for historically marginalized communities through community-based public health practice, research, and advocacy. After Close Concerns, she served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia and worked at a Dallas-based nonprofit on maternal health initiatives in India. Poonam graduated with her MPH from Johns Hopkins University in May 2017 and is now a Clinical Fellow with the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale Law School.


John Erdman joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. He pursued a Biology and Spanish double major at Amherst College. At Amherst, John is the President and former Captain of the Amherst College Rugby Football Club and serves as a mentor to a local middle school student through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In previous summers, John has shadowed physicians and surgeons at Clínica Las Condes in Santiago, Chile, assisted with cataract screening programs in rural Honduras, and worked at an HIV Clinic in Washington, DC. John is a current medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, having been accepted through their FlexMed early acceptance program. In his spare time, John likes to read, play golf, and ski.

Spencer Flynn

Spencer Flynn joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2018. He is a rising senior at Duke University, where he is pursuing a double major in Chemistry and Philosophy with a minor in Global Health. He has a passion for clinical care and public health, and has combined those interests through his varied clinical experiences. Spencer works as an EMT, and has used those skills to start an outreach program at Duke that has trained over 2,000 people in CPR and offered basic health screenings (blood pressure and BMI) to hundreds. He is now Director of Duke EMS, Duke’s student-run emergency medical services team. In previous summers Spencer has worked as a medical scribe at a free clinic for the underserved, and he has interned for MEND free clinic in the San Fernando Valley, where he performed research on clinic attendance rates and helped the clinic improve its administrative efficiency. Spencer also works as a Clinical Research Assistant with the Acute Care Research team in Duke Hospital’s ER. At Duke, Spencer sits on the Undergraduate Conduct Board, has been active in his dorm’s hall council, helps teach the local EMT-B class, and volunteers with hospice patients. In his spare time, Spencer loves running, traveling, eating (lots!), and wandering aimlessly through parks.


Nupur Lala began work for Close Concerns as a summer intern in 2004; she returned to the company in the summers of 2005 and 2006. She graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 2007 with a BS in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Sciences. During her undergraduate years, she conducted research in the University of Michigan Psycholinguistics Laboratory and in the laboratory of Dr. Frank Brosius at the University of Michigan Medical School, studying the effect of troglitazones in kidney function. After graduation, Nupur worked in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at MIT, where she researched the neural correlates of subsequent memory for scenes, motor skills learning, and improving fluid intelligence. She is currently a medical student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and holds a MS from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston/MD Anderson Cancer Center, where her masters' thesis was on the critical role of the Her4 receptor tyrosine kinase in osteosarcoma metastasis.


Sabrina Lee was a summer 2014 associate at Close Concerns. She graduated from Amherst College, majoring in Neuroscience. Having spent the summer of 2012 on the research side, working at Mount Sinai as a research intern in Pediatric Cardiology, Sabrina is interesting in exploring related aspects of the medical field including patient education and health policy. At Amherst, she volunteered at an adult education center, helping people prepare for their GED, and heads a Colleges Against Cancer chapter, which focuses on cancer education and fundraising. Additionally, she loves swimming and was co-captain of the Amherst Women's Swim Team. From 2018-2018 she was a high school science and math teacher, and recently became a Healthcare Team Associate at Quid.


Jen Lesser joined Close Concerns in early 2009. Jen worked at Clovis Oncology and Exelixis, and currently is a business development consultant at FLX Bio, Inc. Previously Jen worked at InterMune where she launched various market access and nurse education programs in support of Esbriet. Prior to that, Jen was at Onyx Pharmaceuticals where she worked in global market access on the launch of Kyprolis. Jen also previously worked in marketing at Genentech. On a personal side, Jen is very active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and is the National Chair of the Young Leadership Committee. Jen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master in Philosophy in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge and a BA in Biology from Amherst College.

Sabrina Lin

Sabrina Lin joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2019 as a Summer Associate—she was previously a Junior Summer Associate at Close Concerns the summer before her senior year of high school and is thrilled to be back! She is currently a rising junior at Amherst College, double majoring in anthropology and biology with special interests in medical anthropology and Asian American Studies. At Amherst, Sabrina conducts biology research on the sex-biased dispersal of black bears in Massachusetts and sociology research on the intersection of Asian Americans and extracurricular education. When not hunched over a microscope or her laptop, Sabrina directs the Asian American Studies Working Group, which advocates for the increased presence of Asian American Studies in Amherst’s curriculum, and chairs Amherst’s Asian Students Association. She is also passionate about her work on the Wellness Team, a student taskforce dedicated to improving the mental health of the Amherst College community. Otherwise, Sabrina enjoys scouting out local coffee shops for matcha lattes, watching niche documentaries, and hunting down perfectly ripe avocados.

Helen Liu

Helen Liu joined The DiaTribe Foundation as a Summer Associate in 2018. She is a rising junior at Stanford University. Besides a strong interest in medicine and research, Helen has always had a strong commitment to health advocacy, reform, and public health. She currently is the patient health navigator coordinator at Stanford's free student-run clinic and will also be training the new volunteers. She also co-founded the high school Immersion in Community Medicine outreach program connecting local students from disadvantaged communities to opportunities in healthcare. She is an EMT for the campus group and co-created the Stanford undergraduate volunteer ReCAP program at Stanford Hospital. Additionally, Helen has conducted medical research in cell biology, bioengineering and stem cell research. At Stanford, Helen is also a chemistry peer tutor and a resident assistant. She loves portrait and event photography, traveling, hiking, and learning about new cultures.


Tim Maher began contributing to Close Concerns in the spring of 2013. Tim graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2011 with a degree in chemical and physical biology. While at Harvard he spent three years performing chemical biology research on lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetes and peptide signaling in obesity in the laboratory of Professor Alan Saghatelian. Tim’s senior honors thesis won the Thomas T. Hoopes, Class of 1919, Prize for outstanding scholarly work. Outside of class Tim was an active member of the Harvard University Band as a tenor saxophone player. Tim is currently in his second year of medical school at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago where he was the co-president of the Cardiovascular Health Society and performs clinical research in cardiology. He is interested in preventative medicine and the early detection of chronic disease.

Kara Miecznikowski

Kara joined the diaTribe Foundation as a Summer Associate in May 2019. She is a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame, where she studies Biological Sciences and Journalism. Last summer, Kara conducted research at Baylor College of Medicine, where she studied the effects of steroid hormones and hypothalamic gene expression on stress activity and recovery. On campus, she writes and edits for several student publications, including Notre Dame’s Undergraduate Journal of Scientific Research and the monthly campus magazine, Scholastic. Kara conducts research on attention and memory in the Department of Psychology, helps teach a Biological Sciences laboratory course, and is head music director of ND’s student radio station. In her free time, she enjoys playing the guitar and piano, rollerblading, and listening to podcasts.


Rajiv Narayan graduated in 2012 with highest honors and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Davis, where he was a Regents Scholar. In college, he designed his own major as an interdisciplinary course of economics, philosophy, and anthropology. Rajiv was the Senior Health Policy Fellow for the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network and a 2010 Young People For Fellow, where he was trained in organizing for social justice. He has written for Policy Mic, The California Aggie, Next New Deal, and the Huffington Post. Rajiv worked on an urban farm in Milwaukee, interned at the California State Assembly, and taught classes on the Social Theory of Eating Disorders at UC Davis. He has researched obesity legislation in Argentina, food stamps in California, the racial dynamics of obesity policy in Southern States, and fat acceptance activism in California. Rajiv is an avid social media user, and was invited by the White House to live-tweet the 2013 State of the Union Address (@rajiv_narayan). In his free time, Rajiv enjoys coaching high school speech and debate at his alma mater, James Logan High School. Rajiv was a contributor at Close Concerns started in 2013, where his focus is primarily on obesity and public health. Currently he is a JD Candidate at Harvard Law School.

William Newton

William joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in May 2019 as a rising senior at Williams College majoring in Economics and Spanish. Last summer, William worked at Fitscript LLC., a digital health start-up focused on helping patients manage diabetes through customized exercise programming. There, he researched how the product could be implemented in Spanish-speaking communities and helped develop a plan for marketing the product to care providers by compiling and identifying gaps in existing research on the intersection between diabetes, exercise, and medication. On campus, William will serve as a Managing Editor of the Williams Record, his campus’s independently-run student newspaper, and as co-captain of Williams College’s competitive club ultimate frisbee team when he returns this fall. In his free time, William enjoys playing frisbee, basketball, hacky sack, and boggle.


Derek Pham is a summer 2013 associate at Close Concerns and a rising third year at the University of Chicago, double-majoring in Political Science and Public Policy and pursuing a career in the business side of healthcare. Last autumn he was part of two pro-bono consulting projects, one for Andreessen Horowitz and the other for the non-profit organization Bethel New Life. His interest in the healthcare industry evolved after founding his own non-profit organization that fundraised for the Division of Nephrology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. At the University of Chicago, Derek is a board member of the pharmacology organization, the co-founder of the Vietnamese Student Association, and a member of the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. Outside of the classroom, he is an avid basketball and football spectator as well as a passionate amateur gastronomist.

Michael Poeschla

Michael Poeschla joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2018 after graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Pomona College with a degree in Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, Michael conducted research into the role of cellular senescence in aging and neurodegeneration at the Mayo Clinic, into the molecular mechanisms of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency at University College London, and for his senior thesis project at Pomona investigated the role of guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor (GDI) in the Rab cycle and cellular transport. Outside of the lab, Michael played varsity tennis at Pomona and enjoys reading, cooking, and watching movies. At Close Concerns, Michael hopes to learn more about health systems and the basic and translational science of diabetes.  In the fall of 2018 Michael will be moving to Germany to work at the Max Planck Institute for Ageing Biology, studying the evolutionary genetic basis of lifespan and aging.


Tony Sheng, a Close Concerns summer associate for 2009, graduated from Amherst College in 2011 with a BA in Neuroscience and English. In addition to frequent volunteer work, Tony played varsity squash and tennis, leading the tennis team to a national championship his senior year. After starting his career at McKinsey & Company, Tony joined an online video startup called ZEFR, where he built and lead the marketing team. Tony is the cofounder of TownHall and has worked at AltspaceVR and Google. He is currently a Product Lead at the Decentraland Foundation.

Pearl Subramanian

Pearl Subramanian joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2017. She is a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a major in Health and Societies with a concentration in Global Health. Aspiring to a career in pediatrics, Pearl has a strong passion to study and bring awareness to the social determinants of health. Combining the two fields she loves the most- education advocacy and medicine- she currently volunteers at Puentes de Salud’s after-school bilingual literacy program, Puentes Hacia al Futuro in South Philly. Additionally, she conducts clinical research in renal and prostate cancer at the Hematology-Oncology Dept. at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, Pearl is a Tour Guide for the University, a Calculus tutor, Vice President of the Women in Leadership Series and a member of the Penn Association for Gender Equity. She is a life-long Girl Scout and has earned her Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards. In previous summers, Pearl has worked as a Clinical Research Assistant in the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Mt. Sinai Medical School in New York City, and in the Medical Oncology Branch of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. In her spare time, Pearl loves to learn new languages, travel, and experience new cultures (and foods!).

Anna Van der Linden

Anna Van der Linden joined The diaTribe Foundation as a Summer Associate in 2018. She is a rising junior at Amherst College, where she is pursuing a major in Psychology. In studying social sciences, she hopes to better understand patterns of human behavior and how different social structures interact. She was previously the Communications Intern for the NCD Alliance, an organization dedicated to improving noncommunicable disease prevention and control worldwide. At the NCD Alliance, she analyzed reader behavior through newsletter and website data, and helped with the process of creating a tri-lingual website to broaden the range of potential readers. Anna has a strong interest in bringing health education to as wide and diverse an audience as possible, and wants to learn more about how organizations can best communicate with the public. Outside the classroom, Anna sings in an a capella group on campus and is also a member of the rowing team. She is excited to explore the Bay Area and learn as much as possible from the vibrant team here at diaTribe!

Ruiyan Wang

Ruiyan joined The diaTribe Foundation as a Summer Associate in 2019. She is a rising junior at Yale University, where she is pursuing a double-major in Molecular Biochemistry and English. Ruiyan is also a Global Health Scholar in the multidisciplinary Yale Global Health Studies Program. Envisioning a career devoted to public health, Ruiyan is deeply committed to examining the myriad factors that inform health status in diverse contexts. In summer 2018, she researched and wrote about attitudes toward Western versus Traditional Medicine in modern-day China. Since 2017, Ruiyan has been a staff journalist for the Yale Daily News, reporting on immigrant and refugee health, mental health and addiction, and nonprofit work in New Haven. When she isn’t writing, Ruiyan serves as the Board Coordinator at the Yale Women’s Center, President of the Reproductive Justice Action League at Yale, and a longtime volunteer-leader at Planned Parenthood. In her spare time, Ruiyan loves to play volleyball on Yale’s club team.

Sabrina Wang

Sabrina Wang joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2018. She is a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is double majoring in Neuroscience and International Affairs. Hoping to pursue a career in medicine and health policy, Sabrina just returned from a semester in Geneva, Switzerland, where she studied the processes of international decision-making that determine global health policy priorities. She is actively involved in neurological research at the Cleveland Clinic and the Wash U School of Medicine; she has also conducted economics research at the Brookings Institution, resulting in a publication. Outside of her studies, Sabrina serves as the Executive Director for the Washington University Political Review and volunteers at a preventative health clinic in the underserved suburb of East St. Louis. This past fall, her volunteer experiences led her to co-found East St. Louis Engaged, a political education and civic engagement initiative, in partnership with the East St. Louis Mayor’s Office and United Way. In her spare time, Sabrina loves cooking (and eating!), writing, and trying to go to all 58 U.S. National Parks.


Sarah Wilkins joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from Yale. At Yale, Sarah conducted research in the lab of Dr. Ronald Breaker with a focus on the functions of specific noncoding RNAs. In her free time, Sarah loves running, watching SF Giants baseball, and cooking. Currently, Sarah is conducting research at the University of Würzburg Institute for Molecular Infection Biology in the laboratory of ProfessorJörg Vogel through a Yale College year-long postgraduate fellowship.


Michelle Xie joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2014. She graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2016 with a degree in biomedical engineering. In college, Michelle conducted research at Harvard Business School's Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness, studying factors influencing the ability of healthcare organizations to obtain outcomes measurement from EMRs. She also led the Harvard Association for U.S.-China Relations, an organization that seeks to promote liberal arts education for Chinese students, and Developers for Development, an organization focused on the intersection of technology and international development. Michelle worked in healthcare investment banking at Centerview Partners and is currently a commercial analyst at Evidation Health.


Yrenly Yuan joined Close Concerns as a Summer Associate in 2016. She graduated from Amherst College, where she double-majored in Biology and Anthropology. At Amherst, she participated in varsity track and field, TEDxAmherst, The Amherst Student newspaper, and was a tour guide. In her free time, she enjoys sticking her nose in books, eating her way around new places, and finding dogs to pet. Currently, she is an Associate Consultant Intern at Clarion Healthcare.

Past Junior Summer Associates

Kate Aldridge

Kate joined Close Concerns as a summer associate in 2018, and is a rising senior at Piedmont High School. She is interested in the medical field, specifically, neurology and biotech. She participated in an internship at the diabetes foundation JDRF which sparked her passion for contributing to diabetes research and aid. Currently, she is working on a marine ecology research project includes building a cost effective pH and temperature controller in order to study the effects of climate change on marine organisms. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at Rocket Dog Rescue (a local dog shelter) and painting. She was raised in Brisbane, Australia and enjoys traveling there in the summer to see extended family. She is excited to meet the inspiring speakers, improve her writing skills and gain insight on diabetes.

Elise Bourelly

Elise Bourelly joined Close Concerns in 2019 as a Junior Summer Associate and is a rising senior at Lick-Wilmerding High School. In her free time, she enjoys dance, technical arts, and mentoring younger students. She founded FANG (Fostering Activists for the Next Generation), a club that is committed to shaping not only student activism but also Lick’s relationship towards activism. She became interested in learning more about how diabetes and obesity affect vulnerable populations after taking an anatomy course at school. While working as a Summer Associate, Elise hopes to further her understanding of these diseases and improve her writing ability.

Alyssa Manuel

Alyssa Manuel joined the Junior Summer Associates Program in 2018 and is a rising senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. She enjoys volunteering and has a very strong interest in healthcare. She hopes to be a part of the medical field in her future. Throughout her high school career thus far, Alyssa has been engaged in community service and other opportunities that correlate to helping people. Her school provides these opportunities where you can help the people in need including food banks, clubs, and food outreaches. She loves volunteering and it will always be a hobby that intrigues her. Her other interests include physics, math, and chemistry. While she is a Junior Summer Associate, she hopes to discover new findings about diabetes and hopes to learn as much as she can from the team.

Annie Chen

Annie Chen, a rising senior at Palo Alto High School, joined Close Concerns as a Junior Summer Associate in 2019. Annie is an Editor-in-Chief of The Campanile, her school’s student newspaper, and is the Assistant Captain of Paly Robotics, her school’s FIRST Robotics Competition team. Passionate about community service, she also started and leads the Lego Robotics Summer Program, dedicated to enriching the education of underprivileged students through engaging, hands-on STEM learning experiences. Through the Junior Summer Associate Program, Annie hopes to gain valuable work experience and learn more about the intersection between medicine, technology, and business. During her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, crafting, and playing Spikeball.

Isabella Hochschild

Isabella joined Close Concerns as a Junior Summer Associate in 2017 and 2018. Since CC, she has worked as a Yogurista at Loving Cup and is an instructor assistant at Kode with Klossy. Currently a rising senior at University High School in San Francisco, she has a variety of interests including computer science and business. She is fluent in French, speaks conversational Spanish and German, and has beginning proficiency in Latin and Italian. She has earned several academic awards including the National Center for Women in Technology Award in 2018 and 2019, the Congressional App Challenge for district CA-15, and the President’s Award for Academic Achievement in 2017. She volunteers at her local library, fosters puppies and kittens, and assists with social media at the San Francisco SPCA. She is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. In her free time, she enjoys baking and coding websites and apps. She runs the 800m and 400m in track, competes in cross country, and has a black belt in taekwondo. Other interests include reading, cooking, and traveling.

Adithi Gandhi

Adithi Gandhi joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate in the summer of 2017, and is a rising senior at the Nueva Upper School. Over the past year, she has been an active tutor and teacher’s aid for the Peninsula Bridge Program – fighting to break the poverty gap by teaching accelerated courses to underprivileged kids with high academic potential – and has trained to be a Peer Consulter in the fall as an aid for any student who needs a listener or someone to lend a guiding hand at her high school. On the side, she has participated in her school’s musical program for two years, and has been an avid Bharatanatyam dancer for Vishwa Shanthi Dance Academy for 12 years. During her summer at Close Concerns, Adithi is excited to learn more about the work Close Concerns is doing to improve the lives of people with diabetes and obesity. During her free time, she loves to read (Pride and Prejudice at least 10 times per year), write music, and play with her exuberant dog.

Nisrine Rahmaoui

Nisrine Rahmaoui joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate in 2017. She is a rising sophomore at Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, an all-girls catholic school in California. She enjoys studying math and science and hopes to pursue a career in medicine and health. She enjoys playing basketball for her school, cooking at home, and writing poetry for fun. During her time at Close Concerns, she hopes to learn more about diabetes, the research behind it, and the treatment options available. She also looks forward to hearing from inspiring speakers who will explain more about science and how important it is to our world.

Rachel Soong

Rachel Soong joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate in 2016 and returned to the program for a second year in 2017. She will be majoring in Chemistry as an incoming freshman at UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry after graduating cum laude from Phillips Academy, a boarding high school in Andover, Massachusetts. Throughout high school, Rachel has been actively involved in community engagement, leading and coordinating the Andover chapter of Science Club for Girls, a program that promotes self-confidence and literacy in science in middle school girls. She has also volunteered for four years with Bread Loaf Pen Pals, a program that helps 3rd graders develop their self-expression skills through writing, and Andover Lawrence Strings where she taught two 5th graders violin. At Andover, she worked as a student writing tutor and editor in the Writing Center, danced ballet, and played in the school’s Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. At Close Concerns this year, Rachel hopes to learn more about the developments in diabetes research. In college, she hopes to continue empowering young girls to overcome the gender inequality in STEM and discover new passions along the way. 

Gwendolyn Strasberg  

Gwendolyn Strasberg attended high school at the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, and will be attending the University of Southern California as a Global Health major in the fall. In high school, she completed research on Leukemia and Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, and is passionate about advancements in modern science and medicine. She has volunteered with a number of organizations including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Corazon de Vida, and Wise Readers to Leaders. She is returning to Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate for the second time.


Katherine Gao joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate in 2016. She is an incoming freshman at the University of Chicago where she hopes to pursue a pre-med track with a major that combines the sciences and humanities. Over the past few summers, she has volunteered at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Cambridge Hospital in Boston, working closely with patients and their families both in and out of the clinic. At Close Concerns, Katherine hopes to learn more about how science, public policy, and social justice intersect in the real world and how she may best impact her community during and after college. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing ballet, reading, and exploring new places.


Brianna Lelieur joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate for 2016. She is an incoming freshmen to the City College of San Francisco where after two years, she plans to transfer to Colorado State University and double major in Equestrian Sciences and Nutrition or Economics. She enjoys helping people, being outdoors, working with horses, focusing on social issues concerning her local low income communities, tango, and great food.


Sabrina Lin, a rising senior at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, CA, joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM associate in 2016. Outside of academics, Sabrina is an active participant in student government as the Associated Student Body Vice President and leads the school orchestra. She is very excited about her work with the Hillsdale Effect, an international outreach club at her school that fundraises microloans for women in Guatemala. Through the Junior STEM associate program, she hopes to study science and medicine with an interdisciplinary perspective. During her free time, Sabrina loves experimenting with graphic design, traveling, and learning new languages.


Kara Mullarkey is a rising senior at Menlo-Atherton High School and joined Close Concerns as a Junior STEM Associate for 2016. She is an active member in student government at her high school and will be the head senior class officer in the coming year. In her local community, she volunteers regularly through the mid-peninsula chapter of the National Charity League, an organization for mothers and daughters dedicated to community service and leadership development. She is interested in studying business and science in college, and hopes to learn more about the cross section of these industries at Close Concerns this summer. During her free time she enjoys playing volleyball and golf for her school, traveling with family or friends, and will never pass up the opportunity to see live music.


Jackie Young participated in the 2015 Junior STEM Associate Program for two weeks last summer, and is joining us as a program coordinator for the 2016 Junior Associate STEM Program. In addition to working at Close Concerns, she is also writing for diaTribe. As a rising junior at Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, Jackie is extremely interested in social justice issues including the limited opportunities given to women in STEM fields. This past year, Jackie complete 40 hours of community service for her school through tutoring underprivileged middle school aged kids in the bay area.


Lillian Ackley participated in the 2015 Junior Associate STEM Program for two weeks this summer. In addition to working at Close Concerns, she is also writing for diaTribe. She is excited to learn more about ways to prevent and live with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Lillian is a rising sophomore at Mission High School in San Francisco, and in her free time, she enjoys music and running track.


Cara Dartnell participated in the 2015 Junior Associate STEM Program for two weeks this summer. Having been diagnosed with type one diabetes at age six, she is looking forward to learning more about the research and treatment of the disease, as well as other heath issues. She is a rising sophomore at school in England and is excited about the amazing opportunity to work with Close Concerns and explore San Francisco.


Lizzie Lacy joined Close Concerns for its Junior Summer Associate program in 2015. She graduated high school at Menlo School in the spring of 2015 before joining the Close Concerns team in San Francisco. As a collegiate long distance runner she puts a large emphasis on health and nutrition, and has gained a new understanding of the importance of healthcare and medicine during her time at Close Concerns. She will use the skills she has learned at Close Concerns throughout her college experience as she continues her studies in the sciences at Amherst College this fall, where she plans on studying Environmental Science and Economics.


Katherine Weltzien participated in the 2015 Junior Associate STEM Program for two weeks this summer. In addition to working at Close Concerns, she is also writing for diaTribe. Katherine is excited to work at Close Concerns because she is interested in science research and writing, and is thrilled to have a chance to pursue those interests in a real world business environment. Katherine is a rising sophomore at the Urban School of San Francisco.

The diaTribe Foundation Team

The diaTribe Foundation is an independent non-profit organization financially supported by Close Concerns.

Jim Carroll, Chief Operating Officer

Jim comes to The diaTribe Foundation after seven years as the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Common Sense Media and 6 years as the Managing Director of Equality California where he led the team to successfully pass over 70 pieces of legislation to achieve legal equality for LGBT Californians. He also worked at an environmental health organization called The Breast Cancer Fund and at the National office of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Jim graduated from the University of Florida and lives with his husband, Scott, and their two yellow Labrador Retrievers in San Francisco. 

Caroline Pappajohn, Advisor

Caroline brings deep passion and expertise in strategy, marketing, product management and new business development to create significantly greater value for healthcare users. Most recently, Caroline was director of strategy and innovation for Providence Health & Services in Portland, Oregon, where she worked with service line executives to decide where to focus to create the greatest value. This included developing strategic and business plans for, among other things, the launch of their primary care retail strategy, and measuring success through the creation and monitoring of performance dashboards.

Prior to healthcare, Caroline spent a dozen years in nonprofit leadership, including a decade at New Door Ventures in San Francisco, where she helped grow fundraising revenues 450% in 3 years and started a new social purpose cafe to help at-risk youth transition to a healthy adulthood. She also spent a decade in high tech in the Bay Area, launching and marketing new products for a global telecom software company and an Internet start-up for women’s sports gear that she co-founded. Caroline began her career as a policy advisor to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in Washington, D.C. where she learned about tackling big thorny issues with a mixture of determination, impatience, compromise and creativity.

Caroline has a B.A. in Political Science and an MBA from Stanford University. Caroline and her husband recently moved from Portland to Minneapolis to be close to Caroline’s large Greek family. They are overjoyed parents of 1-year old twins and a 4-year old.

Emily Fitts

Emily Fitts joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2017 after graduating cum laude from Amherst with a degree in Psychology and a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. She was previously a Summer Associate for Close Concerns in 2016. Emily completed a senior honors thesis that investigated the social norms surrounding stress, sleep, and related-disclosure and the influence of perfectionism on misperception of such norms. During her time at Amherst, she pursued her passion for public health by serving on the Executive Board of GlobeMed, a global health group that seeks to promote health, raise awareness, and foster partnership on campus and within the global community. Emily worked as the Head Tour Guide for her junior and senior year, where she expressed her love of Amherst to prospective families and managed 70+ tour guides to ensure a positive visitor experience. To engage with the local community, Emily worked as a Reading Mentor for Reader to Reader, which provided her an opportunity to share her love of reading with students from low-income schools. Prior to her summer internship with Close Concerns, she worked for The Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva, Switzerland, where she explored the business side of a public health nonprofit organization as the Business Development and External Relations intern. Emily was an avid member of the Rowing Team at Amherst and looks forward to continuing spending her free time outside with friends.

Divya Gopisetty

Divya started as a summer intern at Close Concerns in 2017, and joined The diaTribe Foundation as a full-time associate in 2018 after graduating from Stanford University with a B.A. in Human Biology. Divya has worked in the diabetes space for the last four years in a variety of roles, including clinical research, patient advocacy, and community engagement. During her senior year, she co-directed a novel design challenge, Disrupt Diabetes, which created a new framework for patient-driven innovation. Every day, she is motivated by the enormous amount of determination of people living with diabetes, caregivers, physicians, and thought leaders, all of whom inspire her passion for healing. In the future, she would love to have a clinical practice enriched by wellness promotion and patient-forward care. She is lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who love her deeply – with them, she enjoys going on new adventures and embracing her South Asian heritage through dance, food, and festivals! 

Jeemin Kwon

Jeemin Kwon joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2017 after graduating cum laude from Yale University with a BS in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology. As an undergraduate, her academic work was focused on neurobiology, culminating in a senior project researching the effects of inhibiting a brain-specific protein in Alzheimer’s disease. She also pursued other academic interests related to psychology and public health. Outside the classroom, Jeemin enjoyed playing flute with Yale’s pops orchestra and performing with the traditional Korean drumming group. In addition to diabetes and other matters of health, Jeemin is passionate about boba, exploring cities on foot, and animated films. As a Bay Area native, she is excited to be working in SF with the diaTribe team! 

Jimmy McDermott

Jimmy McDermott joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2018 after graduating cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He majored in Science, Technology, and International Affairs, with a focus on security and global health. As an undergraduate, Jimmy worked for a DC-based policy research organization to assist in US global health policy decision-making. His passion for improving health literacy and disparities drove him to work with children at public schools in the DC area, teaching a weekly course on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and stigma. While completing a Pre-Medical Post-Baccalaureate program, Jimmy conducted research at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, focusing on healthcare disparities and the impacts of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion on access to quality surgical care. Jimmy rowed on the Georgetown Varsity Crew Team and now competes in Ironman triathlons, currently ranking top 10 in the world for his age group at the half-Ironman distance. 

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2017 after graduating from Amherst College with an honors degree in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought. Interested in how communities interact with science and medicine, she used her pre-medical background to inform a thesis exploring the practical and theoretical impact of functional neuroimaging on criminal responsibility. Emma continued this interdisciplinary theme during her summers, where she studied at La Sorbonne, volunteered at a camp for kids with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and conducted clinical research into cognitive remediation therapy for schizophrenic and bipolar inpatients at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center. At Amherst, Emma was a captain and four-year member of the women’s rowing team, volunteered as an English as a Second Language tutor, and was a staff writer for a humor publication. Emma also helped launch the Being Human in STEM initiative, a collaboration between students and faculty seeking to improve the experience of underrepresented minority students studying science and math at Amherst. She loved guiding the initiative's growth over three semesters, working to expand the project to Yale University in her role as an academic intern. In her free time, Emma backpacks, skis, and thinks about adopting a giant dog someday.

The diaTribe Foundation Program Alumni


Christie Auyeung works at 3Q Digital, a digital marketing agency. Previously, she was an associate at The diaTribe Foundation and Project Manager of d16, the first in the “d-series” gatherings. As a college student, Ms. Auyeung led student organizations MEDLIFE and China Care, tutored at the Comer Children’s Hospital, and volunteered at summer camps for adults with special medical needs. She also worked on research in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Christie spent her senior year studying abroad in Beijing, and became interested in Hepatitis B and other health disparities after working at the Stanford Asian Liver Center at Peking University. After graduating UChicago, Christie organized an international medical student conference in Beijing on issues in complementary and alternative medicine. In her free time, she enjoys modern and tap dance, breaking a sweat at the gym, and trying new foods.

Isabel Chin

Isabel Chin joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2017. She graduated from Brown University with a concentration in Public Health and as a member of the Program in Liberal Medical Education. She has lived with type 1 diabetes for 20 years and is a passionate advocate for access to diabetes education and healthcare. She has worked in the past to develop and teach educational programs for children with diabetes and their families in Quito, Ecuador and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad. She is thrilled to be working now with The diaTribe Foundation on diabetes education and advocacy and to have the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest people in the diabetes field!

Amelia Dmowska

Amelia Dmowska joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2016 after graduating with honors from the University of Chicago, where she completed a degree in English Language and Literature and a minor in Biological Sciences. During her undergraduate years living on the South Side of Chicago, she was heavily involved in working to increase vulnerable populations’ access to health education. She studied at-risk parents’ access to information about healthy childhood development and also worked as a research assistant with Thirty Million Words, an initiative focused on early language learning programs for children living below the poverty line. Through Peer Health Exchange, she taught weekly health classes on mental health, drugs and alcohol, and sexual health in public high schools. Amelia is also passionate about arts education. She was President of ArtShould, a student group that teaches art classes at underfunded elementary schools, and she was the co-founder of StoryArts Summer Camp, an arts and storytelling camp for South Side youth. In her free time, Amelia enjoys art, reading, and writing short stories. She is excited to live in a city where there are so many beautiful murals in addition to the many beautiful views!


Lynn Kennedy joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2016 after graduating from Yale University. She received a BS for completion of a double major in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Political Science, with a concentration in Health Policy & Politics, receiving distinction in the latter. Her academic interests are bridged by her passion for understanding how health and wellness are pursued (and improved!) in the society in which we live. During her senior year, Lynn performed type 1 diabetes research on leptin’s antidiabetic effect in rats. She also completed a political science thesis evaluating the UN’s prevention and reaction responsibilities related to public health threats occurring alongside UN peace operations. An internship at the Novartis Office for Governmental Affairs in Brussels, Belgium, further contributed to her interest in interdisciplinary solutions to contemporary health challenges. Outside the classroom, Lynn worked as a Recruitment Coordinator at the Yale Undergraduate Admissions Office, served as a Freshman Counselor in one of Yale’s residential colleges during her senior year, and competed with the Yale Women’s Varsity Ice Hockey team prior to sustaining a career-ending injury. Lynn is looking forward to beginning graduate study in public health at the University of British Columbia and to exploring more of the west coast in her Canadian homeland!


Nicole Kofman joined diaTribe in 2015 after graduating from Stanford University with a BA in Human Biology. At Stanford, she complemented her studies in health promotion and policy with extracurricular activities that exposed her to some of the health-related challenges our population faces. In addition to working as a research assistant for an obesity intervention study at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, she worked as a research assistant at the Stanford Pediatric Bipolar Disorders Program, and worked as a Peer Health Educator in a freshman dormitory. She was also dedicated to Camp Kesem Stanford, a camp for children whose parents have cancer, and served as the organization’s co-chair of operations during her senior year. These experiences, along with her coursework, have fueled her interest in exploring how to increase the quality of healthcare delivered while decreasing costs. In her free time, Nicole enjoys running, hiking, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.


Nancy Liu joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2013 after graduating from Swarthmore College with a BA in Biology and receiving the Leo M. Leva Memorial Prize for showing unusual promise in the field of biology. During her summers at Swarthmore, she worked as a research intern at the Brill lab at Sick Kids Hospital studying the role of the PIP2 pathway in spermatogenesis, and at the Hockenbery lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she examined the metabolic flexibility of triple-negative breast cancer cell lines. Nancy is particularly interested in issues in public health, and she spent a semester at Swarthmore conducting an independent research project in India on health care access in rural communities. Outside of the classroom, she spent four years as the coordinator of the nonprofit Trash2Treasure, a community yard sale that aims to reduce waste while connecting the local community with college students, staff, and faculty. She is currently a MD candidate at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ben Pallant

Ben Pallant joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2016 after graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa (junior nomination) from Bowdoin College, where he studied Sociology and Chemistry. He has done research on both bio-organic synthesis and public health, the latter project taking place in Siem Reap, Cambodia and focusing on clinical manifestations of dengue fever. During his semester abroad in Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina, he focused on community-level factors impacting global health. Ben also has a strong love of the outdoors, having spent the last two summers as a hiking guide for kids in the mountains of California and Colorado. When he’s not hiking and camping, Ben loves running, biking, and listening to jazz.


Ava Runge joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2015 after graduating with honors from Brown University with a BS in neurobiology. Her initial interest in diabetes came from her own diagnosis of T1D in 2010, which inspired her to get involved in the global diabetes community. Since then, she has traveled to the Dominican Republic twice to teach diabetes education, learned from diabetes clinicians in Argentina, and conducted research on gestational diabetes at Women and Infant’s Hospital in Providence, RI. During her time at Brown, she worked for Brown Emergency Medical Services as a certified EMT, shift Supervisor, and CPR Program Coordinator. She also actively engaged in the Providence community through volunteering at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, a medical center that serves patients without health insurance, and Food Recovery Network, a national organization that seeks to address food waste and food insecurity by coordinating the delivery of excess food to homeless shelters. Her academic studies culminated in a year of independent research and a senior thesis characterizing brain myelination in children with autism. In her free time, Ava enjoys hiking, traveling, playing fiddle, and exploring the beautiful Bay Area with family and friends!


Alex Wolf joined diaTribe in 2014 after graduating cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in neuroscience. As an undergraduate student, Alex devoted much of his extra-curricular life to research and other health-related activities, including his Presidential Research Scholarship studying pancreatic cancer at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, his full-time research internship studying the neuromodulation of breathing at Case Western Reserve University, and his involvement in the Dartmouth Cancer Scholars Program. Additionally, Alex was very involved in sexual assault prevention at Dartmouth, directing Dartmouth's Mentors Against Violence and working as a coordinator at the Dartmouth Center for Gender and Student Engagement. Lastly, a hike enthusiast, Alex loved the Dartmouth Outing Club and served on the directorate of Dartmouth’s Freshman DOC Trips Orientation Program.

diaTribe Previous Contributors/Summer Associates


Tiffany Kha is a 2015 Summer Associate at Close Concerns. She's a rising junior and Physics major at Amherst College, and has been involved in research in Astronomy and Chemistry. She won the Bassett Physics Prize in 2014 and is also involved as a core member of the Association for Women in Science at Amherst. She spent last summer teaching English in Turkey and working at an optical engineering firm, but also has a strong interest in public health, and has been highly involved with the American Red Cross since high school. Additionally, she enjoys dabbling in photography and traveling in her free time.


Maxwell Votey joined Close Concerns in Winter 2015 having graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with high honors from Wesleyan University in 2014 with a BA in History and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REES). As an undergraduate, Maxwell received a Davenport grant from Wesleyan to visit Krasnodar in Southern Russia to do archival and interview based research on the Kuban Cossack revival. The resulting thesis "The Kuban Cossack Revival in Post-Soviet Russia" received high honors from REES, honors from history and the Scott Prize in Russia and East European Studies. Maxwell will be working at Close Concerns before going to the United Kingdom in September to attend the London School of Economics for a Msc. in International Relations. Prior to working at Close Concerns, he spent five months in Los Angeles as an intern at the International Medical Corps, an international disaster response and medical response NGO. Maxwell is particularly interested in the intersection of health and politics and the relationship between obesity and economic success in the developing world. In his free time, Maxwell engages in several hobbies including reading, hiking/backpacking, photography, watching film, travel, drawing, and writing.


Eleah Wilkerson is a 2015 Close Concerns Summer Associate. She is part of the class of 2016 at Amherst College, where she is an Environmental Studies major and founding member of the Amherst Women in Science initiative on campus, a group focused on creating a supportive community for female students pursuing degrees in traditionally male-dominated fields. Before Close Concerns, she worked with a small environmental trust in Auckland, New Zealand, where she focused on developing an environmental education program for local primary school students. When not studying at Amherst, she also works for Reader to Reader, a nonprofit which provides books to schools with underfunded libraries and tutors students from primary to high school to improve their reading skill, and sings in the Amherst College Choral Society.


Doyin Ariyibi, a diaTribe Foundation 2014 summer associate, is a rising sophomore at Amherst College where she is pre-med and a double major in Biology and Astronomy. For the past two summers, she has interned at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in neurology and neurosurgery. Two years ago, she and some colleagues at Amherst created a small local organization called IFE that provided academic support for younger students in their neighborhoods. At Amherst, Doyin is on the executive board for the Education Club and is a very active member in Project Salud, an organization that raises money to buy medical supplies for hospitals in Peru. Aside from that, she is also the President of Amherst’s African/Caribbean Student Union, a member of rugby and equestrian teams, and participates in various dance teams on campus.


Brendan Hsu is a 2014 diaTribe Foundation summer associate and rising senior at Amherst College, where he has a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science. Interested in business and also layout and design, he interned at Nike as part of a focus group tasked with creating products and marketing strategies targeting his demographic. Brendan has done publication work for years and is the former editor-in-chief of his college paper, The Amherst Student, where he was in charge of layout and editing copy and worked with a team of 30+ writers and editors. He also enjoys performing choreographed dance, watching films, and playing board games.


Geoffrey Martello joined diaTribe during the summer of 2014. He is currently a sophomore at Harvard College studying cognitive neurobiology and economics. His academic interests fall primarily at the intersections of industry and healthcare. In previous summers, Geoffrey worked in a research and development lab at Nova Biomedical, a leader in diabetes biosensor technology, and as a research intern at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Department of Neurosurgery. His research at Children’s focused on identifying predictors of outcomes for pediatrics with thalamic tumors, and he is published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. Outside of academics, Geoffrey stays busy serving with Advocating Success for Kids, a group of Harvard students who work with the Boston Children’s Hospital and advocate for low-income minority families of children with learning disabilities. He also competes with the Harvard Club Swim Team. In his spare time, he enjoys writing short narratives. His most recent, a reflection of his time on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, was published by the Harvard Journal for Public Interest.