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Undergraduate Student Interns

Allison Pellegrino Allison Pellegrino

Allison is currently a first-year student at Boston College and intends to double major in neuroscience and mathematics. She is interested in psychiatry and hopes to eventually conduct research on developmental and psychiatric disorders. In high school, Allison dedicated a large portion of her time to tutoring students who struggle with executive function and face challenges in the classroom, so she is excited to participate in research at the Faja Lab. Allison also pursued ballet pre-professionally in high school and still loves to dance as a hobby. Outside of school, Allison is trying to learn to play the piano and loves to play with her family’s dog, Pablo!


Isabella 'Bella' Schichter

Isabella 'Bella' Schichter

Isabella is a current sophomore at Emmanuel College majoring in neuroscience and biology with a psychology minor. Having had a childhood friend with ASD, she is excited to be apart of the IDEA and CRUSH projects, examining the presentation of executive functioning in children and creating a program to help young adults navigate romantic and sexual relationships. During high school, she spent a year tutoring an elementary schooler with English comprehension and language challenges. Outside of the lab, Isabella holds executive positions for multiple on-campus organizations and works for an administrative office. In her spare time, she enjoys watching Netflix, eating out with friends, and listening to music.



Dhwani Bharvad Dhwani Bharvad

Dhwani and is a junior at Harvard studying Neuroscience and Education. She has previously worked at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies where she interacted with infants and studied the way they perceive the world. She also volunteers with Partners for Youth with Disabilities where she mentors children with various developmental disorders like Down Syndrome. Dhwani is super excited to work at the Faja Lab and expand her knowledge on ASD and learn more about how children think and behave. She is really passionate about working with children and hopes to pursue a career in medicine, specifically pediatrics. Outside of school Dhwani loves to dance and bake with her three little siblings!


A black and white image of a man, Dhruval Thakkar, standing outside for his profile picture.

Dhruval Thakkar

Dhruval is currently a senior at Wheaton College majoring in Biology on the pre-medical track, along with minoring in Psychology. Before joining the lab, he has worked at Boston Children’s hospital for the last three summers as a Student intern/researcher in different surgical departments, through which he has realized his love for working with kids. At Wheaton, he works in a research lab with Dr. Robert Morris, his mentor, and advisor. Through his research experiences, Dhruval had the opportunity to learn about ciliated cell signaling types in zebrafish cardiac regeneration. He has also done work on a COVID writing team through which he received acknowledgement on the published paper, Correlation of Humidity and Temperature with COVID-19 Transmission: A Systematic Review of Published Literature. He is excited to work at Faja lab and have the opportunity to explore his interest in the relationship between human behavior and the brain while learning about the impacts of all the factors that influence our behavior. In his spare time, he loves playing sports like cricket and American football, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.

A black and white photo of Emma Roberts, a woman with curled hair who has a huge smile as she looks at the camera.

Emma Roberts

Emma is a junior at Wellesley College majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Education. Her previous research experience includes working in the Wiest Lab at Wellesley College where she studied how event-related potentials relate to conscious perception. Emma also comes to the Faja Lab with experience as a sleepaway camp counselor, math tutor, and as the youth coordinator of a small nonprofit organization where she developed and led after school programs for youth in grades K-12. Emma enjoys interning at the Faja Lab because it allows her to combine her interests in science and child development as well as work with a wonderful group of people. She plans to pursue a career that involves working directly with youth, likely pediatrics, speech and language pathology, or teaching. Outside of academics, Emma is the Wellesley Representative of empoWer, a creative writing group for Babson, Olin, and Wellesley students. She is also part of the chess club at Wellesley College. In her free time, she can be found exercising and doing art.

Faith Ye Faith Ye

Faith is currently a sophomore at Tufts University where she’s majoring in biopsychology. Before coming to the Faja lab, she worked as a homework tutor to elementary school students and a violin tutor to middle school students. She’s excited to be a part of the Faja lab where she can continue to work with children and pursue her interest in studying neuroscience. Outside of the lab, Faith works as an EMT and she enjoys hiking and hanging out with friends.


Leah Kirsch Leah Kirsch

Leah is a rising senior at Tufts University where she is majoring in Cognitive & Brain Science and Child Study & Human Development. At Tufts, Leah is an undergraduate research assistant at the Crehan Lab, studying social development and access to educational and healthcare services for people on the autism spectrum. She also volunteers as a health educator with Peer Health Exchange, teaching a comprehensive health education in ninth grade classrooms across Boston Public Schools. Leah has always had a passion for developmental science, and she discovered a love for working with neurodiverse populations through volunteering at a youth recreation and rehabilitation center in her hometown of the San Francisco Bay Area. She is so excited to learn more about clinical presentations of ASD and interventions to best support autistic children. Leah hopes to continue studying the intersection of social development and brain function by pursuing a career in clinical neuropsychology. In her free time, Leah loves exploring the outdoors and spending time with her beloved dog, Luna.


Meagan Tsou Meagan Tsou

Meagan is currently a senior at Northeastern University majoring in behavioral neuroscience with an American Sign Language (ASL) minor. While at Northeastern, she has volunteered at the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health and worked at the Wall Lab at Stanford University while on co-op. At the Center for Brain and Cognitive Health, Meagan worked as a research assistant to the studies researching the effects of lifestyle choices and health behaviors on the brain and cognition. While at the Wall Lab, she aided in the research towards alternative methods of diagnosis, treatment, and interventions for children with autism and related developmental delays. Over the years, she has pursued her interest in developmental pediatric neuroscience and hopes to continue this passion after graduating. Meagan is excited to work at the Faja Lab and continue learning about how research can advance developmental medicine. In her free time, she loves to listen to music, rock climb, and go on walks with her dog, Pepper.


Rachael Chiao Rachael Chiao

Rachael is a current junior at Boston University majoring in biomedical engineering on the pre-medical track. Rachael has known since high school that she wants to go into pediatrics. Prior to BU, she led summer camps focused on public health for young children in rural Nicaragua. Rachael previously interned at Boston Children’s Hospital and recruited patients for studies within the Sports Medicine Division. At BU, Rachael is the music director of her a cappella group as well as president of BU’s Half-Asian People’s Association. Rachael is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work closely with children along with being able to contribute to pediatric research that works toward developing interventions that can support the future of those with ASD.


Sam Dvorak Sam Dvorak

Sam is a rising junior at Harvard College studying neurobiology. He loves working with children, and hopes to pursue a career in pediatrics. Sam is thrilled to be working with the Faja Lab, and is eager to gain research skills while learning more about the developing brain and behavior. His previous research experience includes processing electron microscopy (EM) images for a connectomics project with the Engert Lab at Harvard University. Outside of the sciences, Sam is very involved with music and theatre. He enjoys playing the piano, performing magic, and working on musicals.


Shruthi Sundar Shruthi Sundar

Shruthi is a rising junior at Wellesley College majoring in Neuroscience. At Wellesley, she is a student researcher in the Wasserman Lab, where she is learning about the adaptive behavior of Drosophila fruit flies and the neural pathways that allow this model organism to integrate sensory information. Outside of academics, Shruthi is on the executive board for Wellesley for Boston Children’s Hospital (WBCH), an organization that coordinates volunteering events that benefit patients and their families. She also serves as the co-president for Hear Your Song Wellesley, a non-profit organization that empowers children and teens with serious illnesses to make their voices heard through collaborative songwriting. She is excited to work at the Faja Lab and learn about how individual differences in development among patients with ASD can impact treatment responses. She would love to apply what she learns in the lab to a career in pediatric neurology. In her free time, Shruthi enjoys singing, playing the piano, and going on beach walks with her dog.
Black and white photo of a woman, Yohana Otto, posing with her hands on her hips.

Yohana Otto

Yohana is a current freshman at Brandeis University and is interested in pursuing a major in Biology and a minor in both Public Health and Psychology. At Brandeis, Yohana is a Rich Collins Fellow which granted her the opportunity to fully fund and design a program of her choice with a local community partner. Her current project is the Autism Technology Initiative (ATI) which is in collaboration with Opportunities for Inclusion and is centered around teaching the basic technological skills needed for the job field to people with autism. She is also a volunteer program coordinator for Kids Connection who partner with local non-profit organizations to create safe and fun environments for the community’s youth. Growing up as an older sister to two brothers with ASD motivated Yohana to further explore developmental pediatrics and related fields. Yohana is extremely excited to work at the Faja Lab where she will be able to learn more about ASD while fulfilling her passion of working with children. Outside of the lab, Yohana enjoys reading, hiking, and trying new restaurants