Faja Laboratory | Student Interns

Graduate Student Interns

Brigid Kennedy headshot 

Brigid Kennedy

Brigid Kennedy graduated from Harvard University in 2021 with a major in neuroscience and a minor in psychology. Brigid worked in the Faja Lab throughout her time at Harvard and completed her honors thesis in the Faja lab. The thesis investigated the role of distraction in the effortful control of preschool age children with autism. She also had the opportunity to present these findings at the 2021 International Society for Autism Research conference. A passionate rower for Harvard, Brigid can be found rowing on the Charles River as often as possible. Next year Brigid will be attending graduate school at the University of Cambridge to study the health outcomes of individuals with autism.


Undergraduate Student Interns

Allison Pellegrino headshot

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!

Bella Schichter headshot

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 Bharvard

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!

Faith Ye headshot

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.

Gabriella Buboltz headshot

Gabriella Buboltz

Gabriella is a current senior at The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, majoring in Developmental Psychology, with a minor in Public Health. Before joining the Faja Lab, she worked on a variety of interdisciplinary research projects at the University of Minnesota, where she developed an interest in working with children with autism spectrum disorder. In addition, Gabriella worked at a community organization leading a group of individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve positive outcomes in the community. Gabriella has a passion for working with children and hopes to continue to pursue this passion after graduation with the hopes of continuing research work and attending a doctoral-level clinical psychology program. Gabriella enjoys spending most of her free time with family and friends, practicing yoga, and running!

Leah Kirsch headshot

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.

Maddie McIntee

Maddie McIntee

Maddie is a rising senior at Nazareth College majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and minoring in Psychology. At Nazareth, Maddie leads the Best Buddies Club on campus, where she matches 1:1 friendships and plans events for adolescents with and without disabilities. She also serves as an Undergraduate Clinician in the Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic at Nazareth where she implements, performs, and follows a treatment plan providing speech therapy to children in the Rochester community. Maddie contributes to research with professor Dr. Megan Tobin by coding conversations of individuals with and without autism in hopes of determining pragmatic profiles of each speaker. As a part of the Faja Lab, Maddie hopes to learn more about the intersection of pragmatics and executive functioning development in individuals with autism. She is thrilled to expand her knowledge on brain development and ASD. Maddie is passionate about the importance of interprofessional collaboration and helping young adults with disabilities become more independent in their daily lives. In her free time, Maddie enjoys trying new restaurants and attending spin classes. She plans on pursuing a Masters degree in Speech Pathology following graduation.

Matt Armstrong headshot

Matt Armstrong

Matt is a rising senior at Boston College and majors in natural sciences in the Woods College of Advancing Studies. Matt was diagnosed with ASD when he was a senior in high school and has always been interested in supporting those who struggle with ASD like himself. Previously, Matt has worked with children as a swim instructor and also currently works at a restaurant, where he is a cook. In his spare time Matt enjoys running, going to Orleans Firebirds baseball games, and drumming in the Boston College Marching Band.

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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 headshot

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 headshot

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.

Shannon McCoshen headshot

Shannon McCoshen

Shannon is a junior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Leadership. She has interests in neuropsychology, specifically in pediatrics, and is excited to continue learning in the Faja Lab! She has a passion for working with children. After her undergraduate program, she hopes to pursue medical school and a career in pediatrics. Aside from the lab, Shannon works as a medical scribe in an Emergency Department in Minneapolis. In her free time, she loves running, yoga, spending time with her four siblings at the lake, and trying local ice cream shops!

Shruthi Sundar headshot

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.