Team Members

Aleenah Ansari
Aleenah Ansari joined the SMAHRT team as a communications intern in March 2017! She is a rising junior at the University of Washington studying Human Centered Design and Engineering, but she's even more passionate about storytelling making nuanced ideas accessible through strong writing! She has worked as a reporter for The Daily of the University of Washington, the UW school newspaper, as well as the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, and she's excited to bring her love of writing and inclusion to the SMAHRT team through engaging social media posts and feature articles. In her free time, Aleenah can be found listening to J. Cole, taking way too many pictures, and writing poetry that she hopes to share with the world some day
Laura Burkhart
Laura Burkhart earned her MD from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and completed Family Medicine residency in South Texas. She is currently in the Adolescent Medicine Fellowship at Seattle Children's Hospital and pursuing an MPH at UW. Her interests are working with the college population, particularly the intersection of social media on college student’s health behaviors.
Aubrey Gower
Aubrey joined the SMAHRT in October 2014 as an Undergraduate Research Volunteer. She is currently a junior at the University of Washington where she is on track to double major in Biology and Psychology and plans to pursue medicine and research after graduation. She is interested in substance use and addiction among adolescents and how social media can be used to prevent, monitor, and potentially aid in the treatment options of both health behaviors.
Jesse Gritton
Jesse Gritton, MPH recently joined SMAHRT as a clinical research associate. She received her MPH in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) program at the University of Washington. She is committed to health equity, and the principles of Community-Based Participatory Research. Her interests include the relationship between social cohesion and/or isolation and technology use; the disclosure of suicidality and depression on social media; the ethics of research; digital disparities; social determinants of health; and online health communication strategies.
Marina Jenkins
Marina joined the team in October of 2016 as and Undergraduate Research Volunteer. She will graduate from the University of Washington with a major in Human Evolutionary Biology and minor in Comparative Literature in Winter of this year. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in epidemiology research. She is interested in how social media can allow for a new and interesting way of observing health behaviors in adolescents unlike other forms of data gathering, particularly in how they perceive the behaviors of their peers on social media.
Haley Johnson
Haley Johnson joined SMAHRT as part of the promotions team in June 2016. She is a junior at the University of Washington majoring in Communications with a Sales Certificate from the Michael G. Foster School of Business. After college, she plans on pursuing a career in Public Relations. On the team, she is interested in finding how to utilize social media to enhance the spread of messages, and how each social media outlet can be used differently to reach target audiences.
Brad Kerr
Brad Kerr, MS joined the SMAHRT as a research coordinator in 2011. Brad graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 with a degree in Psychology and English and finished his Masters in Higher Education Administration in 2013. He has contributed to several projects, including evaluating displayed alcohol references on Facebook profiles, as well as exploring ways in which college students use social media to communicate with their parents. Brad is also excited to begin a new project investigating how training can be improved for undergraduate research assistants and clinical research coordinators working on research teams.
Esther Lam
Esther Lam first joined SMAHRT as an undergraduate research intern in October of 2014 and is now a Clinical Research Assistant. She graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Public Health in June of 2016 with aspirations to further her studies in epidemiology. Currently, she is part of a research project that is examining how social media is used to promote indoor tanning with the long term goal of reducing skin cancer incidence caused by indoor tanning. Additionally, she has recently become involved in the promotional and outreach aspects for SMAHRT. She looks forward to continue to explore more upon the impacts that social media has on adolescent and young adult health and how to most effectively use social media as a tool for communication, outreach, and intervention to bridge the gap for populations most in need.
Nikita Midamba
Nikita Midamba, M.S. is a clinical research associate with SMAHRT and has been on the team since 2014. Nikita graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor of science degree in materials science and engineering and Drexel University with a master of science degree in forensic science. She has conducted research on numerous topics including work on defining Cyberbullying in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice. She is currently leading a project looking at how social media is used to promote indoor tanning, with the long term goal of developing social media interventions to reduce tanning toward the prevention of skin cancer. She has an interest in preventative medicine and global health, and is eager to conduct research that will lead to interventions that will positively impact adolescent health.
Rediete Moges
Rediete joined the SMAHRT in July of 2016. Rediete is a sophomore at the University of Washington, with intending to major in Public Health and minoring in Global Health. After college, she plans on getting a Master's degree in Global Health and hopefully continuing to get a PhD. In the future, she hopes to open an organization/NGO here in the US and in Ethiopia, to provide education and spread awareness about health and give homes to underrepresented minorities in both countries, especially for children's and women.
Madalyn "Maddy" Rantala
Maddy joined SMAHRT in January of 2017 as an undergraduate research assistant. She is currently a senior at Seattle Central College in the Applied Behavioral Sciences program, and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health or Social Work. Maddy is interested in the role that social media has around violence, such as portraying, encouraging, or being utilized in preventing it. Additionally, she is passionate about discovering the various methods in which social media can be utilized to spread information, ideas, and resources to more vulnerable populations such as sexually exploited teens or homeless youth.
Jesse Rohwer
Jesse Rohwer joined the SMAHRT in September of 2016 as an undergraduate intern in 2016. He is currently a senior in the Applied Behavioral Science Program at Seattle Central College. Jesse is hoping to pursue a Masters degree in public administration after graduating. He is very interested in the ways that technology and social media impact society, especially in regard to youth and young adults.
Chad Rosevear
joined the team in May of 2016. He is a Biology major at Seattle University, is pre-Med, and will be graduating in 2019. He is interested in researching adolescent social media communities centered around problematic health issues. Additionlly, he was the chair of a Dance Marathon.
Surupa Sarkar
Surupa Sarkar joined the SMAHRT team in October of 2016. Surupa is a senior at the University of Washington completing her bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. Surupa is a strong proponent of creating larger scales of substance use health education in high schools and college campuses. Surupa is also highly interested in the ability to use statistical science to understand adolescent trends in social media and internet use. Surupa is passionate about life sciences and is hoping to further her research knowledge with graduate education in the field of biostatistics.
Joshua "Josh" Scheck
Joshua Scheck joined SMAHRT as an undergraduate research intern in October 2016. Josh is currently a junior majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Washington and is hoping to pursue medicine and research following graduation. He is interested in investigating how the extensive reach and engaging aspects of social media can be used to supplement and further improve current educational outreach efforts.
Niharika "Nikki" Singh
Nikki is a Junior at University of Washington pursuing a degree Medical Anthropology and Global Health with a minor in human rights. She is currently working on the Tanning project and began here at SMAHRT in October 2016. Nikki hopes to go on to pursue an MPH and work in either national or international health policy. She is particularly interested in the call to advocate for children and adolescents, who are often not part of the voting population are consequently left out of consideration in major decisions, such as health policy, which results in a major disconnect forming between policy and the needs of youth. She has seen how social media is proving itself to be a vital tool to bridge this disconnect, understand and advocate for youth, as well as a valuable means to spread awareness of health. Nikki feels that by exploring this connection between social media and adolescents we can work toward a more equitable society as a whole. Her independent project hopes to explore Facebook events and risk behaviors.
Jaymin Sohal
Jaymin joined SMAHRT in June 2016 as an undergraduate research assistant. He will be going into his 3rd year at the University of Washington, pursuing a B.S. in Public Health with the intent to go to medical school. Social media cannot be looked at as a medium, "The Medium is the Message" (Marshall McLuhan). Social media is a very real place, where very real things take place: bullying, harassment, and countless crimes. Yet, there is little to no accountability or regulation throughout all platforms. This is alarming, considering adolescent's presence on social media is high. Jaymin is involved in researching and accelerating the integration of regulation on social media to ensure adolescent safety and well-being.
Christian Tinoco Vera
Christian Tinoco Vera joined the SMAHRTeam as an undergraduate in June of 2016. Christian is pursuing a Communications major along with a Business administration minor at the University of Washington – Tacoma. He finds an interest in the advertising and marketing industry and how influential it may be to young adults and their day to day interactions with each other. The extensive use of social media among youth further amplifies the effects of materialism that turns into a display of glamour and luxury. His interest in the SMAHRTeam is to understand how such interactions through social media may affect today’s youth.
Kate Wilburn
Kate joined the team as an undergraduate research intern in October 2016. She is a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Public Health and minoring in Global Health. Her main interest areas are youth mental health and sexual health, with a particular focus on how social media and technology can be used as tools to promote awareness and increase equitable services for underrepresented populations.