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We are excited to announce our 2023 cohort of Sparkman Fellows! This group of students, our largest cohort yet, was selected from a competitve pool of applicants. We are looking forward to see how there knowledge and experience expands while working alongside their Scholar & the Sparkman Team over the course of the next academic year! 


Gitanjali Alapati
College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Katia Bruxvoort

Gitanjali Alapati is an ABM student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior. She is passionate about working on infectious diseases in the context of transmission, prevention and cure specifically Malaria through a global health perspective. She has lived in India for almost 11 years and has had first hand exposure to the need for the availability of preventative equipment in rural areas to combat diseases such as Malaria and Dengue. Gitanjali aims to attend medical school after her undergraduate degree and continue to work on infectious diseases in the future.
Erik Angus
School of Public Health; Collat School of Business
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Colleen Fisher

Erik is in his final year of study as an MBA/MPH dual-degree student with a concentration in population health, where he has competed in the UAB Global Health Case Competition and completed a Healthy Policy Ambassadorship in partnership with the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy and the Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution.He has over five years of healthcare technology professional experience in engineering and consulting work at organizations like Oracle and currently at Unite Us. Erik’s global health interest is focused around the development of technology and systems that create environments where it is easy for people to live long and healthy lives.
Sumedha Bobba
College of Arts and Sciences; Collat School of Business
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Michael Vinikoor

Sumedha Bobba is a senior majoring in Neuroscience and concurrently pursuing a Masters in Business Administration. During the Summer 2023 semester, Sumedha travelled to Kingston, Jamaica, where worked with the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition. Her work was primarily centered on advocating for individuals living with HIV and survivors of gender-based violence. Her overarching aspiration is to utilize her medical and global health background to champion the cause of cultural humility in healthcare practices, all the while addressing the social and structural barriers contributing to health disparities.
Suneeti Chambers
College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor:

Suneeti Chambers is an undergraduate senior and is currently pursuing a degree in neuroscience. Her global health interests encompass infectious diseases, sexual and reproductive health, and the impact of culture and environment on global health. Looking ahead, she aspires to integrate global health principles into her future role as a health professional and actively advocate for a broader spectrum of patient needs
Kenneth Davis
Heersink School of Medicine; Collat School of Business
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Stacy Moak

Kenneth Davis is currently in his fourth year of medical school, working towards an MD/MBA dual degree at UAB. His primary focus lies in enhancing health literacy and ensuring better access to healthcare services for rural populations within the United States. Kenneth has gained valuable experience in providing care during a weeklong mission trip to the Dominican Republic. His aspirations include furthering his engagement in global health initiatives and making a meaningful and positive difference in communities that require assistance.
Allie Etzel
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Sarah MacCarthy

Allie Etzel is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology and a graduate certificate in global health. Her interests began while studying abroad in a global health nursing program in Costa Rica where she learned about health equity, common global health diseases, and international health systems. Her main focus is in HIV/AIDS, including prevention of concurrent infections, addressing barriers in the HIV care continuum, and preventing perinatal transmission. Allie received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at The University of Texas prior to attending UAB.
Zuha Fatima
School of Health Professions
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Anna Helova & Dr. Monsoor Saleh

Zuha Fatima is an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at the School of Health Professions on a Pre-Med track. She was introduced to the field of Global Health through her participation in Sparkman’s Global Health Case Competition, where she enjoyed applying her knowledge to real-world global health challenges. Her particular interest in global health is healthcare accessibility in underserved communities. As someone new to this, Zuha is eagerly looking forward to further exploration in the field!
Monir Hossain
College of Arts & Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Bhekumusa Lukhele

Monir Hossain, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology, specializes in Medical Sociology. His primary research interests encompass Stressors and Health, Race/Ethnicity, Social Determinants of Health, Climate Change and Health, and The Life Course. Monir aims to strengthen his research skills through collaborative efforts and utilize his expertise as a medical sociologist to mitigate health disparities.
Ismail Hossain
College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Ragib Hasan

Ismail Hossain is pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science, primarily focusing on smart city technologies. His research interests lie in exploring the potential of the Internet of Things and sensing-enabled bricks to create efficient and secure smart cities. He is developing a diverse range of safety systems using smart bricks, aiming to contribute to building cities that prioritize the well-being and security of individuals. He aspires to leverage his expertise in global health initiatives, utilizing his knowledge of smart city technologies to improve urban safety and enhance the overall quality of life in cities across the globe.
James Iheke
Collat School of Business
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Brandon Rocque

James Iheke is a 4th-year MD/MBA student with a strong interest in pediatric and abdominal radiology. He is currently intrigued by the intersection of radiology, access to care, and global health. Following medical school, James intends to embark on a radiology residency with hopes of pursuing a career in academic medicine, working to bridge gaps in healthcare both locally in rural and urban areas and abroad.
Joycelina Imafidon
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Janet Turan

Joycelina Imafidon is currently pursuing a DrPH with a concentration in Maternal & Child Health Policy. Her global health experiences include teaching and working as a monitoring & evaluation coordinator and program strategist in West Africa. She has studied, researched, and worked in 10 countries in Africa. Her interest in global health includes sexual & reproductive health, mental health, infectious disease prevention, health & infrastructure development, and human health resources. She is interested in a public-global health practice and management focused career.
Kaavya Jaichandar
School of Health Professions
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Eric Ford

Kaavya is a junior undergraduate student in the School of Health Professions studying Biomedical Sciences. She is interested in studying healthcare access and equity within vulnerable populations as a byproduct of their environment. Her goal is to apply to medical school after undergrad and become a doctor who can provide medical care in these underserved areas.
Kevin Joseph
College of Arts and Sciences; School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Carolyn Bolton Moore

Kevin Joseph is an ABM student pursuing a BS in Medical Sociology and MPH in Health Policy and Organization. He is interested in the health of people living with HIV and LGBTQ+ people and specifically how healthcare is effectively organized/delivered to their populations in order to combat health issues, particularly in resource-limited settings and with existing stigma. He aims to become a physician, with a focus in preventive medicine and health equity via systems-thinking approaches to health care organization and policy.
Lillian Klasen
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Lynn Matthews

Lillian Klasen is currently pursuing an MPH with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health Policy and Leadership and a certificate in Global Health. She has a Bachelors in Public Health from Temple University and for the past 7 years worked in a variety of roles, including software engineer, at a social services agency in Philadelphia, PA that makes the process of applying for public benefits more efficient and dignified. Her interests in global health include breastfeeding, nutrition, climate change, and health disparities.
Tarun Kore
Heersink School of Medicine
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Coleen Fisher

Tarun Kore is a second year MD student at UAB Heersink School of Medicine. He completed his BS in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Spanish at Auburn University, where he became enthralled with the intersection between engineering, medicine, and global health. His interests include health literacy, global developmental health programs, and maternal healthcare. In the future, Tarun intends to pursue a career in academic surgery with a strong emphasis on global disparities and hopes to work closely with global aid programs like Doctors Without Borders
Josie McGuire
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Simon Manga

Josie McGuire is an ABM student who is currently working toward both a BS in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health Studies and an MPH with a focus on Maternal and Child Health Policy and Leadership. Her mentorship journey has an emphasis on gaining in-depth knowledge about women's health, reproductive medicine, and maternal-fetal medicine, particularly in underserved rural regions across the world. Following the completion of her studies, Josie aspires to practice medicine and dedicating her efforts to enhancing the quality of care for women and children.
Wajiha Mekki
School of Public Health & College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Andrzej Kulczycki

Wajiha Mekki is a third-year student studying Cancer Biology and Political Science while concurrently pursuing her Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology. Though she has had many unique experiences within global health, the most impactful was when she worked with the U.S. House of Representatives, leveraging her experiences to learn about the nuances global health policy, contributing to domestic and international efforts to improve the healthcare outcomes for all. Her interdisciplinary coursework and diverse experiences has motivated her to seek out avenues to contribute to ongoing global health efforts, helping uplift diverse communities with meaningful multilateral interventions.
Karim Mikhail
College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Lori Bateman

Karim Mikhail is an undergraduate pursuing a double major in neuroscience and philosophy. As a first-generation Egyptian immigrant, he is passionate about improving health delivery and education for Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) communities, specifically refugee populations. He hopes to pursue a medical career dedicated to providing accessible care, training future healthcare professionals, and fostering health research in MENA communities.
Nabaa Naveed
College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Paul Erwin

Nabaa Naveed is an undergraduate senior studying Biology. Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Nabaa is an international student with an interest in Public Health leadership and improving access to healthcare systems in South-East Asia. In 2023, she participated in the Global Health Case Competition where they collaborated to devise effective and innovative interventions to solve complex public health issues across the globe. She aspires to extend this work to countries where access to basic healthcare is a necessity and difficult.
Ayona Roychowdhury
College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Cynthia Ryan

Ayona is currently a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying an interdisciplinary degree combining immunology, neuroscience, and linguistics. Through working in direct care at UAB Hospital, clinical research, and life experiences, she has developed an interest in studying the link between environmental stress and chronic health conditions. She hopes to hold a career that allows her to promote sustainable aid and respectful patient/provider interactions in global health. 
Aniqa Sayed
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Tina Reuter

Aniqa Syed is an MPH student with a concentration in Health Policy & Organization. Her first exposure to global health was through Sparkman's Global Health Case Competition, which started her interest in the field. Her global health interests include refugee and migrant health, climate change, and maternal and child health.
Anastasia Smith
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Wally Carlo

Anastasia Smith is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Policy and Organization, SOPH, with concentration in Outcomes Research. Ms. Smith’s main area of global health interest is prevention of spina bifida and other neural tube defects through mandatory folic acid food fortification programs. Specifically, her dissertation work is focused on identifying new vehicles for fortification such as salt. Ms. Smith experience in global health is rooted in working with World Health Organization and their member state of Colombia to develop a resolution “Accelerating efforts for preventing micronutrient deficiencies and their consequences, including spina bifida and other neural tube defects, through safe and effective food fortification” that was successfully adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2023. Ms. Smith hopes to shape her public health career focused on advocacy and implementation of folic acid fortification prevention programs worldwide.
Katta Tapasya
College of Arts and Sciences
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Sadeep Shrestha

Katta is currently pursuing her studies in Medical Sociology at UAB. Her specific focus lies in burn care within low-income countries, and she is driven to conduct research aimed at enhancing health outcomes for patients dealing with burns.
Aye Myat Thiri
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Anna Helova

Aye Myat Thiri is an international student from Myanmar, and is currently pursuing MPH/MBA dual degrees as well as the Global Health Certificate in the Sparkman Center. Her global health experiences include working as a community dentist in rural towns and villages in Myanmar via mobile clinics – administering palliative treatments and adequate referrals as well as delivering oral health education for children and adults. Making use of her MPH-MBA background, Aye is currently working as a cost-effectiveness intern for the Jamii Bora study in Kenya, and also working in the field of international student recruitment at INTO UAB. Aye aspires to work in global health policy making with the focus on maternal and child health in LMICs after she graduates.
Shashank Tiwari
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. Jeff Wickliffe

Shashank Tiwari, Ph.D., is currently pursuing an MPH degree with a concentration in Epidemiology, focusing on investigating the health impacts of e-waste in the Global South, particularly on vulnerable communities like women and children. His research also involves exploring the global circulation of e-waste and identifying the barriers to harmonizing local and global regulations for its management. Shashank aims to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the health outcomes associated with e-waste and promote effective policies to address this global public health concern.
Urva Tul Vusqa
School of Public Health
Scholar Mentor: Dr. German Henostroza

Urva Tul Vusqa is a graduate student currently enrolled in two programs - an MPH with a concentration in Health Policy and Organization and a Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI). She works as a Clinical Data Specialist at UAB Medicine’s Department of Infectious Diseases. With a background in healthcare, Urva aspires to gain a comprehensive understanding of the variations in health systems and health outcomes worldwide. Her global health interests encompass topics such as the global burden of disease, collaborative healthcare services, and global data sharing aimed at enhancing the comprehension and management of diseases.