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Cohort I

Christie Jackson Heading link

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Christie Jackson is from Peoria, IL, and attended Quest Charter Academy. Christie currently majors in Statistics with a minor in Economics and wants to become a data analyst in technology. Christie is a part of Greek life here at UIC and a 1st-degree Black Belt.

Tia Stewart Heading link

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Tia Stewart is from Chicago, IL. She graduated from Metea Valley High School where she participated in orchestra as a violinist, Tri-M Music Honors Society, cheerleading, gymnastics, Diamond Youth Foundation: Guide Right Program, and more. At UIC, she is currently a 3rd-year student majoring in Biological Sciences with an educational goal of Pre-Medicine. She plans to become a physician in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Fatou Dioum Heading link

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Hey! My name is Fatou Dioum and I am from Chicago, more specifically Hyde Park. I went to Kenwood Academy High School and my major is Chemistry and French with a minor in biological sciences. I am in the pre-med/PhD as I want to do my MD/PhD in medicinal chemistry more specifically synthesis. My hobbies include volunteering, playing tennis, and working out at the gym. Some of my achievements are being the current Vice President of the African Student Council, presenting my research on multiple occasions at ILSAMP, and doing research at Yale for the summer.

Aria Davis Heading link

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My name is Aria Davis and I am from Park Forest, Illinois where I graduated from Crete-Monee High School. While in high school, I was a member of the girls’ varsity tennis team and achieved many awards such as Scholar-Athlete and MVP. My interests are science and research, creative writing, self-care, and community outreach. I am an active volunteer for Building Bridges, Inc, a non-profit organization that promotes STEM education for young black girls through self-awareness strategies. My major is Biological Sciences and I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology.

Zora Shannon Heading link

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Zora Shannon is from Flossmoor, IL, and attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Majoring in Environmental science with a focus on Geo-Engineering, She plans on focusing her profession in Sustainable Urban Planning. At UIC Zora is a member of the Black Student coalition and the vice president of RISE21. She is also a research assistant with Max Berkelhammer and has been able to work on projects with him at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado and Argonne National Laboratory. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, working out with friends, reading, and writing. She is very excited and motivated through the journey of her academic career!

Osayenmwen Omozusi Heading link

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Osayenmwen Omozusi is from Rockford, IL, where she attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). She is majoring in Biomedical Engineering and is on the Pre-Medicine track. She plans on pursuing an MD-PhD. She is active on campus and is a small group leader for Trinity Cru, an undergraduate research student in the Marcell Lab, an Honors Ambassador, and a UI Health volunteer. In her free time, she enjoys listening to Christian Afrobeat, collecting quarters, and playing guitar.

Malik Harry Heading link

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Malik Harry is from Glenwood, Illinois, and graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He is pursuing a degree in Industrial engineering and plans to attend graduate school. In the summer of 2023, he conducted research through the MURALS Umass REU Program.

Kaliah Linear Heading link

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Kaliah Linear is an industrial engineering student from Saint Paul, Minnesota. On campus, she serves as a community research leader for the Black Student Coalition which seeks to increase black enrollment and retention rates at UIC through advocating for the concerns and needs of black students and black student organizations. Kaliah has conducted research in ecology, material synthesis, CO2 reduction, and energy systems on campus, and is a TA for the Introduction to Engineering Design class at UIC. Outside of school, Kaliah enjoys reading, plants, and gardening, and volunteering her time to students in grades K 12. She is a Jackie Robinson Foundation, Dell, and ComEd Future of Energy Scholar.

Zaria George Heading link

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Zaria George attended high school at Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy. She participated in extracurricular activities including varsity volleyball, softball, basketball, and the National Honors Society, as well as being a career mentor for incoming students. She graduated from the Chicago Police and Fire Fighting Training Academy, where she learned about public health from Chicago Public Safety officials.

Zaria is an undergraduate researcher in the MEC Lab, studying the traits of invasive species and cataloging them into a database for further analysis. She is particularly interested in understanding the impact of invasive species on native ecosystems and developing strategies for their management and control. She is pursuing a BS in Biological Sciences with a focus on Ecology and Environmental science on a Pre-Med Track.

Keioko Haynes Heading link

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Keioko Haynes is from the southwest suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Illinois and she was involved in the school’s newspaper, Stinger, Science Olympiad, and Archery Club. My hobbies include playing video games, coding, and reading anything that involves a mystery or horror. My dream career is to build and design robotics and supercars. I hope one day I’ll be able to start my own robotics company that gives opportunities to low-income achievers, like myself, and those who lack support systems”.

Michael Bello Heading link

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Michael Bello is from the southside of Chicago, IL. He graduated from the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy and is majoring in Biomedical Engineering on the pre-medicine educational track at UIC. Michael’s professional goal is to attend medical school, go into Internal Medicine, and get accepted into residency. Michael is a Dean’s List student who recently received the Paul M. Chung for the 2023 academic year. He is involved in the UIC NSBE chapter, BMES, Honors College, and the African American Academic Network(AAAN). He does GI/hepatocellular cancer research on the West campus. In his free time, he enjoys reading, cooking, working out, and graphic design. In the summer of 2023, he was an intern at the UI Cancer Center, a part of their DICR program funded by the American Cancer Society. He was also a summer peer mentor for AAAN’s Project Reach, a program geared towards black academic success and retention for rising sophomores. The summer prior he was a fellow instructor intern for Project SYNCERE, a non-profit geared towards youth STEM immersion in underserved communities.

Samantha Applewhite Heading link

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Samantha Applewhite is from Bourbonnais, Illinois Chicago, and attended Christian high school. At UIC, she is currently majoring in Integrated Health Studies, Pre-Dental Track, and wants to be a Dentist. In her free time, she enjoys going to the gym, and seeing her friends :)!

Hanifah Shoneye Heading link

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Hanifah Shoneye is from Hammond, Indiana. Her major is Biomedical Engineering and her minor is Computer Science. After her Bachelors, she plans to pursue a Masters and Ph.D. in Bioinformatics. Her hobbies include fashion, crocheting, skateboarding, and reading. She also loves exploring, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends. In the past summer, she did research at the University of Maryland Baltimore, County.

Sarah Hussien Heading link

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Sarah Hussien grew up in Des Plaines, IL, where she attended Maine East High School. She is majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in political science. After graduation, Sarah plans to attend law school and pursue a career as a patent attorney. Currently, she is a member of UIC’s nationally ranked Mock Trial team. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, watching horror movies, and exploring the city with friends.

Larry Bryant Heading link

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Larry Bryant is from Dolton IL, and he attended Thornridge High School. He was a member of the District 205 Student Board of Education and also a member of Thornridge High School’s marching, concert, and jazz band. He volunteered with Englewood Rock The Wood, Hands Across Harvey, and Junior Achievement. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music and playing video games. Larry will be majoring in computer science at UIC.

Blossom Egbuonu Heading link

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“I am a Computer Science student minoring in Business Analytics. Ethnically, I am from Nigeria, and I lived there for 15 years before moving to Illinois. Professionally, I aim to become a Software Engineer at a top tech company, but I plan to start my own company in the future. Outside of school, I enjoy listening to music, working out, cooking, and baking. One of my greatest achievements during college has been being a 2x Software Engineering Intern at Microsoft!”

Christian Garcia Heading link

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Christian Garcia went to Bloom Trail High School. He participated in clubs including Competition Band, Jazz Band, National Honor Society, Mathletes, Scholastic Bowl, and other various clubs. He volunteered at Crete Lions Club Recycling in Crete, IL. He likes to draw and edit graphics. Christian is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at UIC.

Shaun Shannon Heading link

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Shaun Shannon was born in Matteson, IL, but grew up in Chicago. He went to Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Chicago. While in high school, he was in the National Honors Society for High School Scholars (NSHSS). While at Daley College, he was in Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). He volunteered at Tots Sorter and at Literacy Helper for Scott Joplin. He was also a teacher’s assistant. In his free time, Shaun likes to play video games, draw and sleep. While at UIC, he will be majoring in Computer Science.

Joshua Nwonye Heading link

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Joshua Nwonye is from Darien IL. He graduated from Hinsdale South High School and during his time there he played football, ran track, and played the string bass in the school’s jazz band. Joshua volunteered weekly at his church and in his spare time he enjoys writing music and woodworking. He will be studying biochemistry at UIC.