2023: ILLUMINATE AUTHORS & CONTRIBUTORS
Daniel Abramov is a sophomore double-majoring in Biochemistry and Psychology at Penn State Berks, where he also has the honor of being a Schreyer Honors Scholar. He is active on campus and in the Berks community. On campus he participates in student government as a student-faculty representative, serves as the President of Pre-Med club, and is a member of the Rugby team. He enjoys writing creative work independently of his research, as well as helping students in the Writing Center improve their writing skills as a tutor. He serves his community by volunteering his time in the Reading Hospital, one day hoping to study medicine and neuropsychology as an MD-PHD.
Samantha Biseinere graduated from Westfield State University as Valedictorian, where she
received a Bachelors of Science in Health Science and Biology. She is a member of Tri Beta
National Biological Honors society and graduated with multiple academic awards. While in
college, Samantha found her passion for research in nutrition-based science. She looks forward
to continuing her education in this field. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga and pilates.
Jason Buller is a rising junior at Loyola University Maryland where he is pursuing a double major in Sustainability Management and Marketing. Jason is a member of the Sellinger Scholars Program and is the incoming chair of outreach and service for the Scholars Society. He is also a Greyhound Ambassador for Admissions. This fall he will be studying abroad in Madrid, Spain.
Maggie Broomfield is a rising junior at Loyola University Maryland where she is pursuing a BBA in Marketing and is a member of the Sellinger Scholars business honors program. Maggie has been a Greyhound Ambassador for Admissions for almost two years and will be studying in Cork, Ireland in spring 2024.
Megan Dunkle graduated summa cum laude from Cedar Crest College where she received her
BS in Forensic Science and Biology. While attending Cedar Crest, Megan was given many
opportunities to enrich her academic career. She completed an internship at the Philadelphia
Medical Examiner’s Office in the toxicology laboratory and worked diligently as a lab assistant
for the Biology Department at Cedar Crest. She received the George W. Neighbor, Jr. Memorial
Undergraduate Scholarship from the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists and the
Hausman Family Stewardship Prize from Cedar Crest’s Biology Department. She will be
attending Boston University starting in the fall in order to pursue her MS in Biomedical Forensic
Sciences. When she is not working hard on her schoolwork, Megan can usually be found doing
three of her favorite things, reading, going to concerts, and traveling.
Zayn Farooq is a sophomore at Robert Morris University pursuing a major in Political Science
and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. He is passionate about education policy, and
hopes to improve educational standards in the United States through legal work. In his free time
he enjoys participating in debate, playing soccer, reading, writing, watching movies, and K-Pop.
Crista Fiala is a senior majoring in English, Spanish, and history at the University of Saint
Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. In addition to being part of the Honors Program, she is a
Spanish tutor and the lead writing tutor at the Center for Academic Excellence. She enjoys
mentoring the other writing tutors and helping to improve others’ Spanish and writing skills.
Crista is also the senior editor of her university’s creative art and writing journal, as well as a
reporter and head copy editor for her university’s newspaper. Most of all, she loves to research,
write, and learn languages.
Emili Gibson is currently a student at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY majoring in
English, and a member of both Phi Theta Kappa and the college’s Honors program. She plans on
transferring to a four-year university to continue her literature focus before moving on to
graduate school for a master’s degree in library science, with a concentration in archival and
historical research and preservation. She currently works at a local library and is deeply
passionate about the importance of libraries as literary hubs, cultural repositories, and inclusive
third places, particularly in low-income areas.
Sydney Grandison is a student at Dominican University New York. Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in psychology. She participates in her school’s honors club/program and enjoys volunteering as an EMT. In addition to being a member of TriBeta, she tutors students in mathematics and science. She hopes to pursue a career in medical research and is passionate about helping others. She plans to attend graduate school to continue her studies and eventually earn a Ph.D.
David Guariglia is a fourth-year student enrolled in Dominican University’s 5-year occupational therapy program where he currently serves as the Vice President of SOTA. David is a graduate of Dominican’s Honors College graduating in 3 years magna cum laude as a member of Phi Gamma Mu. Serving as a teacher’s assistant for Research Methodology sparked David’s interest in academic research. While majoring in social science, David simultaneously completed his pre-medical studies. He remains engaged within healthcare with the long-term goal of bringing accessible and affordable health care to the underserved as part of his Catholic University’s mission statement towards a more just and human world.
Khoula Jaber is a recent graduate from Cedar Crest College earning dual B.S. degrees in Genetic
Engineering and Mathematics. She is currently attending Cornell University as a Ph.D. student in
their Genetics, Genomics and Development program. In addition to her honors research
project, Khoula has also conducted research investigating molecular mechanisms conferring
triclosan resistance in gram-negative microbes since her first year at Cedar Crest College. As a
growing researcher, Khoula also had the opportunity to participate in an intensive research
program, the MBG-REU at Cornell University. Her research experience fostered growth as a
scientist where she took advantage of several opportunities to share her research at local,
regional, and national conferences. When she was not in class or conducting research, Khoula
was involved in the community at Cedar Crest, where she served on several executive boards
including her roles as the president of Math Club, vice-president of the Beta Beta Beta honors
society, and treasurer of Science Club.
Angelina Lambros is an undergraduate student at Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Brooklyn College. She is majoring in History and minoring in Human Resources Development and Management as well as Creative Writing. She has interned in the archives. She is a member of the Writer's Circle at Brooklyn College and Scribe: Creative Writing Club at Macaulay Honors College, and has had her work featured in their publications. Angelina is an artist, singer, writer, and poet. She is the author of the poetry collection, Imagination and a World of Dreams. She enjoys drawing and sharing her artwork on Instagram, Pinterest, and her store on Redbubble.
Logan Lankford is a rising sophomore at Salisbury University majoring in exercise science and
pursuing a minor in disability studies. She is a proud member of the Clarke Honors College and
an Honors Ambassador. She currently works as an orientation leader for incoming freshmen, a
tour guide during the year, and was recently hired to start working as a writing consultant at the
University Writing Center. She’s a member of Salisbury’s student UnitedWay and volunteers
with the Chesapeake Housing mission. After graduation, she plans on attending Towson
University to pursue a master’s in pediatric occupational therapy.
Cloe Loosz is a junior Creative Writing Major minoring in both Public Relations and Gender Studies at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cloe is an active member of the Honors College and serves as the Vice President of the Point Park Writer’s Club. Thus far in her writing career, she has interned for longtime LGBTQ+ activist, journalist, and co-producer of the "Queerly Defiant" series on Out-FM (Pacifica/WBAI, 99.5 FM), Bob Lederer, by helping him collect research for his upcoming book and periodically cohosting the radio show. She has also interned as a community communications fellow for Regen Network where she applied her strong communication, writing, and social media skills to promote an innovative blockchain-based platform revolutionizing the Carbon Credit and Ecocredit Market. Cloe’s passion for writing is intertwined with her desire to make a difference. She lives by the words of James Baldwin, “You write in order to change the world…if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
Rithika Padyala, a pre-medical student at Thomas Jefferson University, is a dynamic campus leader and scholar. As the founder and editor-in-chief of the inaugural Philadelphia University's 1884: Honors Academic Journal, she champions academic excellence within her Honors Community. Beyond her academic commitments, Rithika serves as a Resident Assistant, holds key positions in student organizations like the South Asian Student Association and TEDxJeffersonU, and is actively engaged in molecular biology research at Sidney Kimmel Medical School, focusing on neurotoxicity. Her advocacy work centers on substance abuse issues among adolescents. In her rare moments of leisure, she finds solace in the pages of novels and a cup of green tea. Post-graduation, Rithika aspires to attend medical school and pursue a career in cardiac surgery, driven by her unwavering dedication to the field of medicine.
Allison Rhea is a student at Frederick Community College, where she is pursuing her
Associate’s in both STEM and Psychology. Allison pursues her passions for science and
psychology outside of the classroom, serving as the president of the Psychology Club and as a
summer intern in the Chemistry department. She is also an active member of the Honors
College, serving both as an Honors Peer Mentor and an officer in the Honors Student
Association. When not at school or working her job as a physical therapy technician, she enjoys
baking, playing volleyball, and learning new trivia facts. After graduating from Frederick
Community College, she plans to transfer to a four year university to get her Bachelor’s and
eventually pursue a career in the medical field.
Rita Rin is a senior at Monroe College, majoring in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity. Within the Monroe College community, she actively participates in the Monroe Honors Program and holds the position of an editorial board member for the honors newsletter, The Experience. Additionally, she serves as the president of the school IT club. Apart from her academic pursuits, she is deeply engaged in independent studies and exploring the potential for creating secure and robust software. With that, she sees this as the perfect opportunity to advance her studies in the field of software systems, with a goal of making a contribution to the dynamic field of cybersecurity and system architecture by seeking solutions to its evolving challenges.
Demir Schroyer is a senior majoring in both History and Religion at Thiel College. He has remained on the Dean’s List, is a member of the Dietrich Honor Institute, the Theta Alpha Kappa National Society for Religious Study and Theology, and the Phi Alpha Theta historical honor society. Demir is also an Eagle Scout, maintains a healthy work ethic, and is a big brother to his five brothers and two sisters. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, reading, and learning more about history and theology. After graduating from Thiel College, Demir plans to attend graduate school and continue pursuing his goal of earning his doctorial in both History and Religion in order to obtain a professorship position.
Ahimsa Shakti is a 42-year-old single mother with a 19-year-old, a 15-year-old, and a 3-year-old.
She recently graduated with her associate degree in general studies from the Community
College of Allegheny County. At CCAC she created a self-designed and self-published chapbook:
“Transcendence: from Truth to Power to Beauty” where she blends elements of poetry and
prose to share an intimate piece about overcoming the legacy of childhood rape. She is
continuing her education at Carlow University and will be working on her BFA, then MFA in
Creative Writing. She is using her time at Carlow to develop herself as a writer and literary
artist. She aspires to write a memoir about her extraordinary life and healing journey from
extensive childhood neglect and trauma.
Grace Shartle is a rising junior at Loyola University Maryland double majoring in International Business and Sustainability Management in the Sellinger Scholars Business Honors program. She is on the executive board for the Scholars Society serving as a class representative. After completing the World Trade Center Institute’s Albrecht Fellowship with the cohort of 2023, she will be spending the Fall abroad in Rome, Italy interning for the International Network for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (INSME).
Rebecca Soriano recently transferred from Monroe Community College (MCC) to Rochester Institute of Technology as a hybrid Studio Arts and Art History major. While attending MCC she developed a passion for academic research writing and presented her research on art history and literature at several conferences like the Community College Humanities Association in 2022 while also earning distinctions at the Beacon Conference and MCC’s Scholars’ Day in 2023. In between coursework Rebecca works full-time as an artist and actively exhibits her work in upstate New York. She is currently in her senior year of undergraduate studies and plans to pursue a master's in art history with a special interest in the Dutch Golden Age and Renaissance art.
Vanessa Stolstajner is a rising junior at Loyola University Maryland where she is pursuing a BBA in Marketing and Information Systems and Data Analytics. Vanessa is a student in the Sellinger Scholars Program at Loyola, and just completed an internship with Nash Performance Marketing, a startup marketing agency in Baltimore, MD. This fall she will be studying abroad in Rome, Italy.
Khushali Vyas graduated from Cedar Crest College in December 2022 as an honors student
earning a bachelor’s degree in Genetic Engineering and a minor in chemistry. At Cedar Crest
College, she worked on independent research in the field of cancer biology. She also had the
opportunity to be a lab assistant for freshman biology labs. In addition, she was a Writing
Consultant at the Writing Center at Cedar Crest. She is currently a 1st year PhD student in the
Biochemistry, Structural, and Molecular Biology program at Thomas Jefferson University.
Ezra Wingard is a recent graduate of the Honors Program at SUNY Oswego with a B.A.
in Cognitive Science and Psychology. He is a member of the Psi Chi honors society in
Psychology and the Pi Delta Phi honors society in French. In his senior year, he was
awarded two awards: the Excellence in French Award, and the Distinguished Cognitive
Science Senior Award. He plans to attend graduate school in 2024 to pursue his career
goal in becoming a research scientist and professor in Psychology or Cognitive Science
with a focus on implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices within his