The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

Undergraduate Fellows: Previous Cohorts

Michael Atkins

Michael Atkins, 2020–2021 Fellow

During his fellowship, Michael Atkins was a senior majoring in History and minoring in Legal Studies with an academic focus on the intersection between carceral systems and disability rights. He was pursuing a thesis examining the modern history of solitary confinement of people with disabilities. On campus, Michael was a coordinator for the Waltham Group Brandeis Buddies. Michael previously worked for several progressive national and local political campaigns, including the presidential campaign of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Michael also worked directly with incarcerated individuals with disabilities through the Partners for Justice organization and conducted research on the disproportionate effect that medical care rationing has on people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael was excited to learn from and assist the staff at the Lurie Institute to advance and advocate disability rights. 

Carmela Belizaire, 2019–2020 Fellow

Carmela Belizaire was an Undergraduate Fellow in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a Brandeis senior studying Health: Science, Society, and Policy, with a minor in African and Afro-American Studies. On-campus, she served as a community advisor (CA) under the Department of Community Living and was an undergraduate departmental representative (UDR) for her major. Carmela was passionate about healthcare disparities and accommodating communities through policy and programming. Through the Starr Fellowship, Carmela was excited to gain an understanding of the issues in access and needs of a specified community to develop policies, which may result in better policy reform. She hoped to further develop her critical thinking and analytical skills, in addition to academic writing skills.

 

Julia Brown, Starr Fellow

Julia Brown, 2019 Fellow

Julia Brown was a Fellow in the Undergraduate Fellowship in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a senior studying Health: Science, Society, and Policy, and African and Afro-American Studies. On campus she served as a community service coordinator in Waltham organizing programs at the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and Prospect Hill Community Center. Julia was passionate about equitable healthcare and how minority populations experience adverse health outcomes. Though the Starr Fellowship, Julia was excited to learn more about the policies that uplift and empower individuals with disabilities and how to continue to be an advocate for disability policy! 
Photo of Anna Cass

Anna Cass, 2020–2021 Fellow

During her fellowship, Anna Cass was a senior studying Health: Science, Society and Policy (HSSP). She pursued minors in Social Justice, Social Policy (SJSP) and Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (CAST). On-campus, Anna served as an Undergraduate Departmental Representative for her CAST minor. You may have seen Anna’s work in the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts, where she held exhibits for a few years.  She also worked with Brandeis Student Accessibility Support, providing peer guidance to students who were navigating accessibility at Brandeis. Anna was looking to explore how research can identify unmet needs, and marshal community knowledge to solve problems. In addition to the Starr Fellowship, Anna was also a communications assistant at Lurie.
Monica Chen, Starr Fellow

Monica Chen, 2019 Fellow

Monica Chen was a Fellow in the Undergraduate Fellowship in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a senior majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and minoring in Business and Music. On campus, she worked for the Department of Community Living as a Community Advisor (CA), as well as the Rose Art Museum as a Gallery Attendant. She also participated in Brandeis’ chamber music program as a pianist. Monica was interested in working in public health policy, and she was excited to learn more about the involvement of parents with disabilities in the child welfare system with her mentor Robyn Powell.
Photo of Sabrina Chow

Sabrina Chow, 2020–2021 Fellow

During her fellowship, Sabrina Chow was a senior double majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) and Biology and was super excited to be working at the Lurie Institute as an undergraduate fellow. Outside of academics, she was a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, Editor-in-Chief of the Brandeis Hoot (the community newspaper on campus), worked on sustainability initiatives around campus, and played tennis with the Brandeis Tennis Club. She was excited to learn more about the bridge between research and policy in public health through the lens of disability advocacy.

Anna Davidge, 2019–2020 Fellow

Anna Davidge was an Undergraduate Fellow in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a Brandeis senior majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP). She was a community advisor (CA) in the Department of Community Living and a teaching assistant for epidemiology. She was also involved in the Brandeis Jewish community. Anna was passionate about accessibility and health equity and looked forward to her research experience looking into shared living opportunities for young adults.

Shoshana Finkel, Starr Fellow

Shoshana Finkel, 2019–2020 Fellow

During her fellowship, Shoshana Finkel was a senior at Brandeis studying Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) with a minor in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. She was a passionate disability advocate and activist, and a peer advisor at Yachad, the National Jewish Council on Disabilities. In addition to her Starr Fellowship, Shoshana was an intern at the Ruderman Family Foundation and served on the Chief Diversity Officer’s task force on accessibility on campus. Shoshana was a Summer 2018 fellow with the American Association of People with Disabilities in Washington, DC, through which she earned a certificate in Disability Advocacy from the George Washington University. Shoshana was excited to be conducting research on reproductive health outcomes among women with developmental disabilities, and hoped to promote healthcare equity for people with disabilities through her research and activism.

Aishwarya Khanna

Aishwarya Khanna, 2020–2021 Fellow

During her fellowship, Aishwarya Khanna was a senior double majoring in Neuroscience and Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP). Aishwarya was thrilled to be an undergraduate fellow at the Lurie Institute. Outside of academics, Aishwarya was a Community Advisor (CA), a Girl Scouts leader, and an intern for the Veterans Health Administration (VA). She was also involved in Alzheimer’s advocacy. Aishwarya was passionate about combating health disparities among underrepresented groups and hoped her year spent at Lurie would help her learn more about disability advocacy and effective policy strategies to support those in need.
Shira Levie, Starr Fellow

Shira Levie, 2019 Fellow

Shira Levie was a Junior majoring in Biology and Health, Science, Society, and Policy during her fellowship. On campus she was a leader in the Brandeis Orthodox Organization, a Teaching Assistant in the Biology Department, and a tutor through the Waltham Group. Shira was passionate about the intersection between disability policy and healthcare. Through the Starr fellowship, Shira was excited to gain important skills to help best work towards a more equitable and inclusive society.
Alanna Levy, Starr Fellow

Alanna Levy, 2019 Fellow

Alanna Levy was a fellow in the Undergraduate Fellowship in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a senior double-majoring in Sociology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy and double-minoring in Legal Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. On campus she worked as a Student Interviewer in the Undergraduate Admissions office as well as a coordinator for the Student Admissions Program. She also served on the student union executive board as the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Advocacy. Alanna was interested in looking at access to healthcare among people with disabilities, especially among pregnant women.

Maddy Pliskin, 2019–2020 Fellow

Maddy Pliskin was an Undergraduate Fellow in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a sophomore majoring in Biology and Health: Science, Society and Policy (HSSP). Outside of the Starr Fellowship, Maddy was a member of Chabad Club and volunteered with elderly patients in hospice. Maddy was researching opioid misuse among people with disabilities under her mentor Rachel Sayko Adams. 
Zoë Pringle

Zoë Pringle, 2020–2021 Fellow

Zoë Pringle was an Undergraduate Fellow in Disability Policy. She was a junior double majoring in Health: Science, Society and Policy (HSSP) and Sociology during her fellowship. On campus, Zoë was a member of Brandeis Climate Justice, advocating for the divestment of fossil fuels. Over the prior summer she had worked at the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab as a research assistant. In her spare time she enjoyed adaptive rock climbing and taking photos. She was excited to be a Starr Fellow and to continue to explore her passion for disability justice. 

Jack Rubinstein, 2019–2020 Fellow

During his fellowship, Jack Rubinstein was a Health: Science, Society, and Policy major, with a minor in Anthropology. He was thrilled to be part of the Lurie Undergraduate Fellowship. Alongside the fellowship, Jack was a Bridge to Wellness peer educator, an organizer for Deisability, and a member of TRON, the Brandeis Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. He also rock climbed and wrote poetry in the free time that he did not have. Managing his time was seemingly also a hobby!
Norma Stobbe, Starr Fellow

Norma Stobbe, 2019 Fellow

Norma Stobbe was a fellow in the Nathan and Toby Starr Fellowship in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a junior double-majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and Education Studies with a minor in Theater Arts. On campus, she worked in the Brandeis Library, was a member of Waltham Group, and participated in various theatrical productions each year. Through the Starr Fellowship, Norma was excited to learn more about disability policy as she hoped to one day work to bring disability education and conversations into school curriculums and theater performance spaces.
Photo of Luca Swinford

Luca Swinford, 2020–2021 Fellow

During his fellowship, Luca Swinford was a junior majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and Education Studies. He was an Undergraduate Department Representative (UDR) for the Education Department. He held a certificate for completing the Arc of Massachusetts’ advocacy curriculum. He was also a legal intern at Greater Boston Legal Services in the Elder, Health, and Disability Unit where he assisted people with disabilities with their disability benefits. Luca was very passionate about disability rights and policy, and he was very excited to have the opportunity to be involved in disability research.
Max Tang, Starr Fellow

Max Tang, 2019 Fellow

Max Tang was a 2019 Undergraduate Fellow who worked with researcher Sandy Ho to explore how people with disabilities can become involved in civic engagement and leadership. During her fellowship, she was a senior finishing a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology. On campus, she was President of the Brandeis Asian American Task Force, the student group that organizes to advocate for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and to build the upcoming AAPI Studies at Brandeis. Max was excited to gain hands-on experience in designing and doing research that centers the experiences and voices of people with disabilities so that she might bring those skills to her own communities.

Regina Tham, 2019–2020 Fellow

Regina Tham was an Undergraduate Fellow in Disability Policy. During her fellowship, she was a Brandeis senior majoring in Biology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy with a minor in East Asian Studies. On campus, she was the vice-president of Brandeis Asian American Students Association and a Roosevelt Fellow Peer Advisor. She also worked as a lab technician and Chemistry Department teaching assistant. Regina was passionate about working with marginalized communities to eliminate disparities in health. She was excited to be a Starr Fellow to explore how research can empower and uplift different voices.