SPOTLIGHT ON: KRISTA CAASI

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NAME: Krista Caasi

ROLE: High School Student Intern 

EDUCATION: Princeton Day School, Princeton, NJ 

HOMETOWN: Somerset, NJ 

1. What are you working on right now? 

I am currently helping write a literature review about the use of planned communities in mental health research. This will help with the Brain Health Initiative at Lakewood Ranch project. I am also organizing data for the lab, and updating codebooks. 

 

2. What are 3 big questions you are interested in answering?  

1. What causes mental health issues like depression and anxiety?  

2. How do mental health issues manifest biologically, on genetic and neurological levels? 

3. What are potential ways that we can treat mental health issues? 

 

3. Of your most recent accomplishments, which one are you most proud? 

As part of my school’s Research Experience program, I designed and conducted a study on the relationship between academic stress and happiness among students at my high school. For data analysis, I learned how to use R Studio with the help of some teachers. I then had the opportunity to present my findings to the school community on a poster. 

  

4. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? 

I would be a sparkly, dark purple crayon because purple is my favorite color, and you could use me to draw a galaxy. 

 

5. If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

I would want chocolate chip cookies because I am a sugar addict. I probably shouldn’t eat all of them by myself, so I would donate some to a food bank and sell some.


  SPOTLIGHT ON: EMMA GLICKMAN 

NAME: Emma Glickman

ROLE: Clinical Research Coordinator I

EDUCATION: M.S. in Children and Young People’s Mental Health from the University of Edinburgh in 2019. B.A. in Psychology, Jewish Studies, and Education from Vassar College in 2018.

HOMETOWN: Livingston, NJ

  

1. What are you working on right now? 

I am currently working on launching The Brain Health Study at Lakewood Ranch and identifying different measurement tools to implement in the study. Additionally, I am assisting on a paper aimed at understanding the role of planned communities in medical and public health research. I am excited to delve into the Lakewood Ranch study, meet community members, and identify different risk and protective factors associated with brain health across the lifespan.

 

2. What are 3 big questions you are interested in answering?  

1. What is the ideal evidence-based intervention to implement during “sensitive periods” of development to decrease children’s vulnerability to developing depression? 

2. To what extent does daily exercise decrease children’s likelihood of developing psychopathology in times of adversity?  

3. How can brain health be best understood in planned communities from a medical standpoint and can these findings be generalized to other communities?

 

3. Of your most recent accomplishments, which one are you most proud? 

I am most proud of completing an 8-minute documentary trailer regarding the psychological ramifications of children that survived the Holocaust. The trailer, The Story of the Bitten Locket, includes my journey to Poland and finding, as well as interviewing, the Righteous Gentiles that hid, fed, and saved my great-grandmother’s and grandmother’s life. Out of the 160 Jews that lived in my family’s Polish town, only 14 survived. My grandmother and great-grandmother were two of those survivors. Through sharing this documentary, the hope is it to increase mental health awareness and therapeutic interventions for youth who have experienced trauma.

  

4. What is a quote you live by?

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

 

5. If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

Laughter. I believe that laughing is the best medicine and tool for happiness. The ability to always laugh helps you let go of things you cannot control and enjoy what is in front of you.


SPOTLIGHT ON: LIV STERNS

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NAME: Liv Sterns

ROLE: Co-op Student, Research Assistant

EDUCATION: Northeastern University, B.S. Health Sciences (May 2022)

HOMETOWN: Buffalo, NY

  

1. What are you looking forward to working on in the lab? 

In the future, I would like to pursue a career in public health, and the Dunn Lab is the perfect place to explore this interest. I am especially interested in the social determinants of health, so I’m very excited about the lab’s focus on seeing how adversity affects biology. Furthermore, the idea that teeth can be used as a health marker is incredible, and I cannot wait to learn more about their potential in health research.  

 

2. What are 3 big questions you are interested in answering?  

1. How can we use our knowledge on adversity to figure out who is most at risk for depression and put preventative measures in place? 

2. How does stress change our biological functioning, and how can we use biomarkers such as teeth to see this?  

3. How much of a role does the environment you live and grow in correlate to brain health and onset of depression? 

 

3. Of your most recent accomplishments, which one are you most proud? 

During the past academic year, I worked on my first research project investigating how Twitter users disclose their experiences with sexual violence through the #MeToo movement. This project culminated with me presenting a research poster in Northeastern’s Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Expo, where I presented the results to my peers, professors, and industry leaders. I was incredibly proud of myself for being able to go from writing an abstract to a fully finished poster that I presented confidently. Furthermore, being able to explain the results of our research and why they are important was very fulfilling.  

  

4. What are you reading right now?

I just started reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens for the book club I’m in and am a big fan so far. However, I just finished reading Educated by Tara Westover and could not put it down. One of the most amazing stories I have ever read.  

 

5. If you had your own talk show, who would you invite as your first guest?

I could choose any guest, I would invite Michelle Obama on my talk show because she is an icon. She is so intelligent, inspirational, and hilarious, and watching her Carpool Karaoke with Missy Elliot was amazing.  

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