Profile Positions Research Assistant
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Yabi Bereket

Yabi Bereket is a Senior at Virginia Tech who is currently working towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health, with a double minor in International Public Policy and Data & Decisions. Following the completion of her undergraduate studies, she plans to further her education by pursuing a Master’s degree, with a focus on exploring opportunities that allow her to combine her areas of interest, including global health and data analysis. She enjoys utilizing these interests for the purpose of understanding and improving health and overall quality of life outcomes for different global communities.

Madeline Deck

Madeline is a senior studying Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. After graduating, she plans to continue her education at Virginia Tech as a MS student in Environmental Engineering. Her research interests include drinking water treatment methods and their effects on public health. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and puzzles.

Arpita Das

Arpita Das is pursuing a B.S. in Public Health. She has worked at the Carey Lab since her freshman year focusing on understanding freshwater ecosystems while working specifically with Beaverdam and Falling Creek Reservoirs. She is currently working at the Cohen Lab helping with a project focused on water bottle quality. Arpita is interested in pursuing an MPH in Epidemiology after graduating from Virginia Tech.

Breanna Lytton

Breanna is a senior studying Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise; Public Health; and Chemistry at Virginia Tech. She will attend medical school after graduation to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). She enjoys Appalachian water quality research, as it provides an opportunity to interact with rural communities and serve the individuals within. In her free time, Breanna enjoys weightlifting, archery, kayaking, and hiking.

Sungjoo Park

Sungjoo double-majored in Public Health and Human Development at Virginia Tech. He graduated in the Spring 2022 semester and plans to start an MPH in the Fall 2022 semester. He is interested in Global Health and Public Health Program planning, but has become increasingly involved with research on drinking water quality and public health and well-being in rural Appalachia. Sungjoo enjoys photography, longboarding, playing the guitar, and sports. [last updated 2022]

Pragya Khanal

Pragya is a senior double majoring in Mathematics and Economics at Hollins University in VA. She enjoys working with data to analyze real-world problems. Her research interest lies in the interdisciplinary fields of Public Policy, Gender, and Development Economics. During her spare time she enjoys reading and listening to music. [last updated 2021]

Joshua McCray

Josh is a third-year undergraduate student studying biochemistry and history at the University of Virginia (UVA) at Wise. His research interests range from organometallic ruthenium cage complexes to drinking water contamination and public health in the Appalachian region. In his free time, Josh enjoys hiking, kayaking, and volunteering with medical clinics.

Rachel Guevara

Rachel graduated in the spring of 2022 from University of Virginia’s College at Wise earning her BS in Environmental Science with a focus on Geology. She has a passion for water quality monitoring, management, and equity especially in karst areas, and has participated in several research opportunities in Appalachia, mainly in Southwest Virginia. Apart from assisting in, and conducting her own, research, she enjoys volunteering for several outdoor projects, including the Clinch Water Watch Citizen Science Project and environmental cleanups on Natural Area Preserves along the Virginia Cave and Karst Trail. When she’s not in the field, in class, or in the lab, she can be found playing Dungeons and Dragons or reading a book. [last updated 2022]

Qiwen Xia

Qiwen received degrees in both Chemistry and Environmental Economics & Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. After exploring industries spanning from finance to clean energy through consulting and research, she now works as a Data Scientist at Facebook. In her spare time, Qiwen likes to explore the outdoor world with photography and occasional adventures such as paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. [last updated 2021]

Xinjia (Emily) Yan

Emily holds a B.A. degree in applied mathematics and a B.S. degree in environmental economics from the University of California, Berkeley. After she received her Master of Public Administration from Columbia University, Emily has worked as marketing program manager at Synopsys Inc. She supports corporate marketing initiatives with her expertise in data analytics, research and public relations. Outside of work, Emily loves digital arts, blogging, hiking and playing the accordion. [last updated 2020]