Current Team Members
Rafaella (Ella) Zanatti
Rafaella (Ella) Zanatti is a co-editor of Young Minds for Mental Health. She is a junior at Duke University studying Psychology and Neuroscience. Ella is interested in abnormal and social psychology and understanding the impact of sociocultural factors on mental illness. She is currently conducting research in Dr. Nancy Zucker’s Eating Disorder Laboratory, Dr. Eve Puffer’s Global Mental Health lab and Dr. Christina Salvador’s Cultural Psychology Lab at Duke University. On Duke’s campus, she is also involved in NeuroCare, a mental health awareness organization. In the future, Ella hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and continue her research on the etiology, prevention and treatment of mental health.
Anuradha (Anu) Krishnan
Anuradha (Anu) Krishnan is a co-editor of Young Minds for Mental Health. She is a junior at Pomona College studying Applied Mathematics with a focus on Computational Neuroscience. Anu is interested in understanding the relationship between the brain’s neurobiology, its environment, and mental symptoms in computational terms. She has studied synaptic plasticity, chronic mild stress, and hippocampal activity in rats, and is currently working on modeling the gut-brain axis and looking at how food and bacteria can affect mental health disorders. She is also interested in health education and unconventional forms of therapy, like art and dance. On campus, Anu is an editor of her school’s newspaper, an avid dancer, and a volunteer through Project Sunshine. In the future, she hopes to pursue an MD-PhD and work in pediatrics.
Hikari Shumsky is a former co-editor of Young Minds for Mental Health. She is a graduate of Columbia University where she studied Human Rights with a specialization in East Asian Studies and concentration in Ethnicity and Race Studies. Hikari is interested in understanding mental health through a human rights and advocacy perspective, especially focusing on under-represented communities in current mental health discourse. More specifically, she is interested in issues of collective trauma and historical memory in post-disaster societies. She has completed research with the WHO-Columbia Global Mental Health Program, and was also involved in migrant rights organizations on Columbia’s campus and in NYC. Hikari hopes to pursue public interest law in the future, and is excited to further explore the intersections of advocacy, law, and mental health.
Maya Jotwani is a former co-editor of Young Minds for Mental Health. She is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied Neuroscience, on the pre-health track. Maya is interested in understanding mental health through a neurological and global health lens. She is also passionate about raising awareness of mental health and increasing popular discourse to reduce stigma. She has done research at the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University, and was a leader of her school’s public health club, which aims to increase public health education and advocacy. In the future, Maya hopes to pursue medicine and continue to be involved in the global mental health space.
Sara Wetzler is a co-founder of Young Minds for Mental Health. She is a graduate of Harvard University where she studied History and Science with a focus in Mind, Brain, and Behavior and a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. Sara is passionate about raising awareness about mental health and works hard to reduce the stigma. She has done research with the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University as well as at the Pan-American Health Organization. She is involved in global health clubs at school that focuses on education, advocacy, and promoting awareness. Sara currently attends the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai and continues to get involved in mental health advocacy.
Julia is a co-founder of Young Minds for Mental Health. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University where she studied Psychology and Social Policy. Julia has always been interested in Mental Health and Illness advocacy and hopes that this coalition will encourage people to learn and understand how important understanding mental health and mental illness truly is. Julia has participated in research at the Poverty and Inequality Research Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, studying families, poverty, and public policy in Baltimore City. She has also interned at RAINN’s consulting department (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) and was an active member of the Johns Hopkins Law Review. Julia currently attends law school at Fordham University and hopes combine her interests in mental health with the fields of law and policy.
Bita Tristani-Firouzi is a graduate of Pomona College where she majored in Gender & Women’s Studies. She currently attends the University of Utah’s medical school. She was the president of the 5 Claremont Colleges Mental Health Alliance and also works as a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line. Bita is passionate about the intersection of mental health and social justice and works to raise awareness about how social issues can impact overall well-being. She also is interested in the field of Feminist Science and Technology Studies and has written her undergraduate thesis on queer theory’s place in organic chemistry. Bita has been involved in several research projects investigating barriers to healthcare for transgender and gender-diverse patients at the University of Utah and the University of California San Francisco. In her free time, Bita can be found making animations, hiking, or cooking.
Margot Chisholm is a graduate of Middlebury college where she studied biochemistry. She enjoys science, art, and writing. In the future, Margot plans to pursue a career in mental health and counseling, and if anyone has any suggestions as to how she can accomplish this with a hard science background, she asks you please inform her, as she is currently at a bit of a loss in this regard. In her spare time, she bakes bread, hangs out with her dog, streams tv shows, and explores the medium of digital drawing.
Alexis Aberman graduated from Cornell University where she majored in Human Development and minored in English. Working with and helping others has always been something Alexis was passionate about, which led her to study Human Development and become involved in various volunteer organizations. She has served as a mentor for elementary-aged students in the Ithaca area living in mobile homes. Alexis also has a strong interest in research and worked on her honors thesis in the Cornell Child Witness and Cognition Lab. Given all these interests, Alexis currently attends graduate school for clinical psychology. Alexis loves to cook and bake in her free time and also enjoys painting. She can’t wait to continue to pursue her love of writing while advocating for mental health initiatives.
Ananya Saluja graduated from Pomona College where she majored in Psychological Science and Politics. She worked in the Mental Health and Individual Differences (MIND) Lab at Pomona, and she is interested in understanding the construct of stigma and how it can be effectively dismantled. Ananya is particularly interested in how culture and mental health intersect, especially when minority ethnicities are often pigeonholed by stereotypes. In the future, she hopes to pursue either law or clinical psychology and is interested in alleviating the ongoing mental health crisis in her home country of India, specifically in Kashmir, where generations of minority Muslims have experienced trauma as a result of years of conflict. In her spare time, Ananya can be found dancing to Bollywood songs in empty rooms and swooning over pictures of corgis.
Teresa Gao is an undergraduate student studying Computer Science and Engineering as well as Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Through her writing for YMFMH, she hopes to support and validate those who are currently experiencing mental health crises. Teresa hosts the biweekly radio show Psycholochat on WMBR, and she has previously served as Head Supporter for the MIT chapter of Lean 0n Me.
Christie Jones graduated from Emory University where she majored in Biology and Economics. She has volunteered with human trafficking nonprofit organizations since 2015, and this spurred her continued interest in mental healthcare and the de-stigmatization of mental illness. Christie is currently a graduate student at Emory University’s school of public health, after which she hopes to attend medical school and continue contributing to the growing awareness and treatment of mental health in the medical community.
Lindey Kneib is a graduate of Harvard University where she studied English with a secondary in Global Health/Health Policy. She was a Softball varsity athlete at Harvard as well as the co-director of the Special Olympics team. As an athlete she has consistently heard the phrase “suck it up,” and she is now passionate about erasing that phrase throughout the realms of Global Health. In the future, Lindey plans on attending graduate school for global health in hopes of making an impact on reducing problems such as social suffering on a global scale.
Karolina Sadowska is a graduate of Columbia University where she studied Neuroscience and Behavior. She was a research assistant in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and served as a student ambassador for the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University. She is determined to destigmatize mental health and create support communities for young people struggling with mental illness. Karolina was involved in Active Minds at Columbia as well as the Columbia University Mental Health Task Force which focuses on concrete policy initiatives to change the mental health scene on campus. Karolina is currently a student at Weill Cornell’s school of medicine and she hopes to pursue a career in clinical psychiatry while staying involved in public mental health advocacy.
Stuti is a graduate of Skidmore College from Mumbai, India. She majored in psychology, a discipline she’s been hooked to since her first high school class on the subject. As a dancer, she originally hoped to meld together her love for dance and psychology by becoming a licensed dance therapist, but after many classes, research projects, summer internships, and an academic conference, she decided to switch gears and focus on clinical psychology. She worked on a research project on cross-cultural mental health stigma, presented the findings at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology 2019 Conference, and interned at Ummeed, a child development center in her hometown. She works as an academic tutor for the Psychology department on campus as she firmly believes that only when you’re able to teach effectively is when you’ve learned optimally.
Anna is a graduate of Emory University where she studied neuroscience and behavioral biology. She became interested in mental health advocacy after realizing how little conversation there is about mental illness despite its huge prevalence. Through working with the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide in her New Jersey hometown and collaborating with the Emory chapter of Active Minds to bring about meaningful conversations and destigmatize mental illness, she has developed a sincere passion for mental health awareness and hopes to have a tangible impact on how mental health is perceived on the global level. In addition to her work with these organizations, she partakes in molecular genetics research and enjoys cooking, weightlifting, and learning new things.
Alanna O’Neill is a senior at Pomona College, majoring in Neuroscience and planning to attend medical school. She is interested in exploring topics in mental health through the lens of neurobiological knowledge and is particularly interested in topics related to addiction, depression, and anxiety. Outside of the mental health space, she is the president of the Music Mentors for Pomona Valley program which partners college students with kids in the local community to provide free music lessons, the principal harpist for the Pomona College Orchestra, a Neuroscience research assistant, and a member of the Associated Students of Pomona College committee.