Project STRIDE

We expose and engage high school students in clinical research.

We expose and engage high school students in clinical research.

Meet Our 2018 Project STRIDE Cohort

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Karen Cazares


My name is Karen Cazares, I am a rising senior at King Drew

Magnet High School. I am interested in pursuing a career in the

Engineering/Computer Science field. My passion is to help others

and seek out a change within our community and world, whether

that be through technology or health. As part of the King/Drew

Medical Careers Program, I participated in the Medical Careers

Program, in which students are allowed to shadow doctors in

different medical fields. Whilst in the program, I did research at

CDU. I joined Project STRIDE to gain an experience while working

in a medical field not normally seen in the eyes of the public,

research. I hope to gain a valuable asset and education while

working here for 9 weeks and an experience unlike any other.



Cynclaire Gibbs

My name is Cynclaire Gibbs. I am a rising senior at King Drew Medical Magnet High School and through Project STRIDE I look forward to furthering my knowledge on environmental justice to better my community. I plan to focus on food insecurity in South Los Angeles (SPA 6) compared to food insecurity in West Los Angeles (SPA 5) because of the different residency and resources provided in the two areas. What I strive to be in the future an artist and a community activist. The reason I want to be involved in this is to get a better understanding of what research is about and how using science and data can benefit the community.

Samantha González


My name is Samantha González and I am a senior at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. I learned about Project Stride through the Careers Program, a program that my school offers. I was also able to get an experience of what Project STRIDE was going to be about through the Careers Program because I was assigned with a mentor depending on the site that matches my interest. I choose Research at CDU and was paired with Dr. Pervin. Which, I enjoyed working with and made my passion for Research grow, through multiple tasks. In the future, I plan to continue to go with my passion, research. My area of interested research is mental health diseases like Alzheimer’s. Hopefully through Project STRIDE I get a full experience of what being a researcher feels like and I also hope to continue to expanding my love for research.

Bikeebi Sarah Kpekpw


My name is Bikeebi Sarah Kpekpw and this summer I am working with Dr. Ebere Ume on a project about Cancer Survivorship and Caregivership in the United States. This fall I will be attending the University of California San Diego where I will major in Political Science and American Politics. My ultimate goal in life is to become and United States Senator. Through this program, I'm hoping to gain valuable research experience that will carry over into my field of interest.

Luis Mancilla


My name is Luis Mancilla and I am a rising senior at King Drew Medical Magnet High School. My research interests involve HIV/STD stigma within African American gay and/or bisexual men. As part of the medical careers program at my school, I stationed at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science where I experienced the research process throughout my junior year. I chose to base my research on a topic that affects my community in order to understand the causes and viable options that can be taken to improve the community. My career choice is undecided but I would like to pursue something involving mathematics while also being involved in the medical field. I hope this opportunity will enlighten me on other career choices within the medical field.

Brian Mora Solis


I am Brian Mora Solis, an incoming freshman to the prestigious Claremont McKenna College (CMC). After completing Project STRIDE as a high school student in summer 2017, my interest in research, particularly in environmental health, has expanded. At CMC, I will study a special major that combines Economics, Environment, and Politics and a concentration of Government. I am a huge advocate for social justice and positive environmental health. I aspire to become an environmental lawyer to advocate for environmental justice in underserved communities. My dreams are to become a contestant on the TV show "Survivor" and become US President.

Katerin Paiz


My name is Katerin Paiz. I am a rising senior at Alliance Pierra Barbaglia Shaheen Health Services Academy High School. My short-term goal is to become a Pediatric nurse and my long-term goal is to become a Pediatrician. During this program I want to do research on health care and nutrition. In my community, there is a large percentage of low-income families. I want to be able to provide health care to families who not able to afford regular health care. My goal at the end of this program is to know how nutrition affects children’s’ development and provide information and care in my community. Project STRIDE is a great program which will allow me to meet new people to get involved in clinical research, so in the future, I will be able to provide help to others in low-income communities.

Sofia Rojas


I am Sofia Rojas. Many times, my teacher told me my name meant wisdom. So far, I could not argue with that statement. As you will get to know me, you will get to know my small quirks. However, there is not much to say about myself for I am a simple person. All I can say that my simplicity is what people find me charismatic. I have a strong set of core values that I hold dear to my heart. I have a good sense of what my future will hold for me. I am determined to work on my dreams and aspirations. I am caring and passionate.

Gabriela Sanchez


My name is Gabriela Sanchez and I am a rising senior at King-Drew. I plan on pursuing a career in biomedical engineering. I’ve always been interested in technology, engineering, and the medical field so I wanted to find a way to connect everything. Although I have a career goal set in mind, one of the things I like to do during free time is taking pictures whether it’s of the sky, nature or of places I visit. I joined Project STRIDE because I have worked at Charles R. Drew University during the Medical Careers Program and I found the work I was doing really interesting so I wanted to see what other things I can learn along the way. 

Titilayo Shodiya


My name is Titilayo Shodiya, and I am entering into my senior year at Mary Star of the Sea High School. My area of interest in clinical research is genetics, how genetic mutations occur, and how genetic mutations can change the body. My career goal is to be a pediatrician because I work well with kids and also love science. Although my career path doesn’t fully correlate to this program, I am concerned with the many health disparities in the areas around me, and I would want to be a part of the people who change the world for the better. I am currently a part of my school’s Associated Student Body, Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team, and Girls’ Varsity Track/Field Team. I am in the top 10% of my senior class, with Principal’s High Honors. I hope to learn more about the body and how it functions, and I am optimistic about this program.

Folasayo Shodiya


My name is Folasayo Shodiya and I am a senior at Mary Star of the Sea High School. My area of interest lies in the field of pediatrics. My mother is a labor and delivery nurse, so I believe that my love for working with kids comes from her. I truly enjoy involving myself in my community by volunteering, and I am interested in figuring out how I, personally, could help those around me who are not able to help themselves both physically and financially. This program is helping me to do so because it is allowing me to get used to the idea of helping others indirectly with other scientists who all want the same end goal. As I continue to work with breast cancer subsets, I am finally understanding the importance of research in the medicinal field and all of its benefits.



Melissa Zuniga


My name is Melissa Zuniga and I am a rising senior at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. My research interests are based on public health and raising awareness on prevention for colorectal cancer. Although I’ve been interested in pursuing a career in medicine since I began High School, my junior year has opened me to opportunities to have experience in the medical field. I would volunteer at the Gastroenterologist Clinic and meet with patients to screen them for colorectal cancer. I would go over their unhealthy habits and I realized that the main causes of colorectal cancer could’ve been easily prevented. I learned a lot about the risk factors that can contribute to colorectal cancer. I found an interest in colorectal cancer because it can be easily prevented, compared to other types of cancers, yet it is the fourth most common cancer in the United States, and it continues to increase each year. Having the opportunity to do research on this information in Project STRIDE is honestly a privilege because no other place that I know of will provide me with these opportunities for free.


Chioma Abaekobe

Junior at University of California Riverside


My name is Chioma Abaekobe and I am a rising junior at the University of California Riverside, with an intended major in Pre-Medicine Psychology. I am interested in global and environmental research that focuses on the elimination of health disparities, as it relates to underrepresented communities. As an undergrad in Project STRIDE II, I looking forward to gaining new experiences with different forms of research that I am unfamiliar with. My goals for the future is to get a duo Masters in Biological Medical Sciences and Public Health, with the intent of getting into Medical School.

Nubia Cardoso

Sophomore at University of California Irvine


My name is Nubia Cardoso and I am a sophomore at the University of California, Irvine. I plan to receive my undergraduate degree in Biology and attend UCLA Dental School. As an undergraduate researcher, I am focusing on discrimination toward health providers of color because I believe research in this area is limited. This topic has become important to me as a first generation minority student. I hope to find new ways to improve healthcare in low- income communities, support physicians of color and encourage underrepresented students to join the healthcare industry.