OUR LAB MEMBERS

 
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Gabe Herrera

Position within Lab: Research Assistant

How long you’ve been with the lab: September 2018

Projects: PSOT and Healthcare Access, Identification, and Care

Major/occupation/level of schooling: Individualized Major on Pre-Med track/Sophomore

Why’d you join the lab? This lab interested me because of the help that the research would bring to the underprivileged members of our community. The EMPOWER Lab amplifies the voices that are swept away while aiding them in the pathway for gender equity and advocacy. Being able to be a part of this research and being able to help those that are normally turned away is what drew me to this lab.

Excited to see yourself do: My dream is to be a clinical oncologist, and being at the EMPOWER Lab, I believe, will help me gain a better understanding of both women’s health issues and the issues within institutionalized healthcare.

Fun fact: I love pugs (I follow over 150 pug accounts on Instagram). Also, I have a pug named Petunia.

 
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Tiffany Hamidjaja

Position within Lab: Research Assistant

How long you’ve been with the lab: September 2018

Projects: Healthcare Access, Identification, and Care, Male IPV, and Sexual and Gender Based Violence Book

Major/occupation/level of schooling: Past: B.A. from University of Minneosta- Twin Cities in Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance and Psychology (double major) and minors in Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies and Family Violence Prevention

Why’d you join the lab? My research passion lies in taking an intersectional perspective on understanding inequalities within marginalized communities and vulnerable populations. I believe in a science that not only adds knowledge to the field, but also translates into tangible change in the real world, especially for the communities that we are studying. EMPOWER’s mission exemplifies just that. I am proud to be a part of a lab that tackles the important social issue of gendered violence locally and globally, embraces diverse disciplines for a more comprehensive science, and prioritizes empowerment and advocacy.

Excited to see yourself do: I intend to pursue a PhD in Sociology and eventually become a Sociology professor. I want to be an educator, a researcher, and an advocate in my field. My experience in this lab is allowing me to continue the work I am passionate about, and is shaping my understanding of the type of lab that I’d like to lead myself in the future.

Fun fact: I am a bit of a nomad! I was born in California, but grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia until I was 10. I’ve been to 19 countries (and counting) and also lived in Kolkata, India, while working for a local non-profit as a Gender Violence Advocacy Intern in the largest red light district in Asia. When I’m not traveling, I like to explore different foods, see Broadway shows, and play board games. Oh and if you see me with my headphones in, I’m probably jamming to Hamilton or listening to the a podcast.

 
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Grishma Patel

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

How long you’ve been with the lab: September 2018

Projects: Sugar Dating and Advocacy

Major/occupation/level of schooling: Neuroscience on Pre-Med Track, Sophomore at NYU

Why’d you join the lab? I was drawn to this lab not only because I have always had an interests in women's health issues and the effects of gender based violence on individuals, but also because of its emphasis on weaving the research with advocacy efforts. I am a believer that research does not have to be independent of advocacy especially if that research can help to change someone's life in a positive way, and I am proud to say that this lab does just that.

Excited to see yourself do: As an aspiring physician, I hope to use what I have learned with the EMPOWER lab to shape my future practice, effectively helping to change how women's health issues are approached in medicine globally.

Fun fact: I am absolutely in love with plants, trees, and all other leafy things! I recently got to zipline through the Craggy Mountains in North Carolina and I do not think I will ever forget the views or the sound of the wind softly rustling the leaves. Maybe that obsession is a bit weird, but I blame my Mississippi roots.

 
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Caryn Ha

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

How long you’ve been with the lab: September 2018

Projects: TET, Healthcare Access, Identification, and Care

Major/occupation/level of schooling: Molecular Biology & Biochemistry B.A. (2016), Assistant Research Technician at NYU Langone Medical Center Pathology Department  

Why’d you join the lab? The EMPOWER lab is an amazing opportunity to help reveal disparities in the current healthcare system and revolutionize women’s health through my two passions: science and health-equity advocacy.  

Excited to see yourself do : I hope to spread EMPOWER’s mission of fighting against gender inequities by continuing to investigate the challenges in women’s health. Eventually, I would love to work on implementing these research findings into medicine and to progress towards an all-encompassing approach for patients.

Fun fact: I like to powerlift and bake sugar-free, diabetic-friendly desserts.

 
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Shirley Eng

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

How long you’ve been with the lab: September 2018

Projects: Male IPV, Sugar Dating, and Advocacy

Major/occupation/level of schooling: Pursuing BA in Sociology, on the pre-medical track, junior in College of Arts and Sciences at NYU.

Why’d you join the lab? I joined the Empower Lab because of its multidisciplinary approach to advocacy for gender equity through research. Working with the talented individuals in this lab and Dr. Ades has not only allowed me to pursue research I am passionate about but has shown me the different ways in which research and advocacy go hand in hand.

Excited to see yourself do: I am excited to learn more about healthcare inequalities, its social causes and consequences, and what I can do to improve these inequalities. I am also excited to see how the research skills I build at the Empower Lab help me in becoming a better advocate and healthcare professional.  

Fun fact: While there are few beaches in NYC, I love spending time by the sea. I find marine life intriguing and aquariums are my happy place.

 
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Jenny Leigh

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

When did you join the lab: June 2018

Projects: TET, Healthcare Access, Identification, and Care, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Book

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

When did you join the lab: June 2018

Projects: TET, Access to Healthcare During Sex Trafficking, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Book, and Advocacy

Major/occupation/level of schooling: BA from Barnard College (‘16), current post-bacc at NYU and MPH candidate at the Mailman School of Public Health

Why’d you join the lab? I have been involved in both anti-violence activism and biomedical research for many years, and always wanted to do research that incorporates both. The lab's focus on empowerment, advocacy, and using scientific research to promote equitable healthcare has both enabled me to pursue many of my interests in one space and inspired me to redefine my understanding of what both medicine and research can accomplish in the world.

Excited to see yourself do: Figure out how I’m going to combine all of my passions to promote interdisciplinary, community-based approaches to health. I also want to show fellow survivors that there is life even as healing continues, and that there is hope for a world where we can thrive and be heard.

Fun fact: One of my undergraduate majors was ethnomusicology, and I wrote my one of my theses on Beyoncé. One of my proudest professional moments was when my mom came to one of my presentations and I interpreted the lyrics to “Blow” for the audience (“can you eat my Skittles/it’s the sweetest in the middle”).

 
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Julia Leschi

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

How long you’ve been with the lab: September 2018

Projects: PSOT, Sugar Dating, and Advocacy

Major/occupation/level of schooling: BA Candidate in Applied Psychology with a minor in Public Health

Why’d you join the lab? I was never a pure scientist. Growing up, I was always involved in politics and advocacy, but the path I want to follow to become a Psychologist pushes me more and more towards science and research. The Empower’s lab different research projects all aim to actively help survivors and improve women’s health, and I am very inspired and happy to be apart of it. It allows me to pursue scientific research while still feeling active politically.  

Excited to see yourself do: As an aspiring psychologist, I hope to take what I’ve learned in the lab in regards to research and the particular challenges that women face in trying to access healthcare into my practice, to be a better clinician.

Fun fact: My eyes are different colors! I have a freakish ability to remember song lyrics after just a few listens.

 
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Mirella Torresan

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

How long you’ve been with the lab: June 2018

Projects: Male IPV, Sugar Dating, TET

Major/occupation/level of schooling: Junior at Gallatin on the pre-health track, concentration in the intersection of health and social justice with a focus in biology and women’s health

Why’d you join the lab? I joined the lab because of the unique opportunity to learn about and participate in research and advocacy on the issues of women’s rights and healthcare, which I care strongly about. I love the supportive, challenging, team-based environment of the lab, and the skills and experience I gain in the lab will be extremely valuable as I begin a career in women’s health.

Excited to see yourself do: I’m excited to travel, learn languages, and study how healthcare and maternity care in particular can be improved for women, especially those from underserved populations. I intend to eventually work in women’s health providing compassionate, empowering care, inspired by Dr. Ades’ example.

Fun fact: I do aerial acrobatics, and I love spending time in nature. The longest I’ve ever gone without a shower was 26 days on a backpacking trip in the High Sierras.

 
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Sarah Martell

Position within the lab: Research Assistant

When did you join the lab: December 2018

Projects: Male IPV, PSOT, EMPOWER

Major/occupation/level of schooling: Past: BA in Neuroscience from Amherst College, Worked for 3 years at McLean Hospital at a residential treatment program doing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy treating adolescent women with Borderline Personality Disorder. Current: NYU first year Medical Student

Why’d you join the lab? For me, the EMPOWER lab represents the perfect intersection between my interests in Psychiatry/Mental Health and Women’s Health. I have focused on this intersection throughout my education and career. Most notably by working with young women suffering from borderline personality disorder who were very frequently survivors of trauma and by studying eating disorders in my undergraduate neuroscience thesis. I am excited to be part of a lab who’s research and advocacy is making the world a safer place for women.

Excited to see yourself do: Right now, I am interested in Ob/Gyn and Psychiatry. However, it’s possible that I will find myself falling in love with a specialty I never even imagined. Wherever I end up, I know that I will continue to prioritize advocating for women and underserved populations.

Fun fact: I love practicing and teaching yoga! I am a certified yoga instructor and still teach classes to my peers from time to time. Also, I’m the oldest of six children.