2023 Provost's Scholars
Auldynn Chambers is a mechanical engineering major who is involved with many student programs and initiatives. He serves as President of the National Society of Black Engineers and is also a member of the McNair Scholars Program, a program through which he had the opportunity to conduct research in the field of biomechanics and dynamic motion simulation. This summer, Mr. Chambers will be assisting with research on artificial lungs at the University of Michigan, as an SROP Scholar and NASA-MSGC grant recipient. He plans to continue his education and research in graduate school by pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.
Alex Crego is a Science Research Fellow and a rising senior. He is committed to improving access to healthcare in medically underserved areas, especially along the US-Mexico Border. He founded the Baylor Pre-health Border Research and Outreach Program (now the Rural Health Equity Research Collaborative) to design interventions that enable children in under-resourced communities to pursue healthcare careers as a long-term solution to healthcare worker shortages. In the Summer of ‘22, he interned as a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Summer Scholar researching methods to alleviate barriers to disseminating and implementing new standards of care under Dr. Gregory Tasian, by conducting nation-wide interviews with pediatric urologists and patient family partners. This summer he will continue in this lab, continuing previous research by implementing improved methods for dissemination and implementation. Alex plans to pursue an MD/MPH to create researched models that relieve healthcare worker shortages to enable the equitable delivery of healthcare in vulnerable areas across the US.
Lilly Flanders is a Pre-Law University Scholar with additional majors in English and Political Science and a minor in History. This past semester, Lilly had the privilege of serving as a Teaching Assistant for “Learning for the World,” a course in the Philanthropy & Public Service Program. As a TA, Lilly led other students in volunteering to teach ESL at McLennan Community College, helping to empower local immigrants to communicate more effectively in their new home. This summer, Lilly is looking forward to interning through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) at Casa Marianella, a shelter dedicated to providing housing and support services to displaced immigrants in Austin, Texas. This internship will provide her with the opportunity to deepen her understanding of the challenges faced by immigrant communities and to learn more about the social and political dimensions of poverty.After graduation, Lilly plans to attend law school, where she hopes to use her passion and experience to advocate for marginalized communities.
Aubrey Gilliam is a University Scholar with concentrations in International Studies, Political Science, and Great Texts. During her junior year, she spent a semester abroad in Maastricht, the Netherlands, studying Dutch art history and political philosophy while exploring Europe. Upon her return to the States, she joined the Baylor in Washington program, completing an internship with the Hudson Institute’s South and Central Asia Program. Aubrey has also virtually interned with the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and participated as a fellow in the Hertog Foundation’s Political Studies Program. After graduation, Aubrey plans to attend graduate school or join the Peace Corps before becoming a Foreign Service Officer.
Eric Jaramillo is a senior biology major with a minor in biochemistry from Corpus Christi, Texas who hopes to continue his academic career after his undergraduate studies by attending graduate school for biology. He currently does research in Dr. Christopher M. Kearney’s undergraduate laboratory. This laboratory is primarily focused on genetic engineering, a field Eric hopes to pursue for his graduate research. Eric is not only a Provost’s Scholar, but also a McNair Scholar and a Trailblazer Scholar. Both of these programs have helped guide him to becoming a better student as well as a better mentor for other students. Eric's drive to help others and enrich learning have lead him to becoming a Provost’s Scholar and he hopes to be able to help along with many others to make a difference, even if it is small.
Sophie Kearney is a Science Research Fellow and rising senior at Baylor University, concentrating in Bioinformatics. Sophie has worked in Dr. Erich Baker's bioinformatics lab since January of 2021. This summer, Sophie will be joining Dr. Dushan Wadduwage's lab as a participant in the Harvard Systems Biology Summer Internship. Her work will focus on developing neural networks to enhance a new deep tissue microscopy technique. Sophie plans to continue her studies and pursue a PhD in Bioinformatics, where she hopes to leverage computational tools to deepen our understanding of disease mechanisms and develop effective interventions for neurodegenerative diseases.
Mikaela Kim is a junior Medical Humanities major and Philosophy minor from San Antonio, TX. She is an Undergraduate Research Assistant for Dr. Devan Stahl, Assistant Professor of Religion and Bioethics in the Department of Religion. This summer, Mikaela will be a Clinical Ethics intern at Baylor College of Medicine within the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy. She will shadow clinical ethicists in the Texas Medical Center and collaborate with faculty members to conduct bioethics research. Upon graduating from Baylor, Mikaela plans to pursue a PhD in Bioethics and a subsequent Clinical Ethics Fellowship. She aspires to become a clinical ethicist and a professor of bioethics.
Marigrace McDowell is a Medical Humanities major (pre-law) with minors in Philosophy and Political Science from Plano, Texas. Through her major and minors, as well as her involvement in the Baylor Honors Program and Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, Marigrace has developed interests in health law, healthcare policy, global health, poverty studies, and criminal justice. Her passion for the intersection of poverty, criminal justice, and healthcare emerged through her involvement Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), specifically her summer internship with the Kanawha County Public Defender Office in Charleston, West Virginia. This summer, Marigrace will be a Baylor Engage Fellow, through which she will work alongside a team of other Baylor students to address housing vacancies and the inaccessibility of low-income housing in Waco. Upon her graduation from Baylor, Marigrace plans to pursue a joint Juris Doctor and a Master of Public Health. She hopes to one day work in health law or healthcare policy.
Olivia Shelldazlo Persinger is a Philosophy with a Medical Concentration major on the Pre-Law track with a double minor in Political Science and Corporate Communication. She is a Ronald E. McNair scholar as well as a Departmental Honors student. Olivia was honored to be the first Baylor University Pillar Scholarship recipient. She also received The War of 1812 Award of Merit during her time in Baylor’s Army ROTC program. Olivia is pursuing to be dual enrolled in an accredited graduate school and law school upon completing her undergraduate degree. She hopes to attain a Ph.D. in Political Science/Government alongside her completion of a Juris Doctor. Her future goal is to be a practicing attorney who also gives back to future generations in the academic field.
Genesis Santos is an Elementary Education major from Waco, Texas. She has been preparing for her Texas teacher certification exams and will serve a full-time intern at a local elementary school next year. Outside of teaching, Genesis is recognized as a McNair Scholar, an inaugural Trailblazer Scholar, a First Abroad Fellow, and an inaugural Rutgers University Latinas Excelling at Doctoral Degrees Scholar. Her educational experiences inspired her McNair research on how Latino families are utilizing community cultural wealth in college-going cultures in elementary school. This summer, Genesis will be working at a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate site on STEM education through a social justice lens based in Boston, Massachusetts. After teaching, Genesis plans to earn a PhD in education in hopes of working in the non-profit sector and eventually becoming a professor. Through her various positions, Genesis hopes to serve as a representation for others and serve and support underrepresented students.
Lee Scheffe is a rising senior at Baylor with majors in economics, political science, and international studies. Lee is a part of the Baylor Business Fellows, an interdisciplinary honors program in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. In the Spring of 2023, Lee was a part of Baylor’s Philanthropy and the Public Good class, in which he was a part of a board responsible for allocating grant funding to local nonprofits. Lee is also a selected participant of the Brazos Fellows program, through which he will participate in a joint effort between the City of Waco and Baylor to conduct research about housing vacancy. Upon graduation, Lee hopes to conduct policy research for a nonprofit, university, or government.
Chloe Solis is a Sociology major on the pre-law track, and a member of Baylor’s Interdisciplinary Program. She also has double minors in Legal Reasoning and Analysis and Rhetoric and Public Discourse. Chloe recently completed the Baylor in Washington Program where she worked as an Investigative Intern with the Public Defender Service in D.C. In this role, Chloe worked along-side Felony I attorneys representing indignant clients. Because of her experience in public service work, Chloe was named one of Baylor’s Truman Scholar nominees in 2023 which seeks to highlight students with dedication to academics, leadership, but most importantly to public service. Chloe will be interning with the City of Waco this summer in the kick-off of the Baylor Summer Engage Fellowship which directly connects Baylor students to the Waco community. In this capacity, Chloe will be researching ways to address issues of homelessness alongside fellow Baylor interns and the City of Waco. Chloe plans to attend law school following her graduation from Baylor University and hopes to pursue a career in criminal law as a Public Defense Attorney.
Heavenlei Thomas is a senior Psychology major and Business Administration minor here at Baylor University and a member of the McNair Scholar’s Program and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. Heavenlei’s primary research interests are in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and team dynamics with a focus on improving the experiences of marginalized communities in the corporate spaces; this upcoming summer she will be participating in an intensive research internship at Harvard University. Graduating in December 2023, she intends to pursue a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. As an incoming Provost Scholar, Heavenlei is most looking forward to connecting with peers and the Baylor community.
Kaitlyn Vana is a double major in Mathematics and Slavic and East European Studies with a minor in Russian. She is heavily involved in Baylor University’s Detachment 810 Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps as well as a member of the National Slavic Honor Society. Most recently, Kaitlyn participated as a Teaching Assistant for the Philanthropy & Public Service course “Learning for the World,” during which she led other students in volunteering to teach ESL at McLennan Community College. Kaitlyn is currently conducting research for her honors thesis, in which she explores the role and representation of women in Soviet Georgian film. Kaitlyn is also a Truman Scholar and is looking forward to attending the Truman Scholar Leadership Week later this summer. After graduation, Kaitlyn plans to commission into the US Air Force and attend graduate school to receive a dual masters in global policy and security studies and Eurasian studies. She hopes to eventually serve as a USAF Foreign Area Officer.
Krista Wichterman is a junior University Scholar with a secondary major in English from Washington DC. As a teaching assistant for the “Learning for the World” course, Krista works to encourage students towards civic engagement, research, and the development of leadership skills. This summer, Krista will be moving to Vermont to work for The Committee on Temporary Shelter, which serves and empowers the local homeless community. She is being funded and housed by the Shepherd Higher Consortium on Poverty Program, in order to pursue her passion for serving low-income communities. Ultimately, Krista intends to work in low-income communities, using her skills and passion to empower minority populations and alleviate poverty in underserved communities.
Josiah Zeigler is a junior from Saint Louis, Mo. He is currently studying Middle East Studies and Political Science. Some highlights from his time at Baylor are as follows: Being a Community Leader at the Honors Residential College, studying abroad through the Project Global Officer (GO) program in Morocco, marching in the Baylor Homecoming parade as a cadet in Baylor’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), and co-founding an Intervarsity Multi-ethnic chapter on campus. Upon graduation, Josiah will commission as a second lieutenant in the United State Air Force. He hopes to work in Public Affairs or Intelligence.