Each year the UW Department of Global Health is able to provide partial to full funding to recruit top applicants. In addition to financial support, some recipients also receive mentorship and real-world experience through research assistant positions. For the 2023-24 academic year, 22 outstanding graduate students received funding to support their studies, 21 of whom are highlighted here. Learn more about this impressive cohort, including their journeys to arrive at UW and the impact they hope to have on the field of global health.

Read about previous DGH RAs and Fellows here: 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/212021/22, and 2022/23


Master of Public Health in Global Health

Kathleen Agudelo Paipilla, Research Assistant and Recipient of School of Public Health Dean Office Fellowship

Kathleen-Agudelo Papilla
 Kathleen is an MPH student hailing from the salsa capital of the world, Cali, Columbia. She studied Social Communication and Journalism with an approach in social change during her undergraduate education. Additionally, she worked in participatory projects supporting community engagement processes and planning and implementation of co-creation strategies with ethnic and rural communities from Colombia, and as a part of the Social Innovation in Health Initiative. Her research interests include health equity, health promotion and health education with marginalized populations, climate change and health in communities who live in rural zones, social determinants of health, implementation science, community-based participatory research. Read more. 

Brekken Cogswell, GSEE Graduate Excellence Award Research Assistantship

Brekken is an MPH student with an interest in program management and policy analysis, with a passion for Indigenous health and wellbeing. She completed her undergraduate education at Arizona State University where she led ASU’s United Nations Association as the Director of Advocacy, working with local politicians regarding topics such as climate initiatives and support for undocumented students. Her research interests lie in the promotion of Indigenous health and the effects of migration upon community and individual wellbeing. She is also interested in studying research fatigue among historically marginalized communities, emphasizing the need for community based participatory research and cultural competence within research projects.  Read more.

Amaya Gatling, GSEE Graduate Supplemental Award

Amaya is a graduate of UW-Madison where she studied Global Health and Life Sciences Communication. She is driven by the pursuit of health equity, reproductive justice, and human rights for all, noting more specifically, "as a Black woman, improving the health of the African diaspora is a critical component of my professional interests." Her passions lie in the intersection of sexual and reproductive health, human rights, and social justice. Diving deeper, she is interested in violence against women and girls in conflict settings or populations experiencing homelessness. Read more.

Abigail Mulugeta, START Research Assistant 

Abigail is a native Seattleite born to Ethiopian parents. She earned her B.A. from the University of Washington in 2021 in Public Health-Global Health. She appreciates the university's emphasis on equitable, sustainable, and community-oriented solutions within global health spaces, and how this is integrated into all of the professional and academic experiences. Most of her academic and research experiences and interests thus far have centered on sexual and reproductive health, particularly in the access and delivery of these critical health services. She's interested in improving access to miscarriage management options, contraception, and perinatal support and healthcare in rural low- middle income settings, with the ultimate aim of reducing staggering preventable maternal mortalities worldwide. Read more.

Nowreen Sarwar, Department of Global Health Excellence Fellowship

Nowreen is an international student from Bangladesh. She completed her undergraduate education at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Currently, she is most interested in community outreach programs that strengthen the existing resources of the community instead of harboring external resources. Sustainability and self-sufficiency are the goal of any of the outreach programs she works on with her NGO in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Shorolota Foundation. Currently she's interested in conducting systematic research to find more efficient and effective ways in which practitioners can strengthen community ties and create long-term behavioral changes. Read more.

Doctor of Global Health Leadership and Practice

Mohammad Gazi Shah Alam, Research Assistant with Julianne Meisner

Mohammad is a first-year student in the DrGH program. His undergrad studies were in veterinary medicine and he also pursued a graduate degree in MSc in Applied Epidemiology in Bangladesh. Over the years he has worked in leadership roles in different government and non-government organizations in Bangladesh to promote health services for animals and humans. Now at UW he has joined the UW SEAL team to learn and support public health activities in different communities. His research interests involve preventing, detecting, and controlling emerging infectious diseases that pose pandemic threats to both animals and humans. He aims to integrate a leadership model to strengthen the One Health approach in surveillance and outbreak response of zoonotic diseases. Read more. 


PhD in Pathobiology

Ashley Brauning, Research Assistant, UW Fellow for Academic Excellence, and UW Graduate School Top Scholar

Ashley grew in California and received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis in Bioethics from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. She then continued her studies and received her masters in Biological Sciences at the Dominican University of California. Her passions include advocacy for women's health and reproductive justice, and is excited by the community of researchers focusing on differential health outcomes for women and the maternal-fetal interface of infection. Ashley's research interests include researching the host immune response to pathogens, with a special interest in women's and children's health. Read more.  

Sophia Chima, Curci Foundation 2 Year Fellowship, and UW Fellow for Academic Excellence 

Sophia is an international student from Nigeria and South Africa. Fun fact, she has a twin brother! By birth and by blood, she is proudly Nigerian. However, she has spent over half of her life in South Africa, which she calls home. She has also lived in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe before moving to the U.S. to pursue her bachelor's degree in microbiology at the University of Rochester in upstate New York. Her research interests cover scientific investigations that can assist in instigating change through advancing health policy and programs that address current and future crises in disadvantaged populations, like mothers and their infants, especially in developing nations. Read more.

Catherine Gohar, Research Assistant, and UW Fellow for Academic Excellence

 Catherine was born in Millis, Massachusetts and raised in greater Seattle. She completed her Associate's in Biology at Cascadia College and Bachelor's in Biology at UW, Bothell. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in a eukaryogenesis laboratory at UW Bothell to study co-evolution trends between mutualistic archaea and bacteria. After graduation, she worked at Proteios Technology Inc. to work on their protein purification R&D. Most recently, she joined UW Seattle on a PREP Fellowship to study the cell biology of Giardia lamblia. Considering research, she loves to study the interactions of intracellular pathogens and their host cells. She is primarily interested in single-celled parasitic research on the human host, such as liver-stage malaria research, but virus and bacteria both have cases where they reconstruct host cells and manipulate cellular pathways we have utilized as molecular tools or medicine. Read more. 

Tonny Owalla, Research Assistant, Kenny Endowed Fellowship Recipient, and UW Fellow for Academic Excellence

Tonny was raised by his maternal grandparents in a very large family in Northern Uganda. He is the first in his large family to reach and pursue college where he received his B.S in Biomedical Lab Technology and M.S in Molecular Biology from Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda. His undergraduate work centered on assessing humoral immune response to candidate malaria vaccines in naturally exposed population in Uganda. These studies nurtured Tonny's special interest in parasite-host interaction as well as translational research up to this day. Regarding research, Tonny is interested in the basic biology of parasites of public health importance and in understanding host-pathogen interactions. Specifically, his is interested in translational research, embodied in identification of host-pathogen molecules that can serve as targets for vaccines and therapeutics. Read more. 

Annabelle Souza, Research Assistant, and Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation Fellowship 

 Annabelle was raised by a community of Brazilian women in Orlando, Florida. She fell in love with studying infectious diseases at an early age and went on to study biology at the University of Central Florida. She has an interest in global/public health with a focus on understanding the science behind infectious diseases. She shares that the (UW) Pathobiology program was the only graduate program with the fluidity to experience the best of both worlds. Her research interest is in virology and highlights that she joined the Pathobiology program open to exploring any interesting infectious agent. Read more.   

Rebecca Villa, Research Assistant, and Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation Fellowship 

Rebecca is a first-generation college graduate. She grew up in El Monte, California and later went on to attend Grinnell College for her undergraduate education where she earned her B.A. in Biology and her B.A. in Anthropology while also running for the school’s cross country and track teams. After undergrad, she attended the University of Iowa to earn her Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology with a Certificate in Emerging Infectious Diseases. After she studies, she spent a year as an Association of Public Health Laboratories Infectious Disease Fellow at the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa where she worked to develop an automated laboratory-developed assay for the detection of mpox using human lesion swab specimens. Her research interests cover public health, epidemiology, immunology, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She plans to focus her future thesis project on work that can contribute to vaccine development, diagnostic assay development, or novel treatment development relevant to TB disease. Read more.

Riley Zielinski, Research Assistant, and UW Fellow for Academic Excellence

Riley is a proud Appalachian woman and alumna of Ohio University. During her undergraduate studies, she completed a senior thesis about host-pathogen interactions in MRSA. She continues to study how pathogens trick their hosts into being hospitable environments in her PhD studies. She also has briefly lived in Berlin, Germany, where she worked in a research lab within the hospital Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. Her research interests include studying how pathogens interact with their hosts, especially how pathogens trick the host into being a better environment for them. She has really been enjoying the intellectual freedom to ask questions, and the resources to answer those questions in her graduate school experience thus far. She also shares that "the faculty in the UW Pathobiology program are some of the most remarkable people I've ever met." Read more.


PhD in Implementation Science

Yuwei Wang, Research Assistant with Keshet Ronen, Top Scholar Award, Provost Award 

Yuwei joined the PhD program in Global Health Implementation Science in 2023. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Fudan University, an MPhil degree in Evidence-based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation from the University of Oxford, and an MPH degree in Mental Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Through her active participation in diverse research projects and internships, Yuwei has acquired extensive experience in conducting systematic reviews and quantitative analyses within the realm of mental health, stigma reduction, opioid use, intimate partner violence, and maternal and child health. Her primary focus lies in evaluating interventions that address barriers to care and adapting evidence-based practices to resource-limited settings through the lens of implementation science, particularly in the field of mental and behavioral health. Recently, she has developed a deep passion for innovative research methods that shed light on comprehensive, cost-effective, and equitable solutions to address health issues. These include causal inference, economic evaluation, and spatial analyses. With these cutting-edge approaches, she aspires to contribute to the promotion of public mental health on a global scale through impactful research endeavors. Read more.

Helena Manguerra, START Research Assistant, Provost Award

Helena's experience in global health has centered around measuring infant and child growth, supporting community health workers, and working with communities of faith. Helena worked for four years as a Post-Bachelor Fellow and Research Scientist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). For the Global Burden of Disease project, Helena modeled attributable disease burden due to low birth weight, short gestation, and child growth failure. For the past three years, Helena has worked as a Research Associate at International Care Ministries (ICM), a poverty reduction NGO based in the Philippines. At ICM, she helped to design, build, and evaluate the organization's new community health worker program. Helena completed her MPH in Global Health Metrics & Evaluation from the University of Washington and her BS in Global Health from Georgetown University. Read more. 

William Garcia, Research Assistant with David Watkins, Provost Award

William is an economist and global health researcher interested in combining quantitative research methods, insights from economics, and health policy frameworks to examine approaches to improving the implementation of healthcare programs and health and intersectoral policies. He is Research Associate at the Universidad Icesi Research Center on Health Economics and Social Protection (PROESA) in Colombia. William has worked in the public sector advising on human capital policies and has led research and consultancy projects on policy evaluation, health services, and health and development economics. He holds a Master's in Economics from Universidad de los Andes and is joining the doctoral program in Global Health Metrics and Implementation Science at the University of Washington as a Fulbright Scholar.

Chinmay Laxmeshwar, Research Assistant with Paul Drain, Top Scholar Award, Provost Award

Chinmay joined the PhD program in Global Health Metrics and Implementation Science in 2023 after working with PATH, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, and the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He has a decade of experience working in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, where he has led various studies looking to strengthen healthcare delivery, mainly for TB and HIV. At PATH, he was an integral part of the STAR III initiative that has provided crucial evidence for the introduction of HIV self-testing in India. 

He earned his bachelor's degree from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences and an MPH in Social Epidemiology from the well-regarded Tata Institute of Social Sciences. His research interests include infectious diseases, mainly focusing on person - and community- centered care while simultaneously strengthening local health systems. Chinmay plans to use the skills gained during his PhD to strive for quality improvement in healthcare delivery and the use of cutting-edge technologies to ensure that healthcare delivery is equitable, accessible, and person- and community-centered. Read more.

Akash Malhotra, START Research Assistant, Provost Award

Akash is an electronics engineer turned global health practitioner. He is a currently a first-year PhD student in Implementation Science. Akash transitioned to the field of public health in 2018, working for the Clinton Health Access Initiative supporting service delivery of their Tuberculosis, Oxygen, Vaccines, Nutrition, SRMNCAH, and Health System Strengthening programs in Southeast Asia. He pursued his MPH at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), graduating in December 2021. After graduating, he continued exploring his interests in costing, cost-effectiveness, program management, and implementation science, working at the Department of Epidemiology at JHSPH helping support clinical trials in East Africa. His research interests focus on addressing delays in patient diagnosis and linkage to care, applying both a patient-and-provider-centered approach in low resource settings. Read more.

Gift Nwanne, Provost Award 

Gift holds an MPH in Global Health from the University Washington and a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Abuja. He worked in food quality control, in Abuja’s environmental protection agency lab monitoring pathogens coming through and at the medical microbiology bench of a hospital analyzing different human samples before his curiosity to understand the social determinants of health that predisposes people to illnesses made him pivot into public health research.  

He has since spent his time doing work to improve services and access for people whom society has made vulnerable, like pregnant women, their infants and adolescents living with HIV, and adolescents and families experiencing homelessness. He has experience working with ministries of health, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, and community organizations in Nigeria and the US where he has lived and worked.

Previously, Gift was a Research Project Manager for the HIV Vaccines Trials Network at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center where he facilitated the day-to-day implementation of human vaccine trials for malaria, TB, and HIV vaccine candidates. Gift joined the PhD program in Global Health Implementation Science in 2023 and is interested in using implementation science strategies to improve the design, implementation, scale-up and dissemination of interventions for infectious and re-emerging diseases. Read more.

Julian Salim, Provost Award

Julian Salim finished his Master of Public Health study at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, in 2021. He is a public health professional with over six years of professional experience surrounding disease surveillance and health systems strengthening. He recently works as a director of Rakat Mengabdi, a Non-Government Organization in Indonesia. This TB- focused organization convenes local, national, and global actors and wide-ranging health campaigns to support research, decision-making, and policy. He intends to focus his doctoral research on studying strategies to improve rapid diagnosis and clinical management of rural, low-educated, and poor populations living with TB disease, drug-resistant TB, and latent TB infection. He is also interested in rethinking existing health financing, technologies, and policies to better serve the needs of these populations who are often missed by adequate TB services.

Bih Moki Suh, START Research Assistant, Provost Award

Bih Moki Suh START
 Bih grew up in Cameroon and joins the University of Washington’s Ph.D. program in Implementation Science after working as a Monitoring and Evaluation Cluster Lead for the TIDE (Translating Data and Evidence into Impact) Program at the Center for Global Health Practice and Impact- Georgetown University, an international NGO, that focuses on supporting HIV response efforts for the achievement of HIV epidemic control. Over the years, she has dedicated herself to understanding the complexities of HIV prevention and finding effective strategies to combat this global challenge and has become passionate about the scale-upscale- evaluation of HIV prevention interventions, specifically in low-income countries in Africa. In addition to her professional work, she is an advocate for policy changes that support HIV prevention efforts as she strongly believes that by combining scientific research, community engagement, and policy advocacy, we can create a world where HIV transmission is reduced, stigma is eradicated, and population have access to the resources and knowledge necessary to protect  themselves and their communities. Bih holds a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of Buea, Cameroon. She is Fluent in English and French. Read more.